Monday, October 28, 2019

Demodex, Demodectic mange, Red mange, follicular mange

Also Known As: Demodex, Demodectic mange, Red mange, follicular mange

Transmission or Cause: Localized demodicosis usually is passed from the mother to her nursing puppies after they are born. Generally, a puppy will clear the mite infection once its immune system strengthens. However, when a young dog is not able to rid itself of mites, or when treatment fails, the animal will continue to have the infection as an adult. Unfortunately, older dogs that have an underlying disease such as cancer or are being given medications that suppress the immune system can develop the generalized form of the disease. Affected Animals: Dogs and cats. 

Overview: Canine demodicosis is a type of mange that occurs when abnormally high numbers of a mite called Demodex canis multiply on the skin. This mite is normally present in small numbers in the skin of healthy dogs, but when a dog’s immune system becomes weakened, the mites can overgrow and cause disease and inflammation of the skin. It is not uncommon for nursing puppies to become infected with this eight-legged skin parasite during the first two to three days of life. The mites can be passed from the mother to the nursing puppies because the puppies have weak and underdeveloped immune systems that allow the mites to overgrow, causing occasional localized patches of hair loss, redness and scaling. However, as the puppies grow and their immune systems become stronger, they are usually able to fight off the disease on their own with little or no medical intervention. It is possible for older dogs (those four years of age or older) to develop canine demodicosis, but for them, the disease is much more serious. The infestation can be localized to a few areas of the body, or generalized, meaning that the mites are all over the body. Generalized demodicosis usually means that the dog has a serious underlying disease that is weakening the immune system, thereby making the dog susceptible to overgrowth of the Demodex mites. 

Clinical Signs: There are two types of demodicosis: localized, meaning confined to a few specific areas of the skin, and generalized, in which the mites have spread all over the body. Each type has a different set of signs or symptoms. Canine Demodicosis C a n i n e D e m o d i c o s i s p a g e 2 Localized demodicosis occurs most often in young puppies six months old or younger. The mites usually will appear on the front legs and face, and the effects of their presence will be fairly mild. Hair loss is a common symptom, and in the bald patches the skin may be red and scaly, and may or may not be itchy. Most cases heal without treatment and do not progress to generalized demodicosis. Generalized demodicosis is far more severe than the localized form, especially when it starts when the dog is an adult of four or five years of age. Clinical signs begin with multiple areas of hair loss, scaling, and redness. These small areas get larger and progress to affect the entire body, causing severe irritation of the skin. Secondarily, severe bacterial infections commonly occur as a result of the demodicosis. After a few months, the skin may become covered with infected, pus-filled, crusty, bloody sores. 

Description: Demodex is a type of skin mite that has a head and eight legs extending from a long, tubular body. In the skin of healthy dogs and puppies, the mites can exist in small numbers, but when the dog’s immune system is weakened or not functioning normally, the population of mites begin to increase to the point that skin disease begins. Demodicosis can manifest itself in two forms. The first is a milder form that occurs commonly in young puppies that get the mites from their mother while nursing. The Demodex mite, which will be localized to just a few regions of the puppy’s skin, may cause hair loss, mild redness, scaling, and occasional itchiness. However, with time, the puppy’s immune system will strengthen so that it resists the mites and prevents them from overgrowing. Generalized demodicosis may occur in a dog that, as a puppy, had localized demodicosis that never went away, or in a dog that developed localized demodicosis as an adult. This form of the disease can be very serious because it usually means that another disease is causing the dog’s immune system to function poorly, allowing the mite to proliferate at an uncontrolled rate. Because the mites burrow deep into the skin, they cause irritation leading to severe inflammatory skin disease. Many times, secondary bacterial infections occur, causing severe infections that make the illness worse. The diseased skin of a dog with generalized demodicosis is often hairless, reddened, scaling and, in certain areas, will ooze a pus-filled, bloody material that forms thick crusts. 

Diagnosis: The veterinarian will be able to diagnose demodicosis after analyzing skin scrapings from the dog and detecting the presence of the mites under a microscope. In an adult dog that has the more severe, generalized form, additional diagnostic tests may need to be performed to find the underlying disease that has caused the immune system to be weak and has made the dog susceptible to demodicosis as a result. Prognosis: Localized demodicosis will usually heal on its own within six to eight weeks. The treatment is usually minimal, as most cases will resolve without treatment. The prognosis for generalized demodicosis affecting adult dogs greater than two years of age is guarded for recovery; the disease may be controlled through medication and therapies, but not always cured. 

Treatment: When the demodicosis is localized or only affects a few regions of a puppy’s skin, it will usually heal within six to eight weeks with minimal or no medical treatment. Generalized demodicosis, however, often requires a very intense and lengthy treatment plan. Thus, the underlying disease should be determined and the dog’s overall health should be improved before attempting to treat demodicosis. Sometimes in older dogs the disease cannot be cured but only controlled. Oral antibiotics are often needed for 1-2 months to treat secondary bacterial infection. Options for treatment of the demodex mites include topical therapy with weekly amitraz dips, or systemic medication with daily ivermectin or milbemycin. These potentially toxic medications should be dispensed by a veterinarian at a carefully calculated dose, and ivermectin (in the dose needed to treat demodex) should never be used in herding breed dogs such as collies, shelties, Australian shepherds, Old English sheepdogs, or border collies, as death can ensue. A genetic test is available to screen animals for sensitivity to Ivermectin ( Regardless of therapy, treatment is continued until one month beyond a negative skin scraping (no live or dead mites), which is an average of 3-4 months. Regular rechecks with your veterinarian are important to determine need for continued therapy. Prevention: The best prevention is to keep animals in good health. Regular visits to the veterinarian will help maintain the dog’s overall health and detect underlying conditions that could weaken the dog’s immune system. Regular de-worming and vaccinations are also important. Dogs with generalized demodicosis should be spayed or neutered, as they will pass the immune defect which will predispose their puppies to demodicosis as well.

Monday, October 21, 2019

L.B. the allergy dog!

L.B. the allergy dog!

My retired racing greyhound came off the track with numerous health issues primarily stemming from untreated allergies. Since she had both food and environmental allergies, I put her on an elimination diet at the suggestion of our dermatologist, Dr. Newton.

The elimination diet was vital, giving much information on how to then proceed. Thanks to some very special Vets/Specialists my arsenal is large enough to address any new issues that come up while still maintaining the basics to keep her comfortable in her own skin.
The most important application in our arsenal is the "Allergy Vial" which was formulated after the allergy test results came back. My dear baby is no longer on all those allergy meds due to administering her "allergy vial" once to twice a day, under the tongue and it's done.

I know how vital the "allergy vial" applications are for the following reason. As the vial nears empty, the potency seems to lessen and her symptoms being returning..... itching, licking, watery eyes, etc. When the new allergy vial arrives and administered, those symptoms all cool down and she's comfortable again. It seems the only side effect administering the vial is a happy and comfortable girl in retirement. It's quite extraordinary.

Thank you Dr. Newton & your wonderful staff.  David E. and L.B.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Happy National Veterinary Technician Week

Happy National Veterinary Technician Week. 🐴🐶🐾😻🦜🦎🐇🐄🐹 Thanks for all you do! ❤️👍
#vettech #dermatologyforanimals

October 13-19, 2019
Veterinary technicians are critical to the day-to-day function of veterinary practices, and play vital roles in preserving animal health and welfare. National Veterinary Technician Week provides an opportunity to recognize veterinary technicians’ contributions. 🥰

 Make sure to thank your favorite tech!

I have been in the veterinary field since 1994.  I started out at the bottom and quickly learned the ropes.  It is not knowledge that appears overnight.  The information is passed to you from doctors, techs, assistants and other support staff. Things they have learned, losses they have had and victories they have achieved.  Everything I have learned about veterinary medicine has made me the person I am today.  I have been the pet sitter, the kennel person, the veterinary assistant, the receptionist, the front office manager, the IT person, the hospital administrator, the janitor, the office manager, the dog walker and the team member.

Veterinary Medicine is challenging!  Your'e happy one minute to see the new puppy and sad the next to euthanize the older, kidney failure cat.  I can't express enough that this wasn't my career of choice.  I was lucky enough to fall into this field in 1994.  I met a doctor that said, "come work with me"!!  She was my first mentor, my first inspiration and an amazing person.  I worked for her for 8 years and wonder to this day if she hadn't had to change her life - would i still be working with her?  I would say yes, but then I wouldn't have learned all the many new & different "things" I have learned - or would I have?!

This veterinary field can take you anywhere you want to go but you have to want the challenge and need to have the drive to succeed.  Failure is there but you have to learn daily to make the changes you want to see in yourself.  

I remember the first euthanasia I was ever part of :(  It was an older cat that had been making some improvement with different treatments.  I would help this cat at the appointments by administering SQ fluids and snuggles.  I never thought in a million years I would be there for his last breath.  I was so hard!  I was taught in technician school "do not let the client see you cry".  How in the world does this get taught and how can it be?  Needless to say I cried - as I am doing now.  It was hard but best for the cat that was failing to thrive.  This was when I worked in general practice - which I did for more than 1/ 2 of my career.  

Wow! What a career it has been.  I have gained most of my fur babies through different clinics, met most of my best friends and my mentors!  I am proud to be a CVT - Certified Veterinary Technician!  Proud to say I have helped that pet, loved that pet, administered medications, anesthesia, put in IV catheters,  can proficiently use a microscope, have trained employees, assisting in surgery, performed xrays, drawn blood on a furry moving target, looked into the eyes of a parvo puppy, helped with c-sections and brought puppies into this world,  weighed bladder stones that were 1/2 the weight of a Yorkie and made the paw print of a deceased dog so their family would have a last memory.  Not to mention the different doctors and practices that  I have shared many years with...  I've been lucky enough to enjoy - general practice, Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic, start up practices, the sale of a practice, sitting on different boards for certifications, writing online CE's, AAHA inspections, protocol writing, Rehabilitation medicine, urgent care and specialty.  I would like to say I have come full circle!  I started with going to art school in the 80's - graphic design & commercial art, tech school in the 90's and now I am a CVT & Marketing Coordinator for an amazing company.

I have loved every aspect of this field, made great friends and learned to work with many different styles of doctors, all wonderful in their own way.  There has always been one common goal - "doing what is best for the pet".  Sharing our love though our passion and knowledge!

Happy Veterinary Technician week to all my friends and all the technicians/assistants in our big, amazing and wonderfully growing field.  Cheers & enjoy this special week!  🐴🐶🐾😻🦜🦎🐇🐄🐹 

Laura Rice, CVT
Marketing Coordinator, 
Social Media & Website Design
Dermatology for Animals

Friday, October 11, 2019

Ear Mites - Also Known As: Otodectes cynotis

Ear Mites - Also Known As: Otodectes cynotis 

Transmission or Cause: Ear mites are passed from one animal to another through close contact. Humans rarely also can get a skin rash from the parasite, and, on rare occasions, can get the mites in their own ears. Good hygiene usually will prevent mites from affecting people. 

Affected Animals: All animals, including humans, can get mites. 

Overview: Highly contagious, ear mites are a common cause of many ear problems in cats and, less commonly, in dogs. Ear mites are found in cats of all ages, but kittens tend to be infected more commonly. These mites can cause intense itching. Severe trauma to the infected area may result when cats scratch the irritated skin. Often, but not always, a dark, granular substance will be present in the ear canal of a cat with ear mites, and signs of irritation and itchiness will be evident. Diagnosis can be achieved through visual identification of the mites under a microscope from debris or skin scrapings. The prognosis for ear mites is excellent with proper treatment, which generally involves topical application of a miticide to the affected areas. 

Clinical Signs: Clinical signs of ear mites develop as the mites feed in the ear canal. The feeding causes irritation and the canals will fill with wax, mite debris, and blood. The ear canals typically have a dark, coffee ground-like substance in them. Cats may have itching of the ears, but not always. The mites also can crawl to other parts of the body and can cause itching there. Symptoms: See clinical signs. 

Description: Otodectes cynotis is a type of mite that lives on the surface of the skin, rather than tunneling into it. The mite is able to reproduce in the ears and live approximately two months. They cause an intense hypersensitive reaction that leads to severe itching in many animals. Some animals cause a significant amount of trauma to their ears by constant scratching. Ear mites are very contagious. In addition, they can migrate to other parts of the body and cause itching. Ear Mites 

Diagnosis: Diagnosis commonly is made by using a cotton-tipped applicator to take a sample of the debris in the ear canals. The material then is viewed in mineral oil under a microscope to determine if mites are present. Other ways of diagnosing ear mites include looking into the ears with an otoscope to identify mites visually. The light from the otoscope warms up the mites so that they can be seen crawling around. Skin scrapings, performed by using a dull blade gently to scrape the skin, sometimes are helpful to determine the presence of mites on other parts of the body. The material then is evaluated under the microscope. 

Prognosis: With proper treatment, ear mites can be cured. However, all animals that have been exposed to the infected animal must be treated as well, since mites are highly contagious. 

Treatment: Treatment starts with a very thorough cleaning of the ears to get all the debris and wax out of the canals. If the ears are not properly cleaned, mites can survive the treatment because the wax and debris protects them. There are several medications available for the treatment of ear mites. Some contain miticide only; others will have antibiotics and/or a medication to help break down wax and debris. A typical treatment involves applying a topical medication directly into the ears for several weeks; each animal may not respond to certain medications, so treatments may vary. The use of flea sprays, powders, or topical preparations will be necessary to help prevent mites from re-infecting the ears. Consult with a veterinarian about the various medications that are available. An alternative treatment involves using an injectable or oral medication called ivermectin. Although ivermectin is a highly effective and common treatment, this use is considered extra-label, and should NOT be used in certain breed of dogs, such as collies, Shetland sheepdogs, Old English sheepdogs, and any herding dogs or their crosses. Side effects in these breeds can lead to death. Ivermectin usually is very safe for cats, however, and can be especially useful in animals that are difficult to treat or that are outdoors and hard to catch daily. 

Prevention: Effective prevention requires proper medical treatment of all animals that have mites, or that have been in contact with animals carrying mites. The use of an effective flea control product that stays on the animal for several days helps to control the spread of mites to other parts of the body. Disinfecting the environment with appropriate insecticides also is very helpful. Consult a veterinarian about the use of safe insecticides in the animal’s environment. It is particularly difficult to control the spread of mites in catteries and kennels because so many animals are housed together closely.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cytology-Microscope Tips!

At Dermatology for Animals we have many services that help us better evaluate your pets skin.  When we set up an in-house fungal test we wait for the plate to change and when it's ready we get the cytology/slide ready for viewing with the microscope.  Dr. Frost has made a short video to show you how to properly make a cytology/slide to easily view a fungal culture.  What is a cytology?

Skin Cytology 

Cytology of the skin is used to identify infection and cells that are indicative of autoimmune disorders. A slide or piece of tape is pressed to the animal's skin (in this case from the fungal plate), picking up samples of the cells and hairs and any microorganisms present.