Although tiny, dachshunds with red mange don’t get sicker than larger dogs.
Dachshunds are only one of the dog breeds prone to developing red mange, which is caused by intolerance to an extremely common type of dog mite. American Staffordshire terriers, beagles, Boston terriers, boxers, Chihuahuas and Doberman pinschers are also susceptible. Diagnosis and treatment of red mange in dachshunds is generally the same as that of other breeds.
Definition and Transmission
Red mange is also known as demodectic mange, puppy mange and follicular mange. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not a result of dirty homes or kennels. Tiny (about 9/1000 of an inch), alligatorlike demodectic mites live on the bodies of almost all adult dogs, causing no irritation or harm.
Mothers transfer the mites to their puppies through direct contact during their first week of life. Because the mites can’t survive off the dogs, kennels and bedding aren’t contaminated. Puppies with inadequate immune systems and older dogs with suppressed immune systems become ill and develop localized or generalized mange.
Localized mange is characterized by fewer than five isolated lesions that may or may not itch. They involve hair loss and crusty red skin, usually on the dog’s head or forelegs. Generalized mange involves five or more lesions that often crack, oozing a clear liquid. Normally, there’s a serious secondary bacterial infection.
Mange is most easily spotted in short-haired dachshunds. However, because long-haired dachshunds require daily grooming, lesions should be noticed by diligent owners.
Most lesions, in either form, develop after 4 months of age. A skin scraping verifies the mites’ presence but that must be coupled with lesions for a diagnosis of mange to be made.
Localized Red Mange Treatment
According to PetEducation.com, 90 percent of red mange cases are localized. These can be treated topically with a 1 percent rotenone ointment or 5 percent benzoyl peroxide gel applied daily. Dogs must be bathed periodically with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo and fed a high-quality diet and a multivitamin containing fatty acid.
Most localized lesions heal on their own and don’t require overly aggressive treatment. However, the lesions may worsen before they improve.
Because “dachshunds can be rather hard-headed at times,” according to DachshundSavvy.com, the little dogs may have to wear cones to prevent them from chewing at lesions until they’ve healed. Tiny cones, made specifically for small breeds, are available at veterinary clinics.
Generalized Red Mange Treatment
Generalized red mange usually requires aggressive treatment, including antibiotics for the first several weeks. Dogs undergo biweekly neurotoxic dips with Amitraz, which contains phosphorus. Long-haired dachshunds are clipped short so the dip has good contact with their skin. Most dogs need four to 14 dips, according to PetEducation.com, and aren’t considered cured until a year after their last treatment.
Dogs unresponsive to Amitraz receive large daily doses of ivermectin or milbemycin oxime (Interceptor). The website says Interceptor is effective on half the dogs that don’t respond to dips.
PetEducation.com cautions that red mange “is not an inherited condition but the suppressed immune system that allows the puppy to be susceptible to the mites can be. … This sensitivity can be passed genetically through generations. Individuals that have a history of demodectic mange, and their parents and siblings, should not be bred.” Dachshund breeders’ adherence to this advice would help reduce or eliminate mange in this wonderful little breed.