Scabies, inflamed, bumps, itchy, parasite, itching, skin, mite
Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl. I am talking about mange, specifically the type caused by the microscopic, spider-like parasite, sarcoptes scabies. Though this bug is very small it causes a huge allergic response by the body. And, though this mite loves dogs, we also see it in cats, and it can even be transmitted to us!
A dog's initial skin lesions are typically found on areas that are warm and have little fur, such as ear margins, the inside aspect of the elbows and maxillae-the underarms, and also the abdomen. With time, the entire body can become red, scaly, lose most of its fur and become intensely pruritic, or itchy.
The female scabies mite causes its damage by literally burrowing under the skin. This occurs after it has mated on its surface. As it travels under the skin, it lays eggs which will hatch in about a week. The juvenile stage then makes its way to the surface where it will mate and perpetuate the process. It is the presence of the mite under the skin and the toxins that it releases that sets up the severe inflammatory response. When people are contaminated by the dog mange mite, their infection is transient but uncomfortable. People routinely have red, itchy bumps at places such as belt lines and underwear lines and under watch bands--places that are warm and moist. The parasite is contracted by direct contact. The mite is capable of living in the environment for a few weeks, but they are typically not infective after several days. It is best to treat all pets in a household even if only one pet is showing clinical signs.
Making the diagnosis of scabies can be difficult. The itching sensation is so intense that animals will often scratch themselves raw. When they scratch, they open up the burrows that the mite formed, killing the mite in the process. Veterinarians perform skin scrapings to look for the mite. It only takes a few mites to induce the allergic response. The pet's self trauma makes finding the mite problematic. Even if the mite is not found, precautionary treatment is often started with resolution of the signs in 2 to 4 weeks.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It has a very limited number of ways in which it can respond to insult. Itching can be due to many causes so don't be tempted to go to your local pet supply store and ask for an anti-itch treatment.
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