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I think my dog has mange and I don't have money to take her…

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I think my dog has...
I think my dog has mange and I don't have money to take her to a bet what should I do she's itching a lot.
Submitted: 4 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
12/30/2013
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 4 years ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,575
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I am sorry to hear that Nosey is so itchy.
There are two types of mange in dogs and both are most effectively treated with prescription drugs.
One type of mange is demodectic mange. This mites lives in the hair follicles and is found on all dogs. In dogs with weakened immune systems (old dogs, young pups and dogs very sick and debilitated with other disease processes) their numbers get out of hand and they create symptoms such as hair loss, and secondary bacterial skin infections which make them itchy. Demodex is usually seen on the face, paws and legs. At Nosey's age, and if she is otherwise healthy it would be uncommon for her to have demodectic mange.
The other type of mange is sarcoptic mange. The most common areas that the mites are found include the ears, elbows and hocks. This highly contagious mange mite is transferred from one dog to another via close personal contact, such as play, or housemates that sleep together, mating, or via contaminated grooming tools. This mites doesn't live long in the environment so if she doesn't come into contact with other dogs or get groomed then it would be difficult for her to pick them up.
Allergies are the most common cause of itchy skin and can give her a skin crawling, all over itchy type effect which many dogs find irritating. I'll give you an allergy rundown of likely causes for skin troubles. She may have more than one allergy given how itchy she is now. Dogs that have one allergy often develop several with time. The effect of multiple allergies aren't additive, they actually compound one another.
Even if you don't see fleas I do recommend using protection. They are the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog scratch so I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. Frontline Plus, Advantage II or Advantix are excellent. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic.
Other allergens can be inhaled (like grass pollen, dust mites or molds) and you can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those (they also help with the symptoms of flea allergy). In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If her symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of her problem.
You can try:
1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products as they can be toxic) at 1mg to 2mg per pound or one 25mg capsule per 25 pounds of dog orally every 8 hours.
OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pound dog once or twice daily.
OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound orally every 8 hours.
OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.
Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. You'll have to pick one, give it a week trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use
Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight.
Cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin.
Food allergy is very possible with her as food allergies most commonly develop in younger dogs. Dogs can develop allergies to any protein or carbohydrate so even if she is only fed one food that may have the proteins or carbohydrates that she is allergic to. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" can be affected. You could try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects.
Another option if the antihistamines and omega 3's aren't enough is a product called Atopica. It suppresses the immune system a bit so it decreases allergic symptoms but it doesn't have as many harmful side effects as systemic steroids. If you are interested discuss this medication with your veterinarian as it is a prescription.
Finally we can run testing to find out what she is allergic to and then give her injections of these allergens to allow her to build a tolerance to her allergens. This is called immunotherapy.
I know that you would prefer to avoid a veterinary visit so the last two options may not be what you choose to pursue but I wanted to let you know all the options.
As I said mange is less common in healthy, adult dogs that aren't socializing with other dogs, but it is possible. I would try treating her for flea and inhaled allergies first and if she isn't improving contact your local shelter or humane society to see if the have a low cost clinic or know of one in your area.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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