Friday, August 17, 2007


When you start to read this column many of you will wonder, “Why did he title it ‘DANGER’? “ Be patient my friends; I will show you the danger.

There is at least one in every Barangay. The ugly sight of this pitiful creature is enough to tear the heart out of any dog lover. Their hair has almost all fallen out. Their naked flesh is crusted, raw and oozes a yellow fluid. Sometimes there is a secondary infection causing even more misery. The itching and pain must be almost unbearable. Sometimes the animal’s eyes are crusted over and they can barely see. These poor creatures live in constant misery.

Mange is caused by one of three tiny insects. These insects are so small you can not see them with the naked eye. These little mites burrow into the dogs skin and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch the new tiny insects repeat the process until the animal is covered with tiny bites. The itching is almost unbearable.

Mange can be treated and even cured. The sooner you seek treatment the better your chances of obtaining a cure. Even if you do not care about the animal you should seek treatment. Why, because mange is highly contagious and can even infect humans. In humans it is called “scabies”. You do not have to come in direct contact with the infected animal to become infected yourself.

An infestation of these tiny insects can quickly spread from person to person and through out your home. The incubation period is 3-4 weeks so your family may be infested before the first itching signs occur. In humans the pathology is slightly different than dogs and cats but the suffering is no more pleasant. Beyond the itching you can develop secondary infections and ugly rashes. Children are highly susceptible. Bites are usually found on the soft tissue of the body such as under arms, the pubic area and between the fingers. But you should inspect the entire body. Bites are often hard to detect on people with dark skin. Itching will sometimes not be related to the actual bite. When you scratch, it is recommended you use a wash cloth. Scratching with the fingers can cause secondary infections.

An old home remedy for mange is bathing the dog in old motor oil. This does work if the used oil has sulfur content of 10% or higher. While there are many home remedies the best course is to seek proper medical attention. There are sulfur soaps that can be used, but that requires direct contact with the infected animal and rubber gloves are recommended. The animals sleeping area must be treated also. There are modern medicines (ivermectin ) that can stop an infestation fairly effectively. The problem becomes how to stop re-infestation. You almost have to clean your entire house. These tiny creatures can survive for up to five days on bedding and clothes.

Unlike head lice, which even the cleanest child can get from just playing with other children, mange is the result of neglect and a contaminated environment. Be an Everyday Hero and protect your family. Seek knowledge and clean your environment.

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