I thought we were on the homeward stretch with this mange stuff, even though I was surprised that the skin scrapings at our last vet visit did not reveal any mites (all this means is that the vet did not find mites in the red / inflamed areas on Phoebe’s body). When we headed out to Phoebe’s veterinarian appointment today her skin was a normal color, with the exception of two tiny little pink round bumps on her stomach. Needless to say, I was not surprised to hear that the vet found mites in the follow up skin scraping.
Granted, mites alone do not form the diagnosis for mange since the mites are found on all dogs. It is the combination of the skin condition and mites that lead to a diagnosis. The vet took scraping from six areas on Phoebe’s body, and placed them on four slides. When looking under the microscope she found 1 ½ mites and 2 eggs.
The vet found one mite on one slide, half a mite on another, and two eggs on yet another. What this meant was that the little suckers were found on separate lesions/welts on separate parts of Phoebe’s body. My only solace was hearing about the ‘half mite’ that was found. At least one of the little suckers was cut in half! However, the two little eggs bothered me. According to healthypets.mercola.com:
“[a] demodectic mite is born, lives, and dies on a host dog. Eggs are laid, hatched, and mature through stages to adulthood; the entire life cycle takes about 20 to 35 days.”
Uhhhghghg! So I know for a fact that I have at least 20 to 35 days of this Ivermectin and medicated shampoo regime. My gut tells me that it will continue beyond that. Reality tells me that Phoebe will be getting a medicated shampoo bath tomorrow in the hopes of annihilating those and any other eggs (nothing like getting to the root of the problem).
What bothers me most is the underlying reason as to why Phoebe has mange. She has a suppressed immune system, and that suppressed immune system is resulting in sensitivity to the little beasts (mites). If her immune system was working correctly, these creatures and Phoebe would live in harmony.
From what I have read, the best thing I can do is boost that immune system and provide optimal nutrition.
We were able to sit and have a nice discussion with the vet about Phoebe’s health. I told her that I believed the only thing I could control, and the best thing I could do is get Phoebe on the best diet possible. The vet seemed to agree.
There is a veterinary college that is about two hours from my home. I can make an appointment with their nutrition department, and they will create an optimal diet for Phoebe. The diet is not based solely on dog breed and weight. They require a full blood work up and consultation with a treating veterinarian. I asked the vet if it was alright to give her name to the university nutritionist, and she was more than happy to help. If I play my cards right, we may be able to handle all of this via my vet. I am sure it will cost a pretty penny, but if it results in increased immunity, and less vet visits in the future, then it will all pay off over time.