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Demodectic Mange or Demodex

Demodectic mange or Demodex, is a skin condition of young puppies or occasionally of old dogs.

It is generally thought to involve some kind of immune deficiency of the dog, which predisposes to the demodex infestation, as this mange does not seem to be infectious.

It usually starts on the face, especially around the eyes, with simple baldness that extends and worsens. It is not itchy at this stage. Some cases self limit, progress no further and heal.

But in others, pustules start to develop involving bacterial infection and the problem escalates as it does then become irritating and itchy to the dog.

Treatment of the infection with antibiotics is necessary, but eradication of the mites is essential and difficult.

Many treatments have been tried, but a wash called Amitraz seems to be the most effective form of treatment. Demodex can recur. It is commonest in short haired breeds.

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange causes intense itching in dogs. There are 2 forms - dog/fox or human. They are both infectious to dogs and humans.

The skin becomes thickened and inflamed, especially behind the ears and legs (front and back) of the dog. Treatment is a bit easier than with demodex. Amitraz wash can be used as well as a spot on veterinary licensed products.


Mastitis - infection of the mammary glands


Mastitis is an inflammation and infection of the mammary glands. If it is localised to one gland, the bitch may show no signs of illness.

If it spreads throughout the mammary gland, she may show signs of illness.

The mammary glands should be checked daily for signs of warmth, pain, or hardness. Milk from each nipple needs to be checked daily for colour and consistency.

Milk from glands with mastitis may be off-colour and clumping. She may have a fever and refuse to allow the pups to suckle. Diagnosis is made on a physical exam.

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and may include antibiotics, hot packing the affected glands, and milking out the affected glands. Puppies can continue to suckle from the affected gland if the milk remains normal.




The oesophagus is a small hose-like tube which connects the mouth to the stomach. As it leaves the mouth, it follows a straight path through the neck and chest, passing near the heart through the diaphragm muscle and finally entering the stomach.

The oesophagus walls are composed of muscles which move in wave-like contractions to push food into the stomach. In the dog, it takes about five seconds for food to move from the mouth to the stomach.

Megaoesophagus describes a situation in which the oesophagus has lost muscular tone. Rather than appearing like a muscular hose, it dilates into a thin 'bag-like' tube.

How is it caused?

Megaoesophagus can be caused by several conditions, such as myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular disease), nervous system disorders, certain metabolic conditions or as a consequence of damage to the oesophagus itself, for instance after an obstruction or infections.

There is also a congenital and hereditary form of the disease which means that a puppy is born with it due to its genetic make-up.

What are the symptoms?

Shortly after eating, the dog tends to regurgitate its food. The diseased oesophagus lacks the muscle tone to move food to the stomach. Some food, particularly liquids, may pass into the stomach.

What is the treatment?

Congenital megaoesophagus has no known cure. Dogs affected with megaoesophagus must be fed liquid diets.

The food is usually placed in an elevated position so dogs eat while standing on their hind limbs. This elevated eating stance allows liquid food to travel to the stomach via gravity. With these precautions, many dogs can survive and do well.

Medication is used to prevent or treat pneumonia, or to try and induce more effective peristalsis.