A very controversial and widely discussed subject in the midst of cynophilia concerns the manifestations of cutaneous growth of the mite Demodex Sp., Mainly in puppies and females in reproductive season. The mite is a commensal of the skin, that is, practically all animals have the mite on the healthy skin. The disease only sets in when the immune system is unable to keep the parasite population under control.
Demodectic mange is divided into 2 groups: Juvenile demodectic, which affects young animals between 3 to 18 months, and can manifest itself in a localized or generalized manner. The onset of adult onset is usually related to diseases that cause immunodeficiency, such as tumors, hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, immunosuppressive drug treatments or diabetes, in middle-aged and elderly animals.
There is a great misunderstanding regarding the animals affected, with regard to the growth of the mite. Many say that the disease is genetic and incurable, which is not true. Demodectic mange can manifest itself in young animals spontaneously, between the ages of 3 and 6 months, due to the modulation of the immune system. This does not mean that the animal will continue to show clinical signs of the disease. Most of the time, the disease is self-limiting and is directly related to the following factors: Stress, such as moving house, worms, and inadequate nutrition.
Purebred animals are overrepresented, as owners are more likely to seek veterinary services for diagnosis and treatment. It is worth mentioning that a large number of pups present the growth of the mite already in the residence of the new guardians, as the transport stress and the arrival in a new environment cause an increase in the secretion of Cortisol, a stress hormone. It is known that animals under stressful conditions are more prone to the development of cutaneous growth of the mite.
Animals with localized juvenile manifestation usually heal without any treatment. The adaptation of the animal to the new environment, in most cases, causes a decrease in the release of Cortisol, a determining factor in the exacerbated growth of the mite.
The castration of the affected animal is only indicated for the generalized manifestations that affect the animal since the juvenile age and that do not have another immunosuppressive disease. Spaying a growing animal with localized manifestation, without the chance of it modulating the immune system, is an exaggeration and should be avoided. Adult animals with generalized manifestation and with no known underlying disease should be removed from reproduction.
There are ways to minimize the growth of mites in young animals, through supplementation with Vitamin E, adequate food, enriched environment and correct vaccination and deworming protocol. It is worth noting that breeders must communicate to buyers that mite growth may occur in some regions of the skin due to the exchange of environment and stress due to transport, in a formal contract signed by both parties.