Trudy is a 5 month old Pit mix pup with one of the most severe cases of mange we have ever seen. Yet, when she was placed on the “no holds” list after only hours of being at the shelter (instead of the standard 72 hours) we jumped at the chance to save, treat, and find her a loving forever home. Trudy’s open sores were inflamed, itchy, bleeding, and painful even to look at…surely they must have been incredibly painful to her. What’s more is that these covered her entire body, a generalized form of Demodectic mange. This is the photo we received from the shelter when we were notified about her.
During Trudy’s first few days in foster, she slept a lot. Walking was painful and her swollen feet kept her down. Her foster mom massages and ices her feet to improve circulation and reduce swelling. Pain medication and skin creams are used to ease the itching and pain, and allow her to rest. Oatmeal and Epsom salt baths also soothe her skin, enabling the scabs to fall off, and reduce the odor of her inflamed skin. Fish oil in her food also helps, but Trudy isn’t too interested in that. Avoderm treats with ingredients that are good for skin and coat further supplement her treatment…and she LOVES those!
Trudy stays in a large playpen that takes up almost an entire room. In there, she can rest and relax away from other dogs in the house, but still has room to explore and play as she begins feeling better. She gets sunshine through the windows, which she really loves. And little by little, a sweet playful puppy is emerging. In fact, Trudy now regularly rolls around with her toys, exposes her belly to her foster mom and visitors for belly rubs, stands up easily to walk around, wags her tail, and has even shown a bit of her voice by barking when her foster mom comes home from work.
Mange is caused by mites that burrow under the skin. All puppies raised normally by their mothers possess these mites. They are transferred from mother to pup when cuddling during the first few days of life. Most dogs live in harmony with their mites, never suffering any consequences. But if conditions change to upset the natural equilibrium (such as some kind of suppression of the dog’s immune system), the Demodex mites multiply out of control leading to a serious skin disease. Demodectic mange is not contagious (other forms of mange are), but it is treatable. In fact, 30-50% of dogs under a year old may recover spontaneously from generalized demodicosis without any form of treatment. But the suffering that the secondary bacterial infections can cause is serious. The important thing for Trudy was to get her on medication immediately to treat the bacterial infections and kill the mites, stop the itching so her sores would heal and her beautiful black coat can return.
Trudy’s treatment will be longer than the typical foster commitment due to the severity of her mange. She will have regular vet checkups at the APA! Vet Clinic, where skin scrapes will assess the status of her recovery. It’s obvious to those of us who get to see her regularly that she is well on the mend and improving daily. Her open wounds have healed, her eyes aren’t swollen. In fact, in just a few days, she doesn’t even look like the same dog!
You can receive daily updates on Trudy, watch videos and see photos of her progress on her Facebook page. We hope you will become a fan and support her during this journey. As her foster mom said, “Life is precious and she has a lot of living to do!” We couldn’t agree more.
(ref: Mar Vista Animal Medical Center website)