Claudia’s Story…….

by admin on October 7th, 2011

Category: Pet of the Month, Tags:

Claudia the Staffordshire bull terrier has certainly become one of our favourite patients here at PetCare. Despite having to endure several months of treatment with us, she has continued to be a happy, bouncy and friendly dog! She was first diagnosed with her problem back in May this year.

Claudia’s owner, became concerned after Claudia appeared to have some sort of epileptic fit at home. She came in to be examined and to have some blood taken. As well as the fits, she also had very sore and irritated skin on her feet – a problem that was, unsurprisingly, making her quite itchy. As well as sending off a blood sample for analysis, Mr Smith also decided to take some skin scrapes from her feet to see if there was any obvious reason for her sore skin. This involved obtaining some samples of her affected skin and fur and examining them under a microscope. On examination, Mr Smith could see that Claudia was suffering from a condition called demodectic mange. This is a condition where demodex mites burrow under the skin and cause severe irritation and discomfort. Unfortunately, they are extremely difficult to get rid of and can take a long time to treat.

Demodex mites are microscopic and live normally on a dog’s skin. If the mites become excessive in numbers then this is called “mange.”

Young dogs are the most commonly affected by this, as their immune systems are not yet fully developed.

Symptoms can include:

v     Hair loss.

v     Sore skin.

v     Reddened skin.

v     Scaly skin.

v     Itchiness.

 A good way to prevent your dog contracting mange is by treating them monthly with a spot-on treatment. 

Thankfully, Claudia’s blood results came back as normal so this ruled out anything physiologically wrong that could be causing Claudia’s fitting. However, with her diagnosis of demodectic mange, she needed treatment to get rid of the nasty mites. Mr Smith decided to use a medicated wash that Claudia would be treated with over several weeks to try and kill the mites. However, with her history of epileptic fits, it was decided to try her first bath at half the dilution rate to make sure it didn’t have any adverse effects on her. Thankfully, tolerant Claudia accepted being bathed very well, which made the whole process easier!

 A couple of days after her bath, poor Claudia’s sore skin became extremely sore – something that often occurs as the dying mange mites break into pieces and irritate the skin even further. Mr Smith gave her an anti-inflammatory injection to make her more comfortable and started her on a course of antihistamines tablets.

Claudia responded well to this treatment and became much more comfortable.

She was given four more washes to treat the demodex and then skin scrapes were repeated to see if the mites were still present. Unfortunately they were, which meant giving Claudia two more washes and then re-analysing the skin scrapes. 

At that time, Claudia was also due to be spayed so after her operation it was very important that her wound was kept protected when she was bathed. With her usual fighting spirit, Claudia continued to accept everything that was happening to her and didn’t make a fuss – although her pent up energy from restricted exercise was making her a bit of a pest at home!

The next skin scrapes were still, frustratingly, positive for demodectic mites. However, they were fewer in number, which meant the baths were having some effect.

Claudia’s owner was happy to give her two more baths at home and then to bring her in to re-examine some skin scrapes.

When she did come back to see us, little Claudia looked bigger as she was now nine months of age! Mr Smith took some skin scrapes and, to everyone’s relief, they were finally negative for demodectic mites.

It’s now just a case of keeping the nasty mites at bay with fortnightly spot-on treatments and re-scraping Claudia’s skin frequently to ensure they haven’t reappeared!

At present, Claudia is doing well and we wish her and her owners good health and the best of luck for the future!


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