These two little guys are the primary reason that I haven't been posting with much regularity this week. We began fostering Amadeus (the black terrier) and Kirby (the Chihuahua mix) on Thursday after our first shift as volunteers with our local city animal shelter. I was prepared to encounter some sad cases, but these guys were just way too pitiful to leave behind when it was time to head home at the end of the night.
Both pups arrived at the shelter with advanced cases of untreated Demodectic mange. This noncontagious skin disease occurs when Demodex mites proliferate and cause hair loss and skin lesions. Demodectic mites are normally present on dogs (and other mammals including humans!), but they can multiply exponentially and cause mange in puppies and dogs with suppressed immune systems. Puppies are especially susceptible to developing mange because their immune systems are not fully mature.
The good news is that Demodectic mange is treatable. As awful as Amadeus and Kirby look now, they will be as good as new in a few weeks. They get a daily dose of medication and regular baths with benzoyl peroxide to help their skin heal. The pups look better already after just a few days of treatment and are happily oblivious to their crusty, scabby appearance as they scamper around the house playing and making mischief just like any other pair of puppies. Stay tuned for updates on their progress!