Equine Demodectic Mange: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment | Probiotic Spray MicroMed
DESCRIPTION: Demodectic mange usually only presents in an immune-compromised horse, so attention should be given to establishing if there are any inflammatory processes at work in or on the body, such as gut dysbiosis or Leaky Gut or compromised immunity.
SYMPTOMS: If your horse is suffering demodectic mange the usual presenting symptoms will be extreme itchiness, manifesting as foot stomping and rubbing against stationary structures, in addition to a horse who seems aggravated and stressed. There may be crusty scabs, flakes in the hair and secondary skin infections.
CAUSES: Possible causal factors for demodectic mange infestation, evidence of weakened immunity can be due to lengthy use of glucocorticoids, Cushing’s Disease, nutritional deficiency, chronic disease such as liver disease, or undue stress. If you suspect there could be issues, investigate further and treat these in combination with the mange. Demodectic mange is the result of the bite from one of five mites, the most common being Demodex equi, which effects the whole body, but more commonly the shoulders, face and neck, and can cause hair loss. The other common mites are demodex caballi, which prefers to live on the eyelid. It is the relentless scratching and biting at the affected areas that then causes secondary infection to occur through penetration of pathogenic bacteria into compromised tissue.
TREATMENT: anti-inflammatory drugs, cortico-steroids and possibly antibiotics if there is secondary infection.
Mites belong to a very specialised group that live in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of a number of mammals.
If the immune system is strong, and the hosts body has healthy numbers of naturally occurring beneficial microbes present, it is possible for mites to live on the animal and not create any problems. However this has become a rarity with our animals today due to the use of pharmaceutical medicines and environmental toxins that kill or inhibit the microbial balance.
MicroMed Note: There has been little research done on the pathway and specific method by which the mite successfully inhabits the animal, however there was a study conducted in 2014, by Abu-Samra and Y.A. Shuaib. Although the subjects of this study were cattle, I would argue the same mechanisms likely apply on horses and other mammals. This study demonstrated that ‘pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria facilitated the establishment of Demodex mites in the lesions produced, and provided an excellent micro-climate for the mites to propagate and reproduce’.
But, here’s the interesting bit - the method appears profound! When the mite initially burrows into the skin, it has in its gut and attached to its body, pathogenic bacteria which are then excreted into that same hair follicle burrow. These bacteria are considered secondary invaders. What then occurs is these same bacteria produce substances called ‘invasins’ - think 'green slime'. These ‘invasins’ break down the host animal’s own defence systems. They manage to do this because the detrimental bacteria’s enzyme systems damage the physical matrix of the hosts tissues and intercellular spaces, thereby preventing the hosts immune system from stopping the spread of the pathogen. To add insult to injury, they all the while rob iron from the host, affecting the oxygenation of the body. To make matters even worse, they then possess, and are able to very quickly acquire, resistance to many anti-microbial agents that may be used against them.
I believe MicroMed formulations are invaluable to re-establish healthy microbes, delivering an army of millions of beneficial micro-organisms which create an environment unsuitable for the existence of the pathogenic bacteria. This means unwanted organisms, without their symbiotic friends in the form of detrimental bacteria, will be unable to take hold and create the environment necessary to invade the body. So to preventatively commence twice daily spraying with MicroMed's Everyday Care range, for a period of six weeks enables the pH of the beneficial bacteria's environment to be unsavoury for other microbes or deleterious organisms. This can be done once the initial 'mites' infestation is dealt with by your vet.
Please also be aware If you are considering using a conventional insecticidal treatment for a mite infestation in your beloved pet, it would be pertinent to no only re-instate the beneficial microbial balance so your pet’s natural ability to overcome 'insults', but also undertake some liver detoxification. Explained further - when you use anti-bacterials, anti-fungals or antibiotics, this destroys the beneficial, naturally occurring bacterial balance. When this occurs, detrimental bacteria colonise faster than beneficial bacteria and in my opinion this is a major contributor to the rising incidence of immune suppression and fungal and bacterial infection today so wise to counter the effect of these drugs once administered.