Mange is an infection in your border collie's skin, caused by mites. Border collies can get sarcoptic mange or demodectic mange. Both would be very noticeable because of the loss of your border collie's long, soft fur. Find out which type of mange your collie has, then use the proper treatment to ease his pain and replenish his beautiful coat.
Sarcoptic mange is serious and can be very painful, but it is almost always treatable. It is very contagious and can be transferred to other pets as well as to humans, in whom it is called scabies. You would first notice your collie itching a lot and losing some of her hair. Treat her immediately, because she could scratch enough to create open wounds that could get infected. Sarcoptic mange generally causes the dog to lose hair on her elbows, face and legs. You probably also would notice her soft, floppy ears become dry and crusty.
Treatments for Sarcoptic Mange
Take your dog to the vet at the first sign of mange. Your vet will probably recommend injections of ivermectin. Many border collie owners are skeptical about ivermectin. Some herding breeds have a multidrug sensitivity gene that can cause extreme sensitivity to ivermectin, but the border collie is not one of these breeds. Ivermectin has proven to be the most effective treatment of sarcoptic mange in border collies.
Most puppies acquire demodectic mange mites form their mother in the first few days after birth. The mites get out of control only if the puppy has an abnormally poor immune system. This type of mange can also be present in adult dogs who have very weak immune systems. Demodectic mange can occur on small areas of your pup's body (localized demodectic mange), or in large spots on your dog's head, legs and torso (generalized demodectic mange). If your border collie is losing a lot of fur and has crusty skin and sores that are so bad they're disabling to her, she probably has demodectic mange.
Treatment of Localized Demodectic Mange
Localized demodectic mange generally goes away on its own in six to eight weeks, but it can come and go for several months. If it doesn't go away on its own, a benzoyl peroxide ointment or a topical ointment used for ear mites can be rubbed on the affected spots daily to shorten the length of the disease. Rub the ointment on in the direction that your border collie's hair grows.
Treatment of Generalized Demodectic Mange
Generalized demodectic mange can go away spontaneously in dogs younger than 1 year, but older dogs almost always require intense treatment. The treatment needs to be done under the supervision of a veterinarian, who'll take skin scrapings every couple of weeks. Shave your border collie's coat in all of the affected areas. Bathe him in a benzoyl peroxide shampoo and let it soak in for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Get Mitaban from your vet and add water to make a dip. Allow your dog to stand in the dip, and sponge the solution onto his body for 10 minutes. The dip will dry. You want it to stay on your dog as long as possible, so try not to let him get wet between dips. Repeat this dip every two weeks until your vet discontinues the treatment.
Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.