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Brown dog

posted Jan 18, 2012, 9:19 AM by Amber Chee   [ updated Jan 18, 2012, 9:30 AM ]
18 Jan 2012

I met brown dog a couple of months ago when I started stray feeding in my area. He was (and still is) one of the braver strays who would come to us within 1 to 2m of distance, waiting for food.

We have been feeding only once a week, in the late evening. On one of the weekends, we happened to be near the area so we went to pay the pack a visit. I got a shock when I saw brown dog in broad daylight, looking like this....

I never knew that brown dog is actually suffering from generalized mange or canine generalized demodicosis (CGD). His pal too has similar condition (see video below, his pal was still actively chasing birds in the background). My heart breaks seeing his wrinkled face.

I am not an expert in canine skin diseases and did not know how to recognize mange. I went home and searched online, and tried finding an oral medication that I can put in his food. In the meantime, I also tried searching for the regular feeder(s) who feed this pack.

Last Saturday, when we went back to feed again, brown dog looked lethargic, lying on the ground. Usually, he is the first who stood up and approached us. But this time, he stayed lying there until we went very near to him, he jerked up trying to get away from us. He was obviously not well at all.

That got me really worried. I contacted another feeder whom I got to know recently but she didn't know who feeds this pack of dogs. I then contacted ST, a volunteer from Noah's Ark. Coincidentally, ST's friend met the feeder a few weeks back when she saw the feeder laying traps to catch the female dogs for sterilization. Within a few hours, I was in contact with KL the feeder of this pack.

KL told me that there are about 15 of them in this pack, and all have the same symptoms. She actually managed to catch one female and bring her to the vet. She was diagnosed as having mange (demodicosis) and the vet has prescribed her ivermectin 1% solution at a gradually increasing dose. However, KL was very concerned of the potential side effects (seizures and blindness) so she didn't give the medicine to any of the dogs.

I read about ivermectin again and found the drug to be relatively safe if dosed correctly. More information on the treatment of canine demodicosis can be read from this article published in an issue of Veterinary Clinics Of North America. Seizure and mydriasis occur only at high doses of 2g/kg and in susceptible breeds such as Collies and its cross. I also read that mange can kill a dog if left untreated. An anecdotal account on self-medicating ivermectin to a stray cat really inspired me, and proved that the drug is safe to use if used appropriately.

Worried of the brown dog, I asked KL to hand over the medicine to me and leave it to me to administer to the brown dog first. She finally agreed.

So tonight, brown dog has his first dose of ivermectin. I didn't give him the full dose, only 60%. I will be uptitrating the dose (as per the vet's instruction for the female dog) according to his estimated weight in the next few days. I hope it is not too late for brown dog. KL told me today that he didn't have much appetite. But he managed to finish up 2/3 of the big can food drugged with ivermectin. For the female dogs, because two of them are lactating, I will only start treating them once KL catch all the puppies.

Let's keep our fingers and toes crossed for brown dog. I hope he responds to the treatment and gets well soon.