This dog was rescued from Saving Grace Animal Society (like many of the crazy cases I see are ) this weekend with an unknown history. The pup presented to us today emaciated and terrified with a thinning hair coat and flaking skin. The itchy, intact, male dog also had severely worn down incisor teeth with pulp exposure.
Apart from the abnormalities listed above, the dog had not other significant findings on physical exam. I recommended running bloodwork to ensure he had no obvious organ abnormalities, get a picture of his immune system function, and to rule out a metabolic issue being the cause of his skin pathology.
While the bloodwork was running, I started to take samples samples of the skin: a tape prep, an impression smear, and a superficial and deep skin scraping were collected. The skin scrapings were analyzed under the microscope to look for parasites. I found lots of skin cells/debris, a moderate amount of red blood cells, and one round dead mite. The mite was identified as sarcoptes scabiei! ONE MITE IS DIAGNOSTIC for sarcoptic mange. The tape prep, impression smear, and skin scrapings were stained to be looked at under the microscope. There was a lot of cocci shaped bacteria and a moderate amount of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). This was indicative of a superficial pyoderma (skin infection).
We also did an ear swab that was positive for cocci shaped bacteria and yeast.
The bloodwork came back and showed that his organs were functioning normal and his electrolytes/proteins were balanced. The white blood cells were increased (leukocytosis with a neutrophilia). This is suggestive of inflammation/infection and is most likely because of the severe skin infection.
Lets summarize what we found:
-Sarcoptic mange (skin mite)
-Superficial pyoderma (skin infection)
-Bacterial/fungal ear infection
-Worn incisors with pulp exposure
I sent the dog with 3 treatments of advantage multi to treat the sarcoptic mange, antibiotics (cefaseptin) for 21-28 days for the skin infection, an ear clean and antibiotic/antifungal/antiinflammatory ear drops to treat the ear infection, a steroid (Vanectyl-P) to assist with the itchiness (pruritus), and antibiotic/antifungal drying shampoo for the skin. Once he is a little bit more comfortable, we will book him in for a dental to get his worn teeth removed. He will also need to be rechecked in 2-3 weeks to assess if we need to prolong or change the treatment.
Most likely, all of the skin and ear issues have arose secondary to the sarcoptes scabiei mite infestation. The mite bury into the skin causing intense itching which damages the skin and leads to the loss of large amounts of hair. The skin will also become thickened and will darken.The damaged skin can allow bacteria to overgrow and cause infection (pyoderma). There is a possibility that the skin issue could be caused by something else like a metabolic issues, food allergies, atopy, neoplasia, etc.
Let me know if you have any questions or if you would have done anything differently!?