…otherwise known as sarcoptic mange. (But don't say the word "mange" to my husband, who has never understood that a basenji's place is under the bedcovers.) The four humans of the household have been mildly itchy, too, but the wonderful news is that Sarcoptes scabiei var canis only transiently infects humans; once Mystic is cured, we should be fine.
I never thought I'd be glad to hear my dog only has mange--I mean "canine scabies." Mystic has been suffering since last summer while I tried diet changes, and dream coat and cbiotic and fish oil supplements, and skin scrapings, and flea baths, and benadryl, and antifungals, and prednisone. The family vacillated between being sorry for her to being exasperated by her constant tearing at herself. She was such a beautiful red and white, and now she is scrawny and scabby and, well, --cover my husband's ears--"mangy." I was afraid the only way out of her misery was to have her put down.
So this morning's last ditch effort was a visit to UC Davis Vet Med School Small Animal Clinic--they diagnosed her from a deep skin scraping. The techs invited me to look through the microscope. I saw a flat horror movie bug: its legs wriggling and its cluster of eggs ripening nearby. Lots of students came in to look at the sarcoptes, made me perversely proud of Mystic and her instructional value.
The Small Animal Clinic was definitely worth the price of admission. I talked to someone who leaves her boxer off once a week for chemo. Lots of cats and dogs, of course, but also little covered boxes that made squeaking noises. An anxious looking man showed up with an industrial strength clear plastic bag full of water, and the receptionist confirmed, "You must be bringing the koi." As we wound our way through the corridors after Mystic's appointment, we passed a room where large dogs were getting dialysis. Nifty!
So, ivermectin once a week for six weeks, a month of cephalexin for the secondary infection of cocci, chlorhexidine bath every other week for the 1+ malassezia, and tapering the prednisone.
Oddly, Mystic is not around any other dogs, ever. She is a "free range" basenji--we live semi-rural on fifteen acres surrounded by properties that are even bigger. She rarely gets out of sight of the house in her sniffings and excursions, probably because she has been chased by everything from wild turkeys to enraged deer to hungry coyotes. The vet insists that Sarcoptes scabiei var canis, while highly contagious, can only be caught from other dogs, or foxes, or uh-oh, coyotes. Maybe an infested coyote's been sleeping in her outdoor bed?
Well, hopefully she gets over this quickly and her golden locks grow back soon. Sorry for the long post, but I'm just giddy with relief.