Demodectic Mange & the Immune System in Dogs
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. Why is demodectic mange an indication not to breed?
A. Demodectic mange is caused by a mite called Demodex canis. This mite is found on the skin of all dogs. Dogs with abnormal immune systems (the body's defense system) can not defend themselves against the mite. The mites then reproduce in large numbers and cause lesions on the skin.

The abnormality in the dog's immune system is hereditary. This means the problem can be passed from the mother or father to the offspring. We do not want to breed dogs which could pass on this trait. Therefore, it is recommended that any dog with demodectic mange, its siblings, and its mother and father should not be bred.

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