This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
Nearly all skin diseases are due to neglect in some form. In the dog, they arise either from improper management, as in the case of "blotch" or "surfeit," or from the presence of parasites, as in mange. These three names are all that are applied to skin diseases in the dog, though there can be no doubt that they vary greatly, and mange itself is subdivided by different writers so as to comprehend several varieties. Fleas, ticks, etc., likewise irritate the skin, and all will therefore be included here, the inflammation produced by them being entitled to be considered a skin disease as much as mange itself .
Blotch, or surfeit, shows itself in the shape of scabby lumps of matted hair, on the back, sides, head, and quarters, as well as occasionally on the inside of the thighs. They vary in size from a ten cent to twenty-five cent piece, are irregularly round in shape, and after about three or four days, the scab and hair fall off, leaving the skin bare, red, and slightly inclined to discharge a thin serum. The disease is not contagious, and evidently arises from gross feeding joined very frequently with want of exercise, and often brought out by a gallop after long confinement to the kennel. The appropriate treatment is to remove the cause by giving mild aperients (11), (13), or (14), with low diet and regular exercise, by the aid of which, continued for some little time, there is seldom any difficulty in effecting a cure.
An eruption between the toes, similar in its nature and cause to "blotch," is also very common, showing itself chiefly at the roots of the nails, and often making the dog quite lame. In bad cases, when the constitution is impaired by defective kennel arrangements, the sores become very foul, and are very difficult to heal. The general health must first be attended to, using the same means as in "blotch" if the cause is the same. Touch the sores with bluestone, which should be well rubbed into the roots of the nails. When the health is much impaired and the sores are in a foul state, give from five to eight drops of liquor arsenicalis with each meal, which should be of good nourishing food. This must be continued for weeks, or even months in some obstinate cases. After applying the bluestone, it is often well to rub in a very little tar-ointment; then dust all over with powdered brimstone.
Foul mange, resembling psoriasis in man, is an unmanageable disease of the blood, requiring a complete change in the blood before a cure can be effected. I am satisfied that it is hereditary, though probably not contagious. For example, I have seen a bitch apparently cured of it, and with a perfectly healthy skin, produce a litter of whelps all of which broke out with mange at four or five months old, though scattered in various parts of the country. The bitch afterwards revealed the impurity of her blood by again becoming the subject of mange. I should therefore never breed from either a dog or bitch attacked by this form of eruption. There is considerable thickening of the skin, with an offensive discharge from the surface, chiefly flowing from the cracks and ulcerations under the scabs on it This dries and falls off in scales, taking with them a good deal of the hair, which is further removed by the constant scratching of the poor dog, who is tormented with incessant itching. Generally there is a fat un wieldly state of the system for want of exercise, but the appetite is often deficient.
Clear the bowels with a brisk aperient, such as (12) or (18). Give low diet without flesh, starving the dog until he is ready to eat potatoes and green vegetables, alternately with oatmeal porridge - in moderate quantities. As soon as the stomach is brought down to this kind of food, but not before, begin to give the liquor arsenicalis with the food, the dose being a drop to each four pounds in weight of the animal. A dog of eight pounds weight, for example, will require two drops, three times daily; taking care to divide the food into three equal portions, and not to give more of this altogether than is required for the purpose of health. The arsenic must be administered for weeks or even months. As soon as the itching abates, and the health is improved, the mangy parts of the skin may be slightly dressed with small quantities of sulphur and pitch ointments, mixed in equal proportions. In two or three months the blood becomes purified, the eruption disappears, and the health seems impaired, a stomachic or tonic, (59) or (62), will often be required.
Sometimes the ointment (58a) will be necessary.
Virulent mange, similar to psora and porrigo in the human subject, is of two kinds, one attributable to a parasitic insect, and the other of vegetable origin. In the former case, which is its most common form, it appears in large, unclean, unkempt kennels. The disease is highly contagious. The skin is dry and rough, with cracks and creases, from some of which there is a thin ichorous discharge when the scabs are removed. The dog feeds well, but from want of sleep is languid and listless; likewise shows thirst and some feverishness. The treatment of this form of mange is based upon a belief that it is caused by an insect of the acarus tribe, which has been detected by the microscope in many cases, but which by some people is maintained to be an accidental effect, and not a cause of mange. However this may be, it is found that remedies which are destructive to insect life, are by far the most efficacious, such as hellebore, sulphur, corrosive sublimate, tobacco, etc. The second kind of virulent mange is more rare than that described above, and still more difficult of cure, the vegetable parasite being less easily destroyed than the insect.
This parasite is supposed to be of the nature of mould or fungus, which is most obstinately tenacious of life, and is reproduced again and again in any liquid where it has once developed its germs. In outward appearance this variety of mange differs very little from the in-sect-produced form, but it may be known by its generally attacking young puppies, while the other appears at all ages, but chiefly in the adult animal. The hair falls off in both, but there is more scab in the insect mange, probably from the fact, that it does not produce such violent itching, and therefore the scratching is not so incessant. The treatment is nearly the same in both cases, being chiefly with external remedies, though alteratives, stomachics, and tonics are often required from the loss of health which generally accompanies the disease. In all cases, therefore, it is necessary to attend to this, giving generally a mild aperient first, such as (12) or 18), and subsequently (2) and (8) combined together, or (1) and (59),. according to circumstances.
At the same time one of the following applications may be tried externally, using a wire or leather muzzle so that the dog does not lick off the ointments, either one of them, as they are highly poisonous when taken into the stomach.
Ointment (or dressing) for virulent mange: Green iodide of mer~ cury, 2 drachms. Lard, 2 ounces. Mix, and rub as much as can be got rid of in this way, into the diseased skin, every other day, for a week; then wait a week, and dress again. Take care to leave no superfluous ointment A milder ointment: Compound sulphur ointment, 4 oz. Spirits of turpentine, 1 ounce. Mix, and rub in every other day. All applications should be rubbed well into the roots of the hair.
Bed mange differs materially from either of the above forms, being evidently a disease of the bulb which produces the hair, inasmuch as the coloring matter of the hair itself is altered. It first shows itself almost invariably at the elbows and inside the arms, then on the front and inside of the thighs; next on the buttocks, and finally on the back, which is attacked when the disease has existed for some weeks or months. The general health does not appear to suffer, and the skin is not at all scabbed, except from the effects of the scratching, which is very frequent, but not so severe as in the virulent or foul mange. Red mange is probably contagious, but it is by no means a settled question, as it will often be seen in single dogs which are in the same kennel with others free from it entirely. Dogs highly fed, and allowed to be before the fire, are most subject to it, while the poor half-starved cur becomes affected with the foul or virulent forms. The treatment is to lower the diet; give aperients (12) to (13). Following up these with the addition of green vegetables to the food, at the same time using one or other of the following applications every other day.
In obstinate cases arsenic may be given internally.
Dressing for red mange: - Green iodide of mercury, 1 1/2 drachm; spirits of turpentine, 2 drachms; lard, 1 1/2 ounce. Rub a very little of this well into the roots of the hair every other day.
Or, use carbolic acid, 1 part; water, 30 parts. Use as a wash.
Canker of the ear has elsewhere been alluded to under the diseases of that organ.
Irritative inflammation of the skin is produced by fleas, lice, and ticks, which are readily discovered by examining the roots of the hair. Dog-fleas resemble those of the human subject. The lice infesting the animal are much larger, but otnerwise similar in appearance. Dog-ticks may easily be recognized by their spider-like forms, and bloated bodies, the claws adhering firmly to the skin, so that they are with some difficulty removed. These last are of all sizes, from that of an average pin's head to the dimensions of a ladybird. They suck a great quantity of blood when numerous, and impoverish the animal to a terrible extent, partly by the drain on the system, and partly by the constant irritation which they produce. The remedies are as follows: -
To remove fleas and lice: -
Mix soft soap with as much carbonate of soda as will make it into a thick paste; rub this well into the roots of the hair all over the dog's body, adding a little hot water, so as to enable the operator to completely saturate the skin with it. Let it remain on for half an hour, then put the dog into a warm bath for ten minutes, letting him quietly soak, and now and then ducking his head under. Lastly wash the soap completely out, and dry before the fire, or at exercise, if the weather is not too cold. This, after two or three repetitions, will completely cleanse the foulest skin.
Dry remedies for lice and ticks: -
Break up the lumps of some white precipitate, then with a hard brush enb It well into the roots of the hair over the whole body. Get rid of the superfluous powder from the external surface of the coat by means of light brushing or rubbing with a cloth. Place a muzzle on, and leave the dog with the powder in the coat for five or six hours. Then brush all well out, reversing the hair for this purpose, and the ticks and lice will all be found dead. A repetition at the expiration of a week will be necessary, or even perhaps a third time.
Or, use the Persian Insect-destroying Powder, which seems to answer well.
Or, the following wash may be tried: Acetic acid 3 1/2 ounces; borax, 1/2 drachm; distilled water, 4 1/2 ounces. Mix, and wash into the roots of the hair.