Some women like the smell of Chanel No. 5. I like the smell of mange. Admittedly, any future ex-husbands may not find it so alluring, but if you're in rescue, it kind of comes with the territory. Especially when dealing with bulldogs. Many that come from the shelter have Demodectic Mange of varying degrees. It's caused by mites that occur naturally in dog hair follicles. They are generally never an issue unless the immune system is compromised from stress, malnutrition or neglect. Then, these mites go on the reproductive war path. If not treated early enough, they will spread across the body causing complete hair loss, inflammation and infection. Sometimes, even death. Another, more rare mange, is Sarcoptic Mange - aka Scabies. This is extremely contagious to dogs, and humans. I caught it from a poodle once - and let's just say the itching drives you nuts. Although some may think people in rescue are already nuts...
Understandably, the general public's response to a scabby canine with demodectic mange is usually, 'Ew'. People cross their arms and walk away in search of something white and fluffy. Or at least, something with hair. However, for me, once I get a whiff of that distinctive, non-Chanel like odor, the pink alien is just hard to resist. Mangy dogs are some of the most rewarding to rescue. You go on a journey - the healing of their external skin reflecting their internal blossoming. To see an animal physically change so dramatically in front of you, is one of the most powerful ways to feel like you really are making a difference. Not to say that every mangy rescue is Miss or Mr Perfect. Some of them blossom into a pain in the ass. But hey, at least they look good.
It can take a month, or three or four, for their hair to be fully fabulous, so it's not a quick fix. I've also had a couple of cases where the hair didn't fully grow back at all. So, they become known as that beautiful rare breed, The British Hairless. Recovery speed generally depends on severity. The treatments used most often are Mitaban dips, Ivermectin, and Chewables - with antibiotics prescribed for the secondary bacterial infections. I tend towards the Chewables now but also work with a holistic nutritionist to provide the best supplements and diet. As I sit here eating my Toblerone, I can say that I'm probably fussier about what goes into my rescue dogs' bodies than mine! Taking all these factors into consideration, mange treatment if done correctly, is not cheap. But as bulldog owners already know, and prospective bulldog owners should know; nothing about bulldogs is cheap! Besides, while Chanel may open olfactory pathways, mange opens the heart.
My current Eau De Mange - Ainsley
Nikki Carvey trained as a journalist in the UK. She now writes, rescues dogs, and complains about the sunshine in LA. I mean, she's British. They complain about everything. Allegedly.
You can follow her rescues on Instagram @roadogs