The ears have it or how Sammy beat Sarcoptic mange

Imagine: your ears have enemies, a small army of tiny microscopic insects looking to devour them one bite at a time. First, they burrow deep into your lobes then they start their painful feast. Not a comforting thought, right? Well, that is what many dogs live with every day. Sarcopic mange as vets call it is a pretty treatable skin disease if caught early. So, why are so many dogs continuing to lose their ears, tails and other parts of skinned anatomy to it every day? Because many owners don’t even realize their dogs have it. Moreover, professional veterinary tests give false negatives close to 70% of the time.

When it comes to battle with mange, shorter haired dogs are usually luckier. Tips of their ears are easily observable, so scaling and dryness are more detectable than in those with fur. In the medium to long haired dogs, owners get a nasty surprise of separating fur chunks well after the infection is on its way. 

Little Sammy came to me after a very serious case of Sarcopic mange already cost him his family. Faced with a lot of care taking, they surrendered him to a shelter hoping somebody else would make him better. How many people you know want to adopt an obviously sick dog? Lucky for Sammy, the rescue I foster for, HART, took him in regardless. Another foster, Kim, saw the little guy through a whole month of treatment while keeping him in total quarantine. And,
An affected ear outline
Normal ear outline
once his daily antibiotics, improved diet and hygiene set him on the road to recovery, I got an email asking me to take him over because of a new side effect: serious case of separation anxiety. Having just regained human companionship after getting cruelly discarded, he took to his care-taking foster with obsession. People are no strangers to this phenomenon: how many soldiers fall in love and even propose to their nurses? Little Sammy fell in love with foster Kim the very same way. He wouldn’t eat or drink without her presence and pitched a feat if she paid attention to anybody else. So as a deliberate countermeasure, a very heartbroken Sammy arrived at my house and joined my happy group of doggy couch potatoes. Since dogs are pack animals, bonding with their own is easier and much more beneficial to them when in Sammy’s condition. 

Sammy with his pet squirrel
While still in treatment, Sammy learned to fit in, relax and share stuffed squirrel toys with his own kind, his early adoption events with humans were another matter. Being a dachshund, his nose worked overtime to find the one person he still missed. He wouldn’t even look much less bond with anybody else. Important to note: dogs who attach that way might become possessive of the chosen person, so having the object of devotion correct them is key to stopping potential aggression. Overtime, Sammy did relax his stalking ways just long enough to allow other people in. Since his insecurity-fueled fixation centered on receiving care from someone who actively cared, I had his potential adopters enthusiastically show him the same love and adoration. With each new day, as evil mites deep inside his ears waned in numbers, so did his fears of getting abandoned again. It took well over a month, but by his adoption day, it was Sammy, who finally took a chance on Sammy and adopted somebody else. His new family recently wrote to say that his favorite place to perch is at the top of their stairs where he enthusiastically surveys his new family, his house and the life he fought all kind of monsters to get back.  

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