This condition is caused by a microscopic arachnid called a mite. Jack Russells love to poke around in holes they discover, and if the last resident of that hole carried mange mites, the JRT may pick them up. Mange appears in many areas of the country and is especially hard on red foxes, which are often seen missing large patches of their red coat and proud brush (tail).
Mange frequently shows up first on the face, ears, belly, or thighs of the dog, and then spreads with itchy patches of missing hair and scabbed areas of skin. The mite feeds and reproduces on the dog, and treatment by a veterinarian is required.
If there are fleas on your dog, there are fleas in your home, yard, and car, even if you can't see them. You must break the lifecycle of the fleas to remove them. All these steps will have to take place to break the cycle.
In your home:
• Wash whatever is washable (the dog bed, sheets, blankets, pillow covers, slipcovers, curtains, etc.).
• Vacuum everything else in your home—furniture, floors, rugs, everything. Pay special attention to the folds and crevices in upholstery, cracks between floorboards, and the spaces between the floor and the baseboards. Flea larvae are sensitive to sunlight, so inside the house they prefer deep carpet, bedding, and cracks and crevices.
• When you're done, throw the vacuum cleaner bag away—in an outside garbage can.
• Use a nontoxic flea-killing powder, such as Flea Busters or Zodiac FleaTrol, to treat your carpets (but remember, it does not control fleas elsewhere in the house). The powder stays deep in the carpet and kills fleas (using a form of boric acid) for up to a year.
• If you have a particularly serious flea problem, consider using a fog-ger or long-lasting spray to kill any adult and larval fleas, or having a professional exterminator treat your home.
If your dog has mange mites, you may find that you, too, are itching. Fortunately, though, the mites cannot complete their life cycle on humans and will not last long there (provided the dog has been successfully treated).
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