Thursday, September 07, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Residents of Illinois beware: A zombie outbreak has hit the state, but not in the way you think. The Hanover Park Police Department of Chicago, Ill., put out a Facebook post warning residents about what seem to be extremely sickly or malnourished stray dogs wandering through their neighborhoods. These shabby-looking canines are in fact mange-infected coyotes, and should be avoided at all costs.
“There is unfortunately an increase in sarcoptic mange in the urban coyote population which has caused these normally nocturnal animals to become more active during the day. Infected animals will often appear ‘mangy’ – which looks just like it sounds,” the post explained. “They suffer hairloss and develop secondary infections, eventually looking like some sort of ‘zombie’ dog.”
Included in the post were two photos comparing healthy coyotes against one with mange. The healthy coyotes were covered in grayish-brown fur from the tips of their ears to their tails. On the other hand, the attached photo of the mange-infected coyote showed one with scant tufts of fur and skin covered in dried and crusty rashes.
“These infected animals are not normally aggressive but should be avoided at all times. Please DO NOT approach these animals or allow your pets to approach them,” the post continued.
Residents were advised to secure their garbage and to not leave out any food so as not to attract these coyotes. This is due to sarcoptic mange being a contagious disease that can spread to domesticated dogs should they ever approach infected coyotes. Moreover, sarcoptic mange can pass onto humans who’ve been exposed to these animals for prolonged periods of time.
According to the DailyMail.co.uk, mange-infected coyotes have been spotted in the areas of Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Roselle, and Wheaton. Additionally, coyote populations already exist within and around Chicago, though there hasn’t been a documented coyote in the state of Illinois for nearly three decades.
Also known as canine scabies, sarcoptic mange is the most common type of mange among dogs. This condition is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, a parasitic mite that burrows underneath the surface of the skin. These parasites typically cause intense itching that compels the infected canine to scratch and chew the infected area, causing large amounts of hair to fall off. The skin then becomes traumatized as a result of the endless itching and scratching, leading to the development of sores and infections, as well as thickened and darkened skin.
The most common symptoms of sarcoptic mange are hair loss and severe itching on the belly, chest, elbows, ears, and armpits, as Sarcoptes scabiei prefer to live in areas with less hair. Diagnosing sarcoptic mange will typically involve skin scraping then identifying the mite under a microscope. However, a mere 20 percent of infected canines will show the mites on any scraping, making reviews of the canine’s medical history the next method of diagnosis.
Sarcoptic mange is a treatable condition with a variety of remedies. These include medicated baths and dips, oral medications, and injections. The canine’s bedding can be treated with residual insecticide as well to prevent possible future infections. (Related: How to Treat Canine Mange Naturally.)
As a zoonotic disease, sarcoptic mange is transmissible from the infected animals to people. If you or any member of your family develops a skin rash after coming into contact with a mange-infected animal, seek medical attention immediately. Though Sarcoptes scabiei cannot complete its life cycle in humans and will die off in a few days, bouts of intense itching may occur until then.
For more news related to animals, go to PetHealth.news today.