Coco is an adorable little 11 year old Shih Tzu who came to us with a year-long history of itching (pruritus) and flaking (seborrhea) on her back along with some areas of crusting. She had already been treated by her primary vet with medicated baths and an injectable therapy called Cytopoint to help control allergies, but wasn’t getting better.
When we examined Coco, we found her to have a 9-inch area of of redness and seborrhea on her back and a very greasy haircoat. Our baseline diagnostics included a skin cytology (microscopic examination of swabbing of skin) and a skin scraping (collection of skin cells and organisms with a dull blade). We did find evidence of both bacterial and yeast infections on our cytology, but her skin scraping revealed the root of her problem, a type of mite called Demodex injai. Demodex mites cause a condition called demodicosis, but this is one of the less commonly seen types of Demodex mites and is often associated with seborrhea and a greasy haircoat, which is much different from the clinical signs associated with the more commonly seen Demodex canis.
The demodicosis was treated along with her secondary skin infections and Coco was doing much better at our 2-month recheck. Because demodicosis can take a long time to resolve, she was treated for an additional couple months after she appeared to be better and has continued to do well.