We recently noticed a bit of a bald spot on Hoover, up where the ear meets the head. It took us a few days to recognize that it was a bald spot and not just a cowlick in the ear/head crease; today I finally looked closely at it, and it was actually about the size of a quarter (camouflaged by other hair), and had little red bumps in it. I looked at my calendar and realized that, if I were going to get him in to a vet, I would need to do it today or two weeks from now, and called our friends at Green Lake Animal Hospital. Someone could see him at 5:00pm.
It turns out Hoover has Demodectic mange, which is caused by a teeny parasite called the Demodectic mite, which lives in hair follicles. It is not transferrable to humans, and rarely, if ever, transferred to other dogs in the house. For the most part, it is transferred exclusively from mom dog to pup. His immune system seems to be dealing with the problem—the vet found only three mites in the scraped sample she took, and all were adults and dead. There is a drug we can give him if the situation doesn't resolve or if it spreads—basically a pesticide—but it would be better to simply let his immune system deal with it. It is not recommended to dip your dog in motor oil in hopes of a cure.
The things we inherit from our mothers.
Note: My last line seems to imply a bitterly humorous irony about my breast cancer. It's actually very unlikely that I inherited my vast facility with breast cancer from my mother, although I will probably have the genetic tests done to determine this sometime in the next month. No, I was referring to things like the inability to burp without following up by saying "Burp!", and the need to compliment my own cooking during a dinner party.