Mange in Dogs (Canine Scabies)
What Are the General Symptoms of Mange in Dogs?
The symptoms of mange depend on which type of mite is present. Demodectic mange tends to cause hair loss, bald spots, scabbing and sores. Secondary bacterial infections can make demodectic mange an itchy and uncomfortable disease.
Sarcoptic mange tends to cause intense itching. It can result in restlessness and frantic scratching, symptoms that generally appear one week after exposure. It also can result in hair loss, reddened skin, body sores and scabs. The most commonly affected areas are a dog’s ears, elbows, face and legs, but it can rapidly spread to the entire body.
When passed to humans, sarcoptic mange causes a rash of red bumps, similar to mosquito bites. Humans cannot get demodectic mange from dogs.
What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Mange?
Take your dog to a veterinarian, who will perform a physical exam, analyze skin scrapings and try to confirm the presence of mange mites with a microscope. It can be difficult to identify mange mites if they’re buried deep in a dog’s skin, so your vet may rely on clinical signs or your pet’s history to make a final diagnosis.
Are Certain Dogs Prone to Mange?
- Puppies and dogs less than 18 months old are especially prone to developing localizeddemodectic mange, which often clears up on its own.
Generalized demodectic mange, the more serious, pervasive kind, can be hereditary in dogs. Old English sheepdogs and shar peis are prone to a severe form of demodectic mange affecting the feet. Older dogs who have an underlying illness may also be more prone.
How Is Mange Treated?
Depending on the type of mange and the breed of your dog, medication may be given orally or applied topically, by injection, or via shampoo and dip.
The first step in the treatment of sarcoptic mange is isolating your dog to prevent the condition from spreading to other pets and humans. Your vet may prescribe antiparasitic medications, as well as medication to ease itching, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Results are usually seen after a month of treatment.
Medications and managing physiological stress are essential when treating demodectic mange. Some infected dogs may also require special treatment-such as medicated shampoos-for secondary skin infections.
Please note, many skin treatments can be toxic to dogs and should not be repeated frequently, so check with your vet before beginning any treatment program for mange.