Mange In Dogs

Mange in Dogs

Mange in dogs is a chronic skin disease brought on by parasitic mites. Several different species of parasitic mites can cause mange in canines in various forms. Although there are many different types, there are three very common symptoms that affect dogs.

  1. Sacroptes scabiei – sarcoptic mange (canine scabies)
  2. Cheyletiella yasguri – cheyletiellosis (walking dandruff)
  3. Demodex canis – demodicosis (demodex)

Mange In DogsSarcoptic and Cheyletiellosis mange are both highly contagious and typically are caused by dogs coming in contact with other infected dogs or areas such as dog parks or kennels. Demodectic mange, however, is caused by a mite that is a natural inhabitant of dogs, and is brought about when the growth of these mites outpace the ability of the canine’s immune system to handle them.

The effect of mange on Dogs

As stated above, each one of these three parasitic mites causes mange to manifest itself in varied forms. The first type, sarcoptes mites burrow deep into the canines skin. Once there, the mites release a substance that cause itchiness and scratching. This condition is highly contagious. The second type, cheyletiellosis, are larger mites that do not burrow into the skin. Rather, stay close to the surface, typically the back, and cause skin scaling. The final type, demodicosis, does not cause itching like the other two types.  Instead, it brings about massive hair loss.

Mange in dogs has a drastic impact on their overall quality of life.  An infected dog can become very irritable, depressed, aggressive, or lathargic.  Their reaction will depend greatly on the specific symptoms they are displaying.

Symptoms of Mange in Dogs

The various forms of mange will cause different symptoms.  However, in general, mange is recognizeable by clinical signs such as severe itching, scratching, and hair loss.  Left untreated, mange in dogs can also lead to severe skin infections and puss-filled red bumps calls pustules.  In addition, mange can eventually lead to secondary bacterial infections.

Mange Treatments

Should your dog start to show symptoms associated with mange, it is important to immediately bring them to a veterinarian.  They will prescribe an appropriate treatment plan that will probably include medicated dips, shampoos, or topical therapies.  These treatments have had the best proven track record in managing mange.  It is very difficult to eradicate mites from the infect dog and their living areas, however.  As such, treament plans for mange could last up to a month a half.

Of course, prevention is the best medicine.  Unfortunately, for Sarcoptic and Cheyletiella mange, in order to prevent your dog from contracting these diseases, it would require a complete isolation of your dog from other dogs.  In addition, you would have to ensure that your dog does not come in proximity of areas where dogs may have resided, such kennels, dog parks, shelters, or animal hospitals; as mites can be present until another host dog presents an opportunity for it.  In the case of Demodectic mange, the mites that cause this type are already a natural inhabitant in dogs; making the prevention of mange in dogs almost impossible.