What is Mange on Dogs
Mange is a skin condition caused by tiny mites which results in local or general hair loss on the dog.
There are two types of Mange, demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange.
Causes of Mange on Dogs
Demodectic mange also known as “red mange” or demodex is the most common type of mange found on dogs. In this condition the mites reside on the dog’s skin and inside the hair follicles causing the hair to fall out. There is very little or no itching at all with this type of mange.
The mites may cause bacterial infections of the skin which may result in some itching.
Demodectic mange is cause by the Demodex canis species of mite which can be found on most dogs. Carriers of this mite may show no symptoms at all of mange as their immune systems are strong enough to control the mite populations and thus prevent any infestations. Animals that are ill or have a weakened immune system may start to develop symptoms of mange.
Demodectic mange can be found in puppies especially when their immune systems have not fully developed, the mother being a carrier of the mites will often pass the parasites onto her new born puppies.
Sarcoptic mange, often referred to as Scabies is caused by a certain species of mite, the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites burrow into the dogs skin resulting in severe irritation and itching. Scratching these itchy spots causes the hair to fall out. Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious.
Symptoms of Mange on Dogs
Symptoms of Demodectric mange include:
- Hair loss around the eyes, face and muzzle.
- Bald patches of skin either localized or generalized often red in colour hence the alternative name “red mange”
- Scabs on the dog’s coat.
- Loss of appetite.
- Unpleasant body odour.
Symptoms of Sarcoptic mange include:
- Excessive and frantic itching
- Patchy hair loss around the eyes, face, ears, legs and the rest of the body at the later stages.
- Biting and chewing the affected skin which may cause raw sores to develop.
- Crusty sores on the affected skin as well as the ear-tips.
Treatment for Mange on Dogs
Treatment for localized demodectric mange:
When there are 4 or less bare patches the vet may treat these with a topical cream containing Rotenone as well as oral medications that contain Amitraz. These will normally work very well to eliminate the mites.
Treatment for Generalized demodectric mange:
Generalized demodectric mange can be very difficult to clear especially if the dog’s immune system has been weakened by another condition or by the mange itself.
The vet may prescribe supplements to try boost the immune system (lots of vitamin C is good).
Depending on the severity, antibiotics, topical anti-bacterial creams as well as Lyme dip may be recommended by the vet.
It is suggested to do a skin scape test every 2 to 4 weeks after treatments until the infestation has totally cleared.
Treatment of Sarcoptic mange:
Dips such as Amitraz and Lyme are very effective in elimination of the parasite.
There are a number of other products available from a vet that one can use for the treatment these include Selamectin, Frontline Plus and Heartguard.
Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics to help clear infections caused by the mange.
To help prevent further infestations with any type of mange all the dogs bedding, carpets and upholstery should be treated with an insecticide and kept clean.
Very Important: Consult with a vet before using any medications or treatments on your dog in the treatment of mange.