Dog Mange: What Causes It and How Can It Be Cured?

Photo Gallery - Demodectic Mange

Photo Gallery - Sarcoptic Mange

Dog Mange

Dog mange is a skin condition that occurs when tiny mites burrow under your dog's skin. Symptoms of dog mange include itching, hair loss and inflammation. The two most common types of dog mange are demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange.

Demodectic dog mange usually occurs when the dog's immune system is weak, it's under a lot of stress, or it's malnourished. Under these conditions, the dog can become sensitive to the Demodex canis mites that normally live on its skin. Demodectic mange is not usually contagious, but certain breeds can be more prone to it than others. Treatment can involve medicated shampoos and antibiotics.

Sarcoptic dog mange is also known as canine scabies and is highly contagious to humans, cats, and several other species. A burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei canis is responsible for sarcoptic mange. Treatment involves isolating the affected dog and disinfecting the dog's bedding. Topical parasiticidals may be used to treat the infestation, or your vet may prescribe an oral medication.

Veterinarians might diagnose dog mange by looking at skin samples under a microscope. However, mange can be difficult to diagnose in this manner. If your dog has sarcoptic mange, he might have scratched off all the mites on the area from which the sample is taken. The mites that cause demodectic mange are normally present on your dog's skin, so their appearance under the microscope doesn't necessarily mean they're responsible for your dog's mange. For these reasons, your vet will probably make a diagnosis of dog mange based on observation of symptoms alone.