Is Mange in Dogs Contagious to Humans?

Mange in dogs is caused by one of three mites: the cheyletiella mite, the sarcoptes mite or the demodex mite. The last type of mange, called demodectic mange, is not considered contagious, but cheyletiellosis and sarcoptic mange (also called canine scabies) are contagious among dogs. In some cases, they can also be spread between dogs and people.

Mange was once considered to be a problem that affected only uncared-for stray animals, but any dog can contract mange, regardless of age or breed. It is most often spread by direct contact between dogs, but dogs can also be infected with mange mites by using accessories that an infected dog also used.

Symptoms of Cheyletiellosis

Dogs that are infected with the Cheyletiella yasguri mite show symptoms on their skin. They may itch, and they usually have dandruff flakes, scales or crusts on their skins. Affected dogs may also have swollen lymph nodes. You may be able to see the cheyletiella mites on your dog's coat. They appear as white specks that can be seen with or without the use of a magnifying glass.

Symptoms of Canine Scabies

Dogs that are affected by the sarcoptes mite also show skin symptoms. These dogs have inflamed, itchy skin from the mites burrowing beneath it. Female mites lay eggs in these burrows, and larvae hatch in about a week. Those that stay in the burrows and molt into adults survive, while those that crawl to the dog's skin surface die. After the second molt, the adult mites migrate to the skin surface where they can infect other dogs or people.

In some cases, dogs affected by cheyletiellosis or canine scabies may carry the mites without showing symptoms. These carriers can spread the mites to other dogs or people.

Diagnosing Canine Mange

Your veterinarian can diagnose mange several ways. Dogs with cheyletiellosis are usually diagnosed through physical observation of symptoms and microscopic examination of skin samples, while canine scabies is often diagnosed by the success level of the canine scabies treatment.

Treating Cheyletiellosis and Canine Scabies

Dogs that are infected with cheyletiella mites can be treated with flea treatments as prescribed by your veterinarian. Treat all pets in your home, as well as your home itself, to eliminate this mite.

Canine scabies is treated with a combination of medication from your veterinarian, bathing your dog with medicated shampoos and dipping him in lime sulfur dips.

You will need to disinfect his accessories, such as bedding, brushes, carriers, collars and combs, to kill the mites and prevent reinfection. Consult your veterinarian as to the effectiveness of home treatments or the need to treat other pets in your home for canine scabies.

Symptoms of Human Scabies

Human mange infections are called scabies. Dog owners who sleep with their pets or who cuddle and hug them excessively are most prone to contracting scabies.

Symptoms include itchy subcutaneous burrows on the armpits, hands, inner thighs or wrists. Diagnosis is made by visual observation of the symptoms and microscopic examination of skin scrapings.

Treatment includes the use of permethrin cream or lindane lotion as prescribed by your physician. Canine mange mites do not appear to reproduce on people, so any mange infestations are usually self-limiting.