Sarcoptic Mange Treatment for Dogs

Sarcoptic mange treatment for dogs can take several weeks to complete, and it involves treating not only the infected dog, but that dog's environment. Sarcoptic mange can be difficult to treat, but shampoos, dips, and medications are available to combat this parasitic infestation and its accompanying skin symptoms. Let's learn more about treating sarcoptic mange in dogs.

Sarcoptic Mange Explained

Sarcoptic mange is a type of mange caused by infestation by the parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites typically infest dogs. They burrow beneath the skin of the host, where they lay their eggs and often complete their entire life cycle. The mites can survive for 2 to 22 days off of the body of their host animal, meaning that dogs can catch this infestation even if they have no direct contact with other infected animals.

Symptoms of sarcoptic mange in dogs include severe itching, hair loss, red pustules and yellow crusting of the skin. The mites often prefer to infest those parts of your dog's body where fur growth is thinnest, such as the abdomen, ears, hocks, elbows, chest and armpits. Severe infections can affect the dog's whole body, and can cause swelling of the lymph nodes and darkening of the skin.

Diagnosing Sarcoptic Mange 

Sarcopic mange is typically diagnosed via a skin scraping. Your vet can examine skin samples under a microscope to look for sarcoptic mange mites, as well as their eggs and larva. However, it can be difficult to diagnose this condition through a skin sample alone, because not all skin samples will contain mites. Your vet may analyze your dog's medical history, especially his history of allergies, in order to make a diagnosis, since many dog allergies can cause similar skin symptoms.

Treating Sarcopic Mange in Dogs

Lime sulfur dips, and other organophosphate dips, make up one of the oldest sarcoptic mange treatments. Dogs may be clipped of their fur before being bathed in benzoyl peroxide and dipped in a dip such as Amitraz, Paramite, Lymdip or Mitaban. These dips are typically used every two weeks, and most dogs need to be dipped two or three times. 

Unfortunately, these dips can be toxic and should not be used on all dogs. Very old and very young dogs should not be dipped. Animals who are currently weakened by disease should not be dipped. Even if your dog is healthy, in the prime of his life, and able to be dipped, you should use care when dipping him, especially when applying the dip to sensitive areas like the face.

Selamectin, the topical flea, tick and heartworm preventative Revolution, can be used as a sarcoptic mange treatment. Frontline products are also used to treat sarcoptic mange in dogs. Ivermectin, the heartworm preventative drug, is also sometimes prescribed as a sarcoptic mange treatment, though it's not labeled for this use. Milbemycin oxime is also used off-label to treat sarcoptic mange.

Sarcoptic mange treatment also involves eliminating mites from your dog's environment, since they can survive off the host for up to 22 days. Treat your dog's bedding, as well as your upholstered furniture and carpeting, with an insecticide like permethrin.