Got a mangy dog? That's right, dog mange is a real, live, skin disease in dogs. And when I say "live" I mean that in the literal sense. Mange is caused by microscopic mites, yuck.
There are two main types of mange; sarcoptic mange (scabies) and demodectic mange.
Sarcoptic mange can be abrupt and cause severe itching. It can also be extremely contagious to dogs and humans so you need to know the symptoms to look for.
Demodectic mange is quite common in puppies, in fact they nearly all get some mange mites from their mother but are normally kept under control as long as the puppy's immune system is working sufficiently.
Dog mange is quite different in puppies and dogs. Puppies under one year will usually recover from dog mange without any treatment, whereas mange in a dog older than one year will nearly always require specific treatment to rid the dog of the mites.
Sarcoptic mange is extremely itchy and dogs are likely to scratch their skin until its raw. Sarcoptic mange is also contagious to humans. In fact, it's highly contagious and is usually transmitted through direct contact with contaminated grooming products or through kennels.
Symptoms of sarcoptic mange are abrupt and severe. If you notice your dog frantically start to scratch at his ears, elbows, hocks, and underside of the chest and face, then have him checked for mange. Especially if his just been in a kennels or groomers.
Treatment for sarcoptic mange should be prescribed by a vet, who will likely prescribe Revolution (selamectin) which is applied to the skin every 2 weeks for about 6-12 weeks. Alternatively a vet may prefer to give 3 injections of ivermectin over several weeks.
As sarcoptic mange is extremely itchy for your dog, your vet may also prescribe some kind of anti-itch medication. If you find your dog has been infected with sarcoptic mange, it is important to check family members for any signs of an itchy rash as this may be scabies. Speak to your doctor if this is the case, he will easily be able to prescribe medication.
Demodectic mange occurs in localized and gereralized forms. Puppies usually suffer from the milder form (localized). If this continues to spread, or if a dog older than one gets mange, it is usually the harsher form (generalized).
Symptoms of localized mange include:
Dog mange treatment is prescribed by a vet and consists of the following:
Most often your puppy will outgrow demodectic mange once his immune systems has developed fully. Dogs need a fully functioning immune system to fight the mites. Dogs that have certain medical conditions (diabetes, Cushing's disease, and hypothyroidism), or are taking medication that suppresses the immune system, may find they have recurring mange. Sharp-Pei's are also prone to demodectic mange.
If you suspect any type of mange in your dog you should take your dog
to the vet who will prescribe an effective dog mange treatment plan.
Your vet can conduct a skin scraping to confirm mange and determine which type your dog is suffering from. Treatment is fairly successful if started early.