Dog Mange: 3 Types Defined

Unfortunately, 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 three types of mange found on dogs:

  1. Sarcoptic mange (scabies)
  2. Demodectic mange 
  3. Cheyletiella mange (walking dandruff)

Dog Mange Overview

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.  Supplementing your dog's diet with Salmon Oil works wonders for boosting the immune system.

Cheyletiella mange, or walking dandruff, gets it nickname as they are tiny white mites that, at first glance, look like dandruff on your dog.  However, if you look closely, you'll see them moving, hence, the name, ' walking dandruff'.  

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.

puppy dog with mangeA Puppy With Severe Mange

Sarcoptic Mange

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.

Sarcoptic Mange Treatment

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

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).

Localized Symptoms

Symptoms of localized mange include:

  • Mild thinning of fur (mainly the face)
  • Mild itchiness
  • Red, scaly and infected skin.

Generalized Symptoms

  • Patches of hair loss on head, legs, and trunk.
  • Larger areas of hair loss.
  • Sores and crusty skin.

Demodectic Mange Treatment

Dog mange treatment is prescribed by a vet and consists of the following:

  • Interceptor (milbemycin) or
  • Ivermectin or
  • Amitraz (weekly dips for about four weeks).

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.

Cheyletiella Mange (Walking Dandruff)

The Cheyletiella mites will happily live on humans as well as dogs and cats. If you have any animal that is infected with Cheyletiella, the best course of action is to treat the whole household!  

Diagnosis is easy as you'll see the 'dandruff' flakes moving around and you're dog will be more itchy than with just dandruff alone. If in doubt, you're vet will easily be able to diagnose Cheyletiella.

Symptoms in humans are severe itching, red rash, and scaly skin.  Areas affected are the arms, torso and buttocks.

Cheyletiella Mange Treatment

If your dog has long fur, you'll need to start with having it clipped in order to fully remove the mites.  You'll then need to bathe your dog in a medicated shampoo to remove the scales created by the mites, as well as the mites themselves.  These baths are best repeated once a week for about six to eight weeks. Pyrethrins or organophosphates are used in adult dogs and most topical insecticides (e.g. Frontline Plus) will kill the mites and stop further infestations.  Flea sprays or powers usually don't work against these mites.  

Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best course of action based on your dog's condition and history.  You'll also need to ensure that you wash all bedding, flooring and areas your dog came in contact with!


Finally

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.

Unfortunately, most natural treatments for mange are not that effective so some form of insecticide is usually required to rid your dog of mites. However, one of the best things you can do, that is natural, is to ensure your dog's immune system is working optimally.  Ensuring your dog has a healthy amount of essential fatty acids (EFA) in their diet will go a long way to boosting the immune system.  

Salmon oil is a fantastic supplement that works wonders for your dog's immune system.  You can find more information here, or you can purchase a natural salmon oil below.

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