I’m sure, you must have seen the horrific sight of a mange-infected stray dog being rescued by some animal organization. What you may not have seen yet is a pet infected with mange, but this is very likely possible – Sarcoptic mange, also called scabies in dogs doesn’t just affect neglected, stray animals, this is a common skin disease, which can affect your pet!
Yes, untreated Sarcoptic mange or scabies can lead to hairloss, sores and a lot of pain to the dog. It is therefore really important to treat mange at the first sight, without confusing it with some general skin ailment.
Types of mange
Mange is a skin disease which is caused by parasitic mites called mange mite. There are two main types of mange commonly diagnosed in dogs – Demodexand Sarcoptic. While Demodexmange is commonly caused by a mite calledDemodexcanis that lives under the hair follicles of dogs, Sarcoptic mange is caused by Sarcoptesscabiei, a parasitic mite that burrows under the skin. While both the really painfulfor our furry friends, we will here discuss the scabies in dog, or Sarcopticmange.
Scabies in dogs
Sarcoptic mange – scabies in dogs, is highly contagious skin disease. It is caused by parasitic mites that burrow through the skin causing great deal of itching and discomfort. Excessive scratching can cause hair fall and leave displeasing marks on a dog’s skin. Scabies in dogs is contagious and can spread between dogs and from them to humans of other animals. The mites initially burrows in one part of the body, but if left untreated can cover the body in a few weeks, which can get fatal for some dogs.
Scabies is a treatable – symptoms generally show up in 2 to 6 weeks after the mite infestation. Since it is a contagious disease, pet owners are advised to keep their dogs isolated while they are being treated for the infection.
Sarcoptic mange has a range of symptoms which may be similar to some other skin disease, but if you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, it is wise to see a vet:
- Rashes on the skin
- Uncontrollable and relentless itching
- Skin lesions which appear as thick crusts
- Bleeding scabs or oily discharge from the body
- Unconfirmed hair loss
Generally, exposure to other infected animal is considered the main cause of scabies in dogs. High exposure areas to acquire scabies include kennels, groomer and veterinary clinics, parks and dog shelters.
To rule out the scabies outburst from food allergies or bacterial infections, your vet will ideally take a skin scrapping to diagnose for scabies. This testing is not majorly reliable, there have been may false negative and positive results, so mostly vets, even after a negative test result may diagnose by the rule of exclusion (excluding possibility of other infections and skin issues) or by therapeutic trial of medication.
Treatment of scabies in dogs
If scabies has been diagnosed on basis of clinical examination then your veterinarian will recommend a trial therapy. The therapy is carried out as a trial treatment to ensure the dog is not sensitive to any anti-parasitic drug.
Once the vet is satisfied, he/she will recommend a detailed treatment plan, which will include use of anti-acaricidal shampoo and application of topical anti-parasitic ointments and antiseptics.
Several vets also recommend dips of lime and sulfur, this is especially considered safe and effective for puppies.