Identifying and treating scabies in dogs

Scabies in dogs is caused by Sarcoptesscabieicanis which causes intense itching and hair loss. Each mite has a lifecycle of 21 days in which it mates on the skin and the females lay eggs. The eggs hatch in 5 days and the cycle continues once the nymphs mature into adults. The itch mite species is different from Srcoptesscabieicanis which causes scabies in humans. Therefore, the animal itch mite does not survive on the human skin for long and dies. However, during the stay it causes intense itching for a couple of days.

Symptoms and diagnosis

The animal itch mite causes red rashes and relentless itching to the dogs. To get relief they chew and scratch their skin which leads to hair loss (alopecia). The hair loss is prominent on the elbows, legs, chest and belly which is followed by thick and dark skin. The constant scratching results in pustules and scabs which can develop into sores and also catch other infections. More symptoms of the infection include inflammation of skin, bleeding, unpleasant odor, loss of appetite and self-mutilation.

Once the dog exhibits the signs of scabies, a physical examination by the veterinarian is done. A patch of affected skin is scraped and examined under the microscope for signs of fecal matter, mites or the eggs.

Causes

Scabies in dogs happens due to physical contact with an infected dog, foxes or coyotes. Dogs having poor health are the most susceptible to the infection and the recovery time also depends on the immune system of the animal. If there are other dogs at home they should be kept away from the infected dog to prevent the itch mites from spreading.

Treatment

Canine scabies can be treated with the use of medicated products like fipronil sprays, lime Sulphur dip washes, sarolaner chewable tablets and selamectin, imidacloprid or moxidectin medicines.

Based on the diagnosis done by the veterinarian, scabies in dogs can be treated with medicated baths, dips, injections and oral medicines. In most case the dogs cannot resist to scratch the mite, therefore multiple methods may be used to counter the infection.

Bathe the dog in water infused with olive oil, lavender, almond oil and neem oil as they calm the skin due to anti-inflammatory properties and also kill the mites because of the anti-infection properties. Herbs like cymbopogon and niaoli can be applied topically as they have skin regenerative properties. Garlic and clove paste mixed in olive oil can be also applied to affected area for relief from the itch.

During the treatment proper care should be given to cleanliness and all the things that come in contact with the animal (especially the dog’s bedding, feeders and blankets) should be washed in diluted bleach solution.

Full recovery from the infection can take up to six weeks and a close eye should be kept on the dog for any reoccurring signs of rashes or intense itching.

Things to keep in mind

  • Maintain good hygiene and ensure cleanliness of the environment in which the dog interacts
  • Avoid interaction with other animals to prevent the mites from spreading and also avoid the chances of any secondary infections to your dogs
  • Ensure timely checkups and prolong the treatment so that the infection doesn’t reoccur
  • Feed healthy food and vitamin supplements to strengthen the immune system and fasten the treatment time

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