How Do Dogs Get Mange?
In this article I will be going over everything you need to know about mange, including how do dogs get mange.
Mange is caused by two types of mites, which are sarcoptic and demodectic.
Sarcoptic mange is the most common form of this skin disease and is also known as canine scabies. This form of mange causes a lot of itchiness and as a result, dogs will scratch themselves so much, they will suffer hair loss and create open sores which will scab over.
Infected dogs can pass sarcoptic mange on to humans, but the infection is short lived as the mites cannot fulfil the life cycle on us.
Demodectic mange is less common and is passed onto a puppy from its mother.
This type of skin condition is caused by the Sarcoptes Scabiei mite. These mites cause severe itching for your dog as they dig themselves under their skin to lay their eggs. Many dogs with mange lose a lot of their hair, but this is from your dog’s constant itching and chewing, not a result of the mites themselves.
Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and they will most likely have become infected by another infected dog. Common places of infection will be, dog parks, shelters, dog groomers or even after a visit to the vets.
Symptoms will normally appear in two to six weeks from infection.
Unfortunately, it can also be passed on to humans, for which we call it “scabies”. It is treatable, but if your dog contracts scarcoptic mange, you will need to quarantine your dog and decontaminate your property.
Scarcoptic mites usually prefer hairless parts of skin, and are often first burrow into the ear flaps, belly and elbows. But will eventually infect everywhere on your dog’s skin. If you think your dog may have mites, check the ears, belly and elbows first.
The itching will become really intense, lead to a rash, scabs and also hair loss, making things very uncomfortable for your pup.
Any dog can be infected by scarcoptic mites, regardless of age.
Treating Sarcoptic Mites
Once diagnosed by your vet, they may decide to treat your dog by a medicated bath, injections or oral medication. Sometimes, vets will use a combination of treatment to clear the infection.
If you believe your dog has scarcoptic mites, you will need to wash their beds, harnesses or collars thoroughly, or maybe even replace them. Keep them off of furniture and also try to keep your distance from them, especially children.
If you have more than one dog, it is highly advisable to have all dogs treated, otherwise it is likely, they will just keep infecting each other.
Dogs will continue to be contagious for around one month after treatment has begun. Therefore, if possible, keep the infected dogs quarantined until treatment has been completed.
Preventing your Dog from getting scarcoptic Mange
Prevention is better than cure. Providing your dog with a healthy diet with correct portion sizes for his size and age will go a long way to maintaining your dog’s overall health and keeping your dogs immune system strong. This as well as a clean home environment will help lower the chances of a mite infestation.
If you see a dog at the park with clumps of hair missing, it may be a good idea to keep yourself and your dog away from it!
Your veterinarian may also be able to give you further advise on prevention methods.
What if I catch mange from my dog?
If you think you may have caught sarcoptic mange from your dog, contact your doctor as soon as you can. Symptoms may include a purplish rash on your chest, arm or abdomen. Although the mites cannot fulfil their life cycle on humans, they can still cause severe itching.
A rarer form of mange, also known as red mange. This form is passed on to a puppy from its mother. If the puppy has a healthy immune system, the demodectic mange won’t develop and will remain dormant.
Elderly, neglected or stray dogs with a weakened immune system may develop demodectic mange. As will dogs suffering from weakened immune systems due to illness such as diabetes of cancer.
Demodectic Mange is not contagious to humans.
Demodectic Mange Symptoms
This form of mange doesn’t normally cause too much itching, but may cause redness, scaly/leathery skin and hair loss. It will often affect the face, forelimbs and paws.
In severe causes, it can cause patches of hair loss all over the body, followed by crusty skin, enlarged lymph nodes and deep skin infections. If this occurs in dogs under 18 months old, it is usually due to an immune defect. In many cases, the dog’s immune system will recover and fight of the infection.
If an older dog suffers from a severe case of demodectic mange, it is potentially an early warning sign of an underlying immunity problem.
If you think your puppy or dog may be suffering from demodectic mange, consult your veterinarian straight away.
Treating Demodectic Mites
Demodectic mange will often clear up on its own, however, vets will sometimes prescribe an insecticide gel or cream to help speed up the process.
Cases which are more severe, will need to be treated with medication and/or medicated baths. As this form of mange is due to a weakened immune system, your veterinarian will most likely investigate further, to establish the cause of this. Then treat any discovered underlaying health problems.
Preventing your Dog from getting Mange
Feed your dog a healthy diet, to maintain a healthy immune system. This will help prevent them from getting demodectic mange as well as helping to fight off the infection should they get it.
Maintain regular vet check-ups.
Maintain good prevention of fleas, worms and heartworms.
How do dogs get mange?
As we have gone over in this article, dogs get Demodectic mange from their mothers shortly after birth.
Sarcoptic Mange is contracted by coming into contact with another dog, other animal, person, furniture or bedding which is infected with sarcoptic mites.
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from any form of mange, consult your doctor as soon as you can.
Follow your veterinarian’s professional medical advice and don’t try to self-diagnose yourself, as providing the incorrect treatment will not only waste valuable time, but may also make their condition worse.