Your dog’s fur is usually smooth and thick, but if you notice he’s looking a little mangy lately, well, he might have mange. Depending on which type of mites have set up shop in your dog’s fur, you may notice scabby skin and missing hair with or without scratching and itching behavior. Learn the signs your dog has mange and what to do about it.
If you’re worried that your dog might have mange, don’t wait! Contact the experts at Germantown Veterinary Clinic online or come into our office right away for help.
Signs & Symptoms of Mange in Dogs
Canines can contract two types of mange, each with separate causes, symptoms, and treatments. One major characteristic sets them apart: demodectic mange doesn’t make your dog itchy while sarcoptic mange does. Here’s more about telling each of these conditions apart.
Demodectic Mange (Demodex canis mites)
The signs and symptoms of demodectic mange – the most common type of mange in dogs – include hair loss, skin redness, and patches of scaly skin and lesions across the body.
Demodex canis mites look like tiny cigars under a microscope. They live in small concentrations in the hair follicles of healthy mammals, but when puppies and dogs with underdeveloped immune systems are overrun with these parasites, demodectic mange develops. However, since these prolific mites even live on healthy animals, demodectic mange isn’t contagious.
Sarcoptic Mange (Sarcoptes scabiei mites)
The signs and symptoms of sarcoptic mange in dogs include skin rashes, patchy hair loss, and crusty skin sores. The irritated skin also itches intensely, causing your dog to bite and scratch himself incessantly.
Also called scabies, sarcoptic mange is much rarer than demodectic mange. Sarcoptes scabiei mites are responsible for this skin disease. These parasites live just under the skin and cause intense irritation. Unlike demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, passing easily between dogs and cats. The oval-shaped, light-colored mites can also transfer to humans, but since they can’t finish their lifecycle here, they only make infected people itchy for a few days.
What to Do If Your Dog Exhibits Signs of Mange
Whether itching accompanies your dog’s skin rashes and hair loss or not, it’s important to take the proper steps to give your pooch the care he needs.
Bring Your Dog to the Vet
To determine the best treatment for your dog, come to Germantown Vet for skin scrapings and analysis under a microscopic. Some mites are difficult to identify if they’re buried deep in the skin, so clinical symptoms also help your vet make the correct diagnosis.
Demodectic mange cases tend to be less serious, and 90 percent of them resolve spontaneously. Other times, pet owners must pursue mange treatment for their dogs, which may include:
- Topical medication to treat localized demodectic mange
- Injections to treat sarcoptic mange
- Scabicide shampoo and lime-sulfur dips to treat sarcoptic and severe generalized demodectic mange
- Oral antibiotics or antibacterial shampoo to treat secondary skin infections
Follow At-Home Tips
Because sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, you must take steps to prevent re-infection if the vet diagnoses your dog with this condition. First, discard your dog’s bedding. Then, wash your own bedding and clothes in hot water and bleach to kill lingering mites.
You may also need to perform the treatments your vet prescribes at home, such as bathing your dog with prescription shampoo and administering lime-sulfur dips. Your vet will offer tips on how to follow the recommended at-home care.
Germantown Vet Diagnoses & Treats Mange in Dogs
Even if you think you know which type of mange your dog has, plan to visit the vet for a definitive diagnosis so you’re sure to follow the right treatment plan. To schedule an appointment for your dog, please call Germantown Vet at 240-252-7467.