What Is Mange On A Dog? (Mange symptoms, causes, and treatment)

If you are a dog lover and generally follow up on dog articles and news, you might know what mange is. Mange is a skin disease in dogs and puppies. It is mostly seen in stray dogs and abused dogs that are not taken care of and neglected.  

Dogs suffering from mange have hairless patches all over the body, with skin covered in sores. In the worst cases, the skin might have crusty patches and hardens like a stone. 

This skin disease can be much more painful than it appears to be, and your furry friends might need your care and some professional help.

In this article, we share with you a comprehensive guide to help you understand what is this skin disease. We also talk about its treatment, prevention, and everything else that you should know about it.

Mange: All You Need To Know

Mange is a skin condition in dogs caused by different species of mites. These species of mites can affect many animals, including humans. So, if one of your dogs has mange, any other dog in the house can also get the same medical condition. 

The symptoms may differ, depending upon what form of mange the dog has. Some symptoms can be rarer, but below mentioned are some of the most common ones—

  • Excessive itchiness

  • Redness and rashes

  • Thick yellowish crusts

  • Loss of hair

  • Bacterial infections

Mange on dogs can be found in two forms. Both of them are caused by different species of mites. 

  • Demodectic mange or Demodex

  • Sarcoptic mange or Scabies

Let’s understand Demodectic and Sarcoptic mange in detail.

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange is a form of skin disease caused by an eight-legged microscopic mite known as the Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies is extremely contagious and can even affect pet owners or humans. Among dogs, it is even riskier, as it gets transmitted quickly.

The female mites burrow into the skin and lay eggs. These hatch in about three to four weeks, and they feed on the host’s skin. It might not be as hazardous from dogs to humans because the mite does not thrive on non-canine hosts. 

Sarcoptic Mange: Symptoms

The symptoms do not appear immediately after the transmission, so you have to stay on the lookout for them. They might appear anytime between 10 days to about eight weeks after contacting a dog carrying scabies. 

The initial symptoms of the scabies infection can be seen around the ears, chest, and belly. Note that the sooner the dogs get professional care and medications, the quicker recovery and healing are. Check for the symptoms listed below—

  • Thick yellowish crusts

  • Patches of hair loss

  • Bacterial infections

  • Excessive itchiness

  • Redness and rashes

  • Thickening of the skin (advanced cases)

  • Lymph node inflammation (advanced cases)

  • Emaciation (extreme cases)

Sarcoptic Mange: Diagnosis

Diagnosing sarcoptic disease can be a tricky business. The veterinarian will have to take a couple or more scrapings of the infected skin. The scraped skin is then prepared for tests and observations under a microscope to check for the presence of eggs or mites. 

However, veterinarians over the years have observed some strange sarcoptic cases. Sometimes, there’s no evidence of mites in the skin samples, when the symptoms tell a whole other story. So, dogs might be infected with sarcoptic mange, show all the symptoms, and still not have any signs of mites in the skin scrapes.

Skin scraping is considered the most reliable method for testing sarcoptic mange even after non-dependable results. This is because blood tests are even less reliable.

Sarcoptic Mange: Treatment

The treatment is pretty easy. Consistency is the key. You should follow the instructions of the veterinarian precisely and complete the full course. Treatment may be easy, but it is time-consuming, and leaving the course incomplete might bring it back to square one. 

For stray dogs, if there are other dogs nearby, they must be tested and given treatment. For domestic pets, if one has the infection, the others may need the treatment. So, consult the veterinarian accordingly. 

Steroids in the form of creams and tablets may be used to reduce skin inflammation. In case of open sores, the vet may prescribe antibiotics. With the appropriate treatment, the infection can be fully cured in about a month. 

Nevertheless, consulting a veterinarian is essential because they can prescribe the treatment best suitable for your dog. Do not turn to the internet for medical purposes. 

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange is a rarer disease and is also known as red mange or Demodex. Demodex is caused by a mite called Demodex canis. These mites are a part of the skin flora, meaning they are always present on the dogs since they were puppies. 

Puppies get them from their mothers in the initial days after birth. In most cases, the number of Demodex canis is small, and also they remain dormant. In other words, the mite is always present in the host’s body but would remain harmless until their immune system is strong.

However, in a dog with a weaker immune system, the number might grow uncontrollably, leading to Demodectic mange. Dogs prone to it are—

  • Puppies who have weak immune systems

  • Neglected, elderly, sick stray dogs with weak immune systems

Demodectic Mange: Diagnosis

The veterinarian scrapes skin, and then the scraped skin is tested under the microscope to check for the Demodex canis. Finding a larger number of Demodex canis in the skin confirms the diagnosis. 

However, in some cases, a skin biopsy is conducted when the host dogs have chronic skin infections and have not responded well to treatments. 

Demodectic Mange: Symptoms and Forms

Demodectic mange further can take three forms in dogs—

Localized

Bald patches can develop on the dog’s face. It is mostly seen in the puppies. The treatment may vary according to the severity of the symptoms. It is better to consult your veterinarian. 

Treatment: The localized form is approached with topical medications.

Generalized

Here, more parts of the dog’s body develop patchy infected skin. Furthermore, the infection might cause itchiness, and your dog may smell too. It is mostly seen in dogs with a weaker immune system under the age of 18 months. 

Often the immune system recovers. However, if generalized Demodex occurs in older dogs, they might have underlying immunity problems. 

Treatment: Generalized form requires a much dynamic approach, including using shampoos, dips, and tablets. Vets usually prescribe shampoos rich in benzoyl peroxide. Again, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian before moving ahead with medications. 

Demodectic Pododermatitis

This condition affects the paws of the dog and is the hardest to treat and diagnose. Bacterial infections that develop with Demodectic Pododermatitis penetrate deep through the tissue. Shar Peis and Old English Sheepdogs are the two breeds more prone to this one.  

Treatment: It is best to leave it entirely up to the vet to analyze the treatment.

To Sum It Up

It might get hard to see your furry friend suffer. However, if you follow this guide and look after your dog carefully, you will sail through it.

Remember always to consult a veterinarian whenever your dog requires medical help. Refrain from researching medicines on the internet and self-treating the dog. You might complicate the case further.

Also, check if the veterinarian is licensed. You do not want your pup in the wrong hands!