Scabies in Dogs (Sarcoptic Mange): Types, Symptoms, and Treatment



If there is a disease that should not be underestimated in our dogs, it is scabies, also known as Sarcoptic Mange. Let’s see what it is.

Scabies in dogs, or Sarcoptic Mange, is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and feared diseases related to dogs’ health. This is not a fatal disease, but it can be highly unpleasant and cause serious damage to our pets, so it should not be taken lightly.

What is it exactly? It is severe skin irritation. Let’s try to explain it in detail. To begin with, you might often hear scabies referred to as Sarcoptic Mange as well.

This skin disease affects a number of animal species, but it is not very different from that occurring in dogs. If not properly treated, it can also cause serious damage to our four-legged friends.

Scabies in Dogs: Causes

We have mentioned that it is a skin infection or dermatological disease. But who is responsible for causing this disease? Mites. Actually, ectoparasites would be the scientific term to refer to these offenders.

These ectoparasites hide in the the animal’s hairs and then go directly into the epidermis. Once they reach the dog’s skin, they begin to “damage” it: They feed on the sebum and keratin present in the epidermal layer of our furry friend, and, if unhindered, they multiply like wildfire.

If you are trying to imagine this scene, we can tell you that under the microscope the situation is roughly as follows: These “parasites” (known as mites) normally live in our ecosystem, and when they “attack” an animal, we can literally say that they start eating it. And that’s when the itch comes.

Before we go any further, let’s go back a bit: How do the mites get to the “battlefield” (or rather the “restaurant”)? In this article, we will try to provide an overview of scabies in dogs and its effects, spreading, transmission, and its proper treatment.

As always, as a means of disclaimer and with respect to all the information on our website, we would like to recommend you always consult your vet after reading our tips: he or she will always provide an expert “eye” when treating your dog in person.

Going back to the subject matter of this article, scabies or sarcoptic mange in dogs is widespread all over the world. In general, scabies is transmitted through contact with infected animals; however, it can also be transmitted by touching objects that have been infected by sick animals.

Scabies in Dogs: Types

We have mentioned that the “carriers” of this disease are these microscopic ectoparasites better known as mites. Note, however, that there are different types of scabies due to the fact that there are different types of mites. Which are the most common types of scabies?

There are basically five types of scabies:

  1. Demodectic Mange, also called red mange or demodicosis, is believed to be hereditary and it can be divided into three subcategories: localized demodicosis (limited to small areas like head and ears), generalized demodicosis (found on the entire body) or demodectic pododermatitis (characterized by appearing on the animal’s legs).
  2. Sarcoptic Mange is perhaps the most common type of scabies in dogs. It is highly contagious, resistant to environmental factors and easily transmitted to humans. There is also a type of scabies specifically related to dog ears:
  3. Otodectic Mange. This mange shows up as “white spots” inside the ears of our four-legged friend.
  4. Canine Nasal Mite is a specific scabies affecting the dog’s nasal cavities.
  5. Cheyletiellosis causes “white spots” that affect the animal’s skin. It is more common in cats.

Scabies can be transmitted directly at birth and through breastfeeding: The infected mother transmits the disease to her puppies.

Apart from this case, scabies is commonly transmitted through contact with infected people, animals, or things. A low immune system will naturally be a fertile ground for mites. However, there are several factors that can “contribute to the invasion”, such as poor dog hygiene, poor living conditions or the diet of our furry friend.

Scabies in Dogs: Dog Breeds Prone to Scabies

In general, there are some dog breeds that are more genetically prone to get this dermatological pathology, and they are:

Scabies in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

These are the most common symptoms of scabies: red skin, itching and burning, rashes and scales on the skin (when they are not actual wounds or sores), dry skin with odor, loss of appetite, weight, and hair.

How can scabies in dogs be cured? First of all, it is essential to maintain a proper level of hygiene: This applies to both our dog and our home (or any environment in which the animal lives, such as a doghouse). In practice, a monthly bath is really a panacea, especially if quality products are also used to bathe our furry friend.

It is good to perform regular disinfection as well as to ask our reliable veterinarian for the application of shots to our pet. If you have more animals under treatment, you must be careful to divide their “belongings” so that they do not keep infecting each other.

Scabies in Dogs: Food

Last but not least, it is good to take care of our dog’s diet with commitment. A balanced diet improves the entire immune system! Raw food such as vegetables and herbs are recommended as well as kyolic garlic, cat’s claw plant, and olive oil extract.

We all agree that it is better to be safe than sorry, but what should we do in case our pet becomes infected? The first step is to contact your veterinarian immediately. Surely, he will prescribe oral, topical or injectable acaricides. The most popular drugs are: ivermectin, selamectin, and moxidectin.

Obviously, anti-inflammatory analgesics will also be provided. Although home-made remedies cannot completely replace veterinary intervention, they can temporarily alleviate the animal’s discomfort. Plant extracts or ointments of chamomile, oatmeal, lemon, or yogurt can be applied to the most infected parts.

Always keep in mind that even though affection and gentleness towards your four-legged friend may not solve the situation, it will be positive for your pet.

Scabies in Dogs: Look for a Professional

If in doubt, consult a professional who will give you good assistance and answer all your questions.

You may be interested in reading another article related to the health of our friends such as:

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