Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Sarcoptic Mange?

Sarcoptic mange is caused by the dog-specific variant of the scabies mite. Also called canine scabies, sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious skin condition caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei var canis. The mites burrow under the skin of the animal, and both the motion of the mites and the buildup of feces trigger immune reactions including severe, desperate itching.

Characterized by extreme itching, pain, and alopecia (hair loss), this disease rapidly forms thick yellow crusts on the skin.  While itching and discomfort may not seem serious, sarcoptic mange is not similar to having fleas; the lesions and crusts formed by itching and skin irritation will worsen, and if not dealt with promptly, scarring and permanent hair loss may result. In extreme, untreated cases, these wounds may become infected, leading to weight loss, septic shock, and death. 

You may wonder, is mange contagious to humans? Yes, the sarcoptic mites in this family are also responsible for the human scabies condition, and while the canine variant prefers dogs, humans can also contract limited cases transmitted by their dog.  

Sarcoptic Mange Average Cost

From 19 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

The condition often starts on the ears, elbows, and abdomen. Mite infestations can also appear on the face, neck and other areas of the body. Commonly referred to as dog mites, these contagious, microscopic organisms are not visible to the naked eye. Instead, you will see the following symptoms in your pet:

  • Extreme itching
  • Kicking, rolling, and scraping behaviors
  • Reddened, irritated sections of skin
  • Yellow crusts on irritated skin
  • Tiny track marks from mites burrowing
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Fold formation on previously smooth skin
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Causes of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

There are different types of mange, with demodectic and sarcoptic being the two most commonly seen in canines. Demodectic mange is not considered contagious; however, in cases of immunocompromised dogs, the mites will spread, particularly if the disease is severe.

Is sarcoptic mange zoonotic? In layman's terms, is this variant of mange contagious? Yes, unlike demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange is easily transferred from dog to dog. Once present on your pet, the mites go through a cycle of burrowing into the skin and laying eggs. The hatched mites then mate and tunnel into the skin again. It's the motion of the ectoparasites that cause the intense itching.

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Diagnosis of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Any owner who notices the sudden onset of extreme itching and discomfort in their pet should contact a veterinarian immediately and keep the affected pet away from other animals, as sarcoptic mange is highly contagious. The crusts and skin irritation associated with this condition may be concealed by frequent bathing and grooming, and so a veterinarian will need to examine the dog to diagnose the condition effectively.

Scrapings of itchy areas on the skin will be examined microscopically for evidence of eggs, mites, or mite feces. Areas the dog is unable to reach to scratch are the best places to check for mites. In many cases, the mites are difficult to find and locate, and so often veterinarians will prescribe anti-mite medications on an educated guess, as these medications carry minimal risk of side effects. Successful resolution of the condition with treatment, in the absence of a microscopic identification, is considered a confirming diagnosis.

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Treatment of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

There are a number of creams and ointments that are effective in killing the mites, including selamectin, ivermectin, and imidacloprid-moxidectin. Some breeds are highly sensitive to ivermectin and may have a severe adverse reaction, so don’t borrow other pet owner’s medication to treat mites. The cream is applied to either affected areas or the entire animal for around 3 weeks. Bathing and washing the dog before treatment increases the ability of the medicine to kill the mites. Care must be taken to change and wash clothing and bedding contaminated by an infected animal, as the mites can easily colonize humans.

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Worried about the cost of Sarcoptic Mange treatment?

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Recovery of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Can humans get mange? Sarcoptes scabiei var canis is capable of living off the host (your dog) for several weeks. A concerning ectoparasitic disease in your pet, the transmission to humans is less invasive as the mite does not thrive on the human body the way it does on a dog, especially a dog that is weak or ill. However, mange in a human is intensely itchy and should be attended to so that secondary infection does not develop. Wear gloves while treating your dog with the veterinarian prescribed medication and ask the vet what to do to sanitize your home. Nearly every dog makes a full and quick recovery from sarcoptic mange if treated promptly and kept away from sources of re-contamination. Only in cases of severely immunocompromised animals are mites a life-threatening danger.

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Sarcoptic Mange Average Cost

From 19 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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Sarcoptic Mange Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Dogo Argentino

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One Year

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Red Spots And Light Hair Loss

Will nexguard kill both types of mange?

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Nexgard is not licensed to treat either Sarcoptic or Demodectic mange. It may have some effect, and it may work, but it is not licensed for that use.

Oct. 9, 2020

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Bonnie

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Maltipoo

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12 Weeks

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Scratching And Dragging Rear

My maltipoo is 12 weeks old. She was just diagnosed with sarcoptic mange. She was given revolution and antibiotics. We are on day 3 of meds. Her stool has been fine however this morning she started dragging her rear end. Is this in relation to the mites? I'm hoping I don't have another issue going on. Also, when should I see her itching subside?

April 8, 2018

Bonnie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Bonnie's behavior might be related to the mites, and itching, yes. When her itching stops depends on the severity of her infection, and sometimes the itching will get worse before it gets better, as the mites die. If she is terribly itchy, she may need something to help with that short term, which your veterinarian can get for her. If he itching is gradually improving and she stops dragging her bottom, you are on the right track.

April 8, 2018

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Sarcoptic Mange Average Cost

From 19 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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