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What are Scabies?

Dogs anywhere in the world can become infected with the contagious parasite, sarcoptic mange. Not partial to any one climate, all stages of the mite live in burrows in the skin. The incubation period, after exposure, lasts from 10 days to 8 weeks. Because secondary infections can easily flourish, treating the mite infestation without delay is paramount to your pet’s health.

Scabies in dogs is also known as sarcoptic mange. It is caused by the small mite, sarcoptes scabies I canis. Highly contagious, the mites work there way into the skin and cause intense itching (pruritis). If left untreated, the condition can become severe, leading to thickening of the skin and weeping sores.

Scabies Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Scabies in Dogs

Scabies symptoms will usually start with sudden, intense itching (pruritis). If you notice that your family pet is experiencing episodes of acute, severe itching, you will want to take him to the vet right away. Sarcoptic mange can be passed to other animal and human members of the household. Though canine scabies cannot complete a life cycle on humans, they will cause intense itching for about 5 days until they die.

  • Uncontrollable scratching, most likely related to sensitivity to the fecal matter and saliva of the mites
  • Red skin or rash
  • Inflammation of skin
  • Hair loss (alopecia) which may be first noticed on the legs and stomach
  • Self-mutilation
  • Bleeding
  • Small bumps that will evolve into crusty sores
  • There may be an unpleasant odor due to the sores
  • The sores will mainly be found on the abdomen, legs, ears, chest, and elbows
  • Thickening of the skin due to damage
  • Secondary bacterial or yeast related sores can develop
  • If untreated, the scabies will spread to the entire body
  • Badly infected dogs may lose their appetite and begin to lose weight
Types

The sarcoptic mange mite has a life cycle that is spent entirely on the dog and lasts no more than 21 days.

  • Adult females will burrow into the skin to make a tunnel, laying a few eggs per day for up to 3 weeks
  • Eggs hatch within 5 days
  • Larvae go through a molting cycle
  • Nymphs mature to adults
  • Adults mate on the skin, and the female burrows to lay eggs
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Causes of Scabies in Dogs

Scabies is transmitted through contact with infected dogs, and also wild foxes and coyotes, who are considered to be reservoir hosts. Keep in mind the following points in regards to your dog’s sarcoptic mange infestation:

  • Indirect transmission can occur from bedding, though is less common
  • Dogs in poor health will have a more intense reaction
  • The reaction will also depend upon how many mites were transmitted
  • The mites can be spread through grooming tools if use from one dog to another is within a relatively short time
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Diagnosis of Scabies in Dogs

When you make the appointment and decide to bring your canine companion to the clinic, it's imperative to inform the veterinarian of your suspicions right away. You may already know that your dog has scabies, because perhaps you have a friend with a dog who alerted you to possible contagion. Whether confirmed or not, warn the veterinary team of the possibilities so they can be sure to isolate the dog away from other canine visitors, until the team is ready for the examination.

The veterinarian may want to obtain a stool sample for testing, or perform blood work and a skin swab to perhaps rule out conditions like allergies or bacterial skin infection. Both the blood test and the fecal sample are important diagnostic tools for determining the cause of your dog’s itchy skin.

A deep skin scrape, and subsequent observation under the microscope is the method used that most often gives a definitive diagnosis. The scrape will be done deep enough to try and reach the mites. Often the mites and eggs will be clearly visible. However, it can be entirely possible that the mites will not be seen, in which case the lesions that they produce could lead to a presumptive diagnosis.

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Treatment of Scabies in Dogs

You may have other canine family members in your household; they must be treated as well, even though the mites may not yet have made an appearance or caused symptoms. Sarcoptic mange is very contagious between dogs.

The clipping of your pet may be necessary in order to effectively treat the mites. Then the crusty skin should be gently treated with a medicated shampoo. The next step is to apply an anti-mite product such as lime sulfur. Because the mites can be difficult to eradicate, several weekly applications may be needed. Oral medications and treatment by injection are possible, too. Most often, a combination of products are needed to combat the infection.

As the treatment will be done at home (unless the infection is severe and has caused threatening secondary complications that require your dog to be hospitalized for a time), you must contact the veterinarian if you do not see improvement in your pet’s state of health within 4 to 5 days.

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Recovery of Scabies in Dogs

Full resolution of your beloved pet’s mite infestation could take up to six weeks of treatment. Keep the veterinarian informed of the progress. Don't hesitate to contact the clinic with any questions or concerns about the treatment, especially if you feel there are side effects.

There is a definite chance that you could contract scabies from your dog. The human reaction to sarcoptic mange will be intense itching and possible redness or lesions. Because the life cycle of the mites cannot be completed on humans, the mites will die in less than a week. You will want to see your doctor in order to have relief from the itch.

Discard, or at the very least, wash your pet’s bedding with hot water containing bleach. Contamination of your home is not required, but do not allow your dog the freedom to climb on beds or furniture, just in case, until the infestation has resolved.

Scabies in dogs can be expensive to treat. To protect your dog and yourself in case of an accident or emergency, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Scabies Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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Scabies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Pit Bull

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My dog had gotten fleas back in july. Well he has been scratching non stop since then. Like he is digging so much it's making him bleed. He has sores all over him.

Dec. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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4 Recommendations

I'm so sorry to hear this. He may well have a flea allergy and would thus need anti itch medicine to break the itch scratch cycle. I suspect the may also have a secondary bacterial infection and would also benefit from antibiotics and a medicated wash. Thus, he should be seen by a vet. With regards fleas, we need to treat monthly and also treat the home to eliminate the issue and prevent reinfestation. This means hot washing bedding, daily hoovering, a flea spray etc.

Dec. 20, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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almost 2

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Heavy Scratching

My dog was boarded some time ago and recently he's been scratching a lot and loosing hair on his Elbows and on the sides of his legs

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without being able to see the lesions that you are concerned with, it is difficult for me to say what might be going on. If it is not improving, it would be a good idea to have your dog seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him and see what might be causing this problem.

Oct. 8, 2020

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Scabies Average Cost

From 12 quotes ranging from $300 - $1,000

Average Cost

$350

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