Nothing feels better than creating new memories with your pet (especially when it’s your dog). Whether it is going on a hike or enrolling in a competition, dogs are lovable and fun-loving. However, one of the things that can get in the way of that enjoyment is mange in dogs.
The symptoms of mange are not pleasant, but they can be treated, and you can return to making fun memories with your dog. A great pet parent makes sure their animal companion is healthy inside and out!
If you want to ensure your dog continues to have a healthy coat and prolonged life, understand what mange is. Read on further to learn more about mange, if it is contagious, the types of mange, how to treat it, and more!
What is Mange in Dogs?
Mange is a skin condition caused by an outbreak of mites, parasitic arachnids that feed off your dog’s skin. There are different types of microscopic mites that can cause different types of mange. The bites from these tiny parasites irritate your dog’s skin.
Mites might latch onto your dogs from another canine at a dog park, during a walk around the neighborhood, or even from a stray. Mites then mate, lay eggs, and spend their entire life cycles feeding off your dog’s skin or hair follicles.
There are many symptoms associated with mange, which can worsen if left untreated.
Is Mange in Dogs Common?
Mange in dogs under the guidance and supervision of an active pet parent is less common than in stray dogs that were abandoned or rescue dogs that were abused and neglected, barring them from proper treatment. Mites, ticks, and lice are commonly found on dogs but can be quickly taken care of by a diligent dog owner.
It is becoming more common to see dog parks in cities. Unfortunately, these areas are sometimes popular hotbeds for parasites since they may easily spread from infected dogs.
Is Dog Mange Contagious?
Some types of dog mange are contagious to not only dogs but people too. While other kinds of mange are only transferable between dogs and other animals.
The mites that cause dog mange are almost impossible to see with the bare eye. Most dog owners do not realize that their dogs have been infected until symptoms appear a few weeks later.
Types of Mange
As microscopic as they are, mites cause a lot of damage to dogs. Mites thrive off your dog’s dermis at the expense of their health.
If your dog develops mange, chances are it could have been any of the following. However, the first two are a lot more common.
Also known as canine scabies, the Sarcoptic mange in dogs is caused by highly contagious mites called Sarcoptes Scabiei var Canis. Once it comes into contact with your dog, it mates, and the female mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the baby mites feed off the dog’s skin.
The mite’s life cycle lasts between 17 to 21 days. These mites usually spread from another infected animal in common areas like an animal hospital, dog park, kennel, grooming stations, and even off random strays wandering around the neighborhoods.
As symptoms start to develop, it is best to schedule an appointment with a vet. The veterinarian might run different diagnostic tests to see if the mites responsible can be found.
Demodectic mange in dogs is caused by Demodex canis mites. When they are viewed under a microscope, they are cigar-shaped villains with legs sticking out on the sides. They sink into the fur, making themselves at home in our dog’s hair follicles.
It is common to find these mites on many dog breeds and even people too. For example, when a female dog gives birth to a litter of puppies, some mites may spread to the pups.
Most of the time, a dog’s immune system and overall health help keep the mites in check. Canine Demodicosis is a form of mange that develops when a dog, usually young puppies and older dogs, cannot keep the mites under control. The symptoms of Demodectic mange appear and spread throughout the dog’s body.
Demodectic mange is also known as red mange or Demodex. Even though it is found present on dog breeds, it is not contagious to humans, so you can still hug your pet without worry. Demodectic mange is further categorized into two forms: localized and generalized.
Other Kinds of Mange
Even though Sarcoptic mange and Demodectic mange are the two most common forms, other mites can also cause mange. Just like the other two, these spread from another infected animal.
Below are some types of mange you should watch out for!
- Trombiculosis: This type of mange is caused by parasitic larvae that attach themselves in clusters on a dog’s head, ears, paws, or belly. Symptoms are similar to other mange and can be treated as well.
- Otodectic Mange: Otodectic mange is caused by mites usually found in your dog’s ears. The mites are called Otodectes cynotis and may cause swelling in the ear canals of dogs and cats. A vet may prescribe medication to address this condition.
- Cheyletiellosis: This mange is more commonly referred to as Walking Dandruff. The mites can be seen walking on the dog’s skin upon closer inspection. It is contagious to humans and should be addressed with a veterinarian immediately.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Mange in Dogs?
Being a dog owner is all about providing responsible care and affection to our pets. Keep your dog in tip-top shape by knowing what the signs and symptoms of mange are.
The signs and symptoms between sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange are similar with a few differences.
Canine Scabies Symptoms
The mites that cause demodectic mange usually prefer hairless areas of your dog’s body, such as its belly or ear flaps. The symptoms start to appear within two to six weeks after initial contact.
One of the first things to occur is intense itching. Your dog will scratch, lick, bite, or even rub the infected area on a hard surface as a way to alleviate the Itchiness. The mite bites into the skin, leaving tiny itchy bumps and redness on you or your pooch. As your dog continues to scratch, the small bumps and the surrounding skin become irritated.
Hair loss is common as the itching intensifies. The excessive skin irritations cause sores to dry out and possibly bleed. These small but open wounds are susceptible to fungal or bacterial infections.
When left untreated, the skin becomes scabby and crusted, with yellow pus that leak from the wounds. In severe cases, your dog may become extremely skinny due to mange infection.
The signs that your dog has Demodectic mange depends on which form it has. One of the main reasons it called red mange because of the red skin on the affected areas. In addition, weakened or not fully mature immune systems are a major contributor to Demodectic mange symptoms.
- Localized Demodectic Mange: Common symptoms include patches of hair loss, usually on the head, redness, and minor swelling. Itchiness is sometimes not present or mild. Some puppy dogs that have localized Demodectic mange have a small percentage of having it turn into generalized mange.
- Generalized Demodectic Mange: Once the skin disease spreads all over the body, it becomes generalized Demodectic mange. The infection may spread hair loss, redness, scaly skin, swollen sores, and Itchiness.
Common Signs of Dog Mange
Our dogs cannot speak, so it will not tell you it has mange. However, some common signs of it can be identified based on your dog’s actions.
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss patches
- Non-stop licking or grooming
- Dry Skin
There could be many various reasons why your dog may show these signs, such as allergies, fungal, or bacterial infections. Whatever the root cause is, it should be handled appropriately and quickly! Go stop by your local vet for a referral.
How to Prevent Mange in Dogs
There are few things you can do to lower your dog’s chance at developing mange. Unfortunately, dogs do not have steel skin, so 100 percent prevention might not be possible. However, that should not discourage you from doing your best to ensure your pet has a healthy life.
For Sarcoptic mange, it is best to avoid areas where animals infected with these highly contagious mites are located. Usually, animal hospitals or grooming services sanitize common areas to prevent mites from spreading. If you see a stray dog with severe Demodectic or Sarcoptic mange, maintain a far distance and contact a local rescue organization or animal shelter.
Older dogs with compromised immune systems due to disease or other medical conditions can develop Demodectic mange, so it is best to keep up with routine vet visits to address any issues before they become worse.
Home Treatment for Mange in Dogs
After going through a diagnosis, your pet’s veterinarian may prescribe different treatments to help address Demodectic or Sarcoptic mange. They might use skin scrapings to identify the type of mite causing mange.
It may help to disinfect your canine’s items and other areas of your home where your dog hangs out at. Here are some effective treatments you can do from home.
- Hair Trim: If your dog hasn’t lost all its hair, it might be a good idea to trim some of the hair to stop the spread. A haircut is usually required before applying further treatment.
- Oral Medications: Your veterinarian may place your dog on oral medications. The side effects vary, so it’s best to speak with your vet to see which will work best for your dog.
- Topical Ointment: Lime sulfur dip is effective in killing off mites and treating mange. Consult with a vet before purchasing lime sulfur.
- Medicated Shampoo: Pet stores carry plenty of medicated shampoo that kill mites, fleas, and ticks. If the mange in dogs sarcoptic is severe, a vet may suggest stronger dedicated shampoo.
- Supplements and Diet: It might be a good idea to feed your dog supplements and food that promotes healthier skin and boosts the immune system.
Can I Give My Dog CBD?
CBD products are a great alternative for other at-home treatments. And CBD is well-tolerated and non-toxic to dogs. CBD is available in treats, capsules, shampoo, and tinctures.
CBD is an all-natural compound that interacts with your dog’s endocannabinoid system receptors located all over the body. Once these compounds are activated, your dog may experience the following benefits.
- Promotes healthier skin
- Eases nervousness
- Soothes Physical discomfort
- Alleviates skin irritation
Final Thoughts – Mange in Dogs
Healthy skin is something plenty of people seek, and it should be something dog owners seek for their pets as well. Mange in dogs can make them uncomfortable, but don’t fret! The condition, although annoying, is completely treatable. A vet should be able to identify symptoms related to mange in dogs with ease.
Plenty of at-home treatments are available. CBD products are a great alternative method of alleviating the discomfort from skin conditions. For more information on CBD pet products, check out Healthy Petables!