Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

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A white and brown mixed breed dog with visible signs of mange lays on grey pavement with dead leaves on the ground

Dr. Sarah Ochoa - author of Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Does your dog have hair loss on their body or have just been diagnosed with Sarcoptic Mange? This can be a very itchy situation for your dog. Most dogs who have mange can easily be treated and recover. This article will explain all about Sarcoptic Mange and what you can do to help your puppy feel much better.


What is Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs?

Sarcoptic mange is a small mite that lives within your dog’s hair follicles. These mites are spread by mines that live for three to four weeks in your dog’s skin. They can deposit several eggs that will burrow into the hair follicles and produce larvae that will move to the surface. This will cause these mites to spread very quickly and causes your great discomfort

Sarcoptic mange is contagious to people making it a severe zoonotic skin disease. “Zoonotic” means the disease can cross-species from humans to animals and vice versa. So, if your dog has Sarcoptic mange and you are also very itchy, it would be best to see your human physician


What does Sarcoptic Mange look like? 

Sarcoptic mange is usually seen in a puppy who is abandoned in the woods. These mites can spread in kennel and shelter settings but are rarely seen in dogs who live in a clean environment. These mites will cause your dog to have bright red, scaly skin that is very itchy. Their skin will be very warm to the touch and may even be infected.  

These mites prefer to live on hairless skin, so common places for you to find sarcoptic mange mites are the knees, elbows, and ear flaps. In severe cases, the entire body will be covered in scars and lacking fur, especially if the issue is left untreated.


How to Diagnose Sarcoptic Mange 

If your dog has hair loss and is very itchy, it would be best for your vet to look at your dog. Your vet will do a skin scraping to get samples of what is in your dog hair follicles. Your vet will use a scalpel blade to remove some skin cells. The cells and possible mites will be looked at under a microscope. Once your vet looks under the microscope, they will easily be able to see if your dog has mites.  

Since sarcoptic mange can also look like an allergic reaction, the scraping will be done to determine the difference. Sometimes your dog may have to undergo a medication trial. These are often used as a precaution. If it looks like your dog may have sarcoptic mange, then your vet will prescribe a round of treatment to see if any change occurs.


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Treating Sarcoptic Mange 

There are many different treatments that your vet can give your dog to help get rid of these sarcoptic mange mites.  

These are a few of the most common treatments that vets may give your dog.

  • NexGuard/ Bravecto: These are two very commonly prescribed flea and tickmedications. Recent studies have shown that these two products, when given every two weeks for about four treatments, will clear your dog of mange mites. While this is not an approved treatment yet, it has been shown by studies that it is very effective. Most vets use this as their main way to treat sarcoptic mites.  
  • Ivermectin: This is considered an “off-label” medication despite being highly effective. This is often not used any more as there are much safer and approved medication. This is a very effective treatment that is used in many shelter settings, as this medication is very cheap. This medication can cause severe neurological side effects in certain breeds of dogs, such as Collies or other herding dogs. This is one of the main reasons that some vets do not use this as their go-to treatment.  
  • Selamectin (Revolution): This is an easy availably topical medication that is commonly used to treat fleas and ticks in cats and dogs. This medication can also Widely available derivative of Ivermectin
  • Dipping for mites: This is very effective for highly affected dogs that have mites everywhere. This is not done much anymore as there are topical and oral treatments that work just as well. These dips also cause your dog to have a very bad smell that you cannot just wash off.

If your dog has sarcoptic mange, this can be easily treated. If you notice that your dog is itching and is losing their hair, it would be best for your vet to see your dog. They can examine them and see if your dog does have scabies mites. If they do, your vet can prescribe your dog medication to clear these mites.  

Many times, dogs also need antibiotics to treat any secondary infection that may occur. While sarcoptic mange may be a very itchy condition, it can easily be treated so your dog can return to their healthy and happy life.


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Meet The Author 

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM author of Why Is My Dog Itching So Much

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, Dr. Ochoa knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals, she is now a great source of knowledge for others. Dr. Ochoa lives happily with her husband Greg, along with her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.