Mange is an irritation of the
primarily resulting in
and sometimes including
inflammation, all of which are caused by microscopic
Mange is most commonly found in
canines, but it can occur in other domestic and wild
and occasionally in
The mites embed themselves in the
follicles or skin,
depending on the type, making both detection and treatment difficult. The
condition can be treated with parasiticidal
topical or oral
injections, but it takes time and patience for repeated applications, and
almost always requires
Two types of mites produce canine mange, and each has similar but somewhat
Also called demodicosis, demodectic mange is caused by an
canis, a mite that occurs naturally in the hair follicles of most dogs.
In most dogs, these mites never cause problems. However, in certain situations,
such as an impaired
immune system, intense
malnutrition, the mites can reproduce too rapidly, causing anything from
mild irritation and hair loss on a tiny patch of skin to severe inflammation,
infection, and--in rare cases--a life-threatening condition. Small patches of
demodicosis often correct themselves over time, although treatment is usually
Minor cases of demodectic mange usually do not cause much itching but might
cause pustules on the dog's skin, redness, scaling, hair loss, or any
combination of these. It most commonly appears first on the face, around the
eyes, or at the corners of the mouth, and on the forelimbs.
In the more severe form, which usually develops in dogs who have previously
suffered minor cases, hair loss can occur in patches all over the body and might
be accompanied by crusting, pain, enlarged lymph nodes, and skin infections.
This variety of mange is not generally contagious; these mites thrive only on
very specific hosts (dogs) and transmission usually occurs only from the mother
to nursing puppies during the first few days after birth.
Some breeds appear to have an increased risk of mild cases as young dogs,
American Staffordshire Terrier,
German Shepherd Dog,
Old English Sheepdog,
American Pit Bull Terrier, and
Pug. There is strong
evidence that a predeliction for juvenile demodectic mange is inherited.
Also known as canine
sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious infestation of Sarcoptes scabei canis,
a burrowing mite. The canine sarcoptic mite can also infest humans and cats,
although usually not severely, as its natural host is dogs.
These mites dig into and through the skin, causing intense itching and
crusting that can quickly become infected. Hair loss and crusting frequently
appears first on elbows and ears. Skin damage can occur from the dog's intense
scratching and biting.
Affected dogs need to be isolated from other dogs and their bedding, and
places they have occupied must be thoroughly cleaned. Shaving is sometimes
For more information, see
Veterinarians usually attempt diagnosis with a skin scraping, which is then
examined under a
for mites. Because they are burrowing creatures, mites are not always present on
or near the surface of the skin when the scraping takes place. As a result,
diagnosis is often based on symptoms rather than actual confirmation of the
presence of mites. This also means that mange is occasionally misdiagnosed as
other medical conditions, and vice versa.
- Carroll, David L. (2001). ASPCA Complete Guide to Pet Care. The
- Marder, Amy V.M.D. (1997). The Complete Dog Owner's Manual. Fog
- Siegal, Mordecai (Ed., 1995). UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Book of Dogs. Harper Collins.
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