How to tell if my dog has mange?

Mange in dogs is much more common than you may think.  In fact there are many different types of mange and many different mites that are the root cause of canine mange.    Some dog mange infections are very serious and cause a lot of pain; while others cases are much less severe, and in some cases the owner is not sure if the issue is mange or simple dog dry skin.  So let’s take a look at some of the types of manage and what the symptom may be:

1.         Scabies also known as Sarcoptic Mange:

mange on dogs skin caused by mites
Itching and scratching caused by Demodectic mange

This is when Sarcoptes Scabiei mites have infested the dog’s skin.  They actually dig into the skin and la eggs.   This “burrowing” and egg laying causes the infection to spread quickly and become hard to treat.  

Some signs of scabies are excessive itching, red patchy spots, and dead scaly skin.  You may also notice infestation near the ears that looks crusty and appears to look like dead skin.    This type of dog mange can become very serious if left untreated as the egg laying and burrowing can eventually spread across the entire body.   Excessive hair loss and severely irritated skin can occur quickly.   If left untreated this type of mange can become very painful for your dog and his or her constant scratching will only worsen the condition.

If you go to a veterinarian, they will most likely sample one of the mites (they will try to scrape a mite from the skin).   Unfortunately this test is often inconclusive so many times the best approach is to simply and quickly start treating for sarcoptic mange and see if results improve. 

What are treatments for Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs?

A medicated dog shampoo is the first and most desirable option.   We prefer to stay away from strong chemical formulations and use an all-natural medicated dog shampoo such as Evolution Pets RenuPlex Extra Strength mange Shampoo.   Regardless of the shampoo, as you can imagine effectively killing all of the mites and eggs has to occur or the mange will simply return.  To this point, it is very important to follow the manufactures instructions and make sure the medicated shampoo is covering the entire affected area, and that it is left on long enough to kill  treat the mites and eggs.

One more point to remember, while treating, also be sure to wash your dogs bedding in hot water – you can be sure that eggs and mites have also made there way to these areas.  

How to treat Demodectic Mange in Dogs

2.           The next type of mange in dogs is Demodectic Mange.  The mites associated with demodectic mange are called demodex mites and survive by living on the dog’s skin.  The interesting thing to remember about this type of mite is that most dog’s actually have demodex mites living on them.   That’s right – most dog’ have demodectic mites on their skin, however they do not have Demodectic Mange. 

How is this possible?

For dog’s that have healthy immune systems, the mites do not multiply in large numbers and are always under control.  However, for dog’s that have weekend immune systems, the mites spread quickly and demodectic mange forms.   When canine demodectic mange forms you will see excessive and sometimes severe itching and the development of red spots.   Itching and licking can also cause secondary bacterial infections.   Left untreated you can see pretty significant bad spots, red and infected areas sometimes blood if the sore opens.   

Treating Demodectic mange is a 2-step process:  the first being to treat the infected area by killing the mites and their eggs.   The 2nd step is to rebuild the immune system.