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Dog Care: Understanding Mange

Mange is a skin disease caused by mites that burrow under the skin, which causes your dog to develop an intense itch. The mite responsible, Sarcoptes scabiei, can live on animals and humans, so if your dog develops this highly contagious condition, you should separate them from other animals and keep human contact to a minimum. Dogs exposed to large numbers of other animals are at an increased risk of developing mange, and dog parks, kennels and groomers are places that infected dogs can easily transmit mange to other dogs. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for mange:


Symptoms of mange typically appear around a month after being exposed to another animal with the condition, and the most common symptoms of mange are itching and skin irritation, which leads to hair loss. This can affect only certain areas of your dog, such as the legs or abdomen, or it can be widespread across their body. Your dog may also develop crusts on affected area of their skin, and scratches can become infected with bacteria and weep a clear or cloudy discharge.

Diagnosis And Treatment Approach

Your vet will diagnose mange by taking details of your dog's symptoms and conducting a thorough physical exam. They will take skin cell scrapings, which will be analyzed to confirm the presence of the mites and determine if a bacterial infection is present. Blood samples may also be taken to check organ function and inflammatory markers.

Mange can be treated with a topical scabicide, which is often administered as a shampoo and is an effective way to kill mites. Treatment needs to be repeated at regular intervals for around two months, as it does not kill eggs. Repeating the treatment over several weeks ensures any eggs that have been laid on your dog will have hatched and all mites will be eradicated. If your dog has a bacterial infection, they will be given topical or oral antibiotics, and it may be necessary to clean infected areas of their skin each day. Your vet will provide advice on how to minimize the risk of other animals and people contracting the mange mite from your dog during treatment, and in some circumstance, inpatient care may be required to prevent the spread of the condition.

If your dog has symptoms associates with mange, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to prevent them experiencing unnecessary discomfort. For further questions you may have, reach out to a profession like those at Third  Street Veterinary.