Dog Mange

What is mange on a dog? Dog Mange is an infestation of skin mites (Sarcoptes scabei) that burrows into a dog’s skin. There are two main types of Dog Mange, Sarcoptic and Demodeptic and are sometimes known as Red Mange. Demodeptic and Sarcoptic Mange are the more severe types of mite infection, but there is another lesser known Mange which is Cheyletiellosis, known as “walking dandruff” caused by Cheyletiella yasguri mites.

Mange – Three different types?

Identifying the different signs and types of mange is the first step in combating the condition. There are two main types of dog mange, demodex and sarcoptic, and each comes with its set of challenges and solutions.

Also known as demodex or demodicosis, demodectic mange is caused by Demodex canis, a commonly occurring mite. These mites usually inhabit every dog, but problems begin when they overpopulate due to a weakened dog’s immune system that becomes unable to keep the mites in check.

Demodex in the skins hair follicles and sweat glands
Demodex Mite under microscope
Demodex Mite

Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei (microscopic spider-like mites). Also known as scabies, sarcoptic mange is extremely contagious between pets. It begins in one area of the dog’s body, and when left untreated, it can spread over the entire body.

Sarcoptes scabiei

Though demodex and sarcoptic are the more severe types of mites,there is another one that causes mange-like problems. Known as Cheyletiella yasguri mites, they cause Cheyletiellosis or “walking dandruff.”

Rarely does this condition cause the intense itching associated in common with the other two types of mange. Cheyletiellosis is generally easy to eradicate using topical, over-the-counter, flea treatments, see our page on MangeOpens in a new tab..Opens in a new tab.

Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs

Sarcoptic Mange is an infestation of skin mites (Sarcoptes scabiei) that burrow into a dog’s skin. Dogs of any breed and age can get mange or scabies. Typically, mites prefer feeding on areas that have relatively little hair. Prime spots include the abdomen, armpits, and elbows.

The ear margins are another common site that you might notice mange symptoms – especially if it’s a case of sarcoptic mites.

After burrowing under the dog’s skin, they mate, lay eggs, and die. The eggs hatch, become larvae, then mature into adults that plague your dog.

The whole process begins again unless treated. The adult mange mites are round-shaped, have four pairs of legs, and are 0.2–0.6 mm long. They are covered with tiny triangular spines. The female mites are almost twice as large as their male counterparts.

Dogs infected with mange mites become intensely itchy and restless. The mites can be easily passed on to other dogs and pets through indirect or direct contact.

Demodectic Mange in Dogs (Red Mange)

Demodectic Mange or Red Mange (demodicosis) is an inflammatory disease caused by the Demodex mite. The mites inhabit the hair follicles and skin of a dog and once there rapidly increase in number and thus the spread increases. It can lead to skin lesions, skin infections and hair loss.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange in dogs can be localized, which means it affects only specific areas of the body such as tummy or armpits etc, or it can be generalized, where it can affect the entire body.

Localized symptoms are generally mild, with small lesions occurring in patches particularly on the face, torso and/or legs.

If the symptoms are generalized, there will be more widespread lesions across the body. These symptoms can include alopecia, a redness of the skin (erythema) and the appearance on the skin of scales and lesions.

Causes of Red Mange

The demodex mite is a normal inhabitant of your dog’s skin. In small numbers, these mites cause no symptoms or problems and may actually serve an important role as part of your dog’s normal skin.

There are three mite species that have been identified to cause mange in dogs. The species of mite most commonly associated with demodicosis is the Demodex canis, which inhabits the skin and hair follicles and is believed to be transferred from mother to new-born puppies during nursing.

A Puppy with Mange

This means that nearly all dogs carry these mites yet very few dogs suffer any symptoms.

The problem comes when dogs have a compromised immune system, the mites then start to multiply unchecked, which then leads to demodectic mange and itchy skin, giving a red colouration to the skin which is where it gets the name Red Mange.

A case of Red Mange

Cheyletiellosis “Walking Dandruff”

This is by far the easiest type of Mange to spot and also the easiest to treat. As the nickname “walking dandruff” suggest your dog will have a considerable amount of dandruff.

The most common area for this is the back from shoulder to tail, however it may be localised in small areas or it could be that the entire coat is covered in dandruff.

Easier to see on black hair, easily missed on white hair

This dandruff is caused by the actions of the Cheyletiellosis mite living on but also delving into the keratin level of your dog’s skin (the outer level of skin) and can cause flaking and or crusting.

Caution for Humans

This type of Mange is transferable to humans.

Walking Dandruff is transferable to humans

Dogs can get this mite from other warm blooded mammals such as cats, rabbits and other dogs. The mite is about one third of a millimetre long.

Treatment for Walking Dandruff

The best method for treatment is to use a preventative course of flea prevention which will stave off any attack.

If you already have an infection then there are a numerous number of treatment available from any good pet store – if you want to see some our favourite products available online for this condition then go to our page on Mange Remedies here.Opens in a new tab.

General Overview of Mange

Mange can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog and is potentially contagious for other animals within your home. In some cases it can also be transmissible to humans causing itchy bumps on your skin.

Demodex Mite in a hair follicle

Your dog might develop sensitive sores, lose hair, be restless, and be in intense pain, causing much anxiety to you and your family. Your veterinarian can advise on appropriate mange medications and there are also many options available online or from your pet store.

Try to keep your other pets away from the dog with mange until treated and it’s safe to play together again. 

If not treated, the condition may worsen, leading to scabbing and scaling of the skin. Besides the medications prescribed by your vet, several home remedies can help eliminate the condition. From simple hygiene to diet and bathing to food additives, mange can be easily handled at home, making it easier for your pet and possibly cheaper for you. See our page on Mange Treatments.Opens in a new tab.

To avoid the possibility of repeat mange infestation, always remember to sanitize all the areas where your dog has visited. It’s also a good idea to wash their bedding or, if possible, replace their bed.

The Symptoms of Dog Mange?

Most of the mites prefer the parts of a dog’s skin with less hair, so typically the first places to look are the belly, armpits, and around and inside the ears. Symptoms of mange might not manifest for ten days to 8 weeks following infection. Some dogs can also be asymptomatic carriers. So if your dog catches the condition, it could be quite challenging to figure out where he contracted it. 

Putting Cheyletiellosis (walking dandruff) aside, both demodex and sarcoptic mange tend to present similar symptoms:

  • Hair loss
  • Red, irritated skin
  • Scaly/scabby skin
  • Sores from scratching
  • Little bumps where the mites have burrowed

With more advanced cases of mange, you might also see:

  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue as the itchiness may stop the dog from sleeping well.

Many of the available over-the-counter products contain ingredients such as sulphur or tar which help to kill the mange mites so be certain to do your homework if you have any allergies to these products.

Unfortunately, most of the early symptoms of mange resemble those associated with allergies, making them difficult to diagnose which is why pre-emptive treatments are best. 

How do you get rid of mange? 

Mange is a skin disease caused by a parasite called mange mite.  Mange causes severe itching, bald spots, and lesions in dogs. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of mange. Some dog mange solutions will require a visit to the veterinarian, although several are over-the-counter products. Also available are several home remedies worth trying.Opens in a new tab. 

This part of the article looks into what are some of the different types of treatment, and some of the popular home remedies. We also look at what you must avoid in your attempt at making your furry family member feel comfortable. 

Home Remedies for Mange

The last thing anyone would want is to assume that their beloved dog has one illness when it’s something else. Severe mange cases, particularly sarcoptic mange, don’t get better without prescribed medication from a veterinarian. Your vet may recommend topical or oral treatmentsOpens in a new tab. as shown in our page on Mange TreatmentsOpens in a new tab..

However, if you are in a situation where veterinary care is not accessible or readily available, you might consider trying some of the home remedies. The important thing is to always keep your dog’s health and well-being at the front of your mind. If such home remedies don’t work, be ready to visit the veterinarian.

Boosting the dog’s immunity and proper nutrition

Healthy dogs with good immunity are better placed to resist and fight parasitic infections. Mange can be prevented by keeping your dog’s immune system healthy with well-balanced and proper nutrition.

Consider adding dietary supplements that can help in relieving itching while boosting his immune system. Colostrum, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and MCT oil are helpful products. Giving him extra vitamin C, D and A also help in boosting immunity.

Before you make any dietary changes for your pet, first consult with your veterinarian or a certified animal dietician. This ensures the dog is being fed on a well-rounded diet.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax solution

Sponge bathing your four-legged pal with a Borax and Hydrogen peroxide solution is a popular way of treating mange. The solution kills the mites and heals the sores at the same time. Applying the solution regularly over several days helps get rid of mange, and a weekly or monthly application may keep it from recurring.

You can also try other topical products that soothe skin irritation such as RX 4 Pets Dog & Cat Skin Irritation Shampoo & Conditioner.Opens in a new tab. RX 4 Pets is made with organic, homoeopathic, and natural ingredients. This is a premium-quality product that features colloidal oatmeal that helps treat a variety of skin conditions, including mange

Aloe Vera for Mange

Whether you opt to use the Aloe Vera plant directly or the bottled version, it may not get rid of the mange but it can help soothe a dog’s infected skin, thus relieving the scratching and itching injuries. Applied evenly over the affected parts, this natural antiseptic has loads of anti-parasitic values that will deter movement of the parasites and help your pet feel better fast. 

You may want to use Aloe Vera after giving your dog a Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax bath. Note that if your dog eats the Aloe Vera, he may suffer from vomiting or diarrhoea.

Lemon and Garlic Mix on Mange

The acidic properties of lemon kill not only the mites but also gives Fido, a glossy and neat coat. Lemon also prevents itching and redness. Being an anti-parasitic, garlic inhibits the activities of mites that cause mange.

Boil the two ingredients together, wait till the solution has cooled and apply it on your dog. 

Do not use the lemon juice on its own as it can be an irritant.

Yoghurt on Mange

Applying unflavoured organic yoghurt has been used to treat a broad range of pet ailments. Acidophilus bacteria, the healthy bacteria found in yoghurt contains properties that can help to combat skin irritation. 

Take some pure yoghurt and gently apply it to your dog’s ears to treat discharge and mange’s crusting. If you are going to apply it elsewhere you may need a conical collar.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Mange

Packed with incredible healing properties, ACV helps fight off the mange causing mites. Mix one tablespoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in your dog’s meal to cure the itchiness and redness associated with mange.

Apple Cider Vinegar can also be applied directly to your pet’s skin. If your dog has sensitive skin, you may want first to test a small area to ensure no reaction. Avoid the dog’s face is you are using a spray.

Honey on Mange

Honey has powerful healing properties, and you can use it for many ailments for both humans and animals. Honey’s antioxidant, antiseptic properties help heal the tender, sore skin while building up the immune system. 

Honey can be applied directly to the sore spots on the skin for mange treatment. It can also be used to cleanse the pet’s skin of bacteria and the dirt or grime associated with mange. 

It is however very sticky and once again a conical collar may be necessary.

Barbados Nut Oil for Mange

Also known as Jatropha cruces, Barbados nut oil is excellent for sarcoptic mange. The oil is insecticidal, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and effective, particularly when you mix it with products that contain Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia). Only use Barbados nut oil for externally.

Olive Oil on Mange

Some owners have reported success in controlling mild cases of localized mange using olive oil.

Apply a thin layer of the oil to the affected areas of the dog’s skin. The oil helps to smother any mange mites present, re-moisturizes the skin, and also quells the itchiness.

Being completely harmless, olive oil is an excellent home remedy to try as it’s usually readily available. However, if dogs consume significant amounts of the oil, they may experience minor intestinal issues. Your biggest challenge will, therefore, be to prevent your dog from licking off the olive oil, so remember to use a conical collar.

Mineral Oil on Mange

Mineral oil is another good home remedy for mange in dogs. Ears are commonplace for mites, and mineral oil kills the mites on the skin surface. The face and ears are sensitive areas, and tending to them separately is recommended. Mineral oil is gentler in such sensitive areas. 

For mange relief, an excellent product to try is Pet Relief Natural Relief & Protection from Mange & Infections.Opens in a new tab. Before applying, always consult your veterinarian.

Any home remedies to avoid?

Do not try any home remedies which involve chemicals before consulting a pet professional.

Some pet owners have tried using kerosene or motor oil to treat mange and other skin conditions. Although these treatments are thought to suffocate the mites and kill them, they can be very irritating to the dog’s skin, and he may lick it off. Ingestion can then cause stomach issues, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and lack of appetite.

Your trip to the vet after this option may end up being very expensive

Can Humans get Mange from a Dog?

Yes, but most of the time, parasites and infectious diseases are relatively species-specific. For example, sarcoptic mites can only complete their full life cycles on dogs or other animals. However, you can still contract scabies from your dog. Consequently, you may suffer from itching and rashes.

Nevertheless, the variety of mites common in dogs can only infest humans for a few weeks before your immune system clears it. 

If you suspect your dog has sarcoptic mange, keep him off shared furniture, avoid very close contact, especially with kids, and wash their bedding. Wash your hands after treating or touching pets who have mange to prevent infection. 

Be aware that humans have their own version of scabies, but it’s not spread by animals such as dogs or cats, although the symptoms are also severe and require treatment.

If you suspect you have scabies, seek immediate medical treatment. The doctor will prescribe medications, “scabacides,” which kill both the mites and their eggs.

Conclusion about Mange

Mange is contagious and can be quite severe on pets. If you suspect your dog has the condition, schedule a vet appointment to get a professional diagnosis. Even as you try the above home remedies, it’s wise to consult a veterinarian because even a mild case of mange can snowball. 

Decontaminate your home to avoid re-infestation. Also, consider giving your preferred topical remediesOpens in a new tab. to all your dogs, including those showing no symptoms.  

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