In an ongoing series on the four types of mange in dogs today we will look at Sarcoptic mange, caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei (variety canis).
Sarcoptic mange, also called Scabies, is primarily a disease of dogs. If a person comes in close contact with an infected dog people may suffer severe itchiness. While this is usually a self-limiting problem, most people seek treatment because of the intensity of itchiness.
Sarcoptes scabiei (variety canis), like most parasites, is host-specific, meaning that they like to live on the host(s) they are best adapted for. They thrive poorly, if at all, on other hosts or off living things such as bedding.
An interesting side note: My sister brought home a puppy years ago that was carrying the Scabies mite and our entire family had to have treatment. Fortunately, I was grown and no longer living at home then!
While Scabies is typically a disease transmitted from dogs to people, there also is a human Scabies mite that can infect dogs. In cases affecting both people and dogs where people are exceptionally itchy the variety of Scabies mite may need investigation.
The effect of the Scabies mite on dogs is also intense itchiness. Many board-certified veterinary dermatologists say that there are only two things that will cause a dog to be so itchy he can’t eat: Scabies and Food Allergy.
In moderately advanced cases of Scabies there will be a typical pattern of hair loss that affects the entire body except for the very top of the back. This “Mohawk-stripe” on a very itchy, usually young dog will make any veterinarian think Scabies first.
There are rarely complications in Scabies cases (if people are not infected) and most pets recover quickly with treatment.
Like Demodicosis, treatment is aimed at killing the mites. Unlike Demodicosis these patients can be cured of Scabies and make a full recovery.
Like Demodicosis there are a variety of treatments your pet’s doctor may use. Avoid home remedies which may not only make your pet’s skin worse but can even be fatal in some cases.
To read about Demodicosis (red mange), click here.
To read about Cheyletiella (Walking Dandruff), click here.
To read about Otodectic Mange (ear mites), click here.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.