Mange is a skin irritation caused by
parasitic mites which burrow under the skin. Some invade
the hair follicles. Mites are
tiny eight legged arthropods. There are three varieties of canine mange.
Demodectic mange (Red Mange), Sarcoptic
mange (Scabies) and Cheyletiella mange
are caused by a different mite.
cheyletiella mange are highly contagious, demodectic is not.
What are the symptoms of
Sarcoptic Mange is also known as Scabies.
Symptoms may vary but generally will include hair loss and
intense itching. The mites prefer to invade areas of the skin
that have less hair such as the belly, chest, ears, armpits
and elbows. These mites
cause crusting, small red bumps and sores that can become infected.
Dogs with scabies chew and bite at themselves and scratch with great
Sarcoptic mange is contagious to both dogs and humans.
Demodectic Mange, also known as
Red Mange and demodicosis
is caused by the demodex
canis mite. Demiodicosis is the name of the disease.
Demodectic Mange is not contagious to other animals or
The Demodex mite is found on
the skin of all dogs. They are passed on from mother to
puppy. However, if the dog or puppy
becomes run down or immunosuppressed,
for example, because of illness, stress or malnutrition then
the immune system cannot keep the mites under control and
large numbers of them cause the disease demodicosis.
This is complicated by the fact that Demodex itself
is thought to suppress the normal immune response.
Localized demodectic mange
Localized cases of
demodectic mange usually do not cause much itching but
may cause sores on the dog's skin, redness, scaly areas,
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, the ears and on the front legs and
paws. Secondary bacterial infection may cause
complications. Localized demodicosis usually affects no
more than one or two areas of the skin.
Signs of generalized demodicosis may include patches
that appear on the head, legs and trunk and can eventually spread all
over the dog's body. These patches generally develop into large areas of
hair loss, and the breakdown of skin leads to the formation of crusty
The picture at the top of the page depicts a
boxer with a severe case of demodicosis with a secondary bacterial
Juvenile demodicosis which occurs in puppies is sometimes
genetically inherited. Some breeds are more susceptible than others.
Included are: Afghan Hound, Alaskan Malamute, Airedale Terrier, Boxer,
Doberman Pinscher, English Bulldog, Great Dane, Old English Sheep Dog, Shar-pei, Scottish Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, Weimaraner and West
Highland White Terrier.
Juvenile demodicosis is easier to cure than adult onset demodicosis.
As the puppy's immune system matures it copes better with the overload
of mites. Healthy puppies with localized demodicosis often improve
without treatment but supportive care is recommended such as balanced
and healthy nutrition, giving deworming medication and keeping up to
date with vaccinations. Sometimes
antibiotics are required for secondary infections.
Adult onset generalized demodicosis is not usually
associated with genetic predisposition but sometimes as a result of other
conditions such as cancer, liver disease, kidney disease or steroid use
and therefore may be more difficult to treat successfully. Prognosis
often depends on the underlying disease.
Cheyletiella Mange is also known as walking dandruff. The mite is non
burrowing and lives on the surface of the skin. It affects mainly puppies and is caused by a large reddish mite that can be seen under a
magnifying glass. It will present as a bad case of dandruff over
the head, neck and back. It causes itching which may range from mild to
moderate. Not the extreme intense
itching that is seen with sarcoptic mange.
The mite is highly contagious
spreading by direct contact with other animals. It is frequently spread
in boarding kennels, dog grooming establishments and shelters.
and Treatment of Mange in Dogs
It is essential that you consult
with your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment
Your vet may perform a skin scraping from an area of hair loss and
look at this under the microscope. Often in the case of sarcoptic mange the mites may not be detected.
If the skin scraping test is negative that does not necessarily prove
that your dog does not have them it's just that they are difficult to
detect. Your vet will base diagnosis on presenting symptoms and history.
Treatment for demodectic mange is complicated and often lengthy.
Generalized Demodectic mange is usually treated with topical medications
such as shampoos and dips. Mitaban (Amitraz) is usually used as a dip
Ivermectin injections may be given over a period of time.
Some dogs (especially herding dogs) have a genetically determined
sensitivity to Ivermectin and may react adversely.
Additional diagnostic tests may be required for adult dogs that
have severe generalized demodicosis to discover the underlying cause
of the weak immune system.
Antibiotics may be prescribed for secondary infections.
Protection against Mange in dogs
is a spot on treatment which offers broad protection against common
internal and external parasites in dogs.
In some countries the product
is called Advocate and in others it is called Advantage
multi. It is
marketed under Advantage Multi in the US, Canada and New
Control of sarcoptic
mange in dogs
Control of Demodex mites in dogs
information please go to the
Bayer Advocate Website
Advocate has been shown
to eliminate 100% of sarcoptic mites (Sarcoptes scabiei) after a
single dose. Monthly application of Advocate will control any subsequent
sarcoptic mite infestation.
Advocate, applied at
monthly intervals for two to four treatments, is highly effective in
This article has
not been written by a veterinarian & should not be
considered a replacement for a veterinarian visit. The
articles are provided for informative purposes only. While
great care has been made in the creation of these articles,
we cannot guarantee the accuracy or omissions on these
pages. If in any doubt whatsoever, seek professional medical
advice from your veterinarian.