Mange is a skin disease that affects dogs. Mange in dogs is caused by different species of mites. Some of these mites are present on your dog at all times and some are not. Every type of mite has the ability to cause mange on dogs.
Sarcoptic mange on a dog is caused by microscopic mites that are transferred from host to host. Humans can transfer these mites between one another, and humans and dogs can transfer these mites back and forth.
Demodectic mange mites are the mites that live in the hair follicles of dogs. These mites are passed from a nursing dog to its litter by skin-to-skin contact. Most dogs live with these mites without consequence, but other dogs will develop demodectic mange from these mites.
There are certain breeds of dog that are more susceptible to mange. Breeds with bulldogs in their ancestry are included in this group, as are Beagles, Chihuahuas, Chows, Dalmations, Pugs, and Afghan Hounds. While these breeds are more prone to developing demodectic mange, no breed is immune.
Hereditary Mange in Dogs
Mange on dogs can have a hereditary component. Dogs that have had mange should not be bred because the offspring will have a greater chance of developing it. The siblings, parents and offspring of dogs with mange should not be bred from. The only exception to this general rule is dogs that have developed mange due to a weakened immune system that can be attributed to taking steroids.
Is Mange in Dogs Contagious?
Sarcoptic mange on dogs is contagious to other dogs, humans and animals. Demodectic mange on a dog is not transmissible to humans, and the mange is not typically transferred between dogs. The demodectic mite may jump from dog to dog, but it will not cause a mange outbreak on a healthy dog.
Mange Treatment for Dogs
Treatments for mange on dogs depend on the type of mange and your dog’s breed. Medications are given either orally or topically. Medications may also be given by injection or via shampoo. If your dog has sarcoptic mange, it will need to be isolated from humans and other pets. Your veterinarian will treat your dog with medications to kill parasites and reduce itching, medications to reduce inflammation, and medications to treat skin infections. You will notice results within four weeks.
Demodectic mange on a dog is treated in much the same way as sarcoptic mange. Your dog will not need to be isolated because it is not contagious. You will need to give your dog medication, bathe it, and keep its stress level low. The immune system can be further weakened by stress, so you should take care to keep your dog calm and quiet. No matter what type of treatment you and your veterinarian agree upon, your dog should have skin scrapes every two weeks. Your veterinarian will look for the presence of mites under a microscope. Once your dog has had two negative scrapes in a row, it will be considered free of mange.
If you notice fur loss on your dog, excessive scratching, or irritated skin, take your dog to the veterinarian. Mange is rarely fatal, but it is incredibly uncomfortable for your dog. The sooner mange is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.