Mange is a skin disease caused by mites, which lodge in the dog’s skin or fur and live there. It is commonly known to be itchy, and it can also cause injuries.
In dogs, there are three types of mange: sarcoptic or scabies, otodectic and demodec. Sarcoptic can be localized or spread throughout the animal’s body, causing itching and injuries, and is transmissible to other pets and humans.
Otodecic affects the ear of dogs, and can also be transmitted to animals that have come into contact with the infected pet. Humans are hardly affected by this scabies, as it would be necessary to put the dog’s and guardian’s wax in contact.
And finally, demodectic mange is genetically inherited – that is, it does not threaten anyone who comes into contact with the infected dog – and does not necessarily manifest itself throughout the animal’s life. Even when this occurs, it may not cause itching.
Although scabies can cause problems ranging from itching and injuries to reduced quality of life and contagion to other beings, the veterinarian Marcia Sonada, from Clínica Derme for Pets, reassures the tutors: “When the diagnosis is made correctly, the treatment and prognosis are excellent”, he says.
How do I know if my dog has mange?
Intense itching, excessive paw licking and emergence of lesions are warning signs for tutors. Hair loss can be indicative of demodectic mange, while head shaking a lot can be related to otodectic mange.
“The precise diagnosis must be performed by the veterinarian through clinical evaluation and complementary exams, such as skin scrapings”, reinforces the veterinarian. Raniere Gaertner, professor at UniAvan. Therefore, it is essential to seek a specialist in case of suspected scabies.
How is the treatment done?
Once the diagnosis is in hand, the veterinarian will determine which course of action to follow, according to the type of scabies in question. Topical and/or oral medications may be required, depending on the case.
In addition, Dr. Márcia states that it is very important to pay attention to the type of scabies, since sarcoptic and otodecic are transmissible. In these situations, concomitant treatment may be indicated in other animals that have frequent contact with the infected dog.
How to avoid contamination?
“It is necessary to avoid contact with suspicious animals and with areas known to be contaminated or visited by stray animals that may be carriers. The preventive use of ectoparasiticides, for topical application or oral use, can be an important weapon in the prevention of contamination by scabies mites”, recommends Dr. Raniere.
For already contaminated dogs, be sure to isolate the animal in order to prevent it from contaminating other pets or even humans. It is also necessary to sanitize the environment and your clothes and objects. Dr. Márcia recommends the use of suitable products and boiling water.
In the case of humans, Dr. Márcia says that contagion is not so easy. “It’s not ‘touched it, caught it’”, says the specialist. But for tutors who sleep with pets, for example, the risk of contamination may be greater.