Your dog is constantly licking and scratching himself, and he is losing fur. Is it possible that he has mange? Parasite mites cause mange on dogs. While a variety of diseases could be causing your dog's itching, it's critical to prepare yourself with knowledge regarding mites on dogs. Mange is a skin illness that, while usually manageable, can be contagious and dangerous at times. Continue reading to learn more about dog mange and how you may help your itching pup.

What is Mites on Dogs

If you follow dog news, you've probably seen an extreme instance of mange. It's a prevalent skin ailment in stray, neglected, or abused dogs and puppies. These canines look hopeless, with bald skin, ulcers, or thickened, hard, crusty patches. These dogs' skin is frequently described as having turned to stone.

mites on dogs

It's a horrific, painful affliction, but as evidenced by the news's numerous "miracle dog" stories, even severe instances may be efficiently treated.

Mange, in general, is a skin ailment caused by an infestation of mites, which are microscopic parasitic arachnids related to ticks. The term comes from the French word mangeue, which means "to eat or itch." Mange impacts many different types of animals, including humans.

Varieties of the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, which also causes human scabies, cause the most severe form of mange. All domestic animals have some mange, albeit many varieties of mange mites only infect one species. They are spread between animals through direct contact as well as through objects that have come into contact with diseased animals. Most types of mange are curable.

What Type of Mite: Sarcoptic or Demodectic?

There are two varieties of mange, and the type your dog has will be determined by the type of mite causing the condition. Sarcoptic mites are the most common cause of mange (also called scabies). Your dog can pick these parasites from another animal or contaminated bedding and pass them on to you.

mites on dogs

On the other hand, demodectic mites are naturally found in your dog's fur roots (called hair follicles). During the first few days of life, they are transmitted from mother to pup. Normally, a dog's immune system controls demodectic mites. However, mange epidemics can develop if the mite count becomes uncontrollable.

mites on dogs

Sarcoptic Mange - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Sarcoptic mange is a contagious skin illness caused by mites in hair follicles. Sarcoptic mange can be a severely debilitating and, in some cases, fatal condition.

Sarcoptes scabiei is the causative agent of scabies and sarcoptic mange. Adult mites will mate on their surface before burrowing deeper into the skin layers to lay their eggs. When these eggs hatch, the larvae travel to the skin's surface and begin to feed on it. Larvae develop into nymphs, who subsequently develop into adults. Within three weeks, the life cycle is complete.

Scabies typically affects dogs who have been starved or neglected and those with weakened immune systems. It occurs less frequently in healthy dogs in loving families.

Causes of Sarcoptic Mange

Direct exposure with an infected animal or human spreads sarcoptic mange. These minuscule mites must feed on a host and do not survive in the environment for lengthy periods. They can survive in the surroundings for up to 36 hours before becoming infected.

Scabies is frequently transmitted through dog-to-dog contact. These mites are especially common in regions where diseased dogs and foxes congregate. Dogs can easily spread scabies in daycares, dog parks, shelters, and some breeding facilities.

Scabies is not caused by poor hygiene but can be exacerbated by neglect or a compromised immune system. Animals with weakened or developing immune systems and those with other underlying medical concerns are more vulnerable to mange infestation.

Symptoms of Sarcoptic Mange

Clinical signs of sarcoptic mange include: 

  • Severe itching 
  • Alopecia or hair loss
  •  Excoriations which means self-inflicted superficial or deep wounds

Raised bumps such as papules are commonly observed on the chest or all over the body. Because this mite prefers to enter hairless skin, thick-crusted skin is most noticeable around the margins of the ears, ankles (hocks), armpits, and elbows. However, these mites can infect the entire body.

Secondary skin infections are frequently encountered due to skin lesions, which can manifest as crusted lesions (collarettes) or draining/weeping wounds.

mites on dogs

Because of the extreme itching and painful skin conditions, depression decreased appetite, and tiredness might ensue. Weight loss is a possible clinical symptom resulting from the energy wasted with frequent and severe scratching. Lymph nodes might swell as a result of widespread infection. Localised scabies infection occurs when lesions, hair loss, and itching are limited to one area of the body.

It is crucial to remember that scabies should always be evaluated and treated in cases of sudden, acute itching in dogs, especially in younger dogs, to avoid the progression of symptoms.

How to Treat Sarcoptic Mange

Anti-parasite drugs are administered to dogs suffering from sarcoptic mange. A topical medication, such as monthly lime sulphur dips (rarely suggested), selamectin (Revolution), and fipronil, may be recommended by your veterinarian (Frontline). Your veterinarian may also suggest systemic therapy. Oral systemic therapies include selamectin (Revolution), imidacloprid-moxidectin (Advantage Multi), and ivermectin used off-label. Vets rarely administer oral selamectin or imidacloprid. Some breeds, such as collies, have ivermectin sensitivity that must be considered.

Nexgard and Bravecto are two of the most recent therapies for scabies. These oral drugs are flea preventatives, but they have also been shown to be quite successful in treating mites.

Your dog may also receive care for any secondary bacterial or yeast infections that have developed due to a scabies infection. Your veterinarian may also recommend medicated baths or anti-itch drugs to prevent further self-inflicted injury from biting and chewing. An Elizabethan collar, often known as an e-collar, may be prescribed on rare occasions. To limit the likelihood of recurrence, all other dogs in the home should also be treated for sarcoptic mange.

mites on dogs

Recovery and Prevention of Sarcoptic Mange

The severity of the infection determines how quickly you recover from sarcoptic mange. Canines with small infestations recover faster than dogs with severe infestations. In more severe cases, it might take weeks to months for the itching to subside and the skin to begin to repair itself.

To reduce the risk of re-infection with sarcoptic mange, oral or topical flea/tick/mite preventatives should be taken monthly or tri-monthly. A clean environment and a clean residence are important in controlling scabies. Mange is less common in well-cared-for, washed, nutritionally sound dogs who sleep in clean bedding and crates on a regular basis.

Demodectic Mange - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Demodectic mange, often known as red mange, is a parasitic skin ailment caused by Demodex canis (the most prevalent), Demodex injai, or Demodex cornei mites. It seems to be cigar-shaped with eight short legs under the microscope.

This mite species is a common resident of the hair follicle; however, it is usually not hazardous. These mites do not affect their hosts if the immune system is healthy. Dogs with immature or impaired immune systems which allow this mite to overgrow will exhibit clinical symptoms such as hair loss and red, scaling skin sores.

mites on dogs

The mite generally lives in small numbers in the skin's hair follicles. Because of the pup's undeveloped immune system, Demodex is most commonly transmitted from mother to puppy while sucking milk.

Causes of Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mites on dogs often dwell on the skin and gain from their host while inflicting no actual harm. Mange occurs when the mite overgrows at the hair follicle. It is more common in dogs with weaker immune systems, such as puppies whose immune systems are still developing, and older dogs with underlying conditions that cause immune system deficiency.

Demodex can be found on all of our skin, including that of healthy canines and humans. When the immune system is suppressed, the skin overgrows, resulting in itching and mange. This mite is normally only shared between dogs as puppies, and it is most typically passed from mother to puppy.

Demodectic Mites on Dog - Symptoms to Look For

The following are clinical indications of demodectic mites on dogs:

  • Alopecia areata (hair loss)
  • Skin scaliness
  • Pimples on the skin (papules)
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Skin thickening

Itchiness differs depending on whether the lesions are limited to a certain place or spread across the body.

mites on dogs

Lesions in pups commonly develop around the face and head as a result of feeding on the mother's teat, although lesions can occur anywhere on the body. Pain, lethargy, fever, draining sores, and skin swelling may be observed in more severe cases of generalised demodectic mange. If the mite gets into the ear canals, it can cause ear infections.

How to Treat Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mites on dogs may not always necessitate therapy. Most cases of demodectic mange that are limited to a small area of the body may recover spontaneously in 1-2 months without therapy. Topical medications such as moxidectin and imidacloprid can be used to treat other types of localised infections.

If demodectic mange becomes widespread, treatment is suggested to alleviate symptoms. The most prevalent type of therapy is miticidal treatment (oral or topical), which includes ivermectin, milbemycin, doramectin, amitraz, fluralaner (Bravecto), afoxolaner (Nexgard), sarolaner (Simparica), and lotilaner (Credelio). Ivermectin should never be given to dogs who have MDR1 mutations. Genetic testing can be used to determine this mutation.

mites on dogs

Miticidal medication is administered until two consecutive negative skin scraping or hair plucking tests are obtained. Benzoyl peroxide shampoos are frequently recommended because they open and flush the hair follicles, allowing dip and topical treatments to penetrate more effectively. Before using these medications, you should examine the risks and benefits with your veterinarian.

Secondary skin infections can emerge due to inflammation and necessitate antibiotic treatment. Before treating the demodectic mange, it may be required to treat the skin infection.

It is also recommended that dogs with broad Demodex infections avoid reproducing because the disease is suspected of having an underlying genetic and immune system aetiology that contributes to mite overgrowth.

Recovery And Prevention of Demodectic Mites on Dogs

Most dogs with mange heal successfully if adequate therapy is administered on time. Secondary infections and underlying systemic sickness are frequently the culprits in dogs requiring long-term care.

Mange can be lethal in dogs that receive ineffective treatment or untreated underlying medical issues.

Demodectic mites on dogs do not necessitate environmental cleaning because it does not typically spread between dogs, but a monthly or tri-monthly miticidal preventive is still advised. Unless otherwise ordered by your veterinarian, dogs should continue to be on regular miticidal preventatives to avoid infection from other types of mites, fleas, and ticks.

Are Mites on Dogs Contagious to Humans?

Humans are susceptible to sarcoptic mange. However, this type of scabies is not the same as human scabies. Itchy pimples can appear within 24 hours of exposure and last for three weeks. Sarcoptic mites cannot complete their life cycle on human skin and will die as a result. A dog is infectious with sarcoptic mange until 36 hours after appropriate therapy has begun and the surroundings have been thoroughly cleansed.

mites on human

Demodectic mange is not infectious to humans or other animals. Demodex mites are passed from mother to puppy during the first few days of life. Because the mite is found on almost all dogs, exposing a healthy dog to a dog with demodectic mange is not harmful, as the immune system must be suppressed for mange to develop.

If your dog is suspected of having sarcoptic mange, you should keep them away from shared furniture, wash their bedding, and avoid close contact, especially with children.

It would be best to restrict close contact with other dogs outside of the house until the infection has healed. If one dog has sarcoptic mange, all other dogs in the house should be treated for it, even if they don't display symptoms.


How to Get Rid of Dog Mites in Your Home

First and foremost, mange treatment for dogs is what you'll think about when you notice mange in your dogs. At the same time, you need to take care of the house. So how to get rid of dog mites in your home?

Keep Your House Dust Free: You may get rid of this mite quickly by vacuuming and dusting often.

Vacuum all the surfaces in your home, paying specific attention to areas where dust mites tend to adhere and burrow, such as carpets, furniture, and clothing.

Following vacuuming, thoroughly clean all stationary things that can collect dust, such as telephones, vases, shelves, tables, and so on.

Declutter Your House: At the first indication of mite infestation, get rid of any places they can live, such as heaps of newspapers, laundry piles, carpets, bedding, etc.

prevent mites on dogs

You may wish to add a few drops of tree tea oil and lemon juice when doing your laundry, an effective home cure for mites.

Wash Regularly: Dust mites prefer to live in bedding and household materials. During a mite infestation, you should wash all bedding, including your bed and your dog's bed, and household materials (such as pillows, curtains, and blankets) in hot water once every 1-2 weeks.

Use Dust-proof Coverings: After cleaning, cover your bed, mattress, and pillow with dust-proof coverings to protect yourself from mites and avoid the formation of dust mite waste particles, which can cause allergic reactions.

If your dog sleeps with you, wrap mattresses and pillows in airtight plastic and secure the zipper with tape. However, I propose that you purchase a separate bed for your dog.

Dry Paws super soft, luxurious faux fur Calming Pet Bed is an excellent option. Calming Pet Bed is made with extra padding, designed to provide your pet with a comfortable spot to rest. It can be washed in the washing machine. As a result, you can clean it whenever you want.

Maintain a Lower Temperature: High humidity and warm temperatures are ideal conditions for mites. To keep your home cool, use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner. Try to preserve the humidity level in your home between 30% and 50%.

If you use air conditioning, make sure to change the filters regularly. If you use vents, you should consider using HEPA filters to collect mites and their excrement as they pass through effectively.

Spray Insecticide: A bug-killing insecticide may be employed as a last resort when exhausted with all other options. However, keep in mind that insecticide has a strong odour that might be unpleasant.

Use Air-purifier: Even in the company of dogs or cats, Dry Paws' air purifier maintains your home spotless. You can rely on our True HEPA Filter to collect the hidden dog dander polluting your house, resulting in improved air quality without the release of negative ions or the creation of a heavy atmosphere. We encourage dusting the True HEPA Filter every two weeks and changing it every six months with regular use. If you need additional replacement filters, please get in touch with us.

Final Words

Mites on dogs are a prevalent problem. But we don't want our furry friend to suffer in any way. Mange treatment for dogs is available, but it is easily avoidable. So, before your dog suffers, you should concentrate on that. Maintain a regular cleaning schedule. Use the advice we've provided. We hope that our writing might assist you in any manner.

April 03, 2022 — Inamul haque