Mange is a general term used to describe dermatitis caused by various species of mites. Sarcoptic mange, also called canine scabies, a highly contagious parasitic disease resulting from the burrowing of Sarcoptes scabiei mites into the skin. The mites have their entire life cycle on the dog. Male mites live on the surface of the skin where they move seeking mates. Mature females burrow under the skin where they live for about two months creating tunnels. After one month of tunnelling, an allergic reaction to mites, their eggs and feces occurs, causing intense itching. Transmission is only by contact. Canine scabies is a severely debilitating, highly contagious condition, which spreads through close contact between infested dogs and can infect humans.2
The allergic reaction to the mite's eggs, saliva, and feces occurs as red papules and vesicles that are followed by appearance of crusts formed of dry lymph. The the skin becomes thickened and wrinkled. The hair that is deprived of blood supply fall out creating bald patches. Lesions typically start on the abdomen, chest ears, elbows and hocks. Secondary bacterial infections make the condition worse. When large areas of skin are affected, progressive emaciation and death occur. Sarcoptic mange is treated with selamectin spot-on (Stronghold®) and ivermectin, both of which are very effective.1 All dogs that have contact should be treated. Because Sarcoptic mites are able to cross-react with house dust mites in allergy testing, a trial treatment in very itchy patients is strongly recommended.4
- F. Albanese, F. Leone, G. Ghibaudo. FC-44 The therapeutic effect of selamectin and ivermectin regimens in canine sarcoptic mange.
- Albert O. Bush, Jacqueline C. Fernández, Gerald W. Esch, J. Richard Seed. Parasitism: The Diversity and Ecology of Animal Parasites
- Drug Therapy for Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. Valerie J. Wiebe
- Canine atopic dermatitis: detailed guidelines for diagnosis and allergen identification