Sarcoptic mange is a fungal infection caused by the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. These microscopic mites can invade the skin of healthy dogs or puppies and create a variety of skin problems, the most common of which is hair loss and severe itching.
Sarcoptic mange is also known as Canine Scabies, and unlike the other common kind of dog mange, Demodectic mange, it is a highly contagious dog skin disease that is easily passed on from the affected dog to other animals. Even though the dog mites can infect other animals and sometimes humans, sarcoptic mites prefer to live on dogs, feeding on the nutrients that are available on the dog skin.
The Sarcoptes scabiei mite is also called the "itch mite". Sarcoptic mange produces intense, itchy skin rashes when the pregnant female mite tunnels into the dog skin and deposits its eggs in the burrows as it tunnels along. The larvae hatch, move about on the skin, and then mature into adult mites which then live 3–4 weeks inside the dogs skin.
The action of the mites moving within the skin and on the skin itself produces a very intense itch that will resemble an allergic reaction in appearance. The presence of the eggs produces a massive allergic response that, in turn, produces more itching. The sarcoptes mites burrow deeply in the dog skin, causing intense irritation and itchiness for the dog, resulting in the dog biting and scratching itself very badly.
Sarcoptic mange in dogs causes inflammation of the ears, elbows and hocks, chest and belly. If the inflammation spreads further to other parts of the dogs anatomy, it could lead to significant hair loss and crusting on the dog skin, particularly around the ears and elbow.
The intense itching that is caused by the sarcoptic mite is thought to be due to a severe allergic reaction to the mite. The severity of the dog scratching and biting usually results in skin damage and therefore, it is common to find that secondary skin infection is also common in dogs with sarcoptic mange.
Before trying home remedies as a mange treatment for dogs, it is advisable to take your pet to the vet to get a proper diagnosis. The diagnois of Sarcoptic mange can be difficult, and the usual method of identification is by doing skin scraping.
Dogs suffering from Sarcoptic mange should be isolated.
Once identified, treatment for mange in dogs is achieved using suitable topical methods. A combination of oral medication, topical shampoo and lime sulphur dip has been used in the past. However, the dip is toxic and needs to be used with care, particularly near the sensitive parts of the dogs such as its ears.
The usual prescription from the vet is a dog mange shampoo such as malaseb dog shampoo or malaseb wipes, but there are now other products available for use as a mange shampoo for dogs, such as the antifungal DermOpt dog shampoo which is used to bathe the dog twice a week to start with, reducing the frequency once the dog begins to show an improvement. Use DermOpt skin conditioning spray in conjunction with the DermOpt shampoo to complete the bathing routine
To prevent further infection or re-infection of sarcoptic mange, the dog's bedding, collars, leads, coats, blankets should either be thoroughly disinfected with a suitable sanitising product which cleans and disinfects.