Mange: 2 Types

This term is usually used to describe a skin disorder caused by microscopic mites within the skin layers and/or hair follicles. There are two types: Demodectic Mange, caused by the mite Demodex canis, and Sarcoptic Mange, caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. There are very distinct differences between them: Demodectic Mange is NOT contagious to other dogs, cats, or humans, while Sarcoptic Mange IS VERY CONTAGEOUS to humans and other dogs. Both mites are microscopic but the demodex mite usually is in large numbers and easy to find, while the sarcoptic mite number is low and very hard to find. Both are diagnosed by the veterinarian doing a skin scraping and seeing the live or dead mites under the microscope. More differences: Demodectic Mange is an immune deficient dermatitis, meaning the dog has little or no immunity against it, and Sarcoptic Mange is contagious and any and all dogs and humans can get it. The skin also responds differently: with demodex there is slight hair loss in the early stages around the face and forelimbs with little discomfort or scratching. In neglected cases the dog can go bald and have open infected sores. Sarcoptes causes an intense itch, a lot of discomfort and redness of the skin. In the early stages, the edges of the ears are usually irritated and very sensitive. It also can progress to baldness and open infected wounds in neglected cases. The treatments are different also. Demodetic Mange require weeks of treatment including injections of a parasitocide, and medicated bathes and sponge baths and no isolation. Because Sarcoptic Mange is so contagious, the afflicted dog should be kept in isolation until treatment is completed. This may require only one good bath and dip and cleaning of the environment, especially the bedding. Once the live mites are killed and eggs washed away the dog can be removed from isolation. All animals in contact with this form of mange should also be treated. Reoccurrence of Sarcoptic Mange is rare but dogs with Demodex can come down with it again if the immune system is challenged; however, it rarely shows up in dogs over 3 years of age.