If you’ve noticed spots of hair loss, lesions or excessive itching in your pup then he may be dealing with mange. While mange in dogs commonly affects strays that have been abandoned or neglected, even well-groomed, healthy dogs can find themselves suffering from this condition.
What is Mange in Dogs?
Mange is a skin condition caused by different kinds of mites that is characterized by crusty, scaly skin, hair loss, itching and redness. This highly contagious condition is treatable when properly identified. Mange in dogs can stem from direct contact with infected dogs, weakened immune system, genetic predisposition and more. The two most common forms of mange in dogs are sarcoptic and demodectic.
Sarcoptic mange – more commonly known as canine scabies – results from mites burrowing into your dog’s skin, causing itching and irritation. Female mites can lay eggs that will eventually hatch and prolong your pup’s illness.
Sarcoptic mange in dogs is extremely contagious, spreading from the infected dog to other animals and even to humans. Scabies is easily spread in kennels, day cares, shelters and other places where animals may come in close contact with each other. Symptoms appear anywhere from 10 days to eight weeks after initial contact with an infected animal. Some dogs carry the mites but never show symptoms, which can be dangerous for other animals that they may meet.
Initially, lesions appear on the stomach, chest, ears, hocks or elbows. They can spread quickly and cause severe itching and dandruff. Canine scabies can leave your pup open to potential yeast and bacterial infections that can exacerbate symptoms. In extreme cases, scabies can be fatal, especially when left untreated.
Diagnosing scabies involves taking skin scrapings and examining the sample for mites. Due to how the condition spreads, healthy and well-groomed dogs are at risk for catching this disease at any time. It is harder to identify scabies in clean pets because the crusts and scales have been removed through regular bathing, but symptoms like extreme itch can help solidify diagnosis.
Some cases of mange in dogs stem from a weakened immune system, which accounts for many instances of demodectic mange. Dogs naturally have small amounts of Demodex mites on their skin. However, when large numbers of these mites begin to inhabit hair follicles and sebaceous glands, your pup can experience Demodectic mange. The age that your pet experiences this condition and the range of the infected areas determines whether it fits into three classifications: localized, juvenile onset generalized, and adult onset generalized.
- Localized – Lesions usually extend to six or fewer areas of the body. These cases of mange occur before one year of age and generally clear up spontaneously after six to eight weeks.
- Juvenile Onset Generalized – This form is thought to be caused by an inherited immune system defect. This condition typically presents before one year of age but affects more than six areas.
- Adult Onset Generalized – Adult onset presents in the same way as juvenile onset but in dogs four years or older. Underlying causes like diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism and more should be identified and treated before treating the mange itself.
Treating Mange in Dogs
The treatment options for mange mainly focus on getting rid of the parasites and healing wounded skin. Since many treatments do not remove parasitic eggs, it may take several weeks to completely free your pet of mites. Haircuts, weekly dips in medicated shampoo and localized topicals can reduce irritation and infestation. In some cases, demodicosis clears up on its own, so there is no urgency to treat it.
You should focus on treating your infected pup along with any animals he may have encountered. Disinfecting your dog’s items can decrease the likelihood of an outbreak. You may need to isolate your pup from other animals for up to two weeks to prevent the condition from spreading further.
How Can CBD Help?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a compound found in Hemp plants known for its powerful properties, but it is not a substitute for seeking care from a vet. The soothing formula of Perfect Paws 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner calms itching, irritated skin and leaves your pet smelling fresh. Learn more about how CBD Shampoo can improve your pet’s skin and coat health.