Mange in dogs

Mange is an ectoparasite infestation of the skin of animals which cause intense itchy skin condition. Mange in dogs is caused by two types of mites known as Demodex canis and Sarcoptes scabie. They are very small in structure and cannot be seen by the naked eye but only under microscope . Mite infestation in a dog varies from mild to severe.

Which dogs are highly susceptible to mange?
Certain breeds of dogs like Dobermans, Boxers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih-Tzus, Old English Sheepdogs and Shar-Peis are at increase risk to mange. Mange is highly susceptible in dogs having weak or impaired immune system and also in case of malnutrition. Although demodectic mange occurs in dogs of any age, puppies ranging from 3 months to one year of age is highly susceptible.

Demodectic mange in dogs
Demodectic mange or red mange is caused by dog mite, Demodex canis which lives in hair follicle and sebaceous gland of a dog.

Life cycle of Demodex canis: The entire life cycle is spend on the dog. The adult female lay their egg in the dog skin and develops into three legged larva. These larva develops into protonymph and gradually this protonymph develop into deutonymph and from this adult comes out. Entire life cycle takes 18-24 days in hair follicle or sebaceous gland. Male is present at or near the skin surface where as fertilized females deposits 20-24 eggs in the hair follicle. Larva and nymph are swept by sebaceous flow to the mouth of the follicle.

What are the signs and symptoms of demodectic mange in dogs?
Two forms of disease are recognized in dogs suffering from demodectic mange infestation. They are
(a) Squamous form- The skin colour of the dog becomes coppery red. There is loss of hair and several bald spots on the dog's skin is seen. The skin becomes thickened and wrinkled.
(b) Pustular form- It results from secondary bacterial infection. Pustule or abscess formation and sometimes blood comes out from the skin.The skin coat of the dog becomes usually dry, brittle and is full of crusts and scabs.

Sarcoptic mange in dogs.
Sarcoptic mange in dogs is caused by a burrowing mite dog mite, Sarcoptes scabiei and this mite burrows beneath the skin. Female mites lay eggs in these burrows and die. There is intense itching which may be due to allergic reaction to the mite.

What are the signs and symptoms of sarcoptic mange in dogs?
Loss of hair is the most common sign of mange infestation. There is intense itching and if the dog’s hair is less or thin in some part then one will notice that blisters and sores are present. Skin is damaged due to scratching, biting and rubbing of the skin. Sores red pustules, and yellowish crust are seen in the skin. Loss of hair and crusting usually appears on ear, face, abdomen and elbow. Secondary bacterial infection usually takes place and toxin develops in the body and there is toxemia.

How is mange diagnosed?
Mange is diagnosed on the basis of the following:
(a) History of itching
(b) Clinical signs like falling of hair, blisters and sores, dry wrinkled skin etc
(c) Skin scrapping with 10%KOH solution

How is mange treated in dogs?
Hair in the affected area should be clipped. Before application of medicine crust, scale and debris should be removed with medicated soap and shampoo. Specific treatment for demodectic mange is as follows:
(a) Ivermectin kills the mite
(b) Amitraz dip is conducted every 7 to 10 days. Mitaben is the product name of Amitraz
(c) Analgesic mite as powders or ointments killers are used for mild case of mange.
(d) Dip the dog in mite insecticide, lime, sulphur,
(c) Neem and Lemongrass have excellent natural repellent properties.
(d) A course of antibiotic should be given to prevent secondary bacterial infection

Can man get mange from dogs?
Demodectic mange is not generally contagious to people. However sarcoptic mange is highly contagious to man and its bite cause intense itching and rash. It heals after all the mites have died. It also spread from one dog to another.

What to do if your home has got mange mites?
Spray the carpet, furniture with a permethrin spray. Bleach furniture, linen, premises, cage or kennel and all contaminated objects. DE (diatomeacous earth) also kills the mites.

In what way to prevent and control mange?
(a) Don’t let your dog to come in contact with infected dogs
(b) Strict sanitary habits to be practised in your dog’s area
(c) Disinfect the premises, cage or kennel and all contaminated objects with bleach solution.
(d) Change bedding or any other materials that your pet has been sleeping on and thoroughly
disinfect the inside of the dog house daily
(e) Advise the dogs' owners in your area to treat their dogs against mange

Why does mange reoccur from time to time after successful treatment of mange?
Mange reoccurs from time to time after a successful treatment if the pup has weak immune system. The immune system does not mature until 1-11/2 year of age and if the pup suffers at 1 year of age, the immune system is still developing at that time and there is possibility that it will reoccur after some months. It will not always. Mange also reoccurs in older dogs because immune system often declines with age


  1. This is my first time to know about this mange and I found this topic was an interesting one. I enjoyed reading your article because of the information given here and I will share your blog to all my friends who have a dog at home. See more information about vets minster here.

  2. Hi there! I've read many posts about the dog, and I can tell that yours is very valuable. Mange is a skin disease caused by parasitic mites that targets mammals and is occasionally communicable to humans. When mange on dogs is found it is also often referred to as canine scabies or sarcoptic mange (sarcoptes scaboi) and its symptoms are severe itching, hair loss and the formation of scabs and lesions. See more

  3. If all people work together it can be less problematic.