Hair Loss Caused by Mites (Canine Scabies), or Mange in Dogs
Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious skin disease found in dogs, caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites will burrow through the skin causing intense itching and irritation. The scratching that results from mange is what causes the majority of the animal's hair to fall out. This is a treatable medical condition, but is highly contagious for other animals and humans. Pet owners are advised to keep the dog quarantined while it is being treated for mange.
- Intense scratching
- Skin rash
- Crust formation in the affected area
- Hair loss (alopecia)
The most common cause of mange in dogs is exposure to another infected animal, as the mites quickly move from animal to animal. Kennels, animal shelters, dog parks, groomers and veterinary clinics have a high exposure rate of mange due to the close proximity with animals that are infected. The exposure generally occurs about two to six weeks before the first symptoms of mange are displayed.
After ruling out food allergies, chiggers, and bacterial infections of the skin (folliculitis), your veterinarian will conduct a physicial inspection of your dog to identify the type of microorganism that may have embedded into its skin; in this case, mites.
Dogs that have a non-seasonal form of sarcoptic mange will likely be treated with a scabicide -- a drug that kills the itch mite. In some cases, the animal will be dipped in a scabicidal shampoo to kill all of the mites living in its skin. Ongoing treatment is necessary to kill all of the mites as the eggs will take time to hatch, and most treatments do not kill the eggs, only the living mites.
Living and Management
Complete response to the therapy may take between four to six weeks. Also, because of how contagious this type of mange is to humans and other animals, it is recommended you limit contact with the dog. In extreme cases, quarantining the animal may be required.
Humans who do come into contact with a dog infected with mange may develop a purplish rash on their arms, chest or abdomen. The issue will typically clear up once the dog with mahas been properly treated.
There are currently no known preventative measures for sarcoptic mange.