Mange In Dogs

What is Mange in Dogs?

Dr. Lindsay Kendrick

Jun 9, 2023

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Mange is a skin condition that is caused by microscopic mites. These mites can be of two different types in dogs. One of the mites lives just under the skin, while the other lives in the hair follicles. Both cause dogs to lose hair, itch, and have large, crusting patches of skin all over their body.

Mange can lead to lots of other secondary health issues in animals, and pets that have had mange for a long time can eventually die from secondary infections. The mites that cause mange are usually no trouble for dogs who are healthy, but dogs with underlying health issues or dogs in situations of neglect can end up with a mange that is severe enough to require treatment.  

What are the Types of Mange?

Demodectic Mange 

Demodectic mange is caused by mites that live in the hair follicles. This is the most common mange for dogs to get since all dogs have some of these mites on their skin. So long as the immune system is in good order, the dog will have no trouble with the mites that they are hosting. However, puppies or animals that have a compromised immune system are much more likely to experience mange due to these little pests that are living on their skin.

This kind of mange is not contagious to humans or other animals. The animal that has this condition will be increasingly uncomfortable without treatment. The original hair loss will take place on the face, especially around the eyes. The bald patches will eventually spread out over the entire body, however.

Sarcoptic Mange 

Sarcoptic Mange is also known as scabies. This is a highly contagious form of the condition. The parasite, in this case, lives just beneath the skin and causes intense itching, bleeding wounds, and scabby skin. This mite is contagious to humans, and it is highly contagious to other dogs. Dogs with this kind of mange will need to stay away from other dogs until they have stopped showing the progression of the condition.

Sarcoptic mange typically shows up on the ears first and then spreads out over the body. The extreme itchiness of this condition is often what first alerts owners that there is something wrong. The more advanced cases with this condition might have severe skin thickening and skin plaques due to secondary infection, scratching, and skin inflammation.

Both kinds of mange can be passed to puppies from their mothers within the first few days after they are born. This is because the puppies do not have a fully-formed immune system when they are young. This is also one of the reasons that stray dog populations are usually teeming with mange. Juvenile onset mange can be quite serious, and puppies that have this health risk might need a lot of extra care before they can be considered out of the woods.

How is Mange Diagnosed?

Your vet will need to see your dog in order to provide a diagnosis for the condition. Skin scrapings will usually be taken and looked at under a microscope to see if there are mites on the slide. Each kind of mite looks different, so it is pretty simple for a vet to diagnose which kind of mange your dog has. The Demodectic mites look like a cigar, while the sarcoptic mange mite is circular in shape. Both mites also drop eggs on your pet’s skin and hair, which can hatch about three months from when they have been laid.

It is very rare that a dog should have to be hospitalized for this condition, as the vast majority of dogs go back home with their owners to go through the treatment process. Pet owners should be aware that treatment can take some time, and they should not expect overnight results for their pet.

The slow rate of healing associated with mange is often why prevention is the best method when it comes to mange. Make sure that you do not ignore signs of a weakened immune system or symptoms of itchy skin. The symptoms of mange can mimic some other skin problems, but your vet can easily identify which of the various possible problems your dog might have. Waiting for your dog to get worse or to show specific symptoms will only make it harder to clear up the mange.


Mange treatment is done by clipping off hair adjacent to the damaged skin and sometimes by providing a pet with baths using a medicated shampoo. Topical applications can also be applied to the areas of the skin that have issues, or oral medications can be provided, depending on the type of mange found. Oral antibiotics areThis might be selamectin or imidacloprid-moxidectin treatments that can be used over a series of a few weeks to kill the mites. Oral treatment is sometimes also necessary to deal with the infection. 

VEG is Here if Your Dog Has Mange 

Many people believe that their pet cannot get mange because it is not a stray. While it is much more likely that dogs that are not receiving proper care or any care at all might end up with mange, pets of all ages and breeds can get mange. Be on the lookout for this problem if your dog is going through cancer treatment or if they are older. You should also be sure that you take the early warning signs of mange seriously if you see them in puppies.

 The sooner that animals get treatment for mange symptoms, the better. Not only is this condition very uncomfortable for dogs, but it can also be life-threatening if it gets severe enough. Assuming that your pet will never get mange is silly, as any dog with a compromised immune system can get mange. Keeping the house clean and keeping your pet indoors more often than not can help to make sure that your dog doesn’t have trouble with mange. However, if your pet’s immune system is not as it should be, there is a chance that they can end up with an infestation of the mites that lead to fleas.

If you have any questions about mange in dogs or want additional advice, contact VEG by calling one of our locations. Our teams are available 24/7 to help guide you in the best direction in order to make sure your pet gets the care they need as soon as possible.