Can't Get Rid of Mange

Reader Question: I have a 4 year old dog that I got from the pound 3 years ago. She developed Mange about 6 months ago. I have taken her to 2 different vets and she still has the mange.

The first vet said she had the Demodectic Type, however after looking at these pictures on your posts it looks more like scabies. She still has bare spots and is red and itching. Any words of wisdom? The medications and shampoos are not working. I have small children and am afraid this may effect them.

Dog Health Guide Editor Answer: Thank you for your question. As you mentioned, there are various kinds of dog mange or mite infestations. Symptoms may be of help in the identification of the problem, but confirmation can only be done through examining the characteristics of the dog skin condition under a microscope. Mange is highly contagious, which means it can be transmitted to other animals on contact including humans, so we completely understand your concern for your family.

Some symptoms may help to identify the type of mange, e.g. Canine Scabies is specifically characterized by severe itching, the appearance of crusts over the skin and is mostly generalized in nature, meaning is can spread all over the body.

Demodectic or red mange on other hand has two clinical forms, mild or severe. Demodex canis or the causative mite normally resides in the follicular base (base of the dog's hair) and only a large mite population can cause clinical mange in dogs. Moreover, itching is very mild or absent along with redness and hyper pigmentation of the skin. Other symptoms such as alopecia (hair loss), skin lesions and self injuries and generalized illness may occur in both types.

These differential symptoms may help to identify the type of mange your dog is suffering from, but a definite diagnosis can only be made based upon laboratory tests.

In either type of mange, i.e. demodectic (Red Mange) or Sarcoptic (Scabies), the recommended treatment is almost same.

First you must treat and clear the dog’s skin condition. You can do it with thoroughly bathing your pet with a shampoo containing cleansing and soothing agents. Lime – Sulfur dips are the approved treatment for mange in dogs, and you can prepare a solution as per manufacturer’s instructions. Several dips five days apart will eliminate all stages of mites, i.e. adult, larvae and eggs. On improvement, you can use tonics to improve skin and follicular health, so that recurrence of the condition can be prevented.

Usually recovery is confirmed by at least two negative skin scrapings, tested a month apart, but you can do it yourself by estimating the rate of recovery and reappearance of hair in any alopecic (area where there was hair loss) region.

Disinfection of an affected dog’s belongings and environment is another vital part of treatment. You should disinfect all floors, furniture and your environment/home with a quality disinfectant with the help of a sprayer. Wash all clothes and belongings of your dog with warm water containing a quality disinfecting detergent.

One cost effective way to treat mange at home is to buy a kit such as the one offered by Dermisil for Pet Mange. They offer a herbal shampoo, a lime-sulfur dip, and a safe environmental spray and sprayer called Benzarid. After treatment you can also apply a high quality homeopathic product such as Skin and Coat Tonic to help restore skin condition.

Be careful when you approach your dog and keep children away from your pet. The most appropriate approach is to isolate your dog completely for your family's safety (e.g.; keep your dog in one room or area that is blocked off from the family until treatment is complete).

We hope this makes it easier to get rid of mange once and for all.

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