Canine Scabies Treatment

Summary:

"Canine scabies, or Sarcoptic mange, is caused by a mite. It can cause your dog's skin to itch, and you may notice red bumps and a scaling or hardening of the skin. Skin infections may result due to scratching of affected areas.

Options for canine scabies treatment include prescription and over the counter approaches. Both can be highly effective. It is contagious, so all dogs and pets that have been in contact with the infected dog should be treated."

Overview

Vets will often recommend that treatment starts prior to confirming the presence of mange mites (mites are sometimes missed or are removed by the scratching dog). Antibiotics may be needed for any infection that results from scratching. Treatment lasts 4 weeks for most dogs, but can be extended to 8 weeks for larger infestations. Be sure to disinfect areas where your dog lives to avoid a repeat case of the problem.

Puppy Scabies
Puppy With Scabies
A Lime Sulfur Dip Such as Naturasil is a frequently used canine scabies treatment and home mange remedy

Sarcoptic Mange Home Remedy

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The safest mange home remedy for scabies in dogs is to use a lime-sulfur dip such as the over the counter product Naturasil, with one treatment every 5 days until the condition clears. Lime-sulfur is the FDA approved way to treat canine mange and scabies. The Naturasil product has the added advantage of being mixed into the shampoo before use, making the treatment feel familiar to your dog.

If using a dip as your canine scabies treatment approach, typical instructions are to prepare a tub with the medication and put your dog in it for 15 minutes. Use gloves to ensure that you do not catch scabies from your pet and use in a well ventilated area.

Prescription Mange Treatment

For severe generalized cases (where the mange spread over your dogs body), then glucocorticoid therapy may be helpful during the first 3 to 5 days. The prescription medication ivermectin may also be of help. This medication can have side effects in herding dogs (Collies), so your vet may try a short trial to see how your dog tolerates the medication. Side effects include tremors and lack of muscle coordination (ataxia).  Treatment lasts 3 to 4 weeks.

If you are using a prescription dip, as an added step a bath in a benzoyl peroxide shampoo such as Pyoben might help when used before the first treatment. Be sure to follow the dip manufacturer's directions. Mites live in hair follicles and benzoyl peroxide helps the hair follicles cleanse themselves of the dying mites. Since benzoyl peroxide is drying, you will need to use a moisturizing conditioner after the baths. The Naturasil approach combines both steps by mixing the lime-sulfur active ingredient into the shampoo you currently use on your pet, making the treatment feel familiar to your dog.

It is not unusual for your dog's condition to worsen during the first days of treatment. Depending on the severity of the mange, treatment can be as short as 4 weeks to as long as 8 weeks.

Other additional treatment approaches including cutting the hair around the papules or lesions, cleaning any wounds and the use of antibiotic ointment to avoid infection.

To speed healing and provide extra support, a homeopathic such as Skin and Coat Tonic may be of some help.

Canine Scabies on Humans

It is possible for humans to be infected with the scabies mite after close contact with a dog. Symptoms are itch and skin irritation. Most cases occur on the arms. The condition lasts several days and will resolve on its own.

Prevention & Elimination

For scabies in dogs be sure to thoroughly clean both the indoor and outdoor areas where your dog lives to make sure that all mites are removed. Use an indoor safe cleaner such as Benzarid.

References for Canine Scabies Treatment

Hound Health Handbook

Canine Scabies: An Update
Didier-Noel Carlotti, Doct.-Vét., DECVD
Cabinet de Dermatologie Vétérinaire, Heliopolis B 3
Bordeaux-Mérignac, France (EU)