A Pet Owner's guide to mange in dogs and cats

Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies)

Mange Mite Scabies is a parasitic dermatosis (a disease or inflammation of the skin) caused by acarine mites living on or within the skin of the host animal. Exposure to these mites and corresponding incidence of parasitic dermatosis are closely related to environmental factors, especially animal contact and the presence of mites in endemic (particular locales or regions) areas.

Sarcoptic mange is an intense itching dermatosis of dogs caused by the epidermal mite Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis. Although fairly host-specific, the mite can affect cats, fox, and humans. In cats, an underlying disease such as feline immunodeficiency virus infection is likely.

Although the causative mites are not completely host-specific, they do exhibit host preference. They also have zoonotic (A disease which can be transmitted between animals and people) potential for causing dermatosis in humans.

  • The adult mite is microscopic and roughly circular in shape
  • The parasite completes its life cycle in 17-21 days in tunnels and molting pockets in the top layer of the skin. It can live in the environment for up to 21 days.
  • Scabies is HIGHLY contagious and is primarily transmitted by close contact, but grooming instruments and kennels may be point sources for other animals.
  • The incubation period is highly variable and is dependent upon the numberj of mites present and the time required for the development of hypersensitivity to the mite.
  • Skin changes are often completely out of proportion to the number of mites present, suggesting that hypersensitivity plays an important role in the course of the disease.


The typical distribution pattern involves the ventral portion of the chest, the lateral aspect of the elbow and hock, and the ear margins


  • Performing a superficial skin scrape from non-exocriated areas, with emplasis on the ears, elbows, hocks and ventral thorax.
  • Even with multiple scraings, the mite is often difficult to find; often only the large oval eggs or small foci of brown fecal pellets can be found. But these ae of diagnostic significance.


  • Lym dips - a series of 6-9 treatments is recommended.
  • Revolution - applied once monthly for treatment and prevention. (Evaluation of the animal's heartworm status before applying is required)
  • Treat ALL animals in contact with the patient on the premises
  • The animal's environment must also be treated.

Demodectic Mange (Red Mange)

Mange Mite Demodicosis (also known as blood mange) is a skin disease caused by small mites not visible to the naked eye. The mite resides and feeds in the hair follicle and oil glands of the skin. All dogs have a small population of mites, but only certain animals will show the disease. In some cases, the tendency to develop demodex mange runs in "families".

The disease is seen in two forms in the dog. There is the LOCALIZED form where only a small area of the body is involved and the GENERALIZED form where the majority of the body is involved.

Affected areas may be scabby, crusty, and sometimes itchy. Skin infections due to damage caused by these mites are common.

  • Most cases of demodex mange occur at a young age. Most often demodex is transferred to puppies from their mother. Puppies' immune systems may not be resistant to the mite, and an inflammatory reaction occures.
  • Demodex mange has no sex or breed pedilections. It can affect them all
  • Adult onset demodex may be due to a decreased resistance to the mite as a result of a compromise of the immune system. It is speculated that some internal disease may cause immunosuppression (reduced function of the immune system).


  • Localized:
    • Signs are usually mild and one to several patches of hair loss and inflammation are noted. The most common sites are the face and fore legs. Most cases heal with less than 10% progressing to generalized demodecosis
  • Generalized:
    • There ae many lesions. These are reddened patches and may be itchy. Secondary bacterial infections occur as the numbers of mites proliferate (increase).


Diagnosis is made by scraping the skin with a sharp blade in order to "lift" the parasite off the skin. The scraped material is then examined under the microscope to visualize the parasite.


  • Mitaban Dips - A series of six to nine dips given at two week intervals
  • Antibotics are often given to fight inflammation and infection
  • Goodwinol Ointment - applied to infected skin until well healed

For additional information or feel you need to have your dog examined, give us a call!.

Cherokee Animal Clinic
P O Box 416
(Hwy. 84 East)
Rusk, TX 75785

For Appointment or Emergencies
Call 903-683-5315

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