Mange is a skin disease caused by parasites called mites. Mites are tiny, often microscopic, tick like arthropods. There are several kinds of mange that affect pets and the most common ones are:
Sarcoptic Mange (Canine Scabies):
Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious disease of dogs that can also affect other animals and people. The disease is transmitted by contact with affected animal.
Signs include intense itch, scratching and crusty skin lesions on the abdomen, chest, ears, elbows and legs. If left untreated the disease spreads allover the body causing severe thickening of the skin and weight loss. Diagnosis of Sarcoptic mange is based on the clinical signs, history of exposure skin scrapings. Treatment includes applications of special shampoos, and acaricidal dips. Other effective, more innovative treatments are also available in the form of oral, local and injectable medications. The environment should also be treated with a good insecticide.
Notoedric Mange (Feline Scabies):
This form of mange is rare and highly contagious. It affects cats and kittens and opportunistically other animals, including man. The Signs include intense itch, crusts and alopecia (hair loss) develop on the ears, head, and neck, and can extend further.
Cheyletiellosis (Walking Dandruff):
This disease affects dogs, cats and rabbits. Signs may or may not be obvious. Affected animals typically have dorsal scaling, and itch. Careful observation may reveal “walking dandruff”, which are mites moving on the animal’s coat.
Canine Demodicosis (Red Mange):
This common skin disease of dogs occurs when large numbers of mites inhabit hair follicles, and glands. In small numbers, these mites are part of the normal flora of the skin of dogs and cause no clinical disease. The mites are transmitted from the mother to the puppies during the first few days after birth. The mites spend their entire life cycle on the host, and the disease is not considered to be contagious. Weak immune system is believed to play a role in the development of clinical disease.
Localized disease is usually seen in young dogs and tends to be self-limiting. Lesions consist of areas of hair loss and redness. Some cases will progress to the generalized form, which is a severe disease affecting the whole body. Secondary bacterial infections, and systemic illness are common. Sick animals may exhibit, lethargy, and fever.
Localized demodicosis can be treated by topical medications and usually heal within several weeks. Generalized demodicosis is treated with special dips and appropriate antibiotics. Response to therapy must be monitored by skin scrapings
Feline demodicosis is uncommon. In localized demodicosis, there are one or several areas of hair loss on the head and neck. In generalized disease, hair loss, crusting, and secondary skin infections of the whole body are seen. It may accompany other systemic disease, especially diabetes.
It is very important to have any pet with skin lesions, hair loss, dandruff and itch examine by a veterinarian promptly. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are important in preventing transmission to people and pets as well as serious complications.[Back]