Issue Description These mites dig into and through the skin,
causing intense itching and crusting that can quickly become infected.
Hair loss and crusting frequently appear first on elbows and ears.
Skin damage can occur from the dog's intense scratching and biting and
secondary skin infection is common. Dogs with chronic sarcoptic mange
are often in poor condition. Sarcoptic mange mites are usually spread
by direct contact from host to host. Other Names Sarcoptic Mange
Symptoms and Diagnosis Mites prefer hairless skin thus leaving the ear
flaps, elbows and abdomen at highest risk for the red, scaley itchy
skin that characterizes sarcoptic mange. It should be noted that this
pattern of itching is similar to that found with airborne allergies
(atopy) as well as with food allergies. Frequently, before attempting
to sort out allergies, a veterinarian will simply treat a patient for
sarcoptic mange as a precaution. It is very easy to be led down the
wrong path (pursuing allergy aggressively) if one considers sarcoptic
mange an unusual or unlikely possibility.
Veterinarians usually attempt diagnosis with skin scrapings from
multiple areas, which are then examined under a microscope for mites.
Sarcoptes, because they may be present in relatively low numbers, and
because they are often removed by dogs chewing at themselves, may be
difficult to demonstrate. As a result, diagnosis in Sarcoptic mange is
often based on symptoms rather than actual confirmation of the
presence of mites. A common and simple way of determining if a dog has
mange is if it displays what is called a "Pedal-Pinna reflex", which
is when the dog moves one of its hind legs in a scratching motion as
the ear is being manipulated and scratched gently by the examiner;
because the mites proliferate on the ear margins in nearly all cases
at some point, this method works over 95% of the time. It is helpful
in cases where all symptoms of mange are present but no mites are
observed with a microscope. In some countries, a serologic test is
available that may be useful in diagnosis.
Treatment Affected dogs need to be isolated from other
dogs and their bedding, and places they have occupied must be
thoroughly cleaned. Other dogs in contact with a diagnosed case should
be evaluated and treated.
There are a number of
parasiticidal treatments useful in treating canine scabies. Sulfurated
lime rinses applied weekly or bi-weekly are effective. Selamectin is
licensed for treatment by veterinary prescription in several
countries; it is applied as a drip-on directly to the skin.
Unlicensed, but frequently used, ivermectin, given by mouth for two to
four weekly treatments; this drug is not safe to use on some
collie-like herding dogs, however. Other avermectin drugs are also
effective, but none is licensed for use on dogs.