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Canine Mange - Sarcoptic


Mange is an inflammatory skin disease caused by mites. The two mange mites that cause skin disease are:

  1. Demodex: most common and live in the root of the hair
  2. Sarcoptes: live under the skin

There are similarities between the two, but also significant differences.

Sarcoptic mange is very contagious to people and other dogs. Therefore, scabies is very common in shelters and places where many dogs are living together.

A mite infection on humans will go away on its own but is very itchy while it lasts.


The mites lay eggs under the skin, where they hatch.


The mites usually burrow under the skin around the ears, elbows, abdomen, and chest but spread to the entire body.

Signs include:

  • Intense itching
  • Hair loss
  • Hair matting
  • Darkened and thickened skin
  • Scaling
  • Yellow crust
  • Red rash


To properly diagnose your dog with sarcoptic mange, your veterinarian may perform the following:

  • Skin scraping
  • Skin biopsy

It is common that sarcoptic mange mites will not show up on a skin scraping because the mites go deep into the skin. Therefore, your veterinarian may treat your dog for sarcoptic mange and see if it responds to the treatment.


There are different treatments available, and your pet may need a combination. Recommended treatments for your dog's condition may include:

  • Clipping the hair coat
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Medicated dips
  • Injections
  • Oral medications


Most cases of mange are the result of malnutrition or a weakened immune system. Give your dog supplements, especially those containing omega fats, to strengthen its immune system.

To prevent re-infection:

  • Disinfect the entire environment
  • Thoroughly clean or dispose of your dog's bedding


There is an excellent prognosis with the proper treatment.

Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM

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