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What is Mange?

Veterinarians and Pet Care
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Mange is a condition that affects many animals, including dogs. The term mange is often used as a generic term for a number of different skin-related conditions. These conditions can include sarcoptic mange, scabies, and demodectic mange. There are a number of different ways in which mange can be acquired by your dog, and each type of mange can be treated in a slightly different way. The main symptoms of mange include itching and irritation of the skin, as well as thickening of the skin and loss of hair. If left untreated, a dog with mange will eventually remove much of its own hair and will be engaged in almost constant scratching.

What is Mange?

Sarcoptic mange is caused by a type of mite that burrows into the skin of the infected animal and reproduces and lays eggs. The eggs then hatch and reproduce again in a cycle lasting approximately 21 days. These mites typically prefer to lay their eggs on the face, ears, or leg and thigh areas of dogs.

Another type of mange, called demodectic mange, is spread by mites acquired by dogs from their mother at or around the time of birth. This mange cannot be spread to older dogs and will not be spread if the animal is raised by hand or taken from its mother before the transmission of the mites can take place. This type of mange typically resolves itself within the first year of the dog’s life.

Mange can be treated in a variety of ways. The most common treatment is to inject a mite-killing drug known as Ivermectin for a period of several weeks. However, certain types of dogs, like collies and sheepdogs, are allergic to ivermectin and in these cases, the dogs must be taken to a veterinarian or dipped in an insecticide bath of lyme sulfur or paramectin, after being shaved in the areas where the mites have infested them.

Since sarcoptic mange is contagious across species, including humans, any animal found to have mange must be treated as soon as possible, along with any other animals in the household. If mange is acquired by the human owner of the dog, it will typically run its course in about three weeks because the mites that cause mange can burrow into human skin, but will not reproduce in the human body. It is important to take your dog to a veterinarian and have him tested if you suspect that he has contracted mange.

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