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Scabies in dogs

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Posted on October 09 2018

Among the diseases that creep our four-legged friends, scabies is one of the most disturbing because it does not show intensive scratching, greatly inconveniencing dogs and some forms can be extremely dangerous. The condition should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, as soon as the first signs are noticed, to increase the chances of recovery.


Cutaneous disease caused by external parasites , scabies affects the well-being of the dog , but it can also and especially threaten his health , even his life in some cases. There are 3 forms of scabies: otodectic mange (or ear scab), sarcoptic mange and demodecic (or follicular) scabies . The latter is the most worrying because it is difficult to diagnose early and treat. Let's take a look at the causes, symptoms and treatments of each of these types of scabies in dogs.

Scabies (or otodectic mange)

Otodectic mange is rampant, as the name suggests, in the dog's ears . This dermatitis is caused by a parasite called Otodex caïds . It digs galleries in the lining of the ear and lays eggs there . The parasite can easily be passed from one dog to another, contaminating a new host with each contact.

The most common manifestations of otodectic mange are pruritus (scratching) in the dog at the ears. The animal also tends to shake the head and characteristic dark crusts can be observed locally.

Scabies can be transmitted to other dogs, but not to humans . Its treatment consists of a complete and meticulous cleaning of the ears (by the veterinarian), followed by the application of a specific antiparasitic medication administered via drops or in the form of ointment.

Sarcoptic mange

Like otodectic mange, the agent responsible for sarcoptic mange is a parasite that digs galleries to deposit its eggs. On the other hand, the parasite of which we are speaking here, Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis in this case, develops in the thickness of the surface of the skin in various areas of the body, especially around the eyes, ears, elbows and stifles.

There too, the dog scratches energetically. Pruritus is sometimes so intense that it prevents the animal from sleeping . Red patches with hair loss appear on the affected areas and the lesions can gain areas of increasing importance if a treatment is not administered.

This usually consists of several baths based on Gammexane spaced 7 days. Since sarcoptic mange is contagious in dogs, the affected animal must be isolated from its congeners. Affection is only rarely transmitted to man.

Demodecic mange (or scabies)

Demodecic mange is the most disturbing of the 3 forms of scabies. Demodex canis , the offending parasite lodges deeper into the dog's skin and promotes the development of staphylococcus . This microbe is extremely devastating.

Scabies is all the more complicated to treat because its early diagnosis is difficult to establish. The dog scratches very little , if at all. Lesions develop quite slowly . These are areas of alopecia (hair loss ) occurring around the eyes, nose and feet, accompanied by a characteristic odor . Redness, blisters and pustules may also be associated.

To try to treat it, the dog is shorn , then bathed in a powerful antiparasitaire supported by the action of an anti-seborrheic shampoo . The results are never guaranteed with this type of mange. Sometimes, however, the lesions are so extensive that they end up causing the death of the animal or forcing euthanasia.

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