Sarcoptic mange, also known as canine scabies, is a highly contagious
mite infestation. It causes severe itching, redness, scratching and
secondary infections of the skin are common due to damage caused by
violent scratching and rubbing. Hair loss and irritation are most
often seen first on the ears, elbows, hocks and head. If left
untreated, it may develop into a generalized form with widespread
hair loss, irritation , scaling and hyperkeratosis (darkening of the
skin). Animals may lose weight and become generally debilitated.
Diagnosis is made ideally by visualizing mites, eggs or mite feces
on a slide taken from a skin scraping. Unfortunately in longer
standing cases, skin scrapings may not yield evidence of the mite and
response to clinical therapy may be the best diagnostic tool.
(Hoskins, 1995). Differential diagnosis include food allergy,
demodecosis and flea bite dermatitis.
Sarcoptic mange is an important zoonosis in that from 10-50% of
humans exposed will develop a self-limiting form of the disease.
Treatment options vary from lime/sulfur and or anti-parasitic dips
and baths to systemic treatments with oral or injectable ivormectin.
All bedding and living areas should be thoroughly cleaned and
disinfected. All in-contact dogs should be treated. Prognosis is
excellent with good owner compliance and recurrence unlikely unless