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Scabies in Dogs

Scabies in Dogs

In dogs, scabies is caused by mite infestations. It is a skin disorder characterized by severe itching and the development of skin lesions. Find out more about the symptoms and the treatment of this condition, through this DogAppy article.
Chandramita Bora
Scabies is a skin disorder caused by a type of mite, known as Sarcoptes scabiei. It is also known by the name of 'scabies mange' or 'sarcoptic mange'. The tiny microscopic mites responsible for causing scabies, burrow into the skin and make tunnels, where they deposit the eggs.

These tunnels can be observed as thin scaly lines on the skin. Scabies is a highly contagious disease, and your dog can easily contract the disease from another infected pet. Sometimes, the disease can also spread to humans. But, humans are the wrong host for these mites, and therefore, they go away on their own failing to complete their life cycle.

Scabies Mange in Canines

As this skin disorder causes severe itching, you can observe your dog scratching and biting the affected areas vigorously. The mites actually trigger an allergic reaction in dogs, for which the affected animal experiences intense itching and skin rash. You can observe the rash, along with some small red bumps or blisters on the skin, especially in areas like the ear, abdomen, elbows, chest, and the hocks. These skin lesions are known as papules, which can cause crusting if they are irritated and scratched. Skin crusting can also be accompanied by hair loss.

This condition can be easily identified by observing the skin of the affected animal, and also by the severe itching it produces. However, an accurate diagnosis requires a detailed evaluation of the symptoms, and a few tests. A veterinarian usually examines the top layer of the skin of the affected area to diagnose this condition. For this, the outer layer of the skin is scraped and then examined under a microscope, which can reveal the mites and their eggs. But occasionally, this test may show a negative result, even when the mites are present. In such a situation, a veterinarian has to rely on the symptoms for a proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Medicated shampoos are usually used for treating this condition. It is very important to keep your dog clean by giving him regular baths. Topical antiseptic ointments can be applied on the skin lesions or the bumps. Sometimes, lime sulfur dip can be used as a rinse, which can help kill the mites. Lime sulfur dip can be used once in a week, but it smells really bad, just like rotten eggs. Another topical medication used for scabies treatment is amitraz. It is a chemical with a strong odor that can be applied twice in a month as a dip.

Selamectin can also be applied on the affected areas. This medication has to be applied once in a month. However, ivermectin is the most commonly used medication for scabies, which can be taken orally or administered through injections. Sometimes, continuous scratching of the infected areas can result in secondary skin infections, which can be treated with the help of antibiotics. Apart from these, steroids may be required to relieve the itching caused by this condition, especially if it is quite intense or intolerable.

The best way to prevent this condition is keep your pet clean and away from other infected dogs and pets. You should also clean your entire house properly. Otherwise, this contagious disease can spread to humans. If you observe any kind of skin problems in your dog, be sure to get the condition properly evaluated with the help of a veterinarian. Finally, be sure give your dog a healthy and nutritious diet, along with the vitamin and mineral supplements recommended by the veterinarian, in order to invigorate its immune system and speed up the process of recovery.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.