What is Canine Scabies?

We’ve talked a lot about human scabies.  But what about man’s best friend, the dog?  Does he get canine scabies?

Actually, yes.  But canine scabies is usually called mange.  The type of mite that a dog gets is different from the mite which plagues humans.  Humans cannot catch mange from a dog, nor can a dog give humans their form of scabies.  Sometimes the mite does transfer over, but it usually dies out on its own.  With human scabies, the symptoms will get worse instead of better.

Now, dogs can actually contract the same mite that humans do – sarcoptes scabiei.  This does transfer back and forth between dogs and humans.  So if your dog has this type of mite, your whole family will need to be treated for scabies along with the dog.  The dog’s collar and bedding will also need to be cleaned or replaced.

Dogs are actually born with their mites, and most of the time, the dog and the mite live in symbiosis.  This means that neither of them cause harm to the other.  These types of mites are called demodectic mites, and they are usually transferred to a dog when it is a puppy cuddling with its mother.

Sometimes, these mites get out of control and create infestations.  This can cause the hair to fall out and the dog’s skin to get infected.  There are three types of canine scabies – localized, generalized, and pododermatitis.

Localized happens a lot.  It’s where one colony of the mite grows out of control, creating a bald patch on the skin.  This usually happens on the face, and it creates a polka dot appearance.  90% of the time, this will resolve itself.

Generalized affects larger areas of the skin or even the dog’s entire body.  It often gets a secondary bacterial infection, which makes it very smelly and itchy.  Generalized canine scabies often indicate a problem with the dog’s immune system or other health issue. Treatment will depend on the age of the dog and what health issues are found.

The most resistant form of mange is found on the foot.  This is called demodectic pododermatitis, and is usually accompanied with a bacterial infection.  This usually requires deep biopsies to get an accurate diagnosis.


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