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How to Identify Scabies on a Dog

Scabies, also known as sarcoptic mange, is a skin condition that can cause your dog to suffer from serious discomfort. Scabies is caused by an infestation of microscopic mites that are living on your dog’s skin. It will not go away without proper veterinary treatment, so it is essential that you get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice the first signs of mange.


Scabies Symptoms

The mites that cause scabies cannot be seen with the naked eye, but the symptoms of the condition tend to be pretty easily visible as the condition progresses. If your dog has mange, he may be itchy and appear to have reddened, irritated skin. You also may notice that his skin has developed a visible rash and the affected area of the skin may be crusty. You will notice hair loss, which will increase as the mange spreads.


Scabies on a Dog


Mites Appearance

The mites that cause sarcoptic mange are a type of arachnid, the same type of insect as spiders and ticks. The mites cannot be seen without a microscope because they only measure 1/64 of an inch in length. The mites have spines on their legs and bodies, no eyes and are oval shaped. The mites that cause sarcoptic mange are white in color.


Official Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will perform a skin scraping on your dog to diagnose sarcoptic mange . This means that he will use a scalpel to scrape the affected area of skin until there are enough skin cells on the blade to constitute a good sample. He will examine the skin cells under a microscope so that he can see the mites causing your dog’s condition.

Once your veterinarian has seen the mites, he will make a formal diagnosis and begin making treatment plans. Be aware that, in some cases, your veterinarian may have to scrape one or more spots of your dog’s skin until it appears raw to get a good sample.


Treating Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and can spread from one pet to every pet in your household fairly quickly. You can catch it as well. Sarcoptic mange is treated using medicated dips, ointments and potentially medications traditionally used to treat parasites, such as ivermectin. It is important to treat all the pets in your home that show any symptoms of mange. You also need to wash all bedding and clean your home thoroughly to avoid a recurrence of the condition.


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