What is Mange in Dogs?

We’ve all heard the term mangey about dogs who have less than a stellar coat. But what is mange in dogs and how can it be treated and prevented? We take a look at this topic this month.

What is Mange?

Mange is caused by a parasite that lives inside the hair follicles of animals. These parasites can cause the dog’s hair to fall out in patches. In some cases, it can also cause intense itching. There are two types of mange, demodectic and sarcoptic. Signs of mange include redness, itching, patchy spots with no fur, and scabby or raw spots on the skin.

Demodectic mange is not contagious but occurs in dogs that are either sick—with a compromised immune system—or old. In either case, the normal amount of parasitic mites that live on the skin of dogs can become overwhelming causing hair follicles to fall out. This type of mange can also cause itching. Treating this kind of mange is relatively easy with topical medications including dips.

Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious to both other dogs and humans. Sarcoptes scabie mites burrow under the skin and cause extreme itching. It’s this itching that causes the hair to fall out in dogs. This kind of mange is treatable as well with dips and shampoos, however, infected dogs should quarantine away from other animals. In addition, the pet owner will want to wash all the bedding and decontaminate any areas in the home that the dog may have come in contact with.

Preventing Mange

Mange in dogs can be prevented through a clean-living space as well as overall good health. Dogs that are healthy with a good immune system should be able to naturally fight off infection for demodectic mange. However, sarcoptic mange is easier spread through contact. Ensuring your pet’s living conditions are clean and limiting contact with other dogs will help prevent sarcoptic mange.


If you suspect your dog has mange, contact Cimarron Animal Hospital right away. We can help properly diagnose your dog and recommend the right treatment.

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