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How to Recognize Mange in Pet Dogs

Dogs are man's best friend. Mary has been around dogs all her life and loves every breed she's met. You can never go wrong with a dog.

My Min Pin, Buzz—when Buzz is upset or embarrassed, he retreats to his safe place, his crate.

My Min Pin, Buzz—when Buzz is upset or embarrassed, he retreats to his safe place, his crate.

Does My Pet Have Mange?

Let me begin by saying I had a very strange conception of mange. I thought only stray dogs in poor countries got mange. Obviously, I was very wrong. I've read articles here and there, but again, I'm one of those people who thought, "Not my dog"! Wrong again. What I need to realize most is my Miniature Pinscher, Buzz is prone to everything that comes along together with some stuff you've never heard of!

It's not like mange is a new disease or one you never hear of. I just had no idea how prevalent it could be! My vet said he treats several cases a year. That's not a large percentage, but it is much more than I would ever have dreamed!

What Is Mange?

What is mange exactly? Well, it is said to be a skin disease, but I find fault with that description. The resulting skin disease is very obvious, but these tiny mites burrow deep into the skin of the animal and take up residence. They lay eggs, and then their eggs hatch and lay more eggs. While this vicious cycle of procreation is taking place, the animal, in this case, my dog, begins to itch.

The itch is said to be extremely intense and unnerving. Having watched my poor dog scratching almost non-stop, I can only imagine how he must've been suffering. As the dog scratches the itch, the skin becomes inflamed, then infected. Sores can form then become crusted, and in most cases, patches of hair begin to fall out.

According to the ASCPA, there are many different types of mites, some of which live on your dog without causing harm. However, the culprits here are light-colored and oval. Not that you'd ever see them.

The 3 Types of Mange

Surprisingly there are three different types of mange.

  • One type is when the mites are only seen in small areas or patches. You may notice bald spots occurring on the dog's face or neck. This type of mange is often seen in puppies and surprisingly will resolve itself without any treatment. The interesting thing here is the puppy probably got those mites from its mother who shows no signs and/or has no problems.
  • The second type, Generalized demodectic mange, which is what I believe my dog has, can affect the dog's whole body. Secondary infections erupt from all the itching and broken skin. Patches of hair falling out can either be small or large and located anywhere on the body. This type of mange can also be an indication of an autoimmune problem in the system, a problem with the endocrine system, a hereditary issue, or other underlying health condition.
  • The third type is confined to the foot and is very difficult to diagnose.

Is It Contagious?

Like many other things, it depends on who you ask. Some say yes, any animal can get these mites from an infected animal. Others say if your dog is healthy, his body can deal with the mites, and contagion won't be an issue. The more important issue to some is, can humans get those mites? Again, the answers are mixed, but my vet believes the answer is yes.

When a human gets those mites it is called scabies, not mange, though they are the same mites. I have to add, Buzz sleeps in bed with my husband and I, and to date, thankfully, neither of us has been infected.

However, we know there is contagion, or there wouldn't be mange! These little mites jump from animal to animal. Some animals do not become infected because of their constitution or resistance. Others obviously do. These mites can only live for 36 hours without a warm body.

Dogs Prone to Mange

Puppies under 18 months old


Old English Sheep Dogs

Shar Peris




Lhasa Apsos

Buzz resting by the pool with my hubby.

Buzz resting by the pool with my hubby.

Consult a Professional

Do not try to treat mange on your own. Always seek medical treatment from a veterinarian.

Treatment of Mange

Always seek a veterinarian's diagnosis. Don't try to treat mange on your own no matter how many things you read about home remedies or natural treatments. If your dog has had an allergic reaction and his skin is broken out, you must get the proper medicine to rid him of those miserable mites.

  • First, a diagnosis is necessary. Sadly, skin scrapings are taken from the dog. Skin scrapings that make the skin bleed so that it can be examined under a microscope for mites.
  • Mites are not always found in skin scrapings, so the dog is treated for mange anyway if he has all the symptoms. After two weeks, if there is no improvement, it is most likely not mange, and further tests are required.
  • One of the most effective medications used is Ivermectin. That is the medication my dog is being treated with.
  • Another course is the flea and tick treatment Revolution. The normally once monthly application needs to be increased to two times a week.
  • An antibiotic will often be given to control skin infection.

Always follow through with whatever treatment your vet recommends. Never stop the medication because the dog looks or appears better. Finish the medication and follow up with your vet; the last thing you want is to have your poor dog start all over again!

The cute little bunny rabbit that gave Buzz the mange.

The cute little bunny rabbit that gave Buzz the mange.

Mange in the Wild

Dogs are certainly not the only animals that suffer from mange. As a matter of fact, dogs can be infected with mange by wild animals they encounter. For example, my vet told me of a man whose dog had mange, and no matter what they did, they couldn't get rid of it.

One night, the owner saw a fox rubbing up against his fence post. The next day he observed his dog rubbing up against the same fence post (remember the mites live for 36 hours). The owner shot the mangy fox, replaced the fence post, and his dog never had mange again!

The list of animals that are susceptible to mange is practically endless, here are just a few:

  • Foxes
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits (the suspected culprit for my dog's mange)
  • Coyotes
  • Lions
  • Mountain Gorillas

In the wild, animals are obviously not treated for mange and as a result, many die from this debilitating disease.

In spite of all his ailments, Buzz is our baby and we'll do whatever it takes to keep him healthy and happy.

In spite of all his ailments, Buzz is our baby and we'll do whatever it takes to keep him healthy and happy.

Now What?

Hopefully, this is a "disease" you will never encounter. However, if you do, get your pet to a vet and follow his directions to the letter. Once under control, the itching will stop, and in a matter of weeks, the mites will be gone!

Feed your dog the best dog foods and supplements if needed. A strong immune system is your best prevention. Using Revolution tea and flick medication may help with some dogs as well. Whatever you do, good luck. Always try to keep your pet safe and healthy.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2013 Mary Craig


Mary Craig (author) from New York on August 01, 2013:

I love the pet lover in you!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 31, 2013:

The pet lover in me is sharing this again!

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 22, 2013:

I would never delete one of your comments DrMark! He has sarcoptes. I know it is contagious to humans as the little mites can transfer to any warm body. There is no way he came in contact with a fox as there are none in our area and we have a five foot chain link fence all around our backyard. That is why we suspect the rabbit. It is the only "wild" animal that has ever been in our yard.

Mark dos Anjos DVM from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 21, 2013:

Hi Mary I read your comment on itching and came over to read this. I wanted to point out several things you might want to change. If you want to delete this comment I promise not to be offended.

Mange is just a generic term. Either your dog has sarcoptes or demodex.If it is sarcoptes, it is contagious to humans and she can have picked it up from a fox. If you suspect your dog has demodectic mange, it is not contagious to people and Buzz did not pick it up from a wildn

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 17, 2013:

I know Glimmer. In my lifetime I've had many dogs and NEVER even heard of mange around. Life is full of surprises. It isn't so much the pain but the price of curing ;)

Claudia Porter on July 17, 2013:

Interesting hub. My dog has never had mange (knock wood), but it looks nasty. We do have lots of bunnies and Max does like to chase them so hopefully he never catches anything like this. Our dogs...we love them, but boy can they be a pain sometimes. Like you I always thought mange was something street type dogs got.

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 15, 2013:

Fortunately Comfort most dogs DON'T get mange, but it is out there. I certainly wouldn't want your daughter to stop loving animals! If you see a dog that's losing his hair, don't let her pet him.

Thanks for the votes.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on July 15, 2013:

Mange? This is the first I'm hearing of this disease. We don't have a dog, but my daughter love to pet and hug the neighbors dogs, and pretty much every dog that is walked in the neighborhood.

I'm sure glad your Buzz is doing okay. Certainly hope he doesn't get it again.

Voted up and interesting.

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 14, 2013:

Victoria, I certainly hope your little guy never gets mange. Although its not uncommon it's not that common either. Lots of aloe on his skin and fish oil pills may help your little one. Buzz is getting better every day.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 14, 2013:

I'm glad your Buzz got through that. My little shih tzu mix has scratching fits now and then, but he has never been diagnosed with mange. I know that small white dogs have sensitive skin, so maybe it's just the heat right now. I don't know. It's awful when the poor things are miserable with scratching. Thanks for sharing your story and the symptoms. I'll keep an eye on my boy. :-)

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 12, 2013:

Thanks Rebecca, you can see he is our baby.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on July 11, 2013:

I thought my dog had mange once, but she was allergic to fleas and scratched herself silly. Very informative article! Buzz is a cutie!

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 11, 2013:

Definitely Rajan. If your dog starts itching non-stop and starts to lose a patch of hair, get him to the vet!

Thanks for the votes.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 10, 2013:

I've seen stray dogs, like the one in the picture from Bali,with this disease and I had no idea it was called mange and the facts related to this disease. Useful and interesting information as I'll need to keep it in mind as I have a pet dog.

Voted up, interesting and useful.

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 10, 2013:

Genna I couldn't do a hub about Buzz without throwing in pics of us, he is such a member of our family. Glad you liked the pics.

I am still surprised about this whole mange thing and thought it would be good to let others know. Glad you learned something from my hub!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 09, 2013:

What a cutey pie your Buzz is! I had heard of mange before, but didn’t know what it was. That photo of the street dog in Bali is heartbreaking.

I was surprised at how easy it is for our canine friends to pick up these nasty mites. And scabies are their cousins. Yucky. This is a very informative hub, Mary. I learned quite a bit. The photos of you, your hubby, and Buzz are lovely. Buzz is a lucky little fellow. :-)

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 08, 2013:

Thanks Deb. I feel so bad for him.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 08, 2013:

I hope that Buzz is feeling better soon, poor little guy!

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 08, 2013:

Thank you Gypsy and Sid. We don't realize how summer can have such an effect on animals. The heat, the bugs, and God knows what else! Hope Sid finds relieve too! Barks to Sid.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 07, 2013:

Poor Buzz. Hope he gets well soon. Had never heard about this but I suppose it probably common among stray dogs. We are cat people nevertheless we have our problems too. Every summer when the temps go up our cat Sid loves to stay in the garden day and night. Result of which he gets pimples by his tail and around his ears. He then licks himself so much. We have lotion for soothing it but its something which lasts the summer then goes away once fall arrives. Sid sends sympathetic meows to Buzz.

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 07, 2013:

Thanks Peg, as you can tell we think he's a cutie too. I can't imagine how people can just abandon their dogs...I guess though they are lucky that you live there. Thanks for adding this comment.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 07, 2013:

Mary, I forgot to mention what a cutie Buzz is, and those pictures of you and family members are precious. Our dogs are considered members of the family and I can remember so many who have traveled through this way as we live out in the sticks. There is a road near us that is actually named "Dog Drop Road". Some folks take that literally. We've had all kinds of stray dogs from Labradors, Dalmations, Golden Retrievers, Chows and Great Danes. It is always a shock to find them.

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 07, 2013:

Yes Mary, I think Buzz and I are like you and Baby....they are our "now" children even though we have children and grandchildren we love, they don't live with us so we have our "babies". I can't imagine putting motor oil on my poor guy! Thanks for the vote and share!

Michelle, sorry you had to deal with it too.

Moonlake, you're so right, mange does not go away fast. You don't know they have it till they start itching and that means those weasely little mites have been there for a while. Thanks for complimenting Buzz and the vote and share.

WND, Buzz is like Bella, he has sensitive skin and allergies. I will certainly try the baby wipes, thank you. We have no idea what his allergies are but it is definitely warm weather related. I do give him fish oil because min pins tend to have dry skin. Hugs all around. Yes, it does break my heart to see him scratching all the time.

Faith Reaper, this was a crummy lesson to learn but now I know. Thanks for the votes and share but most of all for the hugs, Buzz and I appreciate the hugs the most!

Billy you are always full of surprises...three dogs...obviously I love my Buzz too. I will certainly watch for Wednesday.

Thanks Mike...if I can help just one person I will be thrilled.

Peg, Buzz gets his Ivermectin orally. The first two times the vet wanted to see him to make sure it was mange and the medication was working...the rest he gave me to give Buzz at home. How wonderful of you to take in dogs with the mange. It so hard to watch them suffer.

I know Vinaya. Another reason we are so proud of you and what you do! Mange has many myths.

truthfornow, that is exactly right. Another dog in my yard with my rabbit might not have gotten mange. Thanks for stopping by.

Eddy, yes, he does look like a doberman, and the funny thing is he thinks he is one. No fear yet as affectionate as they come. Thanks for the vote and share. I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

teaches, it is a terrible thing to watch. So frustrating. He is getting better and I too hope this helps someone else.

drbj I'm glad I could enlarge your education, along with mine ;) I do love that little dog!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 06, 2013:

What a sweet photo, Mary, of you and adoring Buzz. Do hope your lovable Min Pin is well on the road to recovery. Like you, I thought mange was a disease only stray animals contracted. Thanks for enlarging my education.

Dianna Mendez on July 06, 2013:

I haven't come across this but I can understand how pets can suffer. Sorry your poor pooch has this and hope it's better. Great info to have as a pet owner. Voted up and will share.

Eiddwen from Wales on July 06, 2013:

What a tiresome affliction mange is and drives the poor dogs insane with the itching. This interesting and useful hub with benefit many I am sure. Your Min Pin is gorgeous Mary; looking jus like a mini Doberman. Voted up and shared.

Enjoy your weekend.


Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on July 06, 2013:

Poor lil Buzz. Hope he can get rid of this condition for good. Some dogs are more sensitive than others and pick things up much easier. And some dogs are tough, and they never seem to get sick even though no one is taking care of them.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on July 06, 2013:

There are lots of myths associated with Mange. For instance, my father says if the dog sits before fire he will catch Mange. Like you I also believed stray dogs in poor country have Mange. (Nepal is one of the poor countries. LOL)

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 06, 2013:

Oh, poor Buzz. That is not good at all. We've rescued a few dogs in the neighborhood who had the mange and our vet cautioned us that it is highly contagious to other pets and even humans. One little guy we found, a 6 month old lab who weighed 14 pounds, had been on his own for way too long. He had a well developed case of Sarcoptic mange and we had to keep him isolated from our gang for 6 weeks with injections of Ivermectin every week. Luckily, one of the vet techs lived near me and offered to stop in and give him a weekly shot. That saved quite a bit in vet bills. They said that the mites which cause mange are related to arachnids (spiders).

I hope little Buzz gets over his ailment soon. So itchy.

cleaner3 from Pueblo, Colorado on July 06, 2013:

Great hub ..Mary to be informed is essential to being a better person and you are doing a great job of helping all of animal lovers with this hub. Voted up !

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 06, 2013:

I don't think I have ever had to deal with this, Mary, but thanks for the heads up. We have three mutts who we adore, so it's always good to have this information for future use.

Just a heads up....I'm featuring you in my hub on Wednesday...don't want you to miss it. :)

Have a great weekend!


Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 06, 2013:

Dearest Mary,

Aw, your poor baby. I am sorry he was suffering with such. We do have rabbits running about here too, and so thank you for providing such insightful information as to the mange. I have never really understood what mange is until now.

Love your wonderful photos of your sweet Buzz.

Voted up ++++ and sharing

Hugs to you and your sweet baby,

Faith Reaper

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 06, 2013:

Aw, I really feel for you and your handsome Buzz.

With my all time allergy dog, Bella, it is always a fight, though she does heal better now that I changed her diet and give her fish oil. And give her baths with baby shampoo.

Right now with all the rain we are getting, I guess it's the rain, is causing havoc on her otherwise pretty coat. But as I said she heals better. Last time I took her to the vet for help, she had tears running down her eyes. You know she was miserable and I really felt for her.

One thing the vet said-well this is pollen-wise, but may help Buzz, the beautiful creature that he is, is when Bella comes back in from outside, use baby wipes or a damp washcloth and clean her paws and around her face.

Aw, give Buzz a hug for me. And yourself, be strong. I know the feeling of helplessness.

moonlake from America on July 06, 2013:

Our friends have a Pit Bull and they have been fighting mange with him for a long time. They can't seem to get rid of the one spot. They are constantly taking him to the vet. We once got a Great Dane puppy and the vet insisted we take her back because he was sure she had mange. We weren't going to take her back and in a week it was all cleared up so I think the vet was wrong. Mange wouldn't go away that fast.

Your dog is so cute. Voted up and shared.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 06, 2013:

Ack, this happened to Cloudy just a few months ago. Pet owners, be aware of burrowing mites. :(

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 06, 2013:

Your Buzz is so handsome! You and he remind me of my relationship with Baby, my Min Schnauzer. Baby is my "empty nest" dog and get only the best of everything.

I have seen some bad cases of Mange when I helped Doc in his Vet clinic. Most of his clients were country folks, and Doc would just roll his eyes when the owner of the dog with Mange told him what he had treated the dog with! One guy brought his dog in all covered with engine oil cause that's one of the "treatments".

Voted UP and shared.

Mary Craig (author) from New York on July 06, 2013:

Buzz seems to have delicate everything Maria. He comes up with the strangest illnesses and problems. Glad Aunt Baby does well with baby shampoo and even happier she didn't catch that rabbit!

His itching has slowed downed and his 'rash' is getting better...its been three weeks! Thank you my friend, oh and for the votes too.

Ah Joe my friend, cats can get mange too. Hopefully Kona just has dry skin or maybe even fleas. I don't wish mange on any animal for sure, especially one we love.

A min pin is a miniature pinscher...not related to the doberman although they look alike.

You are so right, Buzz is our 'empty nest child'....sometimes I even laugh at myself. I've always been a dog lover and treated all my dogs like my children but this one! You can tell from the pics ;) I hope you enjoy your weekend and spend time with your family as well. Aloha hoapili!

Thanks Bill. I've had many dogs over the years and have NEVER had one get mange! I didn't know about bunnys and mange either until now. So much we don't know till it effects us directly, that's what makes HP so helpful, we can find out by reading others hubs. Thanks Bill. Hope you have a great weekend too!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 06, 2013:

Very informative Mary. We have not had to deal with this yet with our Shih Tzu but certainly we now know what to look for. Buss is a handsome guy. Cute bunny also. I didn't realize that our pets could get mange from a rabbit. Great job as usual. Voted up, shared, pinned, etc... Have a great weekend.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on July 06, 2013:

Hi, Mary!

Our cat, Kona, scratches his head incessantly, and I notice a couple of bald spots as a result. First, I thought he was just flattering me with a pretty good imitation. But after reading your article, I wonder if cats can acquire mange as well by the same kind of mite or a close cousin to it. Also, what is a min pin? Very interesting topic, Mary, and I know that it's one dear to you because it affects your empty nest child. I mean that with all due respect because I find myself calling Kona "Son" every now and then. Nice pictures of hubby and you, by the way. Thank you for sharing, Mary, and I hope you and your loved ones, including Buzz, have a beautiful weekend! Aloha!


Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 06, 2013:

Dear Mary,

I learned much from this and I thank you. Aunt Baby is a Lab and has suffered from hot spots a couple times...both after a professional shampoo, so we stick to home baths with baby shampoo, as she has such delicate skin.

Funny, I saw her chasing a pretty bunny but was unable to catch thankfully yesterday...

Buzz is a doll and I love your pictures together. Hoping your baby is feeling A-OK again soon...Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria