Microscopic sarcoptic mange mites cause sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies. Sarcoptic mange can affect dogs of all ages and sizes, during any time of the year. Sarcoptic mange mites are highly contagious to other dogs and may be passed by close contact with infested animals, bedding, or grooming tools.

Diagnosis, risks, and consequences

Sarcoptic mange mites burrow through the top layer of the dog’s skin and cause intense itching. Clinical signs include generalized hair loss, a skin rash, and crusting. Skin infections may develop secondary to the intense irritation. People who come in close contact with an affected dog may develop a skin rash and should see their physician. Sarcoptic mange is usually confirmed by taking a skin scraping and examining it under a microscope.

Treatment and control

Dogs with sarcoptic mange require medication to kill the mites and additional treatment to soothe the skin and resolve related infections. Cleaning and treatment of the dog’s environment is also necessary.