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Mange is a common skin disease of animals caused by any of six varieties of mites. The most severe form of mange is caused by the mite "Sarcoptes scabieie," which is also the cause of human scabies. Some form of mange is known to all domesticated animals, no matter how well taken care of or pampered they are. Dogs and cats most frequently suffer from two varieties of mange.

TYPES OF MANGE
DEMODECTIC MANGE occurs when the mites that normally live on your pet quickly multiply beyond normal levels. This condition is more common in dogs than cats, and usually results in areas of hair loss and scaling of the skin.

SCABIES occurs when dogs or cats contract this type of mite from another animal. This type of mange is contagious, intensely itchy, and can be passed on to humans.

MANGE SYMPTOMS
Red or raw skin
Scaling around the eyes
Excessive itching
Small, red, hairless areas
Pimple looking sores
Thickening of skin
Hair loss
Scaling at the corners of the mouth
Scaling on paws or legs

PUPPY HEAVEN
Young dogs with demodectic infections don't generally require treatment of any kind. As many as 90 percent of puppies with minor mange on the face or front half the body recover completely with no treatment at all. If the problem lasts longer than a month however, or seems to be getting worse, see your vet.

DIP HIM
Pets with scabies suffer terribly from intense itching. Soaking your pet in a specially prepared bath (usually made of lime/sulfur medications) will kill the mites and help to relieve the itching. If you decide to dip, be sure to douse your pet for 10-15 minutes. Do not rinse when you are done. The medication in the dip needs to stay on the fur in order to do it's job. Flea dips to treat mange are available commercially for both cats and dogs.

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Odds are, if you have one pet with mange, the others have it, too. Scabies is especially contagious. Even if only one pet is showing symptoms of scabies, be sure to treat all pets in the house.

SKIP THE OIL
An old wive's tale claims that pouring motor oil on pet's fur will rid them of mites. Not so. Since pets can (and often do) lick the oil from themselves, this is a dangerous treatment and one that does not work.

DO THE LAUNDRY
Mites mostly live on cats and dogs, however some will occasionally slip off and hide in bedding and clothing. If your pet has recently suffered from mites, it's a good idea to wash bedding, furniture covers, dog beds, cat houses and other areas your pet may live or sleep.

TREAT THE ITCH
Pets with mites often make a bad situation worse by opening mite wounds and causing infection. Treat the itch with an over the counter antihistamine (like Benadryl). Give dogs 3mg. per each pound.

PREVENTION

MONITOR YOUR PET'S FRIENDS
Stray dogs and cats that are allowed to interact with your pet can be the source of mange. So can other animals who live nearby and frequent your pet's play or living space. If you see a dog or cat with bald spots or one that scratches excessively, keep your pet away.

KEEP THEM CLEAN
Regular grooming helps to remove scaly skin and scabs caused by mange and can also help to prevent them, by keeping their population under control. Dogs should be bathed monthly and cats that will tolerate a bath can handle a dip every two months. For water-resistant pets, try dry or foam shampoos.

UPGRADE THE FOOD
Poorly nourished dogs and cats suffer the effects of mange most often. Upgrading your pet's food quality can help to prevent your pet from contracting mange.