Home Dogs Scabies in Dogs: The Signs, Causes, and Treatment of Sarcoptic Mange (Mites) in Dogs

Scabies in Dogs: The Signs, Causes, and Treatment of Sarcoptic Mange (Mites) in Dogs

by Vetic Editorial

What is Scabies?

Scabies in dogs is a common parasitic infection of the skin in India. Scabies also known as sarcoptic mange is mostly seen in street dogs, but they can also be found in indoor pets. 

Scabies is very contagious and it can spread from one dog to another, and humans!

What are the Signs of Scabies in Dogs?

The most common and primary sign of scabies in dogs is the itching. 

Dogs infected with sarcoptic mites scratch themselves almost non-stop. What begins as the benign itch on an ear often turns into a scab filled purulent wound within a couple of weeks. 

An informational image by Vetic listing the signs of scabies in dogs, including symptoms like patchy hair loss and red skin, with an image of a dog on the right. The signs of scabies in dogs include - Patchy hair loss Red skin and rashes Excessive scratching Inflamed skin Bleeding from scratching Bumps turning into crusty sores Stinky body odour Bacterial or yeast infections Skin discolouration & thickeningOther telltale signs of scabies in dogs include –

  • Patchy hair loss 
  • Red skin and rashes
  • Excessive scratching
  • Inflamed skin
  • Bleeding from scratching
  • Bumps turning into crusty sores
  • “Stinky” body odour
  • Bacterial or yeast infections
  • Discolouration and thickening of the skin

What is the Cause of Scabies?

Scabies is highly contagious and it can be transmitted easily through direct contact with infected dogs. 

At the same time, scabies can spread through the use of common grooming tools. That’s the primary reason you should opt for professional grooming services who sanitise their grooming equipment between grooming sessions. 

Typically, dogs with existing skin breaks and illnesses are more prone to scabies. 

How is Scabies Diagnosed?

When the veterinarian suspects that your dog’s itching can be something more than dry skin or allergies, the vet will recommend a skin scraping test. 

A skin scraping test is a non-invasive testing method that takes samples from the skin of a dog. The sample is processed and examined under a microscope. 

The veterinarian will also recommend testing your dog’s skin and blood samples for the evidence of secondary bacterial or fungal infections. 

In many cases, the collected sample may not contain mites. It will result in a false negative. However, if the doctor has reason to believe that it can be scabies, they might recommend another round of skin scraping tests. 

Sometimes, skin scraping can result in a little bit of bleeding or scarring. Speak to your veterinarian if your dog shows excess discomfort after the skin scraping test. 

Treatment for Scabies

Treatment for scabies in dogs may start with a zero cut! We know how disheartening it can be, but it is crucial to eliminate the fur since it comes in the way of effective treatment of the skin. 

Next comes the medicated baths. Dogs with scabies almost always require medicated baths and special grooming followed by an anti-mite product. 

In some cases, veterinarians also prescribe oral medication and injection to fight the secondary bacterial and/or fungal infections that often accompany scabies. 

In most cases, dogs can be treated at home, without hospitalisation, unless the scabies has caused extensive bacterial infections that has resulted in dehydration, anorexia, lethargy, and weight loss. 

Most importantly, if you have a multi-pet household, you need to get your other dogs and cats checked for scabies since it’s highly contagious. Scabies can stay in a dog or cat without showing too many symptoms for a long time.

Can Scabies in Dogs Infect Humans?

A dog on a leash with informational text about scabies in dogs and its potential transmission to humans. The dog appears to be outdoors, standing on an asphalt surface. In the upper left corner, there’s the logo “vetic” in white letters against a dark blue background. A large blue box containing white text poses the question, “Can Scabies in Dogs Infect Humans?” Below this question, additional information explains that while scabies can be transmitted from dogs to humans, the infection is self-limiting and typically resolves within a few days.

Since scabies is highly contagious, if your dog has scabies you might get it too. However, the canine sarcoptic mites cannot complete their lifecycle on a human host. So, the infection is often mild and self-limiting. 

What’s the Outcome of Scabies in Dogs?

Treatment for scabies in dogs is usually a long-term plan, it can take up to 8 weeks for your dog to be mite-free. 

It is imperative that you do not stop treatment without consulting your veterinarian even if the signs like bad odour or scratching stop. 

Keep washing your dog’s bedding, accessories and any other surface they sit or lie on with bleach. Try to keep your dog off your bed until they have recovered fully. 

Once the treatment regimen is complete, speak to your veterinarian about further testing. 

Pick a regular grooming regimen that includes antiparasitic treatment or anti-mite treatment for your dog.

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