CatsDogsHealth and Nutrition

How to Identify and Treat Mange in Dogs and Cats

Mange is a common skin condition that affects both dogs and cats, caused by parasitic mites infesting the skin and hair follicles. It can cause severe discomfort and itching for our beloved pets. Early detection and prompt treatment are essential to alleviate their suffering and prevent the condition from worsening.

Symptoms of Mange

Intense Itching

Pets affected by mange will exhibit excessive scratching, biting, and licking of the affected areas.

Hair Loss

Mange causes patchy hair loss, which can be localized or spread across larger areas of the body.

Redness and Inflammation

The skin may appear red, inflamed, and irritated.

Crusts and Scabs

Crusts and scabs may form due to the pet’s persistent scratching.

Sores and Secondary Infections

Constant scratching can lead to open sores and increase the risk of secondary bacterial or fungal infections.

Types of Mange

Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies)

Caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites, this highly contagious form of mange can affect both dogs and cats. It spreads rapidly through direct contact with an infected animal.

Demodectic Mange

This type of mange is caused by Demodex mites, which are usually present on the skin without causing any problems. However, when the immune system weakens, an overgrowth of these mites can lead to demodectic mange. It is not contagious.

Treatment Options

Consult a Veterinarian

It is crucial to consult a veterinarian if you suspect your pet has mange. They will perform a thorough examination and recommend appropriate treatment options based on the type and severity of mange. The veterinarian may conduct skin scrapings, microscopic examinations, or other diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of mites and identify the specific type of mange.


Topical Treatments

For localized mange, the veterinarian may prescribe medicated shampoos, dips, or sprays to kill the mites and soothe the skin.

Oral Medications

In cases of generalized mange, oral medications such as ivermectin or milbemycin oxime may be prescribed to eliminate the mites from within.

Antibiotics or Antifungal Medications

If your pet has developed secondary infections, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications to combat these complications.

Home Care

Follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding the frequency and duration of treatment. Consistency is crucial to achieve successful results. Regularly clean your pet’s bedding and environment to minimize mite re-infestation. Provide a balanced diet and ensure your pet receives proper nutrition to boost their immune system and aid in the healing process.


Mange is a distressing condition for both pets and their owners. Timely identification and appropriate treatment can significantly alleviate their discomfort and prevent further complications. If you suspect your dog or cat has mange, seek veterinary assistance promptly. Remember, professional guidance is invaluable in providing the most effective treatment.

Additional Information

For further information on mange, you can visit The Merck Veterinary Manual.

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