Sarcoptic Mange is caused by the Mite known as Sarcoptes Scabiei. Sarcoptic mange is caused by a microscopic parasite that is more closely related to a spider than to an insect.
Sarcoptes scabei mites live approximately 21 days either on the surface of the host’s skin or burrowing underneath it. The female mite after mating will dig a burrow under the hosts’ skin that is roughly an 1/8 of an inch long. As the mite burrows it lays eggs and deposits feces under the skin. The feces can cause an allergic reaction and make the skin red, sore and itch really bad. The female can lay up to 40 eggs during her short lifetime and the eggs will hatch in 3-4 days. The mites will be mature and able to mate and lay eggs themselves within 10 days total. The mites after hatching return to the surface of the skin where they live off of the skin of the host.
The microscopic Sarcoptes mites can easily be transferred to the skin of other dogs or puppies and even other types of animals causing secondary infections and hair loss.
Sarcoptic Mange or Canine scabies can infect all breeds of dogs and all ages. The Sarcoptes mite are specialized Sarcoptes Canis prefers to live on dogs; Sarcoptes Gatoi is bred to live primarily on cats and so forth. Each species has a PREFERRED host. The Scabies mite can also infect cats, ferrets, humans, and fox. They do not breed off of the preferred host but they CAN infect others so you can get an itchy rash if you play with Rover, Kitty or other animals with the mites. They can live off of your skin quite nicely. You will notice when you take a nice hot bath that your skin begins to itch like crazy guess what you are the new host to the Scabies mite.
When dealing with cats and talking about Sarcoptic mange they can also be referring to a mite that is closely related called the Notoedres Cati a mite closely related to Sarcoptes scabei. For cats and that mite even though it is similar it would be more correct to refer to it as Notoedric mange. Notoedric mange, in cats is likely to produce facial itching and scabbing. The treatment is essentially the same irregardless of which species is involved.
The Sarcoptic mites infesting the pet are likely to cause constant scratching which promotes hair loss and spreading the infestation. Both the mites and the scratching are likely to cause lesions in the skin and pustules that are full of bacteria. Secondary infection can be serious and whatever treatment you use should address that and give you a way to heal the open sores and kill of the bacteria.
Look for mucus and fluids in the ears since the parasites there will live on those fluids. The ears should be without a strong objectionable smell or mucus if the mites are not infecting them. There can be moisture in the ears but if it is discolored it can be a sign that infestation has occurred. Veterinarians will usually take multiple scrapings of skin to be examined under a microscope for the mites. Sarcoptes mites may only be present in small numbers and are often removed by dogs scratching and chewing the skin. The diagnosis of Sarcoptic mange is more often done using the symptoms of mange rather than always finding the mites.
Understand that mites are present on the dog most of the time and cause the dog no harm. It is when they begin to multiply and get out of hand that it causes a risk to the animal. Most of the time it also indicates that the immune system is weak. This can happen from stress on the animal, diet or other reasons. If you have moved, a child has gone off to college or even something as simple as taking the pet to the vet and getting an all in one shot for immunization instead of the single shots for each disease can upset the immune system and allow the mites to gain the upper hand and multiply.
Dog Mites normally live about 21 days and the females lay their eggs after burrowing under your dogs skin. The eggs hatch and in a few days the new mites are mature and are able to start the cycle over again. The only thing that shortens the life of the mite is cold weather. During cold weather the lifespan of the mite is dramatically reduced so the females may only lay one crop of eggs. Each female can lay up to 40 eggs during her lifetime in warm weather. This accounts for the very rapid increase in the numbers and itchiness of the dog. The numbers could grow from one to thousands very quickly.
One very simple way of checking if a dog has mange is watching to see if it displays the Pedal-Pinna reflex. This reflex happens when the ear is scratched and manipulated. If the dog moves one of its hind legs while the scratching is going on then it is likely that the dog has ear mites or Mange. It is helpful when the dog has all the signs of mites but none are found and it is 95% accurate.
If you take your Dog to the Vet this is likely what he will do to check and see if your dog has mites or mange.
If you take a dog to a Vet they are likely to isolate the dog since any contact with other dogs would just spread the mites and make it worse. Think of it like kids in school when one kid has head lice the whole class can get them. The vet will use a microscope and find out which kind of mite your dog has. Your dog may be kept for observation and stay on the premises and may be dipped in some rather harsh chemicals to try and kill the mites if they are present. Some of these treatments can be as harmful to your pet as the mites themselves are.
When dogs are initially infested with the mites they may not start itching for several weeks. If the animal has been treated and later is re-infested severe itching starts almost immediately. This indicates the itching may be due to an allergic reaction. Using standard treatments for allergies usually will not decrease the symptoms of scabies, and will do nothing to cure the disease.
Blood samples will often be taken since the mites can change the blood chemistry in your dog it is an easy way to see which kinds of mites are infesting your pet.
Making a diagnosis of Sarcoptes is not always easy the dogs scratching will often open the burrows and get the mites out so the skin scrapings that normally would show the mite may not work well. The skin is scrapped with a scalpel and the scrapings are examined under a microscope to find the mites. If mites are found the diagnosis is confirmed the lack of mites though does not rule out infestation.
The movement of the Sarcoptes mites on and in the skin and the laying of eggs in the burrows and depositing feces in the burrow as it digs into the skin generates an allergic response causing tremendous itching. This causes the Red, scaly, itchy, skin that characterizes Sarcoptic mange
These mites prefer the less hairy parts of the body so the forelegs, armpits, hocks, chest, abdomen and ear flaps are prime targets for them.
Small red pustules often develop along with yellow crusts on the skin.
Understand that mites are not the only things that can cause these symptoms. It can be caused by airborne allergies and food allergies and internal parasites as well.
The infestation can cover most of the pets’ body in time and the hair lost and crusty look and feel to the skin can be dramatic. In most instances the infestation will start on the ears, elbows and abdomen.
The skin may darken due to the constant irritation, and the lymph nodes may become enlarged.
Treating Sarcoptic Mange or Scabies.
The same treatments that work for Demodex and other mange mites will work for Sarcoptic mange.
We highly recommend you get the Mange Dog Report since it covers all the treatments and hazards of each and gives you natural easy options to get rid of mange of all types, fleas and some ticks as well as disinfect the wounds and clear up the pustules on your dogs skin and how to make your home safe from re-infesting YOU or your Dog during the treatment.
Help your pet get rid of the mites and fleas that are making it sick.
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