Mange is a catchall term for skin mites. If left untreated, mange can lead to serious problems for your dog. Aside from the itching and hair loss, mange leads to secondary bacterial infections that can threaten a dog's life. Some types of mange are highly contagious and can be transmitted to people as well. In mid 2009, mange could be treated for under $150. The cost of treating mange before it gets out of control is far less than the vet bills if it's left untreated for too long.
When considering treatments for mange, you must diagnose the type of mange infecting your dog. This will require a trip to your veterinarian. The price of an office visit varies by clinic but ranged from $50 to $100 in 2009. There are four types of mange that infect dogs. Knowing the type of mange you are dealing with is important because each type responds differently to the treatments available.
Sarcoptic and cheyletiellosis are the two most common types of mange. These mites burrow into the skin causing intense itching and hair loss. These types of mange are highly contagious and can be transmitted to people as well. In addition to treating your dog you will have to treat all the dog's bedding areas.
Demodectic mange lives in dog's hair follicles. Most dogs naturally carry a small amount of these mites. They are not contagious to people or other animals and treatment is only necessary if your dog has a compromised immune system. Ear mites are a type of mange that infects a dog's ears. They are highly contagious to other dogs but cannot be transmitted to people.
When dealing with sarcoptic and cheyletiellosis mange, the treatment is medicated shampoo and dips, which contain pesticide to kill the mites and are available over the counter or by prescription. Prescription shampoo and dip contain a higher concentration of pesticide than nonprescription types and cost around $30 a bottle. Over-the-counter varieties found at pet and farm supply stores cost about $10 a bottle. In most cases, one bottle is enough to treat one dog for a month. Ear mites are treated with medicated ear drops. Both prescription and over-the-counter ear mite remedies cost under $10. Demodectic mange requires a prescription for medicated shampoo or a topical ointment which usually cost around $15. Most veterinarians have these available in the office. (Prices for treatment are as of 2009.)
It generally takes two treatments a week for a month to clear up mange. Sometimes mange can be resistant to pesticides. In this case, your veterinarian may suggest different, stronger treatments. If your dog has experienced hair loss it will take an additional four to six months for the hair to grow back.
When your dog gets any type of mange, treat all the animals in your home. Mange can go unnoticed without any symptoms for months. Treating all your animals will help prevent re-infestation from one animal to another.
If you are treating your dog for sarcoptic or cheyletiellosis mange, treat the dog's living areas with a pesticide spray with at least .25 percent permethrin. Spray the carpet in your home as well. Permethrin spray cost about $6 at most discount retail stores as of mid-2009.