Scabies, also known as sarcoptic mange, is caused by the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. These microscopic creatures burrow under the skin of pets and cause intense itching, hair loss and a host of other problems. Mange is contagious and, oftentimes, dogs contract the mite from foxes. This usually happens when a dog spends time in an area a fox may have visited. Treatment of scabies involves a visit to your veterinarian, prescription medication and, unfortunately, can take a considerable amount of time.
Take your dog to the veterinarian, if you suspect he has scabies. The doctor will need to perform tests, including a skin scrape, to positively identify that your dog indeed harbors the mite. From there, she may prescribe a few treatments.
Shave your dog, if she has long hair. It is important for the medication that is prescribed to make good contact with your dog's skin, and, if there is hair in the way, the treatment will most likely not be as effective. You may need to bathe your pet with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo and then apply a dip. Paramite, Amitraz, Mitaban and LymDip are usually effective in scabies cases and need to be applied once every two weeks for two to three rounds.
Administer a different medication to your pet, if dips are not effective. Selemectin, or Revolution, is a topical product that is applied once a month and also prevents heartworms and fleas. Additionally, Frontline Plus and its spray and Top Spot counterparts have also been proven to effectively remove scabies. Liquid ivermectin, which is also used to prevent heartworms, can also be prescribed. However, it should not be used in collies or shepherds as it can cause potentially life-threatening side effects.
Treat the environment in which your pet spends time in order to completely eliminate scabies. Use an insecticide, such as pyrethrin, to spray his bedding, toys and all that he comes in contact with. This will need to be done for at least four weeks, as this is how long the mite's life cycle is.