The term "sarcoptes scabiei" sure doesn't sound too pleasant, and fittingly so, as it is a parasitic mite that triggers sarcoptic mange in canines. Sarcoptic mange is a skin disease that can lead to a lot of discomfort in dogs. Not to mention, it's also extremely contagious -- to humans and animals alike.
Sarcoptes scabiei subsist on the skin. These wee arachnids live right below the top of it. They create tunnels in the skin, leading to a lot of discomfort -- think serious itchiness. The mites are oval or round in form, and are pale in coloring. They are not visible to humans due to their size. They generally live for 17 to 21 days, during which they never even once depart from their hosts' bodies.
If you're concerned that these mites might be taking over your poor pooch's skin, pay attention to any symptoms he might display. Some common signs of sarcoptic mange in dogs are -- apart from severe itching -- skin redness, flaky segments on the skin, scabs, rashes and sizable missing clumps of fur. These missing patches of fur occur due to excessive and repetitive scratching by the dog.
Dogs can get sarcoptic mange practically effortlessly, simply by being in the presence of another canine who has it. Because of this, dogs often get the condition in settings with lots of heavy and tight canine traffic, whether veterinary offices or animal rescue organizations. It usually takes between two and six weeks post-contact for initial signs of the condition to emerge. If a dog has mange, it's crucial to do whatever is necessary to prevent other animals and people from contracting it too, including throwing away his blankets, for starters.
If your dog is showing any signs of sarcoptic mange, set up a prompt veterinary appointment. Veterinarians usually can figure out if a dog has the ailment by scraping the skin. If your pet does turn out to have mange, the veterinarian can select the management plan that is most suited to your dog's needs, whether oral medicine, shampoo or lime sulfur dips. It isn't uncommon for dogs to need several management plans. Only your vet can decide exactly what your dog needs to kiss pesky and frustrating sarcoptic mange goodbye.
By Naomi Millburn
PetMD: Mange (Sarcoptic) in Dogs
VCA Animal Hospitals: Mange - Sarcoptic in Dogs
Companion Animal Parasite Council: Sarcoptic Mite
PetEducation: Sarcoptic Mange
The Merck Veterinary Manual: Mange in Dogs and Cats
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.