As a dog owner, you may think of mange as a problem isolated to stray or improperly-cared-for dogs. Surely your beloved pooch would never come down with this condition, right? Well, not necessarily. A type of mange known as sarcoptic mange is highly contagious and can infect even properly-cared-for dogs. Here's what you need to know.
What symptoms does sarcoptic mange cause?
Sarcoptic mange causes a dog's skin to become incredibly itchy. They may scratch themselves on walls, floors, and other surfaces, and you'll often see them itching themselves with their feet incessantly. Soon, the infected dog will begin developing crusts on their skin, and their hair may begin falling off in patches.
What causes sarcoptic mange?
The condition is caused by a species of mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites don't just live in the skin—the burrow into it. This is one reason why the itching associated with the condition is so intense.
Your dog may pick up sarcoptic mange if he or she comes into contact with an infected dog. This can happen at a dog park, kennel, or even out on the sidewalk as you're taking your dog for a stroll. The mites can even live for a short time on other surfaces, so your dog may become infected if they are placed on a grooming table after an infected dog or if they roll in a patch of grass after an infected dog has just done so.
What should you do if you think your dog has this condition?
Sarcoptic mange can be difficult to treat since the pesticides needed to kill the mites can be irritating to the damaged skin. For this reason, you need to contact an animal clinic like East Lake Animal Clinic if you think your dog has mange. They can diagnose the condition by looking at a sample of your dog's skin under the microscope. Then, they will use a combination of pesticides and skin creams to ease your dog's symptoms and get rid of the mites.
How can you protect your dog from mange?
Unless you lock your dog in your home and never bring in items that other pets have used, you can't 100% guarantee they won't get mange. However, you can take basic precautions to reduce their risk. Don't let your dog say "hi" to other dogs on the sidewalk, and limit contact with other dogs at the dog park. Choose groomers who use good sanitation techniques.