Demodectic Mange in Dogs and Cats

Your pet may be facing a threat too small for the human eye to see. Just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of mind.

What causes Demodectic Mange in dogs and cats?

Demodectic Mange is caused by a microscopic mite, which lives under the skin around hair shafts. Often appearing around the eyes, over the top of the skull, or on the feet in the form of patchy hair loss, crusting and redness, this form of mange is not considered to be contagious under normal circumstances.

What does Demodectic Mange look like?

The mite that causes Demodectic Mange can be present in small numbers, even on healthy pets, and can cause no visible problems. But in the case of a pet whose immune system has been compromised, mange may present itself with a number of different symptoms such as:
  • Hair loss
  • Skin redness or swelling
  • Occasionally itching
  • Crusting
  • Secondary bacterial infection in the affected area(s)

Diagnosing Demodectic Mange

Demodectic Mange is diagnosed by a combination of symptoms, examination findings, and laboratory testing. An important skin test called a "skin scraping" is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Your local veterinarian then looks for mites microscopically in the test sample.

Treating Demodectic Mange

There are several treatment options for this condition. A veterinary will sometimes prescribe a  multi-treatment bath/dip product to treat demodectic mange. It is highly effective in most cases, but rare side effects or reactions are possible.

Be sure to consult the medical team. Several other treatments are available and may be used alone or in conjunction with a bath/dip. The professionals at a veterinary hospital should administer the bath/dip product. Multiple treatments are usually required to control mange.

A small percentage of dogs may relapse and require repeated treatments. Due to a hereditary predisposition, it is recommended that pets with generalized juvenile onset demodectic mange be spayed or neutered.

Learn More

It’s important to complete all veterinarian prescribed medication as instruction. Additional skin testing will be needed to confirm demodectic mange has been cured.

Contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital with any uestions or for treatment. Consider enrolling your dog or cat on an Optimum Wellness Plan. Each plan is designed around your pet’s needs, while every plan includes early treatment for serious illness and unlimited office visits.

For more information, check out the Preventive Care section, or read these suggested articles: