Sarcoptic mange, also called scabies, in dogs is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite, a highly contagious skin parasite. The mites burrow into the skin and cause severe itching, which can result in the formation of scabs and hair loss. It is a nonseasonal parasite that can be found in dogs of all ages and breeds.
Scabies causes severe itching, so dogs that experience prolonged scratching and hair loss are suspect. Symptoms are most often seen on the ear flaps, elbows, hocks, abdomen, and chest of infested dogs. Scabies is difficult to diagnose so clinical signs and elimination of other risk factors are important as skin scrapings are often unreliable. It is important to consult with your veterinarian if you suspect an infestation. Your veterinarian can recommend effective therapies for this disease.
Maintaining the good health of your dog is important to preventing scabies. Dogs that roam with other dogs, reside at a shelter or boarding facility, or have frequent contact with other dogs are susceptible as scabies is easily transferred between dogs.
Scabies is zoonotic (can be passed from animals to humans), so pet owners that have close contact with their dogs may develop an itchy rash. After the dog has been treated, however, symptoms usually disappear.