Poor Strays With Sarcoptic Mange

› Sarcoptic Mange

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This is different than red mange, also called demodectic mange that I describe on a different page.

Unlike Demodectic mange, it is intensely itchy, and it spreads over much of the body if not eradicated. And it is contagious among dogs.

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Thankfully, while these dog mange mites may hop on a human host and cause some short term itching and a rash, it doesn’t live long on non-canine hosts. Well, not long objectively, but if you are being the one munched on, it will feel like an eternity.

That’s OK, because we have our very own related human host mite that does the same thing. It is called scabies.

Being a nurse, I’ve had the dubious honor of being up close and personal with a patient that had scabies. Being a breeder, I’ve been up close and personal with dogs that have had sarcoptic mange.

Ahh, the good life!

Sarcoptic mange is usually caught from another dog in close proximity. Something as simple as a romp at the dog park wrestling with other dogs could do it. So don’t assume only dirty dogs or dirty people with dogs get mange.

Symptoms of Sarcoptic Mange

It takes a week or so for you to notice the itching begin. It usually begins in the armpits, belly and along the edges of the ears. Since the mite actually burrows below the skin, bathing with regular shampoo isn’t effective in getting them off the body as it is with fleas.

Fur begins to come off in clumps and over the weeks the skin becomes thick and leathery. There will be more fur on the floor than on the dog in many places.


The vet has to do a deep skin scraping in the hopes of finding the mite. But, like demodectic mange, just because it came up negative doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Treatment usually occurs with or without proof of infestation.


There are two easy cures for sarcoptic mange. The first is the Lime Sulfur dip and the second, Selemectin spot on treatment.

Lime Sulfur dip is pretty NON-toxic. How do I know? I tried it on my hands as I dipped a dog. FYI: It has to be diluted before use and it smells like rotten eggs.

I decided if I was going to dip a dog into something that said to wear gloves, I should see why.

The only side effects I experienced was very drying effect on the skin and the unfortunate discoloration of all my nails to a bright yellow for a week or so. My skin turned pasty white from leaving the solution on my hands as it air dried. That and the smell kept friend and foe away for a few days.  

Oh, and again, NEVER GET IT IN YOUR EYES (or your dog’s) UNLESS YOU WANT THEM TO BURN FOR HOURS! And that is after flushing the eye out with copious amounts of water and normal saline!

There are also shampoos that have a smaller amount of sulfur in them that is effective and don't have much of an odor to them. Veterinary Formula is one brand. 

Selemectin is a flea, tick, heartworm and sarcoptic mange killer. (It doesn’t kill demodectic mites) Once a month for 2 months will do the trick. Just be sure your dog doesn’t have the mutant gene, MDR1 or he may have a reaction to the medication. The Revolution brand of selemectin is unfortunately a prescription drug here in the states.

The Aftermath

The dog will continue to itch several weeks after the treatment even though the mites are dead but it will slow down and eventually stop after that. Hair will grow back and soon it will be a distant memory, albeit a bad one.

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