Sarcoptic Mange is a highly irritating and debilitating skin disease of dogs.
Sarcoptic mites cause intense pruritis (itchiness), alopecia (hair loss), self-trauma, wrinkling and thickening of the skin. The lesions caused by sarcoptes can spread all over the animal producing intense itching.
Sarcoptes, tiny spiderlike mites, are highly contagious and are transmitted primarily by direct contact and through contaminated grooming equipment and kennels. These mites are also transferable to humans and other pets.
Probably no other skin disease will cause your dog to scratch and bite at her skin with such intensity. The severe itching is caused by female mites tunneling a few millimeters under the skin to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch in 3 to 10 days. The immature mites develop into adults and begin to lay eggs of their own. The entire life cycle occurs on the dog’s skin, and takes just 17 to 21 days.
The diagnosis is made by examining skin scrapings under a microscope. In some cases the mites may not be identified. If the dog’s symptoms strongly suggest scabies, your veterinarian may decide to begin treatment as a diagnostic test. A positive response to the treatment confirms the diagnosis of scabies.