What is canine scabies and what is the treatment?

Canine scabies is basically a form of dog mange. It is caused by little mites that get into the skin of your dog, causing itching and hair loss as a result of frequent scratching. The mites usually get onto your dog by contact with wild animals. It doesn't have to be direct contact - if an animal infested with scabies mites gets into your yard and sleeps there, for example, that area will have mites which your dog could contract by hanging out there.


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It is also called sarcoptic mange, and you should be aware that there are different types. One mange remedy won't necessarily work on the other kind because each is caused by a different kind of mite. It is usually hard for humans to catch sarcoptic mites from a dog, but it is definitely possible. In a person with a normal immune system, the mites do not survive easily and are unlikely to affect you. However, if your immune system is suppressed for some reason (AIDS, drug use, both illegal and some legal prescription drugs, and certain other diseases) then you are at risk if you come into contact with the dog.

Scabies in dogs is usually treated with injections called Ivermectin. You can't get rid of it with baths, etc. because the mites live under the skin - some dog mange treatments will claim to work this way, and they do, but only for another kind of mite that lives in the hair of dogs.

You should also be aware that the symptoms of canine scabies are very easily to misdiagnose as an allergic reaction. They are pretty similar, and it is very hard to locate scabies mites even with testing, so many vets have misdiagnosed the two. A lot of vets just give the dog the shots for scabies and then look for allergies if that doesn't work, because otherwise it is very hard to tell even with an experienced vet what the cause of the skin conditions are.


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