Demodectic Mange in Dogs

Demodectic Mange in Dogs

Caused by the Demodex mite, mange is an inflammatory disease that affects dogs. These mites inhabit the skin and hair follicles of a dog, and when they increase in number, this can lead to skin infections, skin lesions and hair loss. The severity of these symptoms depends on the type of mite that inhabits the dog.

What Are the Symptoms of Demodectic Mange in Dogs?

Demodectic mange in dogs can either affect the entire canine’s body (generalized) or just one specific area of the dog’s body (localized). For localized instances, lesions will occur in patches that usually appear on the torso, legs or face. For generalized instances, symptoms will appear across the body and include hair loss (alopecia), skin redness and the appearance of lesions and scales.

What Are the Causes of Demodectic Mange?

Demodex mites are normal inhabitants of a dog’s skin. When these mites are low in count, they cause no symptoms and can even serve an important role as part of your canine’s normal skin microfauna.

There are three species of mites that cause mange in dogs—the type that is mostly associated with mites is called the Demodex canis, which inhabits the skin and hair follicles and can even be transferred from mother to newborn during nursing.

Almost all dogs carry these mites, however very few suffer symptoms. But when a dog has a compromised immune system, these mites can then begin to multiply unchecked, which will lead to demodectic mange and itchy skin.

How is Demodectic Mange Diagnosed?

To diagnose demodicosis in dogs, skin scrapings will be utilized—plucking hairs can also help identify the mite that is responsible for the condition. Other ways of diagnosing include bacterial infection in the hair follicle, other types of mange and autoimmune disease of the dog’s skin or other metabolic diseases that can affect the skin.

How is Demodectic Mange Treated?

For localized instances, 90 percent of the time this problem will resolve itself and will disappear spontaneously. In severe generalized cases, long-term medications may be required to control this condition.

Female dogs should be spayed, as fluctuations in their hormones may aggravate this disease. To help reduce future instances, a low-stress home environment and high-quality dog food is recommended.

An available treatment option includes isooxazoline flea and tick medicine. Depending on the brand you chose, the frequency of dosage will fluctuate, but typically one chewable tablet every 2–6 weeks will be necessary.

IMPORTANT: Some outlets may mention using motor oil to treat mange but AVOID THIS as it is highly toxic to dogs and should never be applied to their skin or fed to them.


If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms or you have further questions about this condition, please contact us at 907-479-0001.