Mange in Dogs: Demodectic and Sarcoptic (Scabies)

The most common forms of mange seen in dogs are known as demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange. The cause of these skin infestations are two different types of skin mites, demodex and sarcoptic.

Demodex is by far the more common form seen in clinical veterinary practice. Every healthy pet and mammal has a low level of demodex that lives on the skin. When the immune system is compromised or suppressed, some genetically prone animals will have an overgrowth of demodex mites on the skin which can often lead to hair loss, crusting and scabbing. While this can occur in pets of any age, overgrowth of demodex mites most commonly occurs in pets under the age of one. In many circumstances only a few areas are involved around the head and legs, and the pet may heal on its own. In other cases a more generalized form develops that can lead to wide spread areas of hair loss and secondary infection. It is important to know that the demodectic form of mange is not contagious to other dogs or people.  However, it is the more severe generalized form that often needs to be treated systemically with medications such as topical mitaban dips applied to the body every 1-2 weeks.

For pets with demodectic mange, your should first bathe your pet with a benzoal peroxide shampoo such as Oxydex shampoo before a dip (such as Mitaban Dip) is applied.  Other dogs are treated with more aggressive medications such as oral Ivermectin (Heartgard Plus or Iverheart Plus) given daily for weeks to months until the demodex is brought under control.  Diagnosis and response to treatment is usually determined by skin scrapes performed at your veterinarian’s office.

As for the second most common form of mange, unlike demodex, sarcoptic mange (scabies) is an infectious and contagious type of mange mite often gotten from other dogs or unclean environments. Symptoms of sarcoptic mange may include intense itching, scabbing and hair loss of most commonly thinly haired areas of the coat such as the ears, elbows, back hocks and abdomen. While diagnosis is also made by skin scrape, these mites are often difficult to find, so if veterinarians suspect these mites as a cause of intense itching, they will often treat a pet for mange mites before doing a lot of other more expensive diagnostic testing. Treating a pet with scabies may include weekly shampoos and lime-sulfur dips, as well as topical pesticides such as Revolution. All dogs in an affected home will need to be treated due to the contagious nature of sarcoptic mange.

Have pet health questions? For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form.

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  2. my 11 yr old cocker spaniel has recently been diagnosed for a needing a throid blood test. As he has allergies and has thining hair on his butt and arm bits, belly. As I am on a fixed income, and cannot not afford these expensive test, could you please advise some other medicine or treatment?

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianApril 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Change diet to all natural low grain diet. The one I would like to see you use is epigen by wysong now available from 1800petmeds. Also consider adding whole food supplements like canine hepatic support and canine dermal support by standard process which you can get from Also add naturevet enzymes to meals from 1800petmeds. See how changing to this diet and these supplements helps over a few monthes. I bet it does.

  4. i have a 2 yr old male great pyrennse he has red places on his feet and legs and has some on the rest of his body i have tried differen things and have treated him for mange because nothing works he still scratches and still has this promblem can anyone please help me clear this promblem up

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianAugust 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Most likely has some sort of allergy with possible secondary yeast or bacterial infection. Best to have vet check, skin scrape for mites and possibly antibiotics and shampoo therapy. You couild try chlorihexiderm shampoo from 1800petmeds every few days, and oral benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily. Adding fatty acids like missing link may help as well long term. Consider low carb low grain diet like Wysong epigen diet or Evo from 1800petmeds. Hope this helps.

  6. Revolution has been used successfully by vets in feline mange. 2 doses the 1st month, 2 weeks apart, followed by the recommended 1 dose per month. Revolution is a topical treatment, meaning that it’s applied to the skin. Easy to use and quick!

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Revolution quite helpful in managing mange. .

  8. I have a question. I have recently been told I have scabies, and have been through the appropriate treatment. But my dogs, who sleep on my bed, have taken Panoramis and therefore can’t take an ivermectin drug until clear of the Panoramis (given beginning of the month). What can I do so as we don’t keep reinfecting each other for the next two weeks?
    The Panoramis info line said I had to wait 6 weeks, but my Vet says 4. Please help. I am an immune supressed person, and therefore the scabies in me is more pronounced than in other people.

  9. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I dont have any other suggestions for you except to maybe ask your vet about possibly using topical revolution on your dog now which is a prescription product.

  10. My dog is ten years old, he chews on his coat and hair came out. it looks like a big raw patch. could my dog moe bandy have dry skin, or could he have mange?

  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Dry skin or mange is possible. Only vet exam and skin scraping can rule mange in or out. More likely though your pet has allergies. Try bathing with ketochlor shampoo every few days from 1800petmeds and using benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily orally. Give fatty acids like missing link added to meals from 1800petmeds. See vet if signs persist.

  12. Hi Doc! Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions! I am a vet tech at a no-kill shelter and we have a few cases of confirmed Demodex that need to be treated, but we are trying to be as cost efficient as possible while getting these babies well. I have some Ivomec (ivermectin) for injection that we got from the local co-op but it specifically states it’s for cattle and swine. While it would be easier to treat them all via injection, it specifically states that it should not be used to treat other animal species and I want to keep these guys as safe as possible. I know some meds can be used off label and remain safe, but I just want to make sure. Thanks so much!

  13. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Ivermectin is used most commonly orally at dose of .15 cc per 10 pounds daily however dont use in shelties, collies, or related herding breeds. Another option for you is to consider the topical flea medicine promeris, which is available on line from some sources and is wonderful for demodex, when used once every two weeks.

  14. I just started treated my dog for Sacrcoptic Mange with Revolution yesterday. My vet prescribed one dose every two weeks for the next two months. My vet did not want to put Radley on prednisone because of the immuno-sppressive effects, but the little gut is scratching and chewing pretty badly. How long will it take for my dog to stop feeling itchy?

  15. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Try oral benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily. Put your dog on fatty acid like Be well from 1800petmeds. By second revolution treatment, symptoms should be improving.

  16. What is a fatty acid diet?

  17. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 11, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Not sure what you mean by Fatty acid diet. I usually recommend high protein, low carb, high fat diet for most chronic inflammatory conditions in pets. Fatty acids like be well from 1800petmeds are also good to add to meals.

  18. my dog has had demodetrix mange before. I was told he couldn’t get it again. but he has it again. dr ott in Ruskin florida gave me ivermectin to cure him. it was liquid with a syringe. worked fine but now its back. what should I do. I have no prescription for it. could you help with this. e mail

  19. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

    You need to be under care of your vet to have proper diagnosis of mange by skin scrape, as well monitoring treatment. Ivermectin is available from 1800petmeds. The other type of treatment for mange I have used is a medicine called topical promeris, which is hard to find, but you may be able to get it on line.

  20. mynrescued puppy is being treated for mange (no mites appeared on the scrape but from what I gather that’s not too surprising). She was administered her first round of revolution 3 days ago but she’s still itching. She itches mostly when she wakes up from naps. Is revolution not working?

  21. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 19, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    It sometimes takes a few treatments of revolution over 4 to 6 weeks to see complete cessation of clinical signs. Also make sure your vet is addressing any secondary bacterial skin infections with antibiotics, etc as well as even antihistamines to help with the itching a bit

  22. My pitbull had mange and I tried some expensive dips from my vet that didn’t work plus some other stuff. I was talking to a friend that happens to be older and I asked him what he used to do on the ranch when his dogs got mange. He told me they used to cover them with vegetable oil for fifteen minutes and then wash it off. It smothers the parasite . I tried it on my dog and it worked. lots of times the old remedies work. can’t hurt to try!!!

  23. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMay 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for sharing Aimee. Fortunately there are now NEW single dose pills like Bravecto or Nexguard, which actually kill mites over a few weeks VERY easily and quickly with doses of one pill a month No topicals needed

  24. Hi Dr. My 14 year old dog was diagnosed with sarcoptic mange. She is mainly a house dog and we think she got it when we boarded her while on vacation. She was given a dose of revolution and a shot of cortisone..
    I’ve been frantically cleaning but am having a hard time isolating her since she is not crated and is used to sleeping on the couch. We’ve isolated her to two connected rooms but one is the kitchen. My family is upset and the house is turned upside down .. I’m wondering how long it generally takes for the mange mites to die off? Also at what point is it ok to pet her again? I’m afraid me and my kids will get mange and we will just keep passing it in circles. Am I over reacting? Any tips you can give me to speed up the healing mite free process? Thank you so much!!!
    Thank you

  25. HI Alexandra. It oven will take 2 to 3 doses of revolution over 4 to 6 weeks to get all of the stages of the sarcoptes mange mites. Cleaning and/or bombing home with labeled flea products for the environment may be helpful, however I cant guarantee that you and/your family may not get infected, if they are susceptible to it. This is usually NOT a serious disease in people, but obviously can be annoying and itchy for people, however if you are concerned, or lesions develop on you or your family, I would see your local human dermatologist

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