Have you noticed your dog scratching? Have you noticed bald patches too? When was the last time you took your dog to visit the vet for a regular check-up? If you haven’t, this would be the perfect time to take a trip to the good doctor and examine that nasty itch.
What are scabies in dogs?
Scabies, also known as mange is a parasitic disease that is very commonly seen in stray dogs, but it can happen to housekept dogs too. This condition is caused by a parasite that lives in the skin and when it overgrows it can cause mange, leading to profuse itching and loss of fur. Luckily if caught on time, it can easily be managed and treated.
What are the different types of mange?
In dogs, there are two parasites that can lead to this condition and they both show almost the same symptoms which means that only a vet can determine who is to blame for your dog’s condition:
Sarcoptic mange (scabies) is caused by sarcoptic mites and they live in the dog’s skin. They are highly contagious and are transmitted through direct contact. Sarcoptic mites could even be found in humans, but they are not able to reproduce in human skin. However, they can still cause itching and other skin changes.
Demodectic mange (demodicosis) is caused by a parasite called Demodex canis and it normally resides in the fur follicles. Compared with scabies, demodicosis is not contagious. What is specific about this parasite is that it can be seen in very young patients because it travels from mum to puppies after birth.
I think my dog has scabies…
It is not hard to recognize that something is off with your dog. It starts to scratch itself aggressively all of a sudden and the itch just doesn’t go away. This is the time when you should consider bringing the dog to the vet.
Other things that owners usually notice apart from the scratching are red skin that is inflamed, bald spots, thickening of the skin, and crust formation. It is not uncommon in cases like this for the vet to see secondary infection or yeast infection in the dogs. Dogs that have a severe case of scabies will most certainly be unhappy and they may refuse to eat too, which could lead to severe weight loss.
How are scabies diagnosed in dogs?
Once you take the dog to the vet they will ask you lots of questions and while you are answering they will do a full body physical examination. Scabies is a condition that is usually recognized by vets but in order for the vet to be sure, he will probably run some tests.
Usually, allergies and other skin conditions need to be ruled out. The vet will also collect blood samples and skin samples. Skin samples are a great tool to help the vet determine the reason for your dog’s discomfort.
Another thing that the vet will do is take a deep skin scrape. The purpose of this is to collect part of the skin layers that are then put under the microscope for evaluation. The positive presence of the parasite confirms the diagnosis.
Can scabies be treated and how?
Yes, scabies is easily treated but the treatment may take some longer time. Your dog will probably need a combination of a few things that you need to do. Don’t be surprised if the owner suggests that your dog needs to lose its fur. The reason for this is so that the medicine that is applied directly could reach the parasite and do its job properly.
Vets usually recommend medical baths with a special type of medical shampoo and they can prescribe some tablets to give at home. If you are unable to give them, they may see you for shots every few days.
Results of improvement will be seen in just a day or two, but even if the dog keeps the fur, the quality of it and improvement of the skin will take a longer time. In cases like this, it’s always smart to ask your vet about any skin supplement that you can add in order for you to help your dog recover faster.
The cost of treatment for scabies could be around $500. However, if your dog’s condition is more severe and it requires hospitalization, then the price could go up to $1000.