You have probably heard of dogs getting mange. However, what you might not realize is that sarcoptic mange in dogs is transmissible to humans. Yes, sarcoptic mange is a zoonotic disease that you can catch from your pooch!
What Causes Sarcoptic Mange in Dogs?
Sarcoptic mange is caused by mites that burrow into the skin of your dog and feed on the skin’s cells. The condition is often referred to as ‘scabies’. The mites will make your dog itch. He will probably chew, and scratch is skin constantly to find relief. Usually, you’ll notice a large amount of hair disappearing on his legs and belly. In infected areas, the skin can also thicken and darken in color.
Catching Mange from Your Dog
Yes, you can catch sarcoptic mange from your dog. In fact, it is highly contagious. Once in a human, the mites cannot complete their lifecycle, but they will make you miserable until they die by causing severe skin itching.
How Do Dogs Catch Mange?
Sometimes pet dogs catch mange from wild foxes. If you live on land or your yard is frequented by foxes, then your pooch can catch the mites. You’ll need to keep your dog away from the infected areas and wildlife to avoid infection or re-infection.
Diagnosis of Sarcoptic Mange
Sarcoptic mange is diagnosed by simple skin scrapings. Typically, your vet will know the dog has mange upon inspection, but skin scrapings help confirm the diagnosis.
Several medications are effective against mange. You can choose between baths and dips. There also injections and oral medications. In many instances, your vet will combine treatments to rapidly resolve the infection before you catch it from your pooch.
- Dips: A dip consists of a solution of amitraz or lime-sulfur.
- Topicals: You apply the topical directly to the afflicted area where the mites are living in the pet’s skin. Topical medications include imidacloprid, moxidectin, fipronil, or selamectin.
Oral medications: Your veterinarian can prescribe either a pill, flavored chew, or liquid medication to orally treat sarcoptic mange. The medications might include afoxolaner, milbemycin, sarolaner, or fluralaner.
Dogs with sarcoptic mange are miserable. The intense itching can make tears in the skin and lead to secondary bacterial infections which will require treatment with antibiotics.
Treating the Environment
Usually, you’ll have to give your dog multiple treatments to get a handle on the mange and prevent re-infection. In addition, you’ll have to tackle cleaning your living space by washing your pet’s bedding using a bleach solution.
If you suspect that your dog has given you sarcoptic mange, then you’ll want to schedule a visit with your family doctor. You’ll need to tell your physician that you have been exposed to sarcoptic mange (often referred to as scabies in humans). The mites will die within a few days of infecting a human’s skin but during that time you will suffer from intense itching so, ideally, you should seek prompt treatment to gain relief from the uncomfortable skin condition.