Demodectic mange in dogs – Symptoms and treatment

Demodectic mange was first described in 1842. From this year until now, there have already been many advances in veterinary medicine, both in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

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Although it has been described as one of the most difficult to treat and very persistent dermatological diseases, veterinary dermatology specialists nowadays indicate that about 90% of the cases can be resolved with aggressive treatment, although it can take up to 1 year to resolve totally the problem .

If your dog has been diagnosed with demodectic mange recently, or you simply would like to know more about demodectic mange in dogs , read on! YourCatCareguide wrote everything you need to know!

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Canine demodectic scabies

Demodectic mange, also known as demodicosis or black mange , results from the proliferation of the mite Demodex canis (the most common mite of this disease). These mites normally inhabit and in a controlled way on the dog’s skin, but when this control is lost, the mites reproduce in excess and this leads to changes in the dog’s skin.

Animals less than 18 months of age are more predisposed to developing this disease because they have not yet fully developed the immune system. Some breeds have a greater predisposition, such as the German shepherd , the Doberman , the Dalmatian , the pug and the boxer .

Demodectic mange – Symptoms

There are two types of demodicosis, generalized and localized. These two types of scabies should be considered differently because they have different symptoms and therefore different approaches in treatment.

Localized demodicosis

The localized form is characterized by zones of alopecia (areas without hair), small, delimited and reddish. The skin becomes thicker and darker and crusting may occur. Usually, the animal does not show itching . The areas most commonly affected are the neck, head and anterior limbs.

It is important to note that it is estimated that about 10% of cases can progress to generalized demodicosis. For this reason, it is extremely important that even after diagnosis and defined treatments, the dog continues to be regularly reviewed by the veterinarian in order to always detect any negative developments in the clinical picture.

Generalized demodicosis

The lesions are exactly the same as those of localized demodicosis, but scattered throughout the dog’s body . The animal usually has a lot of itching . This is the most severe form of the disease. It appears most commonly in purebred animals and less than 18 months of age. Sometimes animals with this disease also have skin infections and ear infections. Other clinical signs that may also occur are: enlarged lymph glands, weight loss, and fever.

Traditionally, localized demodicosis is characterized by the presence of fewer than 6 lesions with a diameter of less than 2.5 cm. When we are facing a dog with more than 12 lesions scattered around the body, we consider that it is a generalized demodicosis. In situations where it is not clear which one is involved, the veterinarian evaluates the lesions and tries to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. It is important to note that it is not always easy to distinguish the localized form from the generalized form. Unfortunately, there is no complementary evidence to distinguish the two forms of demodicosis.

Demodex Injai

Although the demodex canis mite is the most common, it is not the only one. Dogs with demodicosis by Demodex injai present slightly different symptoms. Usually, dogs have seborrheic dermatitis in the dorsolumbar region . According to experts, the most predisposed dogs to develop this demodicosis are the Teckel and the Lhasa Apso . Sometimes this demodicosis arises as a consequence of hypothyroidism or excessive use of corticosteroids.

Causes of demodectic mange

It is the dog’s immune system that controls the number of mites present on the skin. The demodex mite is naturally on the dog’s skin without causing any harm. These parasites pass directly from the mother to the puppies , by direct physical contact, when they have 2-3 days of life.

Some studies have shown that dogs with generalized demodicosis had a genetic disorder that affected the immune system. In cases such as those described in this study, where a genetic anomaly is proven, dogs should not be reproduced to avoid transmitting the problem to offspring.

The most important factors that participate in the pathogenesis of demodicosis are:

  • Inflammation
  • Secondary bacterial infections
  • Type IV hypersensitivity reactions

These factors explain typical clinical signs of alopecia, pruritus and erythema . Other factors that may trigger this disease are:

  • Malnutrition
  • Childbirth
  • Cio
  • Stress
  • Internal parasitism

It is now known that this disease has a strong hereditary component. This fact, associated with what is known about the heat can worsen the state of the animal, leads to strongly recommending castration .

Is demodectic mange contagious to humans?

Unlike sarcoptic mange , this disease is not contagious to humans .

You can rest easy and keep caring for your dog because you will not get sick!

Diagnosis of demodectic mange

Generally, by suspecting demodicosis, the veterinarian tightly compresses the skin between the toes to facilitate the extrusion of the mites and scrapes deeply into about 5 different sites.

Confirmation and definitive diagnosis occurs when a large number of living adults or other forms of the parasite (eggs, larvae and nymphs) are observed under the microscope. Remember that only one or two mites do not imply that the dog has scabies, as these mites are part of the normal flora of the animal’s skin , and can also be seen in other dermatological diseases.

The veterinarian identifies the mite by his or her appearance. The Demodex canis (see picture) has an enlarged shape and has four pairs of legs. Nymphs are smaller and have the same number of legs. The larvae have only three pairs of short, thick legs. This mite is usually found inside the hair follicle. The Demodex injai , on the other hand, usually live in the sebaceous glands and is larger than the Demodex canis .


The prognosis of this disease depends on the age of the patient, the clinical presentation of the case and the Demodex species present. As mentioned above, about 90% of cases are recovering with aggressive and adequate treatment. In any case, only the veterinarian accompanying the case can give you a prognosis for your dog. Every dog ​​is a different world and every case is a case.

Demodex canis – how to treat?

About 80% of the dogs with localized demodectic mange are cured without any treatment. Systemic treatment is not indicated for this type of scabies. For this reason, it is very important that this disease is properly diagnosed by the veterinarian. Feeding directly affects the animal’s immune system, so a nutritional assessment will be part of the treatment of an animal with this problem.

Amitraz Diving

One of the most popular choices for the treatment of generalized demodicosis is amitraz diving. Amitraz is used in many countries to treat this disease. It is advised that the dog bath with this product every 7-14 days. If your dog has long hair, it may be necessary to groom before starting treatment. During the 24 hours following the treatment, the dog can not be subjected to anything that stresses (remember that what causes this problem is a change in the immune system and stress is a major cause of changes in this system). In addition, it is important to remember that amitraz is a drug capable of interactions with other drugs. If your dog is having any treatment, tell the veterinarian that you are following his or her case.


Ivermectin is the drug most commonly used for the treatment of generalized demodicosis. Generally, the veterinarian chooses to prescribe oral administration of the dog’s food, progressively increasing the dose. Treatment should be continued for up to two months after obtaining two negative scrapings.

Some clinical signs adverse to this drug are:

  • Lethargy (temporary or complete loss of movement)
  • Ataxia (lack of coordination in muscle movements)
  • Mydriasis (dilation of the pupils)
  • Gastrointestinal signs

If your dog exhibits any of the mentioned symptoms or any other changes in his behavior and normal condition, you should immediately contact the veterinarian who is following up on the case.

Other drugs also commonly used in the treatment of this dermatological disease are doramectin and moxidectin (combined with imidacloprid), for example.

In short, if your dog suffers from scabies due to demodex kennels , the likelihood of him getting well is very high. Most importantly, as with any other disease, you visit the veterinarian at the first sign that something is wrong, so that through proper diagnosis, if appropriate treatment is initiated.

The later you start the treatment, the harder it is to solve the problem! Make regular visits to your trusted veterinarian. Sometimes small signs go unnoticed in the eyes of the tutor and the veterinarian with only a physical examination can detect a change.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles similar to mange mange in dogs – Symptoms and treatment , we recommend you to come into our section of infectious diseases .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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