Mange is a skin condition caused by mites—microscopic biting insects that live on the surface of the skin or tunnel into the animal’s skin. It is highly contagious and can spread through direct or indirect contact. Skin scrapings are done to confirm the diagnosis of mange. There are several treatment options for mange, such as sulphur-lime dips or selenium-sulfide shampoos.
Chorioptic mites cause leg or foot mange, which is found below the knees. These mites live on the surface of the skin and produce scabs, crust and patches of hair loss.
Also called trail mite, psoroptic mange produces lumps and patches of hair loss near the face. It is not transferable to humans.
Sarcoptic mites burrow beneath the skin of the head, neck, ears, chest, flank and abdomen. Small red bumps appear around the burrows. As the animal rubs and bites at the skin to relieve the irritation, the resulting trauma produces further skin injury with crust, alopecia and thickening of the skin.
Sulphur-lime treatments are generally prescribed by veterinarians. Lime and sulphur are mixed with a mite insecticide to create a solution, which can be used as a dip or bath. Use the solution in a well-ventilated area since the fumes are very strong. Selenium-sulfide shampoos can be used to kill mites and relieve scaling and itching. Sulphur also has antibacterial and antifungal properties to prevent secondary bacterial infections caused by itching.
Use of sulphur treatments produces minimal side effects in comparison to oral steroids.