How to Treat Mange in Puppies

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Mange is a skin condition caused by mites that often occurs in puppies and adult dogs. There are two types of mange, sarcoptic mange, caused by the sarcoptis scabei mite, or demodectic mange, caused by the demodex canis mite. Each of these types of mange produce small, red bumps and oozing boils that cause intense itching and discomfort and can affect your puppy’s general health. Sarcoptic mange can be transferred to humans, but it is a mild skin condition that is self-limiting in 1-2 weeks.

How To Treat Mange in Puppies

Examine the affected areas on the puppy’s skin. Puppies between the age of 3-9 months often get demodectic mange from living and being cared for by their mothers. Mange often attacks juvenile dogs, sick dogs or those with weakened immune systems. Demodex mites are easy for the vet to find in skin scrapings. Demodectic mange looks like a patch of red skin with itching and hair loss. It may be the ‘dry form’ with redness and flaky skin, or the ‘pustular form’ with greasy, swollen, oozing sores.

Check for hair loss and oozing sores. A very reddened, swollen area of skin, oozing pus, with a large amount of hair loss and intense itching could be sarcoptic mange. Your vet will be able to tell by doing a skin scraping what kind of mange it is and what type of treatment is best for your puppy.

Discuss treatments with your vet. Veterinarians will often choose a lime-sulphur dip for very young puppies because there are fewer reactions than with more sophisticated treatments for mange. It is safe and effective when used on puppies. Ivermectin is a medication used to treat heartworms, but it is also effective against mange. The use of ivermectin for young puppies is not recommended, and some breeds such as Old English Sheepdogs or Collies do not tolerate this medication very well. Selamectin (Revolution) is another heartworm medication used against sarcoptic mange applied topically to the skin. This medication is also not recommended for puppies or for animals who are sick or have debilitating diseases. Another topical heartworm medication, Advantage or Moxidectin is also effective against mange, as is the medication, milbemycin oxime, also known as Sentinel. Amitraz, Mitaban, is a dip that is often used against mange, but may not be recommended for use in young puppies.

Wear gloves while handling your puppy while it has mange. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after contact. Wash your clothing and bedding in very hot water to kill the mange mites. Sarcoptic mange can be transferred to humans, but treatment is not usually necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is not always easy to tell what kind of skin condition your puppy has by appearance only. Your vet may prescribe mange treatment to see if that will clear up the skin problem before going on to other treatments.

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