Mange can affect wild animals, domestic animals and sometimes even humans. There are a number of different types of mange, and depending on the severity, can lead to serious illness and death.
Canine mange comes from the French word mangier, which means “to eat.” Mites are the cause of mange, embedding themselves in skin or hair follicles causing skin lesions, itching and hair loss. Mange in dogs can often be misdiagnosed for an allergy or other skin reaction. However, not all itching means your dog has mange.
It is important to understand how your dog could have contracted mange and other symptoms to look for along with excessive itching. If you suspect your dog may have mange, you should take him to the veterinarian right away to avoid serious infestation and illness.
Symptoms of Mange in Dogs
Most times your dog’s symptoms will include hair loss, itching, irritation and scabs on the skin. More uncommon symptoms will include scale formations and hardening of the skin. Your dog may also suffer from a fever, lethargy and weight loss. If left untreated, the skin will eventually become leathery and brittle, and may break off in small pieces. Untreated mange can even lead to depression and aggression as well as other behavioral problems.
Mange is usually found on the ears, elbows, thighs, under the chest and on the face.
Mange is caused by a variety of mites. Mites are referred to as a parasite because they feed off their host. Most dogs contract mites from an infested area or from other infected animals. Mites can become very serious if left untreated, and certain types can easily get out of control if left alone for too long.
There is a significant difference between unclean, scruffy fur and fur that is plagued with mange. Unfortunately, mange usually does not cure itself, and it is important to treat it right away.