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What is mange?

Mange is a year-round skin disease caused by an infestation of Sarcoptic mange mites. These little pests burrow into your dog’s skin and secrete substances (allergens) that cause allergic reactions and intense itching and irritation, which may lead to a lot of hair loss and skin infections. Mange is highly contagious: dogs can easily catch it from other dogs they come in contact with in shelters, in kennels, at the groomer, or in other situations.

The good news is that mange is treatable. There is a topical product on the market approved by the FDA, as well as a regimen of medicated shampoo baths followed by body dips that may take care of the problem. Unfortunately, getting rid of the mites entirely can be difficult and costly, and the medication can have side effects.

If one dog in a multi-dog household is diagnosed for mites, the other dogs will generally have to be treated as well. The best solution to mange is to catch the condition early, while it’s still easy to treat. If you notice your dog scratching or losing hair, consult your veterinarian right away to decide on the best course of action for your pet.

One word of cautiondhumans can develop an itchy rash from contact with a mange-infected dog. The rash will result in small raised bumps on the surface of the body. Usually this condition is only temporary and will go away once the affected dog has been treated. Consult a physician if the problem persists.

Information courtesy of The American Animal Hospital Association

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