Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mange: Part 2

Sarcoptes or Scabies

The second type of mange is vastly different from Demodex in almost every way.  First of all these dogs are itchy, and I mean really itchy.  Sarcoptic mange is one of most pruritic diseases out there.  Although the dog can be itchy anywhere the most commonly affected areas are the elbows, hocks, ears and face.  These areas will frequently have sores and crusting present. 

Diagnosis of sarcoptes is quite different as well.  Although skin scraping is the first line of defense in diagnostics they are frequently negative as Sarcoptes are very hard to find. Even with multiple scrapings mites are only found in about 30-50% of patients.

Sarcoptes scabiei under the microscope

Another easy diagnostic tool is the pinnal-pedal reflex. In about 90% of patients with sarcoptes rubbing the ear flap will cause the hind leg on the same side to scratch or thump in a scratching motion. This can also be present in dogs with skin allergies so it is not a specific test. Frequently a therapeutic medication trial is used to diagnose or rule out sarcoptes as a cause of itching and skin lesions.

Fortunately Sarcoptes mites are easy to kill and many treatment options are available.  A large number of the heartworm and flea medications used are effective against sarcoptes.  One of the easiest and safest treatments is Revolution every 14 days for 3 treatments. 

Sarcoptes is contagious to other dogs and animals.  Transmission is generally through direct contact and occasionally from contact with a contaminated environment.  Sarcoptes is a zoonotic disease meaning it can be transmitted to people but they are relatively species specific mites who don't survive long off the natural host, the dog.  Treatment of all dogs in the household and cleaning or disposal of all bedding, etc is needed to fully eliminate the mites from the household. 

1 comment:

Sara said...

I've had a couple students with scribes (gross). I didn't realize dogs could get it as well