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How to Treat Mange in Dogs and Cats: A Comprehensive Guide

Mange is an intensely itchy and often debilitating condition caused by parasitic mites. Despite their microscopic size, these mites can cause significant discomfort and health issues for pets. Understanding the types of mange, their symptoms, and the most effective treatments is essential for veterinary professionals and pet owners alike.

Types of Mange

There are several types of mange that affect dogs and cats, each caused by different mites:

  • Demodectic Mange (Demodex Mange):

  • Etiology: Caused by Demodex mites that live in hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

  • Transmission: Not contagious; typically occurs in animals with weakened immune systems.

  • Common Species: Demodex canis in dogs and Demodex cati or Demodex gatoi in cats.

  • Clinical Signs: Patchy hair loss, especially around the eyes, muzzle, and forelegs; red, inflamed skin that can become greasy and moist.

  • Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies):

  • Etiology: Caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites that burrow into the skin.

  • Transmission: Highly contagious through direct contact and contaminated environments.

  • Clinical Signs: Intense itching, hair loss, crusty ear tips, and inflamed skin; typically starts on the ears, elbows, and hocks but can spread to the entire body.

  • Cheyletiella Mange (Walking Dandruff):

  • Etiology: Caused by Cheyletiella mites.

  • Transmission: Contagious to other animals and humans through direct contact.

  • Clinical Signs: Visible dandruff, itching, and skin irritation. In humans, it causes temporary irritation.

Clinical Symptoms and Diagnosis

Demodectic Mange:

  • Localized Form: Limited to small areas with mild symptoms; often self-resolving in puppies.

  • Generalized Form: Widespread skin involvement, severe itching, secondary bacterial infections, and potential underlying immunodeficiency.

Sarcoptic Mange:

  • Symptoms: Severe itching, rash, crusty lesions, hair loss, and secondary infections.

  • Diagnosis: Skin scrapings to identify mites; serological tests and PCR for confirmation.

Cheyletiella Mange:

  • Symptoms: Itchy skin with heavy dandruff; mites visible on skin scraping or tape test.

  • Diagnosis: Microscopic identification of mites from skin scrapings or tape impressions.

Treatment Strategies

Demodectic Mange:

  1. Topical Treatments:

  • Medicated Shampoos and Dips: Products like Vet Basics® Sebo Plus Shampoo help cleanse the skin and remove debris. Lime Sulfur Dip is effective in penetrating hair follicles and killing mites.

  1. Oral Medications:

  • Ivermectin: Administered orally; effective but use with caution in breeds sensitive to high doses.

  • Alternative Treatments: Bravecto, Simparica, Nexgard, and Credelio can also be used, although not specifically labeled for this purpose.

  1. Supportive Care:

  • Nutritional Supplements: Doc Roy’s® Daily Care fatty acid supplements to enhance skin health.

  • High-Quality Diet: Ensuring optimal nutrition supports overall recovery and immune function.

Sarcoptic Mange:

  1. Topical Treatments:

  • Shampoos and Dips: Regular use of insecticidal shampoos and dips, such as Lime Sulfur Dip, is necessary to eradicate mites.

  1. Systemic Treatments:

  • Ivermectin: Effective but requires careful dosing; not suitable for all breeds.

  • Selamectin or Moxidectin: Applied topically; safe for use in sensitive breeds.

  1. Environmental Management:

  • Sanitation: Thorough cleaning of bedding and living areas with residual insecticides to prevent reinfestation.

  1. Medication Alternatives: For sensitive breeds, consider using products like Bravecto, Simparica, or Nexgard under veterinary guidance.

Cheyletiella Mange:

  1. Topical Treatments:

  • Medicated Shampoos: Regular bathing with insecticidal shampoos to remove mites and soothe the skin.

  1. Systemic Treatments:

  • Ivermectin or Selamectin: Effective for mite eradication.

  1. Environmental Management:

  • Cleaning and Disinfection: Wash bedding, grooming tools, and living areas to remove mites.

Preventative Measures

  1. Regular Monitoring:

  • Routine Skin Checks: Regularly inspect pets for signs of mange, especially if they have been in contact with other animals or have a history of skin issues.

  1. Good Hygiene Practices:

  • Regular Grooming: Maintain good grooming practices to keep the skin healthy and reduce the risk of mite infestations.

  1. Environmental Control:

  • Sanitation: Regularly clean and disinfect living areas, especially if there has been a previous infestation.

  1. Healthy Diet: Ensure pets receive a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients to support their immune system.


Mange can be a severe and uncomfortable condition for pets, but with the right treatment plan and preventative measures, it can be effectively managed and eradicated. Regular use of medicated shampoos, dips, oral medications, and thorough environmental management are key to treating mange successfully.

For more detailed information and high-quality products for treating mange, visit or call us at 800-658-5308. We are dedicated to helping you keep your pets healthy and comfortable.

dogs with mange informational chart
dogs with mange informational chart


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