Treating Scabies in Dogs

Itchy scabies in dogs is a parasitic infestation. Veterinarians call it sarcoptic mange. The causative agents of the disease are Sarcoptes canis mites. If the therapy is applied in a timely manner, then the ailment is easily treatable and goes away quickly without leaving any consequences. Otherwise, the disease can even cause the death of the pet or provoke the development of secondary infections.

What Are Scabies in Dogs

Any pet can get scabies. Infection occurs from sick animals. In addition, the tick exists without food for about two weeks. So it can be found on the grass, earth, bedding and clothing of the owners. Sometimes an animal can be just a carrier of parasites, and not be infected with them.

Treating Scabies in Dogs

The first signs of scabies appear in a dog after 2 weeks of the presence of parasites in the animal’s epidermis. If the dog has sensitive skin, then the incubation period is much shorter.

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How pathogens work

Scabies mites are 0.5 mm in size. They are able to penetrate under the upper layer of the skin, gnawing through various passages there. The food of the ticks is the remnants of the dermis. These parasites reproduce rapidly throughout the body. Therefore, if the pet owner noticed an invasion, it is worth immediately taking treatment measures. Inside the tunnels that ticks make, females lay 60 eggs during their two-month life cycle.

Symptoms of Canine Scabies

The very first signs of scabies in pets are small red spots on the skin. But the affected areas quickly increase in size and soon the area infested with ticks has a slightly convex shape. At first, red dots may appear in places where the skin is less protected by hair. This makes it easier for parasites to penetrate the skin.

In 85% of situations, dogs with scabies will have an ear-foot reflex. The dog tries to scratch the ear, but this itching can also be present with an allergic reaction.

If left untreated, scabies spreads throughout the dog’s body. It causes a very severe itching in the pet. Therefore, the main sign of the presence of parasites is the constant nervous scratching of the skin by the dog.

Then the animal begins to go bald in some places. The skin in the affected areas is covered with a stratum corneum, begins to coarse and change color from pale pink to gray. Disease-causing bacteria can enter the deep wounds that form. And this greatly complicates the treatment of the dog.

Common symptoms of scabies in pets are:

  • constant itching;
  • redness of the skin;
  • baldness;
  • restless sleep;
  • apathy;
  • decreased appetite;
  • an increase in temperature by several degrees.


The parasites that cause scabies in dogs can only feed on the dermis of these animals. On human skin, they quickly die of hunger, because they are not able to gnaw through deep passages for reproduction. But if ticks were found on a pet, it should be examined and treated with gloves. This becomes a preventive measure, since the parasite can cause pseudo scab, which is characterized by an allergic reaction to the presence of parasites on human skin. The tick dies within 14 days, being on the skin of the owner of a sick pet. But there may be severe itching, which will have to be removed with the help of special drugs.

If there are other pets in the house, then they must be isolated from the sick animal. In this case, the house and place of residence of a dog with scabies must be properly cleaned and disinfected (with special means, a steam cleaner). For healthy pets, prophylaxis is indicated (skin treatment with an anti-parasite agent).

Why disease is easier to prevent than to cure

Any disease is easier to prevent than to cure. As for the parasites that take root in the skin of animals, then you need to fight them before infection. That is, periodically you need to treat the dog’s withers with special drops and sprays against parasites. It is also important to adhere to pet hygiene: often bathe the animal with antibacterial shampoos, wash the bedding on which the dog sleeps, treat all places in the house with disinfectants, wash the animal’s paws after the street, and so on.

A rare form of the disease is one involving severe generalised crusting, analogous to a human variant called Norwegian scabies. As usual, there are multiple mites and an underlying immune suppression should be suspected.

According to Veterinary Practice

Treating Scabies in Dogs

Before you buy a cure for scabies for your pet, you should make sure that this is not an allergic reaction or dermatitis, but an itchy mite. A specialist in a veterinary clinic will help to recognize the sore.

To confirm or refute the diagnosis, the physician must take a sample of the material for research. But not always scraping can help establish a diagnosis. The mite can penetrate the skin very deeply, which becomes a difficult factor in diagnosing the disease. Therefore, the doctor needs to take several scrapings at once from different affected areas of the skin.

Main Method of Treatment

If the diagnosis of scabies is confirmed, then the treatment is carried out in stages:

  • The affected areas on the body of the animal are cut off before starting treatment.
  • The sick animal is bathed with the addition of an antibacterial shampoo.
  • The skin of the animal is treated with special preparations against parasites.
  • The procedure is repeated twice with a break of three weeks.
  • Wounds can be treated with antiseptics between treatments.
  • If the dog’s scabies is running, then antibiotics (against secondary infections), medications that reduce itching are also prescribed.
  • It is recommended to apply wound-healing ointments to sore skin areas.

What Else You Can Do

Scabies in dogs can also be treated with various antiparasitic drugs, such as Selamectin. This remedy is often used by European veterinarians.

Also, therapy with medications of systemic action, which contain ivermectin, is permissible. But it should be taken with extreme caution.

Some dog breeds may have side effects. Namely: nervous tremors, bradycardia, ataxia, respiratory arrest, loss of consciousness, dilated pupils, increased salivation.

Therefore, before starting treatment, the doctor must prescribe drugs and its doses, which are selected for each pet individually.

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