How to prevent and treat scabies in dogs

Produced by some species of mites  ( Sarcoptes scabiei ) and highly visible on the skin, scabies in dogs is a disease that can be transmitted to people . But there is no need to be scared, on the contrary. The good news is that this annoying contagious infestation can be prevented and treated in animals. Furthermore, the results are very good if the diagnosis is timely and adequate treatment is performed.

What is scabies?

It is a skin disease caused by parasitic mites that feed on debris of sebum, keratin and skin cells, both of dogs, cats and even humans. The WHO defines it as a “water-related disease”.

In most cases, the infection occurs through direct contact with an already sick animal, or with the objects it uses, such as blankets or brushes .

There are various strains of this pathology and the different names of scabies correspond to the type of mite responsible for spreading the disease. Obviously, for hygienic and climatic reasons, the specimens most at risk and most affected are stray dogs or those who live in an environment that lacks adequate cleaning and sanitary conditions. Below we will tell you about the 3 main types of scabies:

Demodectic scabies

The mites that cause this type of mange are of the demodex  genus and usually live on the skin and in hair follicles. The disease appears when for some reason (cancer, hypothyroidism or imbalance in the immune system) the population of these microorganisms increases.

It should be noted that, fortunately, demodectic mange cannot be transmitted from animals to people. In general, in fact, it affects short-haired purebred dogs , including Dobermanns and Shar Pei .

Sarcoptic mange

The mite responsible for this type of scabies is Sarcoptes scabei var canis , which has the ability to dig deep lesions  on the dog’s skin. Unlike the previous form of the disease, in this case the risk of transmission to humans is very high. It affects even other mammal species, such as the cat or the fox.

Walking scabies

Also known as “walking dandruff”, the causative agent of this variant is the Cheyletiella mite . It can affect not only people – who will show a series of reddish-colored rashes – and dogs, but also cats and rabbits.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Scabies

To identify scabies in a dog, we need to pay attention to certain symptoms and behaviors in the animal. The “good thing” about this mite infection is that it is easy to recognize .

Depending on the type of scabies, the extent and location of the lesions will differ . However, one of the common characteristics is itching . This means that you will see your dog compulsively scratching the same area until he gets injured.

On the other hand, you will also notice a loss of hair in the areas affected by the bacteria, with the composition of a typical pitted coat. The zones can have a larger extent depending on how severe the disease is. It can also have dandruff, peeling of the skin, scabs and pustules.

Redness and inflammation of the skin, wounds and sores or exposed dermis are more than accurate signs that the animal is suffering from scabies. In some cases, the animal will refuse to eat , smell bad, and quickly lose weight.

Home remedies for scabies

Treatment of scabies should be focused on two points: the application of remedies to the animal and the hygiene of its environment. For the former, you can use the medications prescribed by the vet – which are administered orally – and also increase their effectiveness by using home recipes to be applied externally. Some effective options are:

1. Garlic

This antibacterial and healing ingredient can help in the recovery of the animal’s skin and in the elimination of mites. The treatment consists of grinding two cloves of garlic and mixing them with olive oil , then spreading it on the affected area and letting the ointment work overnight. The next day you will have to rinse and remove the remains with the help of a damp cloth.

2. Neutral soap

Dogs that have scabies should be washed with a white or neutral soap to prevent scents from further irritating the skin. There are also medicinal soaps with very effective antibacterial and antiseptic properties. They should be applied to wet skin, leaving it on for two minutes and then rinsing.

3. Chamomile

This plant has many benefits for the skin and thus will help you prevent and treat scabies in dogs. Chamomile flowers are refreshing, anti-inflammatory and purifying . You can prepare an infusion with a spoonful of the plant for every half liter of water and, once cooled, you can apply the filtered liquid directly on the coat of the sick animal.

Obviously, in cases of normality, both food and hygiene, it is unlikely that a case of scabies will arise. In any case, constantly check the health of your four-legged friend and do not hesitate to contact the veterinarian  if you notice the symptoms of the disease . Similarly, if you see a stray dog ​​carrying the disease on the street,  do not touch it for any reason and always contact a veterinarian.

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