Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange, also called scabies, is an intensely itchy skin disease caused by a Sarcoptes scabei, a microscopic mite that burrows into the skin. Although dogs, cats, and humans all have a similar condition known as scabies, the mites are different for each host. Scabies in dogs is not the same as scabies in people.

Signs
Red, crusty lesions are most commonly seen on the ears, elbows and trunk of infected dogs. The lesions are extremely itchy, helping to distinguish sarcoptic mange from other skin conditions like ringworm and demodectic mange. The skin irritation is caused by the burrowing mites, which also release allergens and toxins into the skin. Constant scratching makes the skin susceptible to secondary infections with bacteria.

Diagnosis
Although the areas of hair loss may lead the veterinarian to suspect sarcoptic mange, the final diagnosis is made by performing a skin scraping test. The skin is scraped in several areas to loosen cells and mites which are then examined microscopically. Because the mites are difficult to find, repeated scrapings are often indicated. Other tests may be performed to make sure the hair loss is not due to a cause other than mites.

Treatment
Treatments may include dips or medications given by mouth or by injection. Treatments are usually given every two weeks until the symptoms have resolved and the pet tests negative for mites.

Prevention
Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious among dogs. Infected dogs should be separated from other dogs until treatment is complete. Most other mammals, including humans, can be infected with a type of Sarcoptes, but the mite is different for each host. Mites from animals may get on people and cause itchiness for a few days, but will not actually cause an infection. However, until the pet is treated, mites may continue causing problems for their owners. People with skin irritations caused by canine scabies should consult their doctor for treatment to reduce the temporary itching sensation.

Cats do not get Sarcoptes, but have a similar disease caused by a different mite, Notoedres cati. It spreads easily among cats. Infected cats should receive prompt treatment and should be separated from other cats until treatment is complete. Like Sarcoptes, Notoedres does not cause scabies in people but may occasionally cause temporary, itchy skin lesions.

True scabies in people is always contracted from close contact with other people. Children, the elderly, and immunosuppressed individuals are at higher risk. Infection is usually the result of prolonged, direct contact between sexual partners or members of the same household. The organism can live for about 72 hours in the environment, so it is possible to spread scabies via sharing of unwashed clothing or bedding.

The video below show a case of severe sarcoptic mange in a stray dog.

Ticks and your Pets

Ticks are eight legged parasites related to spiders and scorpions. Ticks feed on the blood of their host, injecting a numbing agent into the bite wound so their presence can go unnoticed for days while they are feeding. During their feeding, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Ehrlichia to their host through the saliva.

 

The tick’s life cycle is different than insects. The female engorges on blood from her host, mates with a male tick and then detaches, dropping off her host to fall to the ground and seek a place to lay her eggs. The female can deposit 1,000 to 18,000 eggs, depending on the species of the tick, and then dies shortly after laying her eggs. The eggs will hatch anywhere between 2 months to 2 years depending on the species and climate conditions. The eggs hatch as larvae and seek a host to get a blood meal. Larvae ticks are very small and are often overlooked while they are on the host. Once they have engorged on their blood meal, they will drop off the host where they will molt and become a nymph. Again the nymph seeks out a blood meal, feed and then drop to the ground where they once more will molt and become an adult tick.

 

Species of Ticks

Canine

Amblyomma americanum

lone star tick

 

Amblyomma maculatum

Gulf Coast Tick

Dermacentor variabilis

American dog tick

Dermacentor andersoni

Rocky Mountain wood tick

Ixodes_pacifcus

Ixodes pacificus

western black-legged tick

Ixodes scapularis

black-legged tick

 

Otobius megnini

(spinose ear tick)

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

(Brown Dog Tick)

Diseases transmitted by ticks

  1. Anemia – The female tick can ingest more than 100 times her weight in blood. In severe infestations with thousands of ticks on a dog, it can cause severe blood loss resulting in anemia and may actually require blood transfusions to replenish the lost blood.
  2. Skin irritation and itching – The attached tick secrets chemical through her mouth parts in order to anchor herself to the skin and anti-coagulants to make it easier to suck the blood. These chemicals can cause irritation and allergic reactions resulting in more itching, swelling redness around the bite area.
  3. Tick Paralysis – Some species of ticks can produce a neurotoxin that can produce a sudden, progressive, flaccid (limp) paralysis of the muscles similar to that seen in Guillain-Barre syndrome. Once the offending tick is discovered and removed, the patient can quickly recover. Ticks discovered to produce the neurotoxin are D. andersoni, D. variabilis, A. americanum, A. maculatum, I. scapularis, and I. pacificus.
  4. Ehrlichia chaffeensis (human monocytic ehrlichiosis)
  5. Ehrlichia ewingii
  6. Borrelia lonestari
  7. Francella tularensis (tularemia)
  8. Hepatozoon americanum (American canine hepatozoonosis)
  9. Rickettsia rickettsii (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  10. Cytauxzoon felis (cytauxzoonosis)
  11. Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)
  12. Anaplasma phagocytophlium (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis)
  13. Ehrlichia canis (canine monocytic ehrlichiosis)
  14. Babesia canis (canine babesiosis)
  15. Anaplasma platys
  16. Babesia gibsoni

Tick control Products

  • Amitraz – is available as a dip, (mitaban), a collar (Preventic). Amitraz helps prevent tick attachment and can make the tick detach within 24 hours. The collar can last for several months, but do not allow your dog to chew on it because it can cause toxicity.
  • Fipronil – available in spray and spot on formulations (Merial Frontline).
  • The only product approved for tick control on cats is fipronil (frontline).
  • Permethrin – acts as a repellent and kills ticks within 24 hours. Products containing permethrin include Vectra 3D and K9 Advantix.
  • Selamectin – the active ingredient in Revolution is only effective against Dermacentor ticks and has a slower kill rate and may not be the best choice in heavy tick infestations.
  • Deltamethrin Scalibor- An impregnated dog band (collar) that kills fleas and ticks for 6 months
  • Bravecto – Bravecto kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations (Ctenocephalides felis) and the treatment and control of tick infestations [Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick), Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick)] for 12 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.
    Bravecto is also indicated for the treatment and control of Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick) infestations for 8 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.

Infestations

Most ticks infest dogs with an ambush technique called questing. When the ticks hatch, they climb up on to the tips of weeds, grasses and other vegetation. The ticks have a special sensory apparatus known as Haller’s organ that is located on their forelegs. With their forelegs extended, they can sense animals approaching. When the host brushes up against the vegetation, the ticks release in mass and crawl onto their new host to feed. Hundreds of ticks can release onto your pet at one time. The ticks also have seasonal cycles depending on the climate and geographic region.

Removing the tick

In cases where there are just a few ticks, can be done with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and then with slow, gentle pressure, remove the tick from the skin. You should not crush the tick with your bare fingers because disease transmission to humans can be possible. Sometime, the tick can cause a mild infection at the site, especially if removed improperly and the head remained attached to the skin. In the event there are hundreds of ticks attached, you may want to take your dog to the veterinarian where special dips can be applied to facilitate removal.

Controlling ticks

If you live in an area that tick infestation is prevalent, then year round tick control is advised. If you are going camping with your dog then there are products that you can use prior to camping that will repel, kill or prevent infestation or quick release, depending on the product you use. As always, if your dog is having a tick problem, avoid over the counter medications, they are not as effective and can cause toxicity, especially if a product containing permethrin is accidentally applied to a cat. Your veterinarian will help you choose a product that will help with your flea, tick, and intestinal parasite control as well as heartworm prevention. It may be accomplished with one product or the combination of a few products. Care must be taken when mixing products because potential toxicity may occur.

 

Treating the yard

The prescription tick control products when applied according to the label directions should control your tick population. In some cases, additional yard treatment may be necessary to control ticks.

  • Clean up your yard to eliminate refuge areas for ticks and their wildlife hosts. This can be done by cutting back or burning tall grass, brush piles and weeds growing along fences, between runs and other structures. Sunlight penetration helps to dry out ticks and clearing the brush will reduce places for wildlife tick hosts to hide.
  • If you have a brown dog tick infestation in kennels, you can spray acaricides into cracks and crevices, under and behind cages and along the ceiling boards because ticks like to climb up.
  • Products that are effective against ticks in a kennel include cyfluthrin, premethrin, and s-fenvalarate.
  • These same products also work outside. Broadcast application of acaracide products is rarely necessary for tick control in yards. Rather spot treatment along fences, kennels and shady areas is preferred.
  • In the event of unusually heavy tick populations, you may find it necessary to restrict your pet’s access to the tick infested environments.

Effective yard flea and tick products

  • Bayer Advanced Lawn™ Complete Insect Killer – Active ingredients include Imidacloprid 0.72% and Beta-cyfluthrin 0.36%
  • Bayer Advanced Garden™ PowerForce® Multi-Insect Killer Ready-To-Spay Cyfluthrin 0.75%

Both products come in 32 oz ready to use bottles that can cover approximately 5,000 square feet

  • Do not allow the spray to get into fish ponds, streams or lakes.
  • Remove your pet’s food dishes before you spray
  • Keep your pets and children away from the treated area until the spray has dried completely.
  • Shake well before using to evenly distribute the product.
  • In heavy infestations, you may need to repeat the spraying every 7 to 14 days.
  • These products are ready to spray. Simply attach the bottle to your hose and be sure to follow the label directions precisely. The water from your hose will automatically mix with the concentrate to provide the correct mixture to your yard.
  • Also available is Bayer Advanced™ PowerForce® Multi-Insect Killer Ready to spread Granules.

Other products that are available

  • Conquer: Esfenvalerate 3.48%
  • Tempo Ultra WP Cyfluthrin 10.00%

Learn more about ticks from the CDC The Tick Handbook (click link to download pdf report)

Parasites on Your Cat

ParasitesParasites are organisms that live in or on your cat, causing harm. Minimizing parasites is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. Some pet parasites can cause problems for people too, so keeping them out of your home is also good for you and your family.

External parasites are insects or arachnids that live on the skin or in the ears, feeding on blood or cell fluids. Most are large enough to be visible, but its easy to miss them on a furry pet. Your veterinarian can tell you about parasite control products that are safe, convenient, and effective.

Fleas
Fleas are about twice the size of the head of a pin and are brown in color. They scurry rapidly through your cats hair coat and can jump several feet. Fleas can be detected by combing your pet with a fine-toothed flea comb. The presence of flea droppings is another sign. Flea droppings look like black sand. A good trick for differentiating flea droppings from dirt is to add a drop or two of water. Flea droppings contain partially digested blood, and will produce a red color when wet.

Fleas cause severe skin irritation and allergies. Your cat may scratch so much that he creates raw spots, which can become infected. Severe infestations can cause anemia. Fleas are also the carriers of tapeworms. Although fleas prefer furry creatures, they can cause itchy bites on people.

There are many products available for flea control. The newest, safest, and most effective are available from your veterinarian. These products are also very convenient, requiring only a few drops of liquid applied once a month. You may still notice a few fleas occasionally. Sprays for the home and garden can minimize this problem. Make sure to read and follow label directions on all flea products. Some products can be dangerous to you or your cat if they are used improperly.

Lice
Lice are whitish insects that are smaller than fleas. Their eggs, or nits, can be detected on the hair shafts. In cats, lice are much less common than fleas. Lice can cause skin irritation and anemia. Insecticidal shampoos and other products can be used to treat lice, but it is very important to treat the bedding as well. Although people get lice, they are a different type, so you dont have to worry about getting lice from your pet.ticks

Ticks
Ticks are arachnids, relatives of spiders. Their size varies tremendously, depending on the type, age, sex, and whether the tick has fed on blood. Larval ticks may be smaller than the head of a pin, whereas some adult ticks are larger than a corn kernel. Ticks are detected by careful examination of your pets skin and ears.

Ticks can cause anemia and are carriers of many serious diseases, including Lyme disease and Ehrlichia. They can also bite people.

Some of the topical flea products available from your veterinarian for flea control are also effective for ticks. In addition, powerful tick-specific products may be recommended. Many tick control products are safe for dogs only, so read all labels carefully before using a product on your cat.Microspcopic view of earmites

Mites
Mites, like ticks, are arachnids, but they are much smaller. Many mites are difficult or impossible to see without magnification. Ear mites can be detected by your veterinarian during a physical examination. Skin mites usually require a skin scraping test. Symptoms vary depending on the type of mite, but can include itching, irritation, and hair loss. Skin mites are the cause of mange. Effective mite treatments are available by prescription. The treatment often takes several weeks.

Debra Garrison, DVM

Parasites on Your Dog

Parasites on your Dog
Parasites are organisms that live in or on your dog, causing harm. Minimizing parasites is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. Some pet parasites can cause problems for people too, so keeping them out of your home is also good for you and your family.

External parasites are insects or arachnids that live on the skin or in the ears, feeding on blood or cell fluids. Most are large enough to be visible, but its easy to miss them on a furry pet. Your veterinarian can tell you about parasite control products that are safe, convenient, and effective.

Fleas
Fleas are about twice the size of the head of a pin and are brown in color. They scurry rapidly through your dogs hair coat and can jump several feet. Fleas can be detected by combing your pet with a fine-toothed flea comb. The presence of flea droppings is another sign. Flea droppings look like black sand. A good trick for differentiating flea droppings from dirt is to add a drop or two of water. Flea droppings contain partially digested blood, and will produce a red color when wet.

Fleas cause severe skin irritation and allergies. Your dog may scratch so much that he creates raw spots, which can become infected. Severe infestations can cause anemia. Fleas are also the carriers of tapeworms. Although fleas prefer furry creatures, they can cause itchy bites on people.

There are many products available for flea control. The newest, safest, and most effective are available from your veterinarian. These products are also very convenient, requiring only a few drops of liquid applied once a month. You may still notice a few fleas occasionally. Sprays for the home and garden can minimize this problem. Make sure to read and follow label directions on all flea products. Some products can be dangerous to you or your dog if they are used improperly.

Lice
Lice are whitish insects that are smaller than fleas. Their eggs, or nits, can be detected on the hair shafts. In dogs, lice are much less common than fleas. Lice can cause skin irritation and anemia. Insecticidal shampoos and other products can be used to treat lice, but it is very important to treat the bedding as well. Although people get lice, they are a different type, so you dont have to worry about getting lice from your pet.

Ticks
Ticks are arachnids, relatives of spiders. Their size varies tremendously, depending on the type, age, sex, and whether the tick has fed on blood. Larval ticks may be smaller than the head of a pin, whereas some adult ticks are larger than a corn kernel. Ticks are detected by careful examination of your pets skin and ears.

ticks

Ticks can cause anemia and are carriers of many serious diseases, including Lyme disease and Ehrlichia. They can also bite people.

Some of the topical flea products available from your veterinarian for flea control are also effective for ticks. In addition, powerful tick-specific products may be recommended.

Mites
Mites, like ticks, are arachnids, but they are much smaller. Mites are difficult or impossible to see without magnification. Ear mites can be detected by your veterinarian during a physical examination. Skin mites usually require a skin scraping test. Symptoms vary depending on the type of mite, but can include itching, irritation, and hair loss. Skin mites are the cause of mange. Effective mite treatments are available by presDemodexcription. The treatment often takes several weeks.