Mange is a parasitic infestation of the skin of animals. Common symptoms include hair loss, itching and inflammation, all of which are caused by microscopic mites. Mange is most commonly found in dogs and other canines, but it can occur in other domestic and wild animals, such as turtles, causing them to lose their shells.
Similar skin infestations in humans are not usually called mange but Demodicosis which may have a rosacea-like appearance.
The mites embed themselves in the hair follicles or skin, depending on the type. Both detection and treatment can be difficult and generally require consultation with a veterinarian.
Two types of mites produce canine mange, and each type has characteristic symptoms.
Red Mange, demodectic mange in dogs is caused by a sensitivity to and overpopulation of Demodex canis as the animal's immune system is unable to keep the mites in check. This is a mite that occurs naturally in the hair follicles of most dogs in low numbers around the face and other areas of the body. In most dogs, these mites never cause problems. However, in certain situations, such as an under-developed or impaired immune system, intense stress, or malnutrition, the mites can reproduce rapidly, causing symptoms in sensitive dogs that range from mild irritation and hair loss on a small patch of skin to severe and widespread inflammation, secondary infection, and—in rare cases—a life-threatening condition. Small patches of demodicosis often correct themselves over time as the dog's immune system matures, although treatment is usually recommended.
Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious infestation of Sarcoptes scabiei canis, a burrowing mite. The canine sarcoptic mite can also infest humans and cats, pigs, horses, sheep and various other species. Affected dogs need to be isolated from other dogs and their bedding, and places they have occupied must be thoroughly cleaned. Other dogs in contact with a diagnosed case should be evaluated and treated.
These mites dig into and through the skin, causing intense itching and crusting that can quickly become infected. Hair loss and crusting frequently appear first on elbows and ears. Skin damage can occur from the dog's intense scratching and biting and secondary skin infection is common. Dogs with chronic sarcoptic mange are often in poor condition.
Brochure from my vet.