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There are two types of mange seen in the dog:
1. Demodex is a mite that all dogs naturally have on their skin, but only a small percentage ofdogs develop clinical problems. If an animal develops demodectic mange this is indicative of a flaw in their immune system. In young puppies, it usually causes small areas of hair loss especially on the head and front legs. This condition is typically very itchy. Adult dogs tend to show more generalized symptoms, and usually have redder, itchy skin lesions. Adult dogs that develop Demodex usually have another disease affecting their immune function such as hypothyroidism, Cushings, or cancer that suppresses the immune system and allows the Demodex to increase in numbers and cause lesions.
2. Scabies is the second type of mange that a dog can get. It is a skin disease in dogs or people caused by the mite Sarcoptes. Most dogs with this disease are intensely itchy. Scabies is highly contagious, but not all dogs in contact are as itchy. People also have their own species of Sarcoptes; most of their cases are due to the human scabies mite, but it is possible for people to develop lesions from the dog scabies mite.
Both of these types of mange can reliably be diagnosed by taking a skin scraping from your dog and evaluating under a microscope. The treatment and prognosis for each of these conditions are often times very different from each other. Your veterinarian will be able to explain the condition and formulate a treatment plan that is right for your pet.