What Causes Mange and How to Treat It

October 03, 2018

What Causes Mange and How to Treat It

Mange isn’t hard to spot as it causes major hair loss, and painful, scaly skin in dogs and other species of animals. Dogs with severe cases are often unrecognizable after they recover, however this doesn’t happen overnight. These uncomfortable symptoms are the cause of parasitic mites that live on your dog’s skin, but they’re much smaller than a flea and can only be seen under a microscope.


Sarcoptic Mange vs Demodectic Mange

There are several different types of mange, but the ones most often seen in dogs are Sarcoptic and Demodectic. Sarcoptic mange is the result of a scabiei infection and is contagious to people and other animals. In contrast, Demodectic mange is not contagious, and usually localized to one area of your dog’s body.

How to Treat Mange

Demodectic mange doesn’t always require antibiotics, in fact there are a few ways you can easily treat it at home. You can save quite a bit of money simply by using medicated wipes, shampoos and sprays. Specifically, you should be looking for products that contain a 2 to 4 percent chlorhexidine solution.


What is Chlorhexidine Anyway?

Well, it is often used as pet-safe cleaning solution by veterinarians for a number of ailments. With the ability to treat ear infections, gingivitis, and a number of skin diseases, chlorhexidine doesn’t require a veterinary prescription and can be bought over the counter. While it is more often used for yeast infections and fungal issues, chlorhexidine has been found to work well with mange issues as well.

Pet owners who have struggled to find medications that resolve mange quickly often turn to chlorhexidine as a last-ditch effort to get the problem under control.


How Safe is Chlorhexidine?

Another reason chlorhexidine is often chosen as a dermatological treatment for pets is because it won't hurt them if they swallow a little bit of it. Dogs and cats are known for licking themselves regularly, but they tend to do so more when there is medication present on their skin. Thankfully chlorhexidine has a bitter taste to it so dogs and cats are far less likely to swallow it than they would be with something like hydrogen peroxide. Dogs who tend to have a high sensitivity to topical or oral may need to start with a highly diluted version.


Watch Out for Side Effects

Although it is incredibly useful, chlorhexidine is not without flaws and it is possible for your dog to have some side effects. If you begin to notice your dog's symptoms getting worse, swelling of the tongue, or strange, irregular behavior, they could be having an allergic reaction to it. Aside from those minor cautionary  warnings, many pet owners have had success in treating their dog’s mange with chlorhexidine spray or shampoo.


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Chlorhexidine Spray w/ Ketoconazole


Chlorhexidine Wipes w/ Ketoconazole

Chlorhexidine Shampoo for Dogs