What causes scabies ?
Scabies in the dog is caused by the Sarcoptes mite (Sarcoptes scabiei (var.canis) .This mite lives in the superficial layers of the skin and digs passages where the female lays her eggs.All stages of the life cycle of the mite take place on the dog, in total it takes 2-3 weeks before an egg has developed into an adult mite.
Scabies is very contagious
The Sarcoptes mite is very infectious: dogs are infected by contact with another dog with scabies or by an infected environment. The mite can live outside the dog for several weeks in the area: brushes, baskets and blankets can therefore be a source of infection.
Scabies are also contagious for people
Sarcoptes mites are host specific: this means that they can only reproduce on the dog. But they can temporarily live on another host: also on people. It often happens that owners of a dog with scabies themselves also have itching and rashes.
Scabies are more common in import dogs
Sarcoptes scabies are not common in the Netherlands but are often seen in (stray) dogs from abroad. Since these dogs are often brought to the Netherlands these days, we see more and more dogs with scabies in recent years.
Complaints with scabies
Sarcoptes mites cause intense itching. The itching is often so intense that the dog loses weight because the scratching costs so much energy. Red spots, bumps and scabs appear on the skin. These complaints are often mainly on the ears, snout, elbows and heels but can spread throughout the body. Many dogs with scabies have a secondary bacterial infection of the skin due to the damage caused by the mites.
Treatment of scabies
Scabies can be treated well, including with selamectin. Many dogs with scabies benefit from being washed with an antibacterial shampoo that also removes the crusts. Sometimes the itching is so intense that a short treatment with prednisone can bring relief. Treatment should be continued until at least 3 weeks after the symptoms have disappeared. It is advisable to also clean the environment of the dog well. As long as the dog is not healed, contact with other dogs should be avoided.