Mange is a disease of mange mites that affects the top layers of the skin. The insects live part of their lifecycles in the hair follicles and in the top layers of the skin in burrows. The most common kinds in dogs and cats are demodex and scabies. Scabies cause extreme itching and can be transmitted. Demodex mites are not contagious, usually. Both mites can be normal inhabitants of the skin in very low numbers. They don't cause problems unless they are in very high numbers. In high numbers these mites can set your dog up for secondary skin infections such as pyoderma (yeast or bacterial skin infections) and hair loss. Once they appear in high numbers and definitive diagnosis is made they require treatment. Treatments can include dips, topical treatments, or oral medication. It takes several months of treatment to rid the body of a mite infestation.
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