Mange is a type of canine skin disease caused by parasitic mites. These parasitic mites would either crawl on the surface of the skin or burrow and embed themselves under the skin and on the hair follicles. These mites are commonly microscopic – can hardly be seen by the naked eyes. But if you look closely you can see minute black bugs crawling on the skin of the dog. These bugs would take on a red color after a blood meal. Dogs are cuddled and petted. These parasitic mites can be transmitted to humans when the pet is handled. The mites are usually found on the mouth and ears, on the armpit and on the other warm and moist body parts of the pet. In humans, the mites would be found on the collar line, on the waistline line of pants and edges of underwear and cause immense itching.
Not all mange causing mites can be transmitted to humans. In pets the persistent itchy skin disease is called mange. A mangy pet cannot transmit the skin disease to humans. However, it is very possible for the mite to crawl into the skin of humans while the dog is being petted. Many dogs sleep with their owners thus mite transmission would be easy. In humans the skin disease is called scabies. Sarcoptes scabiei are the parasitic mites that infest humans. These are eight legged parasites that are only about 1/3 of a millimeter in size. These mites would burrow into the skin and cause severe itching. Without a host, these mites cannot survive for more than three days. In humans, these parasites can survive for a month. Adult parasites would the lay eggs, multiply rapidly and start an immensely itchy infestation. Scabies was even dubbed as the “seven year itch”. Scabies can only be transmitted though close body contact. An outbreak of this skin disease often occurs in prison, in nursing homes and in congested areas where people gets in close contact with each other. Scabies is considered as a kind of sexually transmitted disease because the mite can be transmitted through skin to skin contact during intercourse.
Scabies will first appear as pimple-like rash that would be very itchy. The rash would usually develop between the fingers, on the armpits, elbows and wrist. The nipples, genital area and buttocks would have very itchy rashes as well. The bumps or papules would contain blood crusts. Severe mite infestation will result to a condition known as crusted scabies. This condition is commonly seen in elderly and debilitated people. In this severe form of infection, crusts that contain mites and eggs of mites will be formed. Crusted scabies is highly infectious. Skin to skin contact is not necessary to spread the infection. Mites can be passed through the infested person’s clothes, beddings and furniture. At this point of infestation, medical attention would be extremely necessary.
Although scabies can be easily identified through the symptoms, diagnosis will still be necessary to confirm the presence of the causative agent. Skin scrapings are examined through the microscope. Treatment entails getting rid of the mite from the body of the infected person as well as from the environment. The skin must be thoroughly cleaned before the prescription scabicide lotion is applied from the neck down to the toes of the infected person. The lotion must be left overnight and washed off in the morning. Treatments for scabies must always be prescribed by doctors not only because OTC medications are less effective but also because some medications can cause significant skin irritation is not administered properly. The bedding, clothing and other things used by the infected person must be washed in hot water, dried in a hot dryer and sealed in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours.