There are two types of mange that affect dogs and cats: Sarcoptic mange and Demodex mange. Both are caused by an overgrowth of mites on the skin or in the hair follicles. This causes hair loss, itching, scabs and crusts, and allows bacteria and yeast to cause more infection on the skin.
Also known as scabies, this type of mange is very itchy for dogs and cats. Signs of this are hair loss, severe itching, and crusts/scabs on the body but especially on the edges of the ears. This type of mange is contagious, so an infected animal can spread it to another animal. This can also be spread to people.
Demodex mites normally live in small numbers on the skin of dogs and cats. When the skin’s normal protections are weakened through age (being young or older), harsh conditions (outside in cold weather), or poor nutrition, the mites will overgrow and cause infection. Signs of this are hair loss, red skin, crusts/scabs. Demodex doesn’t cause itching, however dogs will itch because of other infections that happen due to the mites. Demodex is not contagious, an infected animal cannot spread it to other animals or people.
There are many myths about treating mange. These include putting motor oil on the coat, shaving the hair, suffocating the mites by applying Vaseline or other ointments. NONE OF THESE TREATMENTS WORK! In fact, they can seriously injure your pet. The ONLY way to treat mange is with prescription medication like ivermectin.