Demodectic Mange vs. Sarcoptic Mange

What's the Difference?

Demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange are both types of skin conditions caused by mites, but they differ in several ways. Demodectic mange, also known as demodicosis, is caused by the Demodex mite and primarily affects dogs. It is not contagious and is usually a result of a weakened immune system. Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite and can affect various animals, including dogs, cats, and even humans. It is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact. While both types of mange cause intense itching and hair loss, demodectic mange usually results in localized patches of hair loss, while sarcoptic mange causes more widespread hair loss and severe itching. Treatment for both conditions typically involves medicated baths and topical medications, but sarcoptic mange may require more aggressive treatment due to its contagious nature.


AttributeDemodectic MangeSarcoptic Mange
Causative MiteDemodex mitesSarcoptes scabiei mites
HostDogsDogs, foxes, and other animals
TransmissionDirect contact with infected animalsDirect contact with infected animals or contaminated objects
Location on the BodyLocalized or generalized, often on the face or pawsTypically affects the ears, elbows, hocks, and abdomen
SymptomsHair loss, redness, itching, and skin infectionsIntense itching, hair loss, crusty skin, and secondary infections
DiagnosisSkin scraping and microscopic examinationSkin scraping and microscopic examination
TreatmentMedicated shampoos, topical medications, and sometimes oral medicationsMedicated shampoos, topical medications, and sometimes oral medications
ContagiousNot contagious to humans or other animalsCan be transmitted to humans and other animals

Further Detail


Mange is a common skin condition that affects animals, particularly dogs. It is caused by mites that infest the skin and can lead to various symptoms and discomfort for the affected animal. Two common types of mange are Demodectic Mange and Sarcoptic Mange. While both conditions share similarities, they also have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of each type of mange and highlight their differences.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic Mange, also known as Demodicosis or Red Mange, is caused by the Demodex mite. These mites are naturally present on the skin of most dogs, but they only become problematic when the dog's immune system is compromised or weakened. This type of mange is not contagious and cannot be transmitted to humans or other animals.

One of the key attributes of Demodectic Mange is that it primarily affects young dogs, usually under the age of one. Puppies acquire the mites from their mother during the first few days of life. The mites then reside in the hair follicles and oil glands of the dog's skin, leading to hair loss, redness, and inflammation.

Demodectic Mange can be classified into two forms: localized and generalized. Localized Demodectic Mange is characterized by hair loss and skin lesions in specific areas, such as the face, forelegs, or trunk. It usually resolves on its own without treatment within a few weeks to months. On the other hand, generalized Demodectic Mange affects larger areas of the body and may require more extensive treatment.

Common symptoms of Demodectic Mange include hair loss, redness, scaly skin, and sometimes secondary bacterial infections. Itching is usually mild or absent in localized cases but can be more severe in generalized cases. Diagnosis is typically made through a skin scraping examination, where the mites are identified under a microscope.

Treatment for Demodectic Mange involves addressing any underlying health issues and managing the mite infestation. This may include medicated baths, topical medications, or oral medications to kill the mites and control any secondary infections. Regular follow-up visits to the veterinarian are necessary to monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan if needed.

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic Mange, also known as Canine Scabies, is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. Unlike Demodectic Mange, Sarcoptic Mange is highly contagious and can be transmitted between animals and humans. It is primarily spread through direct contact with an infested animal or contaminated bedding.

Sarcoptic Mange can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. The mites burrow into the skin, causing intense itching and irritation. The affected dog may scratch excessively, leading to hair loss, redness, and the formation of crusts and scabs. The condition commonly affects the ears, elbows, hocks, and abdomen.

One of the key attributes of Sarcoptic Mange is its rapid spread. If one dog in a household is infested, it is highly likely that other dogs or pets in close proximity will also become infected. Humans can also contract Sarcoptic Mange, although the mites cannot complete their life cycle on human skin and will eventually die off.

Diagnosing Sarcoptic Mange can be challenging as the mites are difficult to find during a skin scraping examination. In some cases, a presumptive diagnosis is made based on the characteristic symptoms and response to treatment. However, a definitive diagnosis may require a more invasive skin biopsy or blood tests.

Treatment for Sarcoptic Mange involves eliminating the mites and managing the symptoms. This typically includes the use of topical medications, such as medicated shampoos or spot-on treatments, to kill the mites. Oral medications may also be prescribed to control itching and inflammation. Additionally, thorough cleaning and disinfection of the dog's environment are crucial to prevent reinfestation.


Demodectic Mange and Sarcoptic Mange are two distinct types of mange that affect dogs. While Demodectic Mange primarily affects young dogs and is not contagious, Sarcoptic Mange can affect dogs of all ages and is highly contagious to both animals and humans. Demodectic Mange is caused by the Demodex mite, while Sarcoptic Mange is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite.

Both types of mange can cause hair loss, redness, and skin irritation, but the distribution and severity of the symptoms may differ. Demodectic Mange can be localized or generalized, while Sarcoptic Mange commonly affects specific areas of the body. Diagnosis for both conditions involves a thorough examination and, in some cases, additional tests.

Treatment for Demodectic Mange focuses on managing the mite infestation and any underlying health issues. Sarcoptic Mange treatment involves eliminating the mites and controlling the symptoms. Regular veterinary care and follow-up visits are essential for both conditions to ensure proper management and monitoring of the dog's progress.

If you suspect your dog may have mange, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Early detection and intervention can help alleviate discomfort and prevent the spread of mange to other animals or humans.

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