Severe Sarcoptic Mange

by Julie
(New York, NY, USA)

Reader Question: Is Severe Itching Following Treatment of Sarcoptic Mange Normal?

We have rescued a stray dog with severe sarcoptic mange. We are giving her 1cc of ivermectin every 2 weeks for 6 weeks total. She had the first dose 3 days ago, and it seems as though her itching has increased, is this normal at the start of treatment?

The poor thing, I don’t think she ever stops scratching long enough to even sleep. She has been laying in a piece of lawn furniture on our front porch....do I need to worry about re-infestation from the chair, should I clean it at certain intervals, and with what? And how do I prevent this in the future?

Vet's Input For Behavior of Canine Following Treatment For Sarcoptic Mange

Hi Julie,

Sarcoptic mange surely does make dogs miserable, and yes, itching can get worse before it gets better – probably as a result of the death of a lot of mites at one time. If her itchiness continues to worsen or her scratching leads to wounds on her skin, talk to your veterinarian. She may need some medications to help relieve the itchiness in the short term or antibiotics to deal with any secondary skin infections (which can be very itchy also) that may have developed.
Sarcoptic mange mites do not live for very long off of a host animal, but it wouldn’t hurt to wash any bedding, collars, and other objects that might harbor large number of mites.

More importantly, make sure that all dogs in the household, even those without clinical signs, are being treated for sarcoptic mange to prevent one from harboring mites that could re-infest everyone in the future.

My favorite form of treatment and prevention for sarcoptic mange is Revolution. It can be applied directly to the skin, is very safe, and treats a wide range of parasites (e.g., fleas, some ticks, ear mites, and heartworms) in addition to sarcoptic mange.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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