Definition of Mange
Mange is a skin disease that can affect both wild and domestic mammals. In dogs, mange is caused by one of several different species of microscopic parasitic mites. The mites that most commonly affect companion dogs are Sarcoptes scabiei canis, which causes sarcoptic mange (“canine scabies”); Cheyletiella yasguri, which causes cheyletiellosis (“walking dandruff”); Demodex canis, which causes demodicosis (“demodex”); Otodectes cynotis, which causes otodectic mange; and Trombiculid mites (“chiggers,” “harvest mites” or “red bugs”). Most forms of mange are highly contagious and cause varying degrees of skin itchiness, inflammation, hair loss and discomfort. Many people use the term “mange” loosely to refer only to canine scabies, which causes affected dogs to become extremely itchy and to suffer patchy hair loss from excessive scratching, biting and licking. This makes them “look mangy,” in common jargon. Some mange mites have zoonotic potential, which means that they can infest people.