Chapter 4 - Sarcoptic mange
Pruritus with erythema, alopecia, papules, crusting and scaling.
Sarcoptic mange (also referred to as scabies) is a highly
contagious, intensely pruritic and potentially zoonotic skin
condition, due to an infestation of the skin by a sarcoptid mite
Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis. The presenting signs of pruritus
papules, crusting, scaling, erythema and self-induced alopecia
are often confused with other dermatological conditions,
such as staphylococcal pyoderma, allergic skin diseases or other
CASE PRESENTING SIGNS
A 13-year-old uncastrated male samoyed was presented with
severe pruritus, to the extent that the dog was continually scratching
in the waiting room and during the consultation. It was also
lethargic and exhibited erythema, alopecia, crusting and scaling.
All dogs present with a history of intense pruritus, which
in most cases fail to respond to increasing doses of glucocorticoids.
The onset of pruritus tends to be sudden and severe, and the
animal is usually presented shortly after onset, unless the individual
has been intermittently treated with ectoparasiticidal products.
A history of indirect contact with foxes is usually noted, especially
in urban and suburban areas of the UK. Sarcoptic mange is contagious
and of zoonotic importance, and evidence of contagion and zoonosis
may come to light during the history taking.
The history in this case was as follows:
- The dog was acquired from a rescue centre 3 years prior to
- The dog had no previous history of skin disease, apart from
having several sebaceous cysts removed surgically a few months
- The pruritus started about 2 months prior to presentation
and had worsened over this period.
- The dog's environment and management had not altered over
- There were no in-contact dogs, but there were foxes in the
- The owner reported that the dog was lethargic and depressed.
- There was no zoonosis.
- The pruritus initially responded to oral prednisolone but,
as the disease progressed, even increasing doses had no effect.
- Systemic antimicrobial therapy, for 7 days, was of no benefit.
- Flea control was sporadic.
The clinical signs can range from subtle lesions with marked
pruritus to severe lesions. The primary lesions include erythematous
and/or crusted papules, and secondary lesions include crusts,
lichenifi cation, scaling and hyperpigmentation. Initial lesion
distribution tends to be on the ear margins, elbows, sternum
and the hocks. If untreated the lesions can become widespread
and often affect the demeanour of the dog, as in this case.
The physical and dermatological examination revealed:
- The temperature, heart rate and respiratory rates were within
- Generalized skin lesions affecting the trunk, caudal aspects
of the thighs, dorsal aspect of the tail and the feet (Figs 4.1
Chapter 4 - continued
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