Canine mange, also known as canine scabies, is a highly contagious skin disease caused by the parasitic mites Sarcoptes scabiei or Demodex canis. Dogs provide natural hosts for mites that reside in the hair follicles. When a puppy is born, the mother transfers the mites to the puppies. In healthy dogs, these mites reside in the follicles without causing any complications. However, in dogs with underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems, these mites overpopulate, causing mange.
Because most dogs already have a living population of these mites on their coat, isolation from other dogs with mange is often not necessary, though it is recommended. Typically, exposure to other dogs with mange will only increase your dog’s already living mite population. As long as your dog is healthy, he is unlikely to develop mange. With that said, ensuring your dog is in optimal health helps to reduce his risk of developing mange from exposure to another dog or from his own mite population.
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