Dog Skin Conditions: Demodectic Mange

The cause, symptoms, and treatment of demodectic mange ("red mange”).

Demodetic mange is caused by a surplus of Demodex canis mites on the dog’s skin. Julie Knicely/Wikimedia Commons


Demodex canis, a mite normally found in small numbers on canine skin. If a dog’s immune system isn’t functioning normally, the mites can multiply and cause overt disease (demodectic mange).


In puppies, localized Demodex infection causes small isolated red hairless patches that may itch. Generalized demodicosis causes widespread hair loss and itching, as well as thickened, wrinkled, and scaly skin. Secondary bacterial and yeast infections are common with generalized demodicosis.


Localized demodicosis in puppies usually clears up without treatment as the immune system develops. Treatment of generalized demodicosis starts with treating the underlying health condition that allowed the mites to proliferate. The mite infestation is treated with dips and/or oral medication such as ivermectin or milbemycin, along with antibiotics to treat any secondary bacterial infection. Successful treatment may take four months or longer. In some older dogs, demodectic mange can be controlled, but not cured.

Disclaimer: Dog Skin Conditions articles are intended for educational purposes only. They are not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your do’s ailment. If you notice changes in your dog’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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Dogs · Health and Care