How do you treat red mange in dogs?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra, I have four Rottweiler dogs and two of them have red mange. We have been treating them with a dip from the vet, but it does not seem to be doing much. Is there anything else I can be doing?


Brenda Sims


Hi – thanks for your email Brenda. You wrote that you have two dogs with red mange. I'm sorry to hear that. Red mange is parasitic skin disease. Demodicosis, also known as red mange or "demodex", is a common skin disease of dogs caused by a microscopic mite called demodex canis. These mites are part of the normal flora of the skin, and are present in small numbers, so the disease is not contagious. In predisposed individuals the mites increase in number causing clinical disease.

Why some dogs develop demodicosis and others don't is not understood. It is thought to be genetic; affected dogs have an immune system defect that may be inherited, making it difficult to keep the mites under control.

There are different forms of this disease: localized and generalized.

Treatment is necessary when disease is generalized. It includes the treatment of secondary bacterial infections and eradication of the mites. Eradication of the mites can be accomplished by using an amitraz-based dip (Mitaban®) or by using systemic medications (milbemycin and ivermectin). Depending on the breed of your dog, your veterinarian will select the most opportune therapy. Some therapies are not FDA approved (milbemycin and ivermectin) even though they are effective.

So…you might talk to your vet about the Milbemycin Oxime (Interceptor®) and Ivermectin (Ivomec®, Heartgard®) options.

Also, you may not have given the dips long enough to work. Sometimes it can take weeks to see an improvement with treatment.

An article that might be helpful to you is Demodicosis (Red Mange) in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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