Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Nov 17, 2020

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Demodicosis in Dogs is an inflammatory disease that is caused by mites.

If the number of mites in the dog’s hair follicles increase rapidly, it can lead to skin infections, hair loss, and skin lesions.

While the mite infestation results in unsightly symptoms, affected dogs do not need to be isolated from other pets.

Commonly referred to as demodectic mange or red mange, the disease can be either localized or generalized.

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Localized Demodicosis

demodicosis in dogs

Localized demodicosis will typically occur early in a dog’s life, usually from three to seven months old.

Localized demodicosis is usually treatable and mild.

Most of the cases will clear up on its own, but there are some dogs where it does progress to generalized demodicosis.

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Generalized Demodicosis

Generalized demodicosis will usually occur in older dogs and is a result of an underlying disease that negatively affects a dog’s immune system.

Generalized demodicosis is harder to cure and will not always respond to treatment.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

Symptoms of Demodicosis

The symptoms in both localized and generalized are similar, but with generalized demodicosis, the symptoms are more severe and widespread throughout the dogs’ body.

The usual signs are the following:

  • Thinning hair
  • Red, scaly skin
  • Localized cases affect trunk, legs, and face
  • Generalized cases can affect the entire body
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

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Causes of Demodicosis

Mites, particularly, the Demodex mite that causes the disease normally reside in our dog’s skin.

These mites do not cause any harm and are, in fact, an important part of our dog’s normal skin.

Yet, when dogs have either underlying disease or a weakened immune system, the mites can start to multiply in large numbers.

And this is what can cause the demodectic mange and/or itchy skin.

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Diagnosing Demodicosis

In order to diagnose demodicosis, your veterinarian will take skin scrapings to find out the cause and if mites are the culprit.

Other tests might be ordered to find out the severity of the condition, whether it is generalized and therefore an underlying condition is causing the demodicosis.

Demodicosis Treatment

Localized cases need to be monitored, but they may clear up on their own.

While these cases should be observed, more often than not, no treatment is necessary.

Generalized cases, however, are usually treated with an oral or topical medication to fight off the mites. Antibiotics may be prescribed if a secondary infection has set in.

If your dog was unable to fight off the mites due to an immune disorder or other underlying condition, your vet would also need to treat that condition.

Long-term medication could be necessary for severe cases.

It has been suggested that spayed females have a lesser chance of getting the disease.

A low-stress environment and good, high-quality dog food can also help reduce the likelihood of more flare-ups of demodicosis.

Flea and tick medicine are usually recommended for long-term treatment. The frequency of the dose depends on the severity of the disease as well as the brand that is chosen.

But, typically, it can be accomplished with one chewable tablet every 4 to 6 weeks for mange.

Your dog will need to be rechecked regularly in cases of generalized demodicosis to make sure the treatment is working. This is usually done with skin scrapings and/or blood work depending on what had caused the condition.

Prescription medications are covered under many pet insurance plans and yet another benefit of having pet insurance.

Healthy Paws, for example, includes prescription medications under all of their plans, which can really save money in the long run with cases that need on-going treatment.

There are also pet insurance plans with wellness options that can help pay for regular checkups and routine procedures that keep your dog healthy for the long-haul, which is the best defense against the recurrence of the condition.

The typical cost of treatment is $65 to $100 and in some cases will be continued throughout the dog’s life.

Prevention of Demodicosis

The best way to prevent demodicosis is to keep your dog healthy.

A good, high-quality diet, regular vet visits, and a clean-healthy environment can help keep demodicosis from ever occurring.

Demodicosis is not contagious to other dogs, cats or even humans.

Dogs that are known to have long-term generalized demodicosis should not breed as the disease is easily passed to their offspring.


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The best way to manage your dog’s demodicosis is through follow-up vet visits to monitor the treatment and to see if there are still mites.

This is usually done with a skin scraping.

For dogs that have chronic or long-term cases, there might be a need for on-going medication.

Your vet will keep your dog on the prescribed medication even several weeks after there aren’t any mites visible to make sure the treatment has been effective.

Dogs with a history of mange are usually kept on flea and tick medication that fights off mange for the duration of their lives.

Most dogs will have a full recovery, especially puppies when they have demodectic mange.

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Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds


Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds


We get it, your dog is like your child and when your puppy or dog has health problems it is scary. Luckily there is pet insurance companies that will help you pay for any veterinarian care they made need. Checkout the best puppy and dog pet insurance companies and learn about common puppy health issues and ailments in older pets


Common Health Problems:

Acral Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Alopecia in Dogs

Antifreeze Toxicity in Dogs

Aortic Stenosis in Dogs

Arthritis In Dogs

Bladder Stones in Dogs

Boxer Cardiomyopathy

Cataracts In Dogs

Cherry Eye in Dogs

Chronic Active Hepatitis in Dogs

Collie Eye Anomaly In Dogs

Constipation in Dogs

Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs

Cryptorchidism in Dogs

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Degenerative Myelopathy | Spinal Cord Disease In Dogs

Dementia in Dogs | Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Demodicosis In Dogs

Dental Problems in Dogs

Diabetes In Dogs

Dog Comedones (Schnauzer Bumps)

Dog Diarrhea: What Can You Do To Help?

Dog Ear Infections

Dystocia in Dogs

Ectropion in Dogs

Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

Entropion In Dogs

Eye Problems in Dogs

Fleas in Dogs

Gallbladder Obstruction in Dogs

Gallstones in Dogs

Gastroenteritis In Dogs

Glaucoma in Dogs

Heart Murmurs In Dogs | How To Identify Them

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hot Spots On Dogs

Hyperparathyroidism In Dogs

Hypothyroidism In Dogs

Intervertebral Disc Disease In Dogs

Nasal Solar Dermatitis In Dogs

Patellar Luxation in Dogs

Progressive Retinal Atrophy In Dogs

Renal Failure in Dogs

Seizures in Dogs

Wobbler Syndrome In Dogs

The Dog Flu – Symptoms & Treatment for Canine Influenza

Dog Biting Nails