Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Scabies - Fears of a Veterinary Nurse - Take Two

So previously readers I've touched on Ringworm & the notorious flatflys. Now it's time for the next fear of a Veterinary Nurse.....Scabies!



Just last week we had a case of scabies confirmed, it was in a dog named Teddy - an English pointer. As soon as we received the lab report back the first thing we all said was 'who held it?'. You rack your brains back, thinking where was I and what was I doing when it came in. Luckily for me I can vividly remember being nabbed by another vet just as the pointer came in the prep area for skin scrapes. So as two other nurses were struggling to retrain the dog I was calmly prepping another for surgery.

So now with a huge sigh of relief I can now continue to rib the two nurses who held the dog so closely, creating jokes at any given opportunity.


Dog with severe symptoms of Scabies.

On a serious note, Sarcoptic mange or canine scabies is indeed transferable to humans and therefore is a zoonosis. It's transmissible via prolonged contact with an infected animal. So beware this is definitely one fear that is very real when retraining an animal for scrapes, as it's an opportune time for  transfer. 


Scabies is a burrowing mite that burrows into the skin and lays it's eggs. In dogs it causes an intense skin irritation and alopecia (hair loss). Secondary skin infections are very common and it's highly contagious between animals. It's normally seen on the animals ears, elbows, chest, abdomen and hocks. Prolonged scratching can cause hardening to the skin and it will appear very crusty and inflamed. I feel really sorry for dogs with this as all they can be thinking about is scratching and it must drive them crazy. Don't be surprised if some display aggression, I think I would!



If your pet is harbouring the mite, you could develop and itchy rash as a result.


Normal diagnosis is via skin scrapes taken from your pet and examined under a microscope, however this isn't full proof as even a large amount of symptoms could be caused by only a few mites. They're normally in very low numbers so even picking one up on a scrape is good going.

Luckily treatment normally clears it up within a few weeks and when your pets symptoms have gone your own should clear up pretty soon after :) yay!













Cats - Not to be biased towards dogs, cats can also have the pleasure of sarcoptic mange however its less common than in dogs




On a side note for those of you who worry - Demodex is not zoonotic - yay for small mercies! However it can temporarily infect humans but cannot survive so hence its not classed as zoonotic so you will no doubt still find nurses who suddenly and mysteriously disappear when there's even a hint of it.


Definitions & Types:


Mange = A skin disease in mammals caused by a parasitic mite.
Scabies = A contagious skin disease caused by a tiny mite - sarcoptes scabiei
Sarcoptic Mange = A form of mange caused by sarcoptes scabiei


Feline scabies = Caused by a mite called Notoedres Cati (what a handy name) - again its zoonotic
Some people will call the above Feline sarcoptic Mange, or Notedric Mange


Demodex in Dogs - Demodex Canis (D.canis)
Demodex in Cats - Two types: Demodex Gatoi & Demodex Cati

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