Mange is caused by microscopic, insect-like parasites, called mites, that live in or on an animal’s skin.
Symptoms include hair loss, itching and scaling. A pussy discharge indicates a secondary bacterial infection of the skin damaged by the mange parasites.
Diagnosis is made by examining scrapings taken from the skin under a microscope and identifying the parasite.
Mange is usually treated by dipping the animal with a product that kills the mange parasites. An injection is available to treat cases which do not respond to dipping, but this product is not registered for use in dogs or cats, so it is only used as a last resort.
The most commonly seen mange in dogs is Demodectic mange. The Demodex mite lives in the hair follicles. Demodectic mange seldom spreads from one animal to another or to humans.
The most commonly seen mange in cats is Sarcoptic mange. Sarcoptic mange occurs in dogs as well. This mite spreads easily from one animal to another, and to humans, where it causes scabies.