Dr Gianluca Barbato

Doctor Veterinary Medicine


Scabies is a contagious skin infection caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis.


The scabies mite digs tunnels in the layer corneum of the skin.

Within these galleries, the mite lays her eggs.

The emission of saliva, feces and eggs in these tunnels, irritates the skin of the subject parasitized, giving a strong itching.


Mites cause intense itching.

The lesions of scabies are characterized by a strong reddening of the skin, associated with very itchy.

The skin is covered with lesions detected, palpable, less than a centimeter, called papules.

If the disease progresses, the skin thickens and is darker and crusted.

Affected areas

The most affected areas are the margins of the ear, elbows, hocks and sternum.

Possibility of infection among animals

Scabies is very contagious skin disease.

The mite responsible for the disease can infect a healthy animal in a few seconds, using hair or skin flakes.

The first symptoms after infection occur within 24 hours.

The dog becomes infected if it has much chance of contact with wild animals or stray, or it stayed in a kennel.

Ability to infect humans (zoonoses)

Under certain conditions, mites can infect humans, it begins to have the first signs within 24 hours of exposure, showing small red spots, usually on the arms and exposed areas of skin.

Even in man the itch is a constant.

Diagnostic suspicion

The veterinarian issuing the clinical suspicion based on the case histories of the owner who reported that the dog has had contact with new animals recently.

Even in the absence of relevant case histories, the classic symptoms can lead to clinical suspicion.


The definitive diagnosis is made by finding the mites or eggs from skin scrapings. Recently there is a blood test to detect antibodies against the mite.

Both techniques may not be able to give a final result, so if your vet has a strong suspicion of the presence of the mite can decide on a therapeutic trial.

Treatment and control

You can treat your dog with washes pesticides, spot-on, or injections. All methods are effective, if you eliminate the possibility of re-infection.