Animals are not the cause of the mange epidemic in humans

It is known that there has been an increase in scabies cases lately. Some citizens point to animals as one of the causes of scabies, which is often mentioned on social media. While animal lovers argued that this notion was wrong, veterinarians said there was no outbreak of mange in animals. It has been reported that the risk of mange, which is known to pass as a result of prolonged contact and is mainly seen in stray animals, is low in pets that do not go outside. Tuğçe Kara, veterinarian from Eskişehir, went into details about the mange disease in animals. The vet stated that the risk of human-to-animal transmission of mange from animal to human is very low, pointing out that in such cases the crime should not be directly attributed to the animal.

“There is no epidemic situation in animals as in humans”

Tuğçe Kara, who works as a veterinarian in Eskişehir, said there was no increase in mange cases in animals. Kara said the risk of human-to-animal, animal-to-human transmission of scabies is low, saying: “I also recently read the news about the outbreak of scabies in humans. However, there is no epidemic situation in animals as in humans. No increase, only routine cases keep coming. This is quite natural because they cannot live in sanitary conditions of care. Scabies is transmitted from human to animal, animal to human, but there are many types of scabies. Some of these are specific (species specific), the other in the cat does not transfer to the dog, the other in the dog does not transfer to humans. But there are also species that pass from animals to humans. Non-host species cannot reproduce in humans, resulting in mild, short-lived disease. Of course, doctors explain this more precisely. However, the risk of human-to-animal and animal-to-human transmission of scabies is very low. We are proof of that. As a veterinarian, for example, I have come into contact with many animals with scabies, but I have never been infected with scabies.”

“The treatment lasts at least 3-4 months, even if the mite is not seen under the microscope, the drug is used for a few more weeks”

Talking about the signs of mange in animals, Kara conveyed some information about the disease. Veterinarian Tuğçe Kara stated that the treatment process takes about 3-4 months and continued her speech as follows:

“A citizen whose pet has scabies should pay attention to the general hygiene rules and apply the medicines recommended by the vet. If there is a suspicion of mange in the animal, we take a skin scraping from the itchy spot and examine it under a microscope. If we discover that it is scabies, we will carry out the necessary treatments. Symptoms of this may include itching, regional hair loss such as the edges of the ears and mouth, dandruff, redness of the skin, and head shaking. However, we cannot say that it is not scabies just because there is no itching, as there are several causes of scabies. Citizens should immediately contact the vet if they see a small rash and dandruff on the skin of their animals. There is a localized form of scabies (in which the disease remains in only one tissue) and a generalized form (the disease spreads to other parts of the body). Sometimes there are forms that are self-limiting and healing, but others are persistent and diffuse. It makes the doctor, the patient owner and the animal very tired and it is difficult to recover. Treatment is carried out with certain drugs for at least 3-4 months, even if no mites are seen after treatment, treatment should be continued for a few more weeks.

“It is even recommended to remove from the breeder an animal caught with mange in a generalized form”

Kara pointed out that animals caught with generalized mange, which is stubborn and difficult to cure, should not be born, stating that the disease can also be passed on to offspring. Kara advised citizens whose animals have mange to have their homes sprayed, saying: “In fact, it is recommended that any animal caught in general form be removed from the breeder, it should not be given birth as it could be passed on to the offspring. Textile products used by animals, such as bedding and blankets, should be washed at 60 degrees. If the citizens have the opportunity, they can have their houses sprayed. This may be necessary, especially if it is a house with many animals. Other animals must also be given medicine with external parasites. People are very frightened if their animals have mange and blame it directly on the animal. Those who have pets, if they have mange, wonder: ‘Is it from the animal?’ But the real transmission is from person to person. Of course it can also go through the animal, you have to pay attention to that, but we shouldn’t blame the animal directly,” he said.

What is scabies in animals?

Scabies is an infectious and parasitic skin disease that affects all animal species and is characterized by severe itching and hair loss. The emergence of the disease depends on the conditions of care and nutrition. Scabies can be seen in pets and street animals, but also in barns. The overcrowding and humidity of the stables plays a major role in the onset of this disease. It is more common in beef cattle, young animals and in winter. Transmission occurs through direct or indirect contact.

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