Kirby and Amadeus, our current foster puppies, are less crusty after a week of treatment for Demodectic mange. Despite their appearance, they are not contagious. Demodex mites are normally present in the hair follicles of dogs, humans, and other mammals, but Demodectic mange only develops in animals with weakened immune systems.
On the other hand, Sarcoptic mange (aka scabies) is contagious and can be spread from dogs to humans, cats, ferrets, and foxes. Veterinarians determine what type of mange a dog has by performing a skin scrape to identify the mites under a microscope.
Both Demodectic and Sarcoptic mange are usually treatable and easily controlled, however, it takes dogs a significant period of time to recover from bad cases. Kirby and Amadeus will likely need another month of treatment before they can return to the animal shelter for adoption. Because most animal shelters don't have the resources to house animals for weeks or months at a time, the sad reality is that mange is all too often a death sentence. Knowing this makes all the work of caring for two noisy, messy, smelly puppies worthwhile.
P.S. We welcome any and all guesses about Kirby's breed (the little brown guy). At first we thought he was a Chihuahua mix, but now we are wondering if he might actually be a larger Shepherd mix. Feel free to weigh in!