Sarcoptic mange commonly known as canine scabies is caused by the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. These microscopic mites can invade the skin of healthy foxes, dogs or puppies and create a variety of skin problems, the most common of which is hair loss and severe itching. While they will infect other animals and even humans they prefer to live their short lives on foxes & dogs. Fortunately there are several good treatments for this parasite and the disease can be easily controlled.
What is the life cycle of Sarcoptes scabiei?
The mites usually spend their entire life on a fox. The female mite burrows into the skin and lays eggs several times as she continues burrowing. These tunnels can actually reach the length of several centimetres. After she deposits the eggs, the female mite dies. In 3-8 days the eggs hatch into larvae which have 6 legs. The larvae mature into nymphs which have 8 legs. The nymph then molts into an adult while it is still in the burrow. The adults mate, and the process continues. The entire life cycle requires 2-3 weeks.