As you might have noticed from recent pictures of Oscar, he is battling a skin condition. Oscar has sarcoptic mange. This is the second time we have dealt with sarcoptic mange on Oscar, so I want to share what we’ve learned.
I have avoided discussing Oscar’s mange because, well, I’ve been embarrassed to talk about it. “Mange” is such an ugly word, and I’ve been worried it will sound like we don’t take good care of Oscar or that we haven’t cleaned him or our home enough. However, battling the sarcoptic mange has been such a struggle that it feels worth discussing if it helps someone in the same position.
This has been a long process for us, so I will first discuss how we diagnosed the sarcoptic mange, then follow up to discuss our treatment plans, and finally discuss what we wish we would have done differently throughout the mange treatment process. We discovered the mange through two different symptoms: scratching and skin discoloration/scabbing.
1) Scratching. The first time Oscar had mange was right after we brought him home for the first time. We took him to the vet a week after getting him, mainly for an initial checkup but also because he was scratching a lot. He didn’t have any visible skin issues or other concerns, just constant scratching. It can be difficult to know if a mini pig’s scratching is normal or if it’s mange because pigs love to scratch. Mini pigs will frequently rub against furniture or people to scratch, so don’t immediately panic if you see that behavior in your mini pig.
In my experience, what you want to watch for is obsessive scratching. If your mini pig scratches occasionally but will walk away and engage in something else, she might have normal piggy itches. If your mini pig is constantly scratching against furniture, walls, or anything she can rub against and has trouble engaging in anything but scratching, you might be dealing with mange.
2) Skin Discoloration/Scabbing. The second time we realized Oscar had mange was about a month and a half after completing the initial mange treatment. Although I say Oscar had mange twice, I believe the mange either didn’t completely clear up or he was reinfected from the first mange issue. This time Oscar’s normally pink skin looked brownish and scabby, but since he is our first mini pig, I didn’t know if this was normal or something concerning. To make it more confusing, the brownish coloring would even wipe off with a towel to just reappear a few days later.
I decided to take him to the vet just in case and, after a skin scrape, found out that he again has sarcoptic mange and a staph infection, which can often accompany the mange. If you notice that your mini pig has skin discoloration or scabby patches, I recommend taking him to the vet to determine if it’s mange or something else. There are other potential reasons for skin discoloration that can be confused with sarcoptic mange. Some light discoloration can be “pig rust” and is normal and just wipes right off. Also, these same skin symptoms can be attributed to “greasy pig” disease, so it is best to have your vet do a skin scrape before treating your mini pig.
I will follow up with the treatments we have used for Oscar and what has worked (and not worked) for us so far.
Note: This has been our personal experience with diagnosing and treating mange. The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for veterinary advice or treatment for specific conditions. If you are looking for a more technical description of mange, I recommend this site.