Scabies is a form of mange caused by a microscopic mite knows as Sarcoptes Scabei. It burrows under the skin to produce an itchy rash involving most of the body, with hair loss and redness. The limbs, ears and belly tend to be the worst affected. It is highly contagious between dogs, wildlife, and also people.
It is most commonly seen in newly acquired puppies or rescue dogs from the south or Midwest of the country, but cases on Long Island have been on the increase, and that is probably associated with an invasion of Long Island by foxes.
Diagnosis is by skin scraping, and there is often a characteristic reflex scratching seen provoked by rubbing the dog’s ear. There are a variety of treatment options, but dogs may take several weeks to respond. Meanwhile, owners have to be careful not to become infected themselves.
If you suspect you may have foxes in your neighborhood, it is best not to leave your dog outside unattended. If your dog develops an itchy rash, of course, it should be promptly seen by your veterinarian.