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Demodectic Mange Treatment

Demodectic Mange Treatment

Demodectic mange is a skin disease of dogs. Although in many instances, they get cured on their own, in certain cases (those of the generalized affliction) medical treatment is required. To know about the options available for demodectic mange treatment, read on.
Debopriya Bose
Demodectic mange refers to a condition that is triggered by the increase in the number of the Demodex canis mites, that are found in the hair follicles of all canines. They are present in small numbers and normally do not cause any health problems in dogs. However, when there is a breach in the immune system, these mites take an upper hand. The result is the outbreak of demodicosis. Proper care is the first concern of all pet owners. The following paragraphs will enable us to detect the symptoms and understand what demodectic mange treatment entails.

This disease comes in two forms. One is the localized mange in which there is a patchy hair loss from the dog's body. A dog usually has one such spot. However, occasionally there could be a couple of such spots that are located in one part of the body, most commonly on the head and face. In most cases, these spots are not itchy.

The other form is generalized demodicosis. This is characterized by widespread hair loss. The hairless patches may be itchy and there may be a skin infection in these areas, that is characterized by redness, crusts, and pustules. The itching in the infected areas is not due to the mite but because of the infection.

In case of localized mange, treatment is not required, as there is no skin infection with it. The condition usually gets cured on its own within 4-6 weeks. This is specially true of younger dogs. However, some topical treatment may be required. Rarely does a localized mange become a generalized one. However, in case of generalized mange, more severe treatment is required. With the conventional options available, the cost may be high for an average pet owner.

One of the popular choices for treatment is an amitraz dip. This should be carried out once every two weeks till the dog has received 4 to 14 dips. A skin scraping should be carried out after the first 2 to 4 dips to see if the demodex mite is still there. This should be carried on until this test comes negative after two successive treatments. It is important to bathe the dog with benzoyl peroxide shampoo to remove oil and cellular debris from the skin, before giving him an amitraz dip.

Another product used is ivermectin. Though not approved by the FDA, this product is administered either orally or intravenously to demodectic dogs. It has been observed that higher doses yield better and quicker results in curing the infection. However, one drawback with the product is that certain dogs may be sensitive to this drug. Hence, it is best to test the dog with low doses first. Also this drug should not be administered to collies, Shetland sheepdogs, and Australian shepherds. Another drug, milbemycin oxime (Interceptor), that is sold as a heartworm preventive, also works effectively to cure demodectic mange. However, this drug has also been found effective in almost 50% of the dogs that did not respond to amitraz dips. Moxidectin is another option that veterinarians may use for demodicosis in dogs.

Natural Remedies

Proper diet is a very important aspect of dog health. In case your dog is suffering from demodicosis, add lots of raw vegetables to his diet. Dark leafy vegetables like broccoli and watercress help in a quick recovery. Ensure that your dog gets high quality, natural food. Processed food or those high in sugars should be avoided.

Nutritional Supplements
Dietary supplements like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and fish oil that provide Omega 3 essential fatty acids help in demodectic mange treatment in dogs.

Herbal Remedies
Yarrow, aloe vera, or calendula when topically applied, cure itching and wounds that may be associated with the mange. Anti bacterial properties of garlic oil are effective in checking bacterial infection in the affected areas. An effective skin rinse can also be made with 1 part of lavender oil and neem oil each mixed with 10 parts of almond oil. Applying this once or twice daily to the affected areas can help cure the infection.

Dandelion, nettle, licorice root, and burdock root are some herbs, whose extracts should be taken internally to fight demodicosis. These herbs work by purifying blood, improving liver functions, and blood circulation.

The options discussed above have been found to be effective in most of the cases. However, it is always advisable to take one's dog to the vet, in case you suspect demodectic mange and confirm if it is a localized or generalized form of the infection. You definitely want the best care for your pet, don't you?