Demodicosis (red mange) is a skin disease caused by a small mite not visible to the naked eye. This mite lives down in the root of the hair. All normal dogs have a small population of mites, but only certain animals will get a disease from mite overgrowth. In some cases, the tendency to develop demodectic mange runs in families.
The disease is seen in TWO FORMS in dogs. There is a localized form where only small areas of the skin are affected, and a generalized form where the majority of the body and/or the feet are involved. Symptoms include loss of hair and reddening of the skin. Affected areas may be scabby, crusty and sometimes itchy. Skin infections due to damage by the mite are common. Skin infections can become so severe that they threaten a dog's life, with ulcers, swelling and fever. Juvenile-onset generalized demodicosis is a familial disease and affected dogs and their parents should not be bred. Diagnosis of demodectic mange is made by examining debris from deep skin scrapings under the microscope. Dogs with generalized disease also require further testing for underlying health problems.
Treatment of demodectic mange depends on the patient's age and the severity of the disease. In the localized form, the dog may heal on its own. Many times a cream or gel will be used to aid in healing. It is important that dogs with the localized form be observed for a worsening of the condition or spread to other areas. Dogs that are intended for breeding should be observed without treatment to be sure the generalized form does not develop. Infrequently the topical medication may cause the affected areas to look worse before the areas begin to heal. If a skin infection is present, antibiotics will be needed.
Dogs with generalized demodicosis may require intensive treatment with amitraz (Mitaban®) dips or oral medications. If a skin infection is present, antibiotics will be needed.
Mitaban dip is the only FDA-approved drug for this disease. WHOLE BODY CLIPPING is required throughout treatment so that the dip solution can reach the mite down in the hair follicle. Dips are usually preceded by a medicated shampoo to fight infection. The Mitaban is packaged in individual dosing vials of concentrate which is diluted in water just prior to applying to the patient. Side affects of Mitaban can be encountered, especially in small dogs, including sedation, decrease in body temperature, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Treatment with an antidote, yohimbine, can be used to decrease the severity of some side effects. Dips are usually applied either weekly or every two weeks according to the veterinarian's prescription. We generally recommend that dips be applied by grooming technicians in the veterinarian's hospital.
If no severe side affects are seen, treatment will be continued until repeated skin scrapes reveal no mange mites (typically 6 to 9 treatments) and for one more month after that. Scrapings will be performed every 2 to 4 weeks to evaluate response to treatment. Occasionally, another form of amitraz (Taktic®) is chosen because of lack of availability of Mitaban (but it is not an approved formulation). Different dilution instructions are required for Taktic.
Ivermectin or Milbemycin Treatment: Some dogs are very sensitive to amitraz and others do not respond even after many months of therapy. For these dogs, veterinary dermatologists often turn to extra-label use of oral parasiticides that can be used for generalized demodicosis. Ivermectin is available as a cattle worming agent (Ivomec® and generics) and milbemycin is available as a heartworm preventive pill (Interceptor®) for dogs. At very high daily dosages, these can be used to treat generalized demodicosis successfully in a majority of cases.
NOTE: Some Collies and other English breed herding dogs such as Australian shepherds, Border collies, Shelties, and Old English Sheepdogs have a nervous system sensitivity to high dose ivermectin and should not be treated with this drug except in unusual circumstances under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, who will build up to the needed dose very slowly. For mixed breed dogs of unknown lineage, the ivermectin rule is "White feet, don't treat!"
At our hospital, our policy is that all generalized demodicosis patients be neutered as soon as their disease is under control. This is in the best interest for your dog since stress (breeding, heat cycles) can cause recurrence of the disease. This policy is intended to reduce the incidence of this hereditary disease in purebred dogs.
Animals with localized demodicosis have a good prognosis with proper care. As the severity of the disease increases, the prognosis worsens. Some dogs with generalized mange must have regular treatment for the rest of their lives while others may be cured after a variable number of months of treatment.
In all cases it is important to keep your pet as healthy and stress free as possible including a good nutritional diet, regular checkups, routine deworming and heartworm prevention.
By Dr. Carol S. Foil,, DVM, Diplomate A.C.V.D.
Dr. Sandra R. Merchant, DVM, Diplomate A.C.V.D.
Natural treatment for Mange :
Other than combining healing Neemseed Oil and other herbs, vitamins and homeopathy for mange symptoms, also use Vit C (sodium ascorbate) of give grams orally a day, and 1 dessertspoon of Cod Liver Oil daily. Then reduce Cod Liver Oil once dog is healing.
Homeopathic Treatment of Mange
This form of mange attacks young animals under one year although the effects may be noticed at a later stage. There are two main
types in this condition
Squamous and 2. Pustular, depending on the ages
of skin attacked, whilst the type of skin also plays a part. A weak immune
system is also a cause.
The mite is the cause and there is a predisposition to the disease congenitally.
Squamous type - hair follicles are attacked by the mite, which also
inhabits the neighbouring sebaceous glands. The hair soon falls out giving a
bald appearance over a wide area of skin, although smaller areas may also be
affected. Corrugation of the skin is the outcome together with dryness and
scariness whilst a bluish discoloration develops over the bare patches.
Pruritus is generally absent.
- 2. Pustular type - in the form the hair follicles become the seat of small
pustules most often seen around the mouth, outer elbow and hock and in the
auxiliary region. Extension of lesions leads to the development of small
fistulae, which secrete Pustular material.
Sulphur 30c - a good general remedy which alters the conditions favourable
to the development of the mite. Dose on twice daily for a week.
Kali.Arsen.30c - suitable for more advanced cases, which begin to show
corrugation of the skin. The animal may be restless and seek warmth
Lycopodium 1M - this remedy will help stimulate growth of hair provided the
disease is not too far advanced and destruction of hair follicles has taken
place. Dose one daily for one week.
Hepar Sulph 30c - possess a powerful action on purulent infections of hair
follicles. In this potency will abort the pustular process. Dose one daily
for one week.
Kali. Arsen 30c - as for type 1
Silica 30c - a useful remedy for those cases showing extension of lesions
into fistulae dose one daily for five days
Calc.Sulph.6c - this is also a useful remedy for healing Pustular lesions,
with small yellowish scabs. Dose one three times daily for three days
Mezereum 6c - a remedy which is more useful when the lesions are chiefly on
the head or face. Small scabs coalesce and cover purulent areas. Dose one
twice daily for one week.
Thallium Acetas 30c - Thallium in potency possesses the power of obviating
the effects of trophic lesions on the skin and subcutaneous tissues. It
thus encourages growth of hair on denuded areas and is suitable for long
term remedy in both forms of mange. Dose one twice weekly for one month.
Also, use Bach Remedies Crab Apple and Hawthorn for approx. 4 - 6 weeks or
stop when you see an improvement if before then.
You can also use Aloe Vera, garlic, parsley, wormwood, and cloves.
The basic problem is poor immune system and the diet, which needs to be totally preservative free. Use garlic raw in the food up to 2 cloves.
Here's a herbal treatment -
Demodex can be hard to rid but if the dog is in general good health including natural raw diet, plenty of exercise
and daily grooming this is worth a try.
Save all used lemon halves and place in a gallon container, at least 24
halves to the gallon. Place the jar or container in the hot sunlight or
pour hot water over the lemon. let the lemon remain in the water until
pieces begin to turn mouldy, then remove and replace with fresh ones, squeezing hard the old ones into the water. Do not throw away any of the
old lemon water which then remains. Rub the lemon potion into all parts of
the dog's body to expel the skin vermin. When pomegranates are available,
the peel can be added to this lemon lotion with great advantage. Use the
skins from three pomegranates to every nine lemons. (keep jar covered with
a paper top -not greased paper)
For the Demodectic Mange I would suggest using a lemon tonic that you
can make at home.
Bring water to near boil add lemons,
let steep overnight. Sponge on once a day.
Dr. R Pitcairn