Top Vet Recommended Natural Remedies for Mange in Dogs

Dog mange, also known as canine scabies, mites or sarcoptic mange, is a condition caused when dogs are exposed to microscopic mites (Sarcoptes scabiei canis), which burrow into the skin and start to live there. Dogs with mange are extremely itchy, more so than if they just have fleas. This condition can be so itchy that dogs will scratch their hair off, make themselves bleed in places, and even some dogs will scratch so much that they start to lose weight. It is important to treat dogs that have become mange-infested quickly, too, since this mite is highly contagious to other dogs, and people can pick up the mites, too.

How Dogs Get Mange

Sarcoptic mange is something dogs get from other dogs, just like fleas. They can also get it from foxes, other canids and even livestock, as horses, cows, pigs and other animals can become infested as well. Cats can also get sarcoptic mange, but it is rare. What is particularly tricky is that these mites can be picked up from the environment where an infected animal has recently been, which is the main way that dogs pick it up from foxes. Once on the dog, mites burrow into the skin causing intense itching as a reaction due to their presence there.

Diagnosing Dog Mange

One of the telltale signs of canine scabies is a growing hairlessness, especially around the edges of the ears, the earflaps, over the muzzle, elbows, on the sides and rib cage and on the legs. Severe cases can have skin crusting, bleeding, cracking and infection as well. However, there are two kinds of mange that dogs can get so proper diagnosis is important. Chronic itchiness and these typical hair loss patterns are usually indicative of the sarcoptic mange mite, but it is always best to be sure by having a skin scraping done by a veterinarian.

In doing so, a small sample of skin cells are scraped off the dog, and then viewed under a microscope to look for mites. Though it sometimes take more than one scraping to actually find a mite, this is the best way to be sure that treatment will be for the right type of mite, since treatments for each differ widely. Also, it is possible to diagnose dog mange in most cases by looking for what is called a “pedal-pinna reflex”, in which a dog will lift its hind leg as if to scratch when the edges of the ear pinna are scratched, disturbing the area and creating an itch, since this is one of the mainly affected areas.

If, on the other hand, there is hair loss that starts around the eyes and covers the face, down the neck and begins spreading from the chest, abdomen, and groin, outward and is worse within skin folds, all of which is accompanied by very little itching, the condition is probably demodex mange. This is a completely different mite and a completely different, immune-related issue that requires very different treatment; treating one like the other will only ensure that the dog does not improve, so proper mite identification is essential.

Treating Mange in Dogs

There are a lot of treatments for sarcoptic mange, most of which do not work very well. An old-fashioned treatment used to be to cover the dog with old crank case oil and rub it in to drown the mites out! Today though, lime sulfur shampoos are sometimes used but they are messy, very, very smelly and they have to be repeated many times in order to do a complete job. Vets will usually give oral ivermectin or topical permethrin, which are not only both insecticides, but they both have major drawbacks. Ivermectin cannot be given to collie breeds as it can cause fatal reactions in these dogs and permethrins, which can be fatal to cats, also have a very long toxicology report meaning basically that it is highly poisonous in the right situations. One other treatment that killed sarcoptic mange mites very well was also removed from the market because it was increasing incidence of pemphigus, a sometimes fatal, autoimmune skin disease that dogs get.

With these being the only choices – and scary choices at that – for treating dog mange, a number of herbal remedies have been developed which are seeing good success. Made of all natural plants and herbs, essential oils and botanicals, natural remedies typically rid a dog of pests by making the dog – its host – unlivable. If the mite can not live on the dog the way it needs to, the mite will die.

VETiONX offers a product called Defendex, a shampoo containing essential oils like Neem oil and Anise among others, which repel and kill mites naturally. The shampoo also contains aloe vera and other skin soothers to stop itch and heal the skin. Mange Mites Spray by PetAlive contains Neem and Lemongrass, both of which deter mites and other pests, and additional natural ingredients for skin health. If used at the first signs of a potential mange issue, this shampoo and spray can make unsafe conventional treatments unnecessary.

Along the lines of deterring pests, there is also ER Drops for Dog Ear Mites (PetWellbeing) ear mite treatment and stubborn fungal ear infections, and also Triple Sure natural flea and tick control spray (Natural Wonder Pets), which is a non-toxic alternative to using chemical sprays or spot-ons which works very well. Used together, these products can keep any dog or cat pest-free, as well as treat dog mange safely, without the many risks associated with using chemicals known for causing reactions and other harmful effects.

Filed under: Conditions

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