What Is Mange?
An Owners’ Guide To Dog Mange
Mange is a disease caused by mites. There are two types of mite: pediculosis and demodicosis. Pediculosis are small round worms which live in hair follicles and feed on dead skin cells or sweat from the body.
Demodicosis are long thin worms with tiny heads, which live in the respiratory tract and breathe through their mouthparts (called oesophagus). They cause the most severe form of mange.
The mites infect the hair follicle with their eggs, which hatch into larvae. These larvae grow up to become adults and start feeding on healthy skin cells and blood vessels. If not treated, they will eventually kill off all the healthy skin cells and blood vessels in your dog’s body causing them to fall victim to other diseases such as cancer or heart failure.
Dogs can get mange from contact with infected animals, direct exposure to infected animal fur, dust, dirt or soil and even from eating contaminated food. You can treat it at home using natural remedies such as garlic oil, oregano oil or peppermint essential oils. However, if you have a pet that has been exposed to infected animals then you need to take extra precautions when caring for him/her.
How To Prevent Demodicosis in Dogs
The best way to prevent your dog from getting infected by the mite is to keep his surroundings clean, don’t let him sleep with other pets like cats or rabbits, and visit your local animal hospital immediately if you notice any kind of skin problems. Other than that, these are some things you need to look out for:
Your pet is excessively scratching or licking himself.
You notice an excessive amount of hair loss.
Your pet has red, brown or black spots on his skin.
Your pet has small bites in a straight line.
You see tiny white or brown insects crawling on your pet’s skin or in his ears.
There are several types of treatment for demodicosis in dogs. Your veterinarian will probably ask you to do regular visits to check on the condition of your dog’s skin and whether or not the mites are still there. If your dog has an allergic reaction to the mites, he might recommend a special shampoo along with supplements and corticosteroids.
If your dog has sarcoptic or chorioptic mange, you might have to ask the vet for a specific anti-mite medication. There are some natural home remedies which you can try along with the treatment recommended by your veterinarian. These home remedies include:
Shampoos: Ask your veterinarian to recommend a medicated shampoo for infected skin. You can also try using tea tree oil and coconut oil. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil and coconut oil in a cup of water.
Soak a cotton ball in this solution and gently wipe it over the infected areas. Do this 2-3 times a day.
Supplements: Give your dog supplements that boost his immune system. Try garlic, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc and copper.
Oatmeal Bath: This is a very effective way of treating skin conditions in dogs. It soothes the inflammation and relieves itching. Add a cup of oatmeal to your bath and soak in it for at least 10 minutes.
You can also buy special oatmeal soap from your local pet store.
Feed him Garlic: Garlic has strong anti-fungal and antibiotic properties which help fight infection in dogs. You can either feed him raw garlic cloves or you can buy garlic supplements from the store. Be careful not to give him too much though because it is possible for garlic to cause stomach ulcers.
Castor Oil: This is a very useful home remedy for mange mites. It is very effective and recommended by many veterinarians. Buy some castor oil from your local pharmacy and ask your vet about the correct dosage.
Apply it on the areas where your dog has lost hair. The mites will die and the dog’s skin will regenerate.
Castor oil is usually given to kill the mites but it can cause some serious side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting due to the poisonous ricin contained in the plant.
These home remedies should be a great help to you in getting rid of your dog’s mange. Make sure to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions and do not hesitate to ask questions if something is unclear.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Prevalence of sheep mange in district Dera Ghazi Khan (Pakistan) and associated hematological/biochemical disturbances (HU AATISH, S ZIA-UD-DIN, Z IQBAL… – Young (Below 6 …, 2007 – researchgate.net)
- Efficacy test and acceptability of Kakawate (Gliricidia sepium) leaf extract soap against mange in dogs (GB Viste, PP Fontanilla Jr, VA Agpasa, NB Tabije… – Int. Sci. Res …, 2013 – academia.edu)
- Demodectic Mange in Dogs: A Science-Based Guide (G Gaitskell – nextgendog.com)
- A clinician’s guide to making a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis in dogs (N Barnard – In Practice, 2020 – inpractice.bmj.com)
- Efficacy of a novel formulation of metaflumizone plus amitraz for the treatment of demodectic mange in dogs (LJ Fourie, DJ Kok, A Du Plessis, D Rugg – Veterinary parasitology, 2007 – Elsevier)
- Cats, foxes and scabies: the epidemiological puzzle of sarcoptic mange (R Malik – Veterinary Record, 2012 – veterinaryrecord.bmj.com)
- Demodecosis in a dog (RIO Nwoha – African Journal of Clinical and Experimental …, 2011 – ajol.info)