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17 Facts About Treating Demodectic Mange

Treating demodectic mange is a long and messy process.  General demodectic mange is different from other forms of mange.  Puppy’s can get it from their nursing mothers.  Sometimes it will clear up on its own.  Treating demodectic mange means treating the whole body.

Treating Demodectic Mange

My dogs itch every once in a while.  Fly bites and dry skin are the two biggest problems for them.  But how do you know when it’s actually something that needs to be seen by a veterinarian?

You’ll know something is seriously wrong because your dog will literally bite and tear at his skin. It’s that uncomfortable.  You need to know the difference between sarcoptic mange, and the 3 subtypes of demodectic mange, before even considering at-home remedies.

 1. Sarcoptic Mange (Scabies)

Sarcoptic Mange is a highly contagious skin condition that can be passed from dog to dog and from dog to human. It’s caused by a circular, eight-legged mite. 

These mites are not able to reproduce on human skin and will die out within 2 to 5 days.  In dogs, however, sarcoptic mange can live on the dog for a long time. You might not even realize your dog has sarcoptic mange until the condition has progressed.

The mites that cause sarcoptic mange live on the surface of the skin and are more easily treated than demodectic mange.


Symptoms of demodectic mange include intense itching, patchy fur loss, skin infections, red and crusty sores (check the elbows, armpits, tummy, ears, abdomen and chest).

2.  Localized Demodectic Mange (Demodicosis)

Localized demodectic mange is typically seen in puppies who are thought to have contracted it from their mother’s milk.  You might recognize localized demodectic mange by exposed patches of skin on the dog’s face or trunk.  The skin could be red, scaly, or appear completely normal in the early stages.


Symptoms of localized demodectic mange include patches of thinning hair, small, hairless patches, usually appears on a puppy’s face but can also occur on the leg or trunk.

3. Demodectic Mange is not contagious.

This type of skin condition (caused by a microscopic, cigar-shaped mite) is not contagious.  The condition and any underlying causes should be reviewed by a veterinarian.

4. Easy Topical Treatment for Localized Mange in Dogs

Your veterinarian can suggest good ointments to apply to the dog’s skin. You want an ointment to help relieve itching and inflammation.

Also good are ointments with antibacterial properties. Again, your veterinarian is the only qualified person to ask. Ask about Goodinol Ointment . 

No ointment can kill the mite’s eggs buried under the skin. Until those eggs hatch and mature, ointment and other treatment will need to continue.

5. Puppies Could Outgrow Demodectic Mange

Puppies aren’t born with top-notch immune function. However, as they grow, their immune systems develop with them. For this reason, it’s said that up to 90% of puppy’s who have demodectic mange will outgrow it within one or two months.

it’s likely that the puppy will outgrow it. In the meantime, however, a treatment option should be discussed with your veterinarian. Demodectic mange leaves the puppy’s skin vulnerable to serious infection.

6. Generalized Demodectic Mange

Puppy’s born with localized demodectic mange will sometimes heal on their own. If the mite persists and multiplies, it will go on to cover the body and that is known as generalized demodectic mange.   This is a more serious, long-term condition that is often hard to treat. Talk to your veterinarian about safe and appropriate treatment.

NOTE: There are various holistic treatments for things like yeast infections on the skin, but they don’t address the underlying condition.

7. One Big Smelly Dog

Generalized demodectic mange affects the dog’s entire body.  This leaves the immune system compromised and open to yeast and bacteria which, in turn, cause secondary skin infections. It’s the secondary skin infections that smell so foul.

8. Less Stress = Fewer Mites

The longer a dog is under stress, the weaker the immune function.  Some ways to improve your dog’s immune function include a balanced diet, up-to-date parasite control, current vaccinations, healthy exercise, and sufficient human interactions.

9. The No-No’s of Cortisone

Cortisone (typically by injection is used to reduce inflammation. It is a steroid that, when administered to a dog with mange, further lowers the immune system.

When the dog’s immune system is compromised it allows the mites that cause demodectic mange to take over.

10. Ivermectin – What It Is

Ivermectin is the medication used to treat head lice, parasitic infections, and mange.  The medication enters the bloodstream and disables the mites’ nervous system. That signals the dog’s white blood cells to attack and kill the mite.

11. The Dangers of Drug Sensitivities

Herding dogs have a mutated gene that causes them to be seriously allergic to certain drugs, including Ivermectin.  Talk to your veterinarian about this risk, even if your dog is a mixed breed.

12. Dog Breeds and MDR1

The following is a list of breeds and the percentage thought to inherit the MDR1 genetic mutation.

Australian Shepherd 50%

Border Collie – <5%

Chinook 70%

Collie 70%

English Shepherd 15%

German Sherperd 10%

Herding Breed Cross 10%

Silken Windhound 30%

Shetland Sheepdog 15%

Mixed Breed 5%

McNab 30%

Long-haired Whippet 50%

13. The Risks of a Genetic Mutation

If you own a dog from the herding breeds, and he/she has the genetic mutation, your dog is at risk of seriously toxic reactions to at least 12 other medications (including Ivermectin). But how do you know if he/she has the mutation? See #14.

14. Testing for the MDR1 Gene Mutation in Dogs

Washington State University has made a gene mutation test available.  At this writing, the cost of a single test was $60, a small price to pay for peace of mind.

If you own one of the herding breed dogs, have him/her tested for the gene mutation. That way, you’ll be able to work with the veterinarian in finding alternative drug therapies. You know the old saying….what you don’t know is more dangerous than what you do know.

15. Home Remedies for Demodectic Mange

Before treating your dog for demodectic mange, make sure to have a veterinarian make the diagnosis first. Speak with him/her regarding the effectiveness of the following holistic treatments.

a) Aloe Vera Plant

b) Neem Oil

c) Tea Tree Oil

d) Lemon-

e) Garlic

A quick, online search will give you a more comprehensive list of home remedies for demodactic mange.  

Keep in mind that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean safe.  Your veterinarian can work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you. It’s going to be important to remain consistent with whatever options you choose.

16. Demodectic Mange Cure Time

Demodectic Mange in dogs can take three months or more to fully resolve.  The skin will continue to be affected long after the mites have been eradicated. Dead skin and tissue will take some time to heal.

17. Demodectic Pododermatitis

This type of mange happens on the paws and is susceptible to bacterial infections.  This type of mange in dogs is particularly resistant to treatment.

Pododermatitis is the term used to define inflamed paws. This condition can be caused by any  number of things including general allergies, illness, suppressed immune system, cancer, and environmental toxins. The diagnosis of mange with this condition is difficult and requires biopsy.

At the end of the day, your dog’s health is the important thing.  It seems as if there is a general fear of traditional medications. The truth is, traditional medicines used to treat mange (like Ivermectin) can be deadly to herding breed dogs. 

If your veterinarian is at all concerned about that, he/she will likely recommend an alternative to the drug.  The veterinarian might also want (with your consent) to administer a minute dose to test for a reaction before prescribing a full dose. 

Please don’t hesitate to talk openly with your veterinarian about any doggie health concerns you have!

I hope you found this post helpful. Mange can be a complicated topic and I want to be notified if I got something wrong. I am not a veterinarian and I cannot diagnose, treat, suggest treatments, or manage any health condition your dog may have.

Mange is only one of hundreds of conditions a dog can suffer from. 

Read about the 11 ways to reclaim your dog’s health before you leave and make sure to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss important dog-health information.  Please share with your followers!

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