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Microscopic insects called mites cause mange. The most common types of mange are demodectic mange (common in puppies; rare in adult dogs, kittens and cats), sarcoptic mange (scabies in puppies and dogs), notoedric mange (scabies in kittens and cats), and otodectic mange (ear mites in puppies, dogs, kittens and cats). Demodectic mange is a genetic disease and is not transmissible between pets. The other types of mange are transmissible between pets and can in fact be transmissible between pets and their owners. Mange is a common cause of skin disease in pets and may be difficult to diagnose in some pets.

Variable success with mange can be achieved with a natural diet, homeopathic sulfur, and the herbs garlic and Echinacea. For ear mites, mullein flower oil or yellow dock and reishi mushrooms can be tried.

These can be used in conjunction with conventional therapies, as they are unlikely to be effective by themselves in most patients with severe disease. The natural treatments are widely used with variable success but have not been thoroughly investigated and proven at this time.

As with any condition, the most healthful natural diet will improve the pet’s overall health.

Most conventional therapies for demodectic, sarcoptic, and notoedric mange require medicated dips of shampoos. Despite the potential toxicity and side effects that can occur with some dips, most are administered safely to the majority of pets with mange. The drug ivermectin can be used for most types of mange, but it is toxic at the dose required to treat mange in Collie-type dogs. Ear mites can be treated with oral or injectable ivermectin or topical drops (which can be administered for four weeks along with some type of body treatment, usually a flea spray, to effectively break the mite life cycle and kill the mites).

Shawn Messonnier, DVM

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Shawn Messonnier DVM Past Supporting Member, Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians Author, the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YOU Can Win The Battle!

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