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Holistic Treatment for Demodex Mange

Demodex is mainly an immune system issue. Dogs usually have these skin mites without a problem, but if they have a weak or compromised immune system, they can become overwhelmed by the mites and this is where we begin to see the hair loss and horrible skin issues.

 

Typical Western treatment involves loading the animal with toxic chemicals, including Ivermectin, which further deplete the immune system. For this reason, Western treatments often fail and many of these poor dogs are euthanised to end their suffering.

 

As with most conditions, the FIRST thing we need to look at is diet. After all, as you have heard me lecture before, food is the foundation of all that we are! A proper raw diet is the best choice, but if you elect to go with a commercially prepared pet food, please make sure to choose one of the highest quality. (Please see handout "Choosing a Quality Pet Food")

 

We also need to make sure that we are looking for environmental toxins that our dogs may be exposed to as well. Serve filtered or spring water only, and look at what you are using as cleaning agents around the home. (Dish and laundry detergents, floor cleaners, etc.)

 

Do NOT vaccinate a dog who has succumbed to demodex! One more time: DO NOT VACCINATE! Vaccinations severly weakien the immune system, and that is the last thing these dogs need. In fact, it is often shortly after vaccinations that demodex becomes a problem for these dogs in the first place. Do NOT use flea and tick products. Do NOT give them steroids. Use heartworm preventatives only if you are in a high-risk area in the middle of heartworm season. Do not do anything that will further compromise them immune system of these dogs!

 

Alright, now that we have gone over all the things NOT to do, what should we do for these poor dogs? After making sure they are on a diet of the highest quality that we can provide for them, we need to attempt to boost their immune system from within. Two excellent herbs for this are Echinacea and Astragalus. (Remember, when using herbs, always use whole herbs to take advantage of their full benfits, never extracts.)

 

Vitamin C can be added to their diet (an immune strengthener, anti-imflammatory, and antioxidant). Look for a high-quality buffered calcium ascorbate without fillers if possible. Dosage for Vitamin C is 250mg/day for a small dog, 500 for a medium dog, 1000 large dogs, and up to 2500 for giant dogs. Vitamin C can cause diarrhea, so start with small doses and gradually increase, and only dose to bowel tolerance, the amount they can handle without having loose stool.

 

Spray or wet the dog down at least 4x per day with Scooty Spray for Mange.

Recipe for Scooty Spray for Mange:

Bring a pot of filtered water to boil then turn off heat. As soon as boiling stops, drop in a tea ball with Yellow Dock, Calendula, Lavender, Chamomile, and Echinacea (listed in decreasing order of importance) and cover. Let steep 30-60 mins until a strong tea is brewed. Add 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 6 drops of Rescue Remedy, 4 drops of Bach Crab Apple (optional: 4 drops Bach White Chestnut, for repeated licking or scratching). Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.

 

Homeopathic choices for mange include:

Silicea- start here, then switch to one of the others when progress plateaus.

Sulfer - warm, thirsty, dirty, but not as dirty or smelly as Psorium dogs.

Psorium - smelly, oily, chilly. Give psorium 1x/week at 30C.

 

Use a Calendula and/or Aloe cream topically to give relief as needed.

 

Finally, you can try using a "dip" of Lavender oil diluted at least 1:10 in almond oil, although it is primariliy intended for Sarcoptes.

 

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By Sherri Romig CPDT-KA

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