Akita Rescue Society of America


Treating Demodectic

For Tootsie
Beating Cancer
Cancer & Diet
Treating Skin Yeast
Issho's Story
Abandoned Akitas
Aggression & Thyroid
Akitas and Cancer
Akitas in Shelters
Blue Room
Breed Rescue Is..
Diseases & Disorders
Facts About Akitas
Finding a Breeder
Let's Be Honest!
Lost & Found
New Beginnings
Nutritional Sheets
People Doing Rescue
Placing Your Akita
Should You Breed?
Starting a Rescue
This is a Leash
This is a Crate
Treating Demodectic
Visit these Links
Water Hoses & Health
What a Puppy Is
Spirit of the Akita


Treating Demodectic Naturally

Demodectic Mange (Demodex canis), also called Red Mange, is a non-contagious skin disease caused by a tiny, eight-legged parasitic mite that lives in the hair follicles and skin glands of dogs. Puppies are infected with mites from contact with the skin of their mother while nursing. The disease is seen in two forms:

Localized mange, which is confined to a few small areas such as the face or front feet, and is relatively easy to treat, occurs in puppies under one year of age. Generalized mange is much more severe, and treatment is not always successful.

Most dogs have a microscopic mite population hitching a ride on their body, but the dog's immune system handles it all very nicely. When the immune system is no longer able to control the mites, they begin multiplying, then attacking. It is thought that dogs infected with demodectic mange are immunodeficient. In other words, they are not able to fight off the mites like a healthy dog would. Heredity is believed to play a part in dogs that show signs of demodectic mange so it is strongly recommended that infected dogs be spayed or neutered. Signs of disease appear only when mites reproduce unchecked and occur in unnaturally high numbers. Outbreaks are seen around the eyes, lips and/or lower limbs when the numbers of these mites increase.

Because the immune system does not mature until 12-18 months of age, a dog with demodectic mange may have relapses until that age. It is important for treatment to begin promptly to minimize the possibility of developing uncontrollable problems. Demodectic mange in dogs over 2 years of age is classified as adult-onset, and usually occurs secondary to an underlying cause. Successful treatment of adult-onset mange relies upon identifying and correcting the underlying cause. Dogs with immune suppression due to illnesses like hypothyroid disease, and Cushing's disease, are also candidates for demodectic mange. Demodectic mange may also occur in very old dogs because function of the immune system often declines with age.

Some dogs infected with demodectic mange may have secondary skin infections. The skin becomes dry, crusty, and brittle, it will ooze serum, blood or pus. A strong, offensive skin odor may be present due to a bacterial infection. The secondary infection responds to antibiotics like cephalexin or clavamox.

Conventional treatment depends upon the severity of the disease. Generally, veterinarians recommend treatment with a dip containing Amitraz. The dip is repeated every 7-10 days. Although the dog may respond well to the dip and look normal, dipping must be continued until negative skin scrapings are found consistently for a few weeks. The dipping may have side effects. Sleepiness and itching are common for 24 hours after the dip. Some dogs many experience decreased body temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, excitability, staggering, or other personality changes. If any of these side effects occur you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Amitraz can reduce the function of the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the body's metabolism by controlling hormone release in the body. In animal studies, amitraz caused episodes of increased aggression, as well as some central nervous system depression. In addition to the dip, to treat more generalized cases of mange, many veterinarians are now prescribing daily doses of Eqvalan, which is liquid ivermectin. Dr. Jean Dodds has written extensively about ivermectin as a trigger for immune-mediated diseases. Ivermectin should not be used in combination with Amitraz dip nor with Amitraz tick prevention collars. These medicines are all members of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor group; when they are used together their effects combine together creating sedation and adverse neurologic effects.

Conventional treatments do work but at what expense to your dog's health? Since conventional veterinary medicine relies heavily on a highly toxic method of treatment, and suppressed immune function is the cause of demodectic outbreaks, you should consider an alternative. Using a combination of natural diet, vitamins, minerals and herbs, you support the immune system while treating the skin.

Food selection:

Immune suppressed dogs require a high quality, all natural food. Select a raw food diet, a cooked diet, or an ultra premium dry food with lots of raw pulverized vegetables. Select organically grown vegetables or use one of the pesticide cleaners available in supermarkets for use on fruits and vegetables. Add leafy dark green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, and carrots (carrots should be blanched one minute to release the carotenes). If you feed raw foods, increase the veggies.

To each meal: sprinkle a teaspoon of sesame seed oil--on the food. This is an important oil for immune function and skin repair. Also add a variety of dried sea vegetables like wakami, nori, dulce and kelp. The sea vegetables should be offered at least 4-5 days a week or even every day if your Akita likes it. Feed fish, boneless poached or canned fish. Do not use tuna, tuna and swordfish are laden with mercury; sardines, salmon, mackerel or fresh water fish are good choices. When giving fish, cook some white rice and mix with the fish. Avoid grains like wheat or rye--rice, barley and oats are okay.

NO VACCINES. Not even one. The immune system in these dogs is already severely stressed; they do not need additional viral components circulating in the blood. Stop using all chemicals including dips, flea/tick spot-ons, pills, or flea collars. You are attempting to reinstate immune function not add to the collective damage.

The following supplements are for the immune system and should be given daily. If you find a product that combines these antioxidants in one capsule, use it:

Zinc: 50mg (chelated type)

Selenium: 200mcg (There is a product called Selene E from Twinlabs. It contains the right amount of selenium and Vitamin E)

Vitamin E: 400 IU twice daily

Cod liver oil capsules: 3 gel caps twice daily

25,000 IU of Marine carotene (it is available in health food 
stores—another Twinlabs product. One gel cap daily:

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: start at 500mg and work up to 3,000mg by
increasing in increments of 500mg weekly. If your dog develops a loose
stool, back off by 500mg and maintain the level.

Nutritional yeast: one tablespoon daily

Lecithin granules: one teaspoon daily
Milk thistle: follow directions on bottle for an adult human.

One-half teaspoon of bee pollen (optional but great nutrients)

Hokamix 30, a vitamin/mineral/herbal supplement:  follow directions on

The following herbs are to boost her immune system and fight bacterial infections. Wherever possible purchase organic herbs that are "Standardized."

Olive Leaf Extract: Follow directions on bottle.
Astragulus: Follow directions on bottle.
Cat's Claw: Follow directions on bottle.
Kyolic garlic: Follow directions on bottle.
Pau d'Arco: 4 capsules twice daily.
Grapefruit Seed Extract Capsules or tablets: 225mg daily.
Flax seed oil (organic) gel caps: one twice daily.
Plant based digestive enzymes available at health food stores.

Give two capsules per meal.

Add a few tablespoons of plain yogurt to each meal or give acidophilus supplements. It is very important to maintain good intestinal bacteria when fighting parasites.

Homeopathics: Do not touch the pellets with your hand, simply twist or shake them into the little cap and pour into the dog’s mouth:

                Sulphur 6X: one tablet in am and one in pm: use for 10 days.

FOR THE TOPICAL TREATMENTS: Consider the degree of sensitivity of the open sores. If your dog is very sore and sensitive, you can give two valerian capsules an hour before you use the solutions. It is an herbal tranquilizer-very safe-that will take the edge off and make the dog more comfortable. After a few days, she won't need valerian because she will begin to heal enough to treat without help. If the inflamed skin is severe, ask your veterinarian for lidocaine spray and use it sparingly to control surface pain before applying topical treatment. Pain adds stress and stress should be avoided. You should experiment to find the most effective solution with the least discomfort. Start carefully with a dilution to see how much your dog can tolerate.

Purchase the herbs as liquid extracts; the grapefruit seed extract is available as a liquid.

Topical treatment #1

Mix a combination of one part lavender oil, one part Neem oil,  to 9 parts almond oil. Apply to sores and infected areas once or twice daily.

Topical treatment #2

Mix ten drops of yellow dock extract with ten drops of Echinacea extract, dilute with four ounces of distilled water and apply. Yellow dock is effective as an itch treatment. Other herbs that help with itching are calendula and aloe vera.

Topical Treatment #3

Make up a mixture of three tablespoons fresh lemon juice mixed with two ounces of witch hazel and four ounces of distilled water: Add 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract and six drops each of tea tree oil, golden seal root, olive leaf extract, and pau d'arco. Keep away from the eyes. Spray or dab onto sores once a day.

After each application each case, allow the topical solutions to dry.

The following Bach Remedies are an adjunct to this program: Bach remedies are flower extracts that help with the psychological effects of disease and emotional upsets. Combine equal parts of the following remedies into one dark glass bottle, and a small amount of distilled water. Keep the remedies in a cool dark place. Add about 15 drops to the water bowl daily:

Crab Apple
Cherry Plum

NO DRUGS. NO CHEMICALS. NO DIPS. Each of these will further damage the immune system.

It is difficult if not impossible to get an accurate reading of thyroid function when the dog is ill with demodectic mange. This is especially true when dips and biocides are used initially as a treatment. To assist the immune system in recovery, I suggest starting a trial with Soloxine. Soloxine does not shut down thyroid function it assists the gland by adding hormone to the bloodstream. Once the dog is well, you can stop the Soloxine and if the dog had normal thyroid function prior to the demodectic event, the gland will resume the same level of function after thirty days. The danger is not using thyroid hormone replacement in a dog with hypothyroid disease and since accurate testing is difficult under the circumstances, using Soloxine by Daniels is recommended. Of course, discuss all of this with your veterinarian or seek out a homeopathic veterinarian. A list of homeopathic veterinarians is available at: http://www.altvetmed.com/ahvmadir.html

(c) Copyright 2000 Barbara Bouyet

     A more up-to-date article is available in "Akita-Treasure of Japan, 
     Volume II" available at www.akitabook.com