Did you know that dogs can suffer from two different types of mange in dogs? While it is heartbreaking to see your German Shepherd lose his fur due to the itch, there are different treatments – including essential oils – that are effective in treating mange.
Types of Mange in Dogs
Mange is a skin disease that is caused by the infestation of microscopic creatures called mites. Mites are very small spider-like creatures that can be present in your German Shepherd’s body but they cannot really do any harm if your German Shepherd has a healthy immune system. It is common for dogs to have mites but mange happens the population of those mites grows uncontrollably. This severe infestation of mites cause very itchy sensation in affected dogs.
There are two types of mange your German Shepherd can experience: Sarcoptic Mange and Demodectic Mange.
Sarcoptic mange is caused by Sarcoptes or Sarcoptic mites. It is contagious and is easily spread by physical contact. It can also be transmitted to humans.
Sarcoptic mites burrow under the host’s skin where it lays eggs – and this causes extreme itching. If your German Shepherd is suffering from Sarcoptic Mange, he or she will likely scratch intensively and this can cause wounds and bacterial infections.
Dogs suffering from Sarcoptic Mange experience:
- Severe itchiness,
- Hair loss due to scratching,
- Red and crusty skin,
- Smelly and/or inflamed skin.
Compared to Sarcoptic Mange, Demodectic mange is not contagious to humans. This type of mange is caused by mites called the demodex canis. These mites can only be transmitted through very close direct contact. Demodex mites cannot really live outside the dog’s body that’s why the most common transmission of these mites happens between mother dogs and their puppies.
Demodex canis can dig deep into the dog’s sebaceous glands and hair follicle – causing severe irritation and itchiness. It is believed that these mites are present in most dogs but the chance of them to cause mange depends on the strength of the dog host’s immune system.
Dogs with Demodectic mange may show the following symptoms:
- Severe itching,
- Intensive scratching,
- Severe hair loss,
- Scaly red skin,
- And thickened (or sometimes) darkening skin
If your German Shepherd is having skin problems, the veterinarian will perform a skin scrape test to determine whether your German Shepherd’s problem is Sarcoptic Mange, Demodectic Mange, or another skin problem.
Preventing Mange in Your German Shepherd
To prevent your German Shepherd from suffering from both types of mage, you must make sure that his immune system is in top condition. A healthy dog has lesser chance of suffering from mite infestation. Keeping your German Shepherd and his or her environment clean should also help prevent both types of mange.
Treating Different Types of Mange
There are different ways to treat mange in dogs and here are some treatment options vets recommend.
Advantage Multi or Advocate – Application of this product is considered a conservative way of treating mange. Advocate or Advantage Multi is a multi-functional product that can serve as heartworm prevention, wormer, and killer of both Sarcoptes and Demodex mites. This is a spot on treatment that is applied on the nape of the dog once a month.
Aside from giving this product, veterinarians may also recommend giving the affected dog vitamins, anti-histamine, antibiotics, and medicated dips or baths. Treatment of Sarcoptic mange using Advocate usually lasts for 3 to 4 months, while Demodectic Mange may require more time of treatment.
Amitraz Dips – Amitraz Dips are given to dogs who have generalized Demodectic Mange. This is a more conventional treatment for mange. Amitraz Dip is an organophosphate and it must beapplied to the dog’s skin very carefully. Before dipping, bathing the dog with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo may be needed. This dip is usually given 6 to 14 times with a two-week interval.
Ivermectin – Injecting Ivermectin is another conventional way to treat mange in dogs. This drug is also an effective wormer and heartworm preventative. However, this product has been seen to have a deadly effect on herding dog breeds such as Australian Shepherds and Collies.
For dogs suffering from Sarcoptic or Demodectic mange, this drug is given via injection by veterinarians. Oral medicines, medicated bath and vitamins may also be recommended.
Essential Oil for Mange and Mites
If your German Shepherd is suffering from mange and you’re hoping to use a more natural way to beat it, there are essential oils that can help fight and kill mites. Remember to use only high quality essential oils.
To fight either type of mange in your German Shepherd, mix the following essential oils in a bottle of Animal Scents Shampoo:
- 10 drops of Lavender,
- 6 drops of Purification,
- 4 drops of Majoram,
- 2 drops of Helichrysum.
Use the mixture of the shampoo and the essential oils to bathe your German Shepherd two to three times a week. Aside from this bath, give your German Shepherd vitamins and a healthy diet to boost his immune system and help his body fight off the mites.
Remember, too much bathing may stress your German Shepherd’s body and this can make him prone to catching viral and bacterial diseases so supporting his immune system with vitamins and supplements is important.
You may also mix the same amount of essential oils with 1 ounce of V-6 Oil and apply it on your German Shepherd’s skin 2 times a day for three weeks. Make sure to keep the mixture in a dark glass bottle.