For most people, the word ‘mange’ brings to mind a body with severely damaged and horrendously itchy skin, and being highly contagious. The first two qualities are more or less correct, but the phrase ‘contagious mange’ is a little misunderstood.
Sarcoptic Mange is contagious, but not demodectic mange
The main reason why the misunderstanding exists is because there are two different types of mange, and their facts often get mixed up together. We’re not going into a deep discussion about the exact differences between the two, but to put it simply, Sarcoptic Mange (or scabies) is the one that’s contagious, while demodectic mange isn’t. This is the sort of information that will determine your strategy in removing your dog’s skin problem, so it’s important to distinguish between the two before you start any treatment.
Now that the question is adequately answered, let’s throw a little wrench in the works. What if I said that…
…However, demodectic mange is contagious in a sense
Okay don’t panic, I’m not trying to confuse you. Hear me out:
Between sarcoptic and demodectic mange, it is true that one is contagious and the other isn’t. But what we’re really talking about here is that scabies is contagious between a human and a dog. And that demodectic mange does not have this particular form of interspecies transmission.
On the other hand, demodectic mange is contagious… between dog and dog. Do you see what I mean now?
You may be wondering why there’s such a distinction. Here’s a short explanation:
The main troublemaker in this whole demodectic mange deal is the Demodex Canis, a version of demodex mite that lives exclusively in dogs. These guys do not prefer other animals for some reason, including humans, so they generally stay away from them. That’s why it’s almost impossible for a human to infect a dog, and vice versa*.
However, the Demodex Canis can be found practically everywhere on dogs, and it’s the reason why a dog that’s recovering from demodectic mange shouldn’t be allowed near another dog with a bad case of it – the mites can easily jump over to the recovering dog’s body and re-infest it, triggering another case of mange.
So there you have it. Demodectic mange isn’t contagious in that it doesn’t transmit between humans and dogs, but it’s highly contagious between dog-and-dog. Question answered.
*Note: I say ‘almost impossible’ because there have been several reports of such a thing happening, but it’s so rare that you’d win the lottery long before you get infested by good ol’ Demodex Canis, so don’t start panicking just yet.
Treating Demodectic Mange at Home
Whenever people think of mange, the first thing that comes to mind is, “That looks terrible, they should get some medical help quick!” They’re not wrong too – generalized demodectic mange is a terrible sight to behold. In fact, dogs with a severe case of ‘red mange’ would have been written off as a hopeless case and euthanized just fifty years ago.
Nowadays, dog owners seek professional help when their dog is down with mange. Now, that’s definitely the right thing to do. After all, the vet is the most capable person to turn to when the mange has ravaged most, if not all of your dog’s skin.
But does that mean it’s impossible to treat the mange by yourself? Of course not! There are many reports of people experiencing success with some home remedies for demodectic mange, so it’s definitely something to look into.
Here’s a few examples of what people have tried in their quest to get rid of the skin problem:
– Lemon Juice
– Motor Oil
– Aloe Vera
– Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
– Natural Herbs
Do keep in mind that the list above is only what people have recommended. It doesn’t actually mean that they all work, and frankly, I’m very skeptical of a few on that list. But there are some that most definitely do work, without any additional help from medical drugs.
In the following weeks, I will post more on the types of home remedies that any dog owner can use for their dog’s demodectic mange, and try to assess them based on how well they perform, so do check back every so often to learn more about them. If they’ve already been posted, the links should most likely appear below.