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What Are The Treatments For Demodex Mange In Dogs?

Demodex Mange for Pyodermatitis in Dogs

Demodex Mange is a red, itchy skin infection that is due to mites which can lead to Pyodermatitis in dogs.

The Demodex mite resides in a dog in a form known as Demodex Canis. The Demodex mite is not rare. It usually is seen in small quantities on the skin of most of the dogs. The insects from the mothers generally travel to young pets within a short time after birth. Thus, most of your healthy pets have Demodex mites. If you are looking for a natural remedy for Pyodermatitis in dogs, then Derma-IonX is best advised for you.

The article will brief you about Demodex Mange, causes and also symptoms of its occurrence. The details on treating and side effects from medication of this disease are also included in the later part of the article.

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Causes of Demodex Mange or Pyodermatitis in dogs

Small numbers of mites are not a problem. But if your dog’s immune system is not working normally, then it cannot control the mite population growth, and then the problem occurs. The mites multiply and cause severe itching. Hence, if your dog scratches the affected area and develops secondary bacterial infections with pus (Pyodermatitis in dogs). This Pyodermatitis in dogs can cause his/her hair to fall out leaving him bald, red, weepy, infected areas and the skin also becomes leathery.

Demodex is long and thin, cigar-shaped, eight-legged mites as adults. The mites reside in hair follicles and oil gland of the skin that hold the root of the hair. Several mites can reside in one follicle. Demodex mites are tiny, between 60 and 240 per inch, so are not visible with naked eyes. Hence we use microscopes to see them. There are chances of these mites escaping from detection via microscope also as it hides well inside the dog skin.

Symptoms of Demodex Mange

Demodex Mange causes skin problems in your dog. Your dog’s skin itches either mildly with localized infection or severely with generalized infection. Some dogs scratch so hard that they also develop bacterial infections like pus. The hair falls out, and bald spots develop on these specific areas. Bald patches, especially around the eyes, mouth, elbows, and front legs are common in Demodex Mange. The skin becomes rough and dry. A summary of Demodex mange symptoms are as follows:

  • Itching, bald patches especially around eyes and mouth
  • Itching, bald lesions on legs and body that progress to cover the entire body
  • Leathery skin

Treatment of Demodex Mange

Demodex mange occurs in localized and generalized forms. The diagnosis of Demodex Mange is by taking multiple skin scrapings and looking for the mites. Generally, Demodex mites are easy to diagnose.

  1. Localized Demodex Mange

This disease usually occurs in dogs under the age of one year. The skin appears similar to that of ringworm. The primary sign is lessening of hair around the eyelids, lips, and corners of the mouth and seldom on the trunk, the legs, and the feet. The hair loss progresses to turn patches of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. In some cases, it also affects the skin, and it becomes red, scaly, and infected.

Localized mange heals spontaneously within six to eight weeks, but may alternatively increase or decrease for several months. If you notice more than five patches on the skin, be careful as the disease could progress to the generalized form. This may happen in about 10 percent of the cases.


A relevant ointment containing either benzoyl peroxide gel (OxyDex or Pyoben), or a mild preparation which normally treats ear mites is very useful when we massage the affected areas once in a day with it. This will cut down the course of the disease. We can also rub the medication properly around the hair to reduce further hair loss. This treatment may cause the affected areas to look worse for the initial two to three weeks.

Till date there is no proof available that treating localized mange can prevent the disease to progress into generalized, so a regular check again after four weeks is advisable.

  1. Generalized Demodex Mange

The generalized illness will develop patches of hair loss on the head, legs, and trunk of your dog. These patches combine to form a large area of hair loss. The hair follicles become blocked with mites and skin scales. The skin breaks down to form sores, crusts, and difficult tracts, displaying the more severe problem. When the generalized Demodex mange develops in dogs that are below one year in age, there is a 30 to 50 percent chance that the puppy will recover spontaneously.

For dogs above one year of age, the natural cure is not likely, but today with the improvement in medical treatment, most dogs can be cured with intense therapy. Other cases can be best handled if the owner is willing to spend the necessary time and expense.


Generalized Demodex mange or Pyodermatitis in dogs must be strictly treated under close veterinary supervision. The healing process involves the use of medicated shampoos and dips to remove surface scales and thus kill mites. Shave or trim hair from all affected areas of your dog’s body to facilitate access to the skin.

Other Treatment Options for Pyodermatitis in dogs

  1. The FDA protocol

Firstly bath your dog with a medicated benzoyl peroxide shampoo (OxyDex or Pyoben) to remove skin scales. Allow the shampoo to remain on the dog for about 10 minutes then wash it off. Then entirely dry your dog.

  1. Amitraz for Pyodermatitis in dogs

Currently, Amitraz (brand name Mitaban) is the only miticide approved by the FDA to be used on dogs. Prepare an amitraz dip by adding Mitaban to water as directed on the label. Ensure to treat your dog in a well-ventilated area. You should wear rubber or plastic gloves to keep the chemical away from your skin. Sponge on the dip for over 10-minutes then allows the dog’s feet to soak in the dip. Allow the dip to dry on the dog. Repeat this every two weeks, or as directed by a veterinarian. Continue this for 60 days or more to notice skin scrapings.

  1. Sulfurated Lime

A combination of sulfur and lime (sulfurated lime) is used to kill bacteria, parasites and fungal infections on dogs including Demodex mange, Pyodermatitis in dogs, Sarcoptes scabies mites, and ringworm.

The mixture of sulfur and lime is used as a dip every 5-7 days to treat Demodex Mange infections. Treatment can be continued for at least a month or several weeks until skin scrapings are clear of mites. Sulfurated lime is safe to use on dogs at a dilution of four ounces in one gallon of water. If this concentration does not clear the mite infection, it can be doubled to eight ounces per gallon of water.

Sulfur causes an unpleasant odor, and so the dip should be applied in a well-ventilated room. Once the dip dries, the smell is less noticeable. A dip is left on the skin and is allowed to dry. It should not be washed, or your pet should not be allowed to get wet between treatments.

Before using the dip, bath your pet using a benzoyl peroxide shampoo so that the skin follicles open and the dip exposure to mite increases.

If the options mentioned above are not helpful, then your veterinarian may suggest an alternative treatment. Off-label treatments like Oral milbemycin and ivermectin can be used. These treatment options require close cooperation between your veterinarian and you as they are not officially approved for treating this disease.

  1. Additional care

Superior quality nutritious food, low stress, and a joyful environment are essential to increase the speed and probability of a cure. Many dogs that develop Demodex mange or Pyodermatitis in dogs have a history. This can be due to insufficient care and nutrition when they were puppies or insufficient care and nutrition of their mothers. The Demodex mange problem in breeding dogs is in their bloodlines, and so it is more challenging. The presence of other external or internal parasites can also slow or prevent dog’s recovery from mange.

Side Effects of Amitraz treatment

Amitraz is a powerful medication and can cause side effects as well. Side effects of Amitraz include drowsiness, lethargy, dizziness, and a staggering gait. Puppies are more vulnerable to these effects than adults. If you notice such reaction then immediately remove the miticide completely by rinsing the coat and skin. Other toxic effects include high blood sugar, vomiting, diarrhea, unsteadiness (ataxia), and slow heart rate. Amitraz should not be used on dogs taking Anipryl or Selegiline for Cushing’s disease and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (senility).


Demodex mange is most common in all dogs, but a small number is not harmful so be watchful to notice any unusual signs. Consult your vet immediately if any itching is visible. Correct treatment under the supervision of the vet will help to cure this disease in a short span. Regular visits to the vet will help you to detect if any abnormal condition is progressing.

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