Treating Demodex Naturally

I had been trying to treat my boy’s Demodex condition for several months using vet prescribed chemical treatments. The condition just got worse each week. After turning to a natural home-made remedy, there was huge improvement after only 1 week. In 8 weeks it was visibly cleared.

As with all the information I publish, this is just my experience, I am not trained in veterinary medicine and I am not attempting to replace veterinary advice or treatment, this is what I did and what worked for me.

I noticed a bald patch on my 8 month old male Pug. It was just one small patch on the side of his abdomen. There was no itching or pain. A visit to the vets and a skin scrape confirmed my suspicions – Demodex. He was prescribed Aludex (Amitraz) and I was advised to wash him all over, once per week in a diluted wash solution.

Within two weeks my boy had developed another bald patch, on a front leg. Another visit to the vet and I was advised to continue with the weekly all over wash.

A further six weeks on and these bald patches were getting bigger and bigger so I decided to look for alternative treatments.

During my research I discovered that this infestation is very likely to be caused by a weakened immune system. Now I was already aware that exposure to certain chemicals can affect the immune system. Was I making this condition worse by keep bathing him in chemicals? I believe I was.

Anecdotal evidence shows that this condition is far better treated naturally from the inside as well as the outside. Here’s how I did it:

I was already feeding raw with added fruits and vegetables like blueberries, raspberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peas etc etc. all healthy stuff – you would think. Except most of those supplements I was feeding contain natural sugars, some, like sweet potato, are much worse than others. Those sugars can, and I am in no doubt were indeed contributing to a weakened immune system. So I removed them from his diet.

To help booster the immune system I added quarter teaspoon of Turmeric and a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, to his food daily. (You can also buy or make your own Golden Paste).

To tackle the condition from the outside I used Flowers of Sulfur or Brimstone. Flowers of Sulfur is a natural mineral that has been used for all kinds of remedies for centuries. This can be used by simply rubbing the dry powder into the affected areas but I found it much easier and far less messy to make a rub using coconut oil. It also made more sense to me that by using this method, the oil acted as a carrier to help the FOS penetrate the pores. This was applied twice daily around the affected areas.

One week later and there was a very noticeable difference. Hair was growing back, this was amazing. Eight weeks later and all the hair had grown back though a slightly darker pigment. It was like a miracle had happened. The brilliance of Nature.

What is Demodex?

I’m not going to go into great detail here as there are many websites with lots of info if you want to know more. But briefly, Demodex is a type of mite that will cause mange in mammals. There are two main types of mange found in dogs, Sarcoptic and Demodectic.

Sarcoptic mange is probably the one most people think of when you mention mange, it is highly contagious and can cause gross irritation. Demodectic mange is not contagious so it is safe to allow other animals to come into contact with a dog diagnosed with Demodex. Demodex does not usually cause irritation except in severe cases where lots of skin is exposed.

Demodectic mite are normally present on almost all dogs, residing just under the skin around the hair follicles and is generally kept under control by the dog’s immune system. Demodex is said not to be zoonotic (passed from animal to human), although some research shows that humans can host the mite for breeding.

Demodex is separated into two categories depending on the age at the onset of the condition. Juvenile onset occurs before the dog has fully matured at 18 months and adult onset occurs thereafter. The majority of cases are identified prior to 9 months of age so juvenile onset is the most common.

Demodex is further categorised as localised and generalised. Localised being just a small affected area. It is considered generalised when there are several areas affected or has been persistent for more than 6 months.

Symptoms

The first evidence of Demodex in your dog is likely to be one or more small bald patches (alopecia) appearing in their coat. Not to be confused with hot spots or

photograph courtesy Dr. Michael Dryden, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University
Photograph: Dr. Michael Dryden, Kansas State University

other skin conditions, Demodex is usually dry and non-irritating. In severe cases there can be irritation and pain. The only way to know for sure is to get a proper diagnosis. Confirmation of Demodex is achieved by performing a skin scrape and examining the sample under a microscope. This should be performed by a veterinarian or suitably qualified/experienced practitioner.

Cause

As stated earlier, Demodectic mite are normally present in all dogs, it is the immune system that keeps the numbers low enough as to not cause any issues. It is thought to be a weakened immune system that permits the mite to colonise in large numbers around the hair follicles, thus presenting Alopecia (bald patches). There can be many reasons why the immune system has become weakened, often, in the case of juveniles, this can be as a result of poor diet or stress. It may even be genetic. With adult onset Demodex it is usually as a result of systemic diseases such as Hypothyroidism and Diabetes.

Treatment

The treatment a vet will prescribe will usually be an insecticide or miticide. Amitraz, Ivermectin, Milbemycin oxime, Moxidectin, and Doramectin are all recommended for treating canine demodicosis. Localised jeuvenile onset demodex should really not be treated at all as many cases will clear up by themselves.

References
http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/canine-and-feline-demodicosis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20797509
http://turmericlife.com.au/turmeric-recipes-golden-paste/

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