What Are the Treatments for Demodex Mange on Dogs?

Collies and other breeds may be sensitive to certain treatments.
i Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com

Demodectic mange, caused by one of a few species the tiny, microscopic demodex mites, occurs when a dog has a suppressed immune system or other problem that give these common mites the power to create a reaction. Several treatments exist for demodectic mange.


Ivermectin is one of the up-and-coming first choices for the treatment of demodectic mange. Although it is currently not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the treatment is commonly used by veterinarians and is considered effective by the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Unlike other treatments using Ivermectin, such as a monthly heartworm preventative, it only works to control demodex mites when given daily or every other day. Unfortunately, a severe side effect is present in specific breeds, particularly many herding breeds. Shelties, collies, Old English sheepdogs and Australian shepherds are included, and other herding breeds may be affected as well. Ask your veterinarian to test your dog for sensitivity before prescribing Ivermectin treatments.

Traditional Mitaban Dips

Mitaban dips are the traditional method for treating demodectic mange in dogs. The dips require that your dog be completely clipped prior to being treated. You should also bathe your pup in benzoyl peroxide to open up the follicles and take care of any skin infections. A vet performs the dip every two weeks. Dogs may become sedated after the dip; small dogs are more prone to this side effect than larger dogs and may require an antidote. The dip is a useful alternative for Ivermectin-sensitive breeds.

Milbemycin Oxime

The common heartworm-preventative Milbemycin oxime is also an effective treatment for demodicosis. One downside is the price, as it is needed on a daily basis for the treatment of demodectic mange. Treatment can take months, therefore the price factor comes more into play. Because it is needed daily for the treatment of demodicosis, you may be able to find discounted packages of this heartworm preventative labelled for short sale.

Motor Oil

Although a common "folk remedy" for dogs with demodicosis, dipping in motor oil is dangerous to your dog. Not only can motor oil cause serious reactions in the skin including rashes and deconstruction of the skin, it can also lead to dangerously low blood pressure, pneumonia, aspirating into the lungs, and kidney and liver damage. Dipping your dog in motor oil is not a viable treatment for demodectic mange.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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