Demodectic Mange – A Natural Approach

by Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason

Demodectic mange, is also called “demodicosis” or red mange and is actually a microscopic mite of the Demodex genus. Three species of Demodex mites have been identified in dogs: Demodex canis, Demodex gatoi, and Demodex injai. The most common mite of demodectic mange is Demodex canis.


Most dogs have a natural microscopic mite population in small numbers, deep within the hair follicles already in residence. These mites are just a normal part of the flora of the skin and cause no clinical problems, the healthy dog’s immune system keeps them in check very nicely.

Demodex mites feed on cellular proteins, systemic yeast, dietary yeast and/or sugar in the system.

When the immune system is not yet mature (very young puppies) and/or it is compromised, it may not be able to keep the mites under control. The mites begin multiplying out of control and attacking the dog. Dogs infected with demodectic mange are immunodeficient. In other words, the puppy or dog’s immune system is not strong or balanced enough to able to naturally fight off or keep the amount of mites under control.

Signs and symptoms of over-growth appear only when mites reproduce unchecked and occur in unnaturally high numbers. Outbreaks are seen around the eyes, lips and/or lower limbs when the numbers of these mites increase due to the over-worked or stressed immune system no longer able to keep their numbers balanced.

Because the dog’s immune system does not fully mature until 12-18 months of age, a puppy with demodectic mange that has not been helped naturally to strengthen their immune system, may have relapses until the immune system is mature. Demodectic mange in dogs over 2 years of age is usually classified as adult-onset, and occurs secondary to an underlying cause stemming from a compromised immune system.

Dogs with immune suppression are also candidates for demodectic mange. Demodectic mange can also occur in very old dogs because the function of the immune system often declines with age due to poor nutrition and chemical bombardment through out its life time.

The immune system is a living thing that can be boosted/ improved or can be – suppressed and compromised. Many veterinarians do not understand the life of a Demodex mite and how the body can be strengthend to fight off the over-population on it’s own. There is no need for toxic medications to be taken internally and applied externally which by the way, have long-lasting, detrimental effects to the already weakened immune system.

Were you told Demodex is a genetic problem?

Most veterinarians do not understand what genetic means. Demodex is NOT in a pet’s genetic make-up. They are a mite that lives on all mammals skin naturally and again, are not a problem on a healthy dog. Only when the immune system becomes overly stressed and compromised does an infestation or infection of the mites occur.

What is happening is that generations after generations of dogs being bombarded with vaccinations, fed processed pet food, having toxic pesticides for fleas, ticks and heart worms forced on them and as result, these things actually wears down the immune system of each successive generation until today you hear about demodectic puppies all the time. It is much more about epigenetic – not genetics.

Holistic or natural rearing breeders have found and proven that you can take a dam who has produced an entire litter of demodectic pups; put her on a grain free, raw diet with supplementation and take her off all chemical pesticides for a year and then breed her again. She will not produce any demodex in the subsequent litter!

Nutrition’s Role in Immunodeficiencies

Malnutrition is the most common cause of immune deficiency. Poor nutrition compromises the entire immune system and especially the lymphatic system which channels and carries a clear fluid called lymph that produces immune cells. This makes the body more vulnerable to infection and disease. Therefore, wholesome, raw nutrition is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing and treating immune deficiency disorders.

A lot of Veterinarians in conventional veterinary medicine still use a toxic chemical called Amitraz or Ivermectin to kill the mites.

These products can reduce the function of the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the body’s metabolism by controlling hormone release in the body.

In animal studies, amitraz caused episodes of increased aggression, as well as some central nervous system depression. Many Vets use Ivermecten for generalized cases of mange.

Do a search on Ivermectin and Amitraz and read how it can be a trigger for immune-mediated diseases. These medications are members of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor group; and when they are used together their effects combine together creating sedation and adverse neurologic effects. In reality these chemicals/products only serve to keep the immune system in a weakened condition.

Conventional treatments may appear to work for a time however, at what expense to your dog’s health? Conventional treatments only address and suppress the symptoms and do not actually cure or take care of the source of the symptoms – the cause! Since conventional veterinary medicine relies heavily on a highly toxic methods of treatment, and suppressed immune function is the cause of demodectic outbreaks, please think this through consider a safe and natural alternative.

Using a combination of a raw, species appropriate diet and naturally sourced supplements (not processed, synthetically bases) you can support the immune system while it strengthens and gets things under control.

Immune suppressed dogs especially require a  well balanced,* raw meat, organ, gland and bone based diet so that the digestive system and of course the immune system (70% – 80% of the immune system is housed in the digestive tract) is not further stressed.
* If you can not feed a raw diet for some reason, please consider feeding a freeze dried or dehydrated raw diet with no grains or vegetables in it; such as ZiwiPeak

Remember, mites feed on the yeast living in the body, and systemic yeast feed on nutritional yeast and sugars (carbohydrates/vegetables and grains). If you want to break the cycle and weaken or starve the systemic yeast so that the mites are not able to colonize in the pores. Then do NOT feed grains or vegetables in the diet (NO WHEAT, OATS, CORN, BARLEY, MILLET OR YEAST OF ANY KIND which includes brewers or nutritional yeast).

Feed only what our carnivore companions are designed to eat: meat, bones, glands and organs  in as close to natural form as possible – prey model, franked prey or whole prey if possible. If you currently feed any vegetables or fruits, you will want to stop feeding them all together — in other words, only feed foods that do not readily turn to sugar within the system. Click HERE to read about how to prevent yeast growth in your dogs.


Antioxidants are crucial to supply at this time for the immune system.

Proanthocyanidins appear to potentiate the immune system via enhancement of T-lymphocyte activity and modulation of neutrophil and macrophage responses). Antioxidants also decrease various chemicals (histamine, interleukin, tumor necrosis factor) that cause cell damage. Because antioxidants minimize damage to cells, they are useful whenever disease is present and immune support is needed.

Medicinal Mushrooms/Beta Glucan

Beta Glucans are one of the most researched components of mushrooms and have been shown to play a significant role in activating key cells that are part of the immune system’s first line of defense. Studies have found Beta Glucans not only has a positive effect on the macrophages, but also supports B lymphocytes, activate the NK (natural killer) cells, and assist the suppressor T cells, through its powerful action as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger.

Omega Three Fatty Acids

Omega 3s found in Fish Oil (Dr. Jeannie recommends Wild Salmon Oil) or SeaLogix Omega 3 Fish Oil or pasture raised raw, whole chicken eggs (yolk, white and shell)

Chinese Wolf Berry, also known as Goji berry, according to an independent laboratory test is known have the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) rating. This test was developed by USDA researchers at Tufts University. NingXia Red Juice is the highest antioxidant product on the market. (NingXia Red Juice sports a record-high 4,214 antioxidant level. )


The role of the intestinal tract in nutrient absorption is well recognized. However, the micro-flora that naturally inhabit the intestinal tract and their vital role in maintaining normal functioning of the gut and immune system are often overlooked. The intestinal tract and its flora (good bacteria)is most often the first line of defense for the body and must be in good balance and working order for the animal to maintain a healthy immune response.  While raw, green tripe is a great food to feed due to its high but balanced natural probiotics (as well as other nutrients), I have found over the years that soil based probiotics work quickly and safely to populate the gut with beneficial microbes/friendly bacteria.  Click Here to find out more about SBO probiotics


Enzymes are the foundation of energy and the life force in all living things. They are responsible for building, detoxifying, and healing the body. They are also the force that allows your body to digest and absorb food. Enzymes also regulate tens of thousands of other biochemical functions that take place in the body every day. Even thinking involves “enzymes”. Without enzymes, seeds would not sprout, fruit would not ripen, leaves would not change color, and life would not exist.

Science has now confirmed (LEL) Low Enzyme Levels as the world’s #1 killer, based on the late Dr. Edward Howell’s 40-year research covering more than 700 worldwide studies.

Essential Oils

Therapeutic grade essential oils are able to boost and balance the immune system.

Healing Frequencies of Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
When disease and illness are present, they may manifest as chemical imbalances. But underlying this is an electromagnetic imbalance that has altered the specific vibrational frequencies of the very molecules, cells, tissues and organs within the body.

Dr. Royal R. Rife, a brilliant physician and scientist in the 1920’s, found that every health disorder has a frequency, and that certain high frequencies can prevent further development of these disorders, by raising the body’s frequency. (It is believed that all health disorders have a low frequency).

Clinical research shows that essential oils have the highest electrical/energetic frequency of any natural substance known to man and when used in conjunction with the laws of health/nature, they have the ability to create an environment in which bacteria, virus, fungus, etc. cannot thrive.

A substance with a higher frequency such as essential oils can raise a lower frequency due to the principle of entrainment – the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony. This principle is key to understanding the effect essential oils can have on the electromagnetic frequency to boost and balance the immune system.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, and their use with pets, you may be interested in going HERE

Avoid Stress

Along with a raw meat, organs and bone diet with naturally sourced supplements, it is very important that the dog/puppy is able to avoid stress – avoid introducing too many new people or other animals to puppy while it is sick.  It is best to avoid any stressful situations if at all possible,  wait for visits to the dog park or long car rides until she/he is healed.  Keep an upbeat but calm attitude around the puppy/dog – they pick up on our moods and emotions.

Diffusing essential oils are also wonderful for easing stress and relaxing the puppy. 🙂

Fresh Air, Exercise and Sunshine

It is very important that the effected dog/puppy gets plenty of rest but it is still vitally important to get good daily exercise. Time playing outside in the sunshine and fresh air will keep the lymph moving  to remove toxins from the body.

Topical Skin Care 

Always take into consideration, the degree of sensitivity of the raw skin and/or open sores. If your dog is very sore and sensitive, you can diffuse some Essential Oils known for their calming qualities ( Caution use ONLY pure, therapeutic grade essential oils so you are not diffusing toxic chemicals into the air) before you use any topical solutions. CLICK HERE to see which essential oils Dr. Jeannie uses

CAUTION: Often you will see lemon juice or apple cider vinegar recommended to be applied to the skin – this can be VERY painful with open sores. Therapeutic grade essential oils and oil blends will actually ease the discomfort.


Combine Bovine Colostrum with Oxy-Doc to form a paste and apply to sores.

The recommendations in this article are general suggestions regarding caring for your pet naturally. It is important to look at each pet individually and determine what works best for YOUR pet.

We have a great online Do It Yourself Total Wellness Program For Pets available for less than the cost of an office call and exam with a veterinarian. Click here to learn more

Or, you may want to highly consider having a one on one consultation. A consultation will include a personalized diet and holistic program suggestions, all custom-tailored to your pet’s personal needs. This is particularly imperative in pets with complicated health issues, or if you’ve asked advice from online forums or done outside reading and have conflicting information.




Copyright 2003 – 2015   Revised September 2015

This article is the sole property of Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole (Wholistic) Dog. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.

Important Disclaimer:
I have provided these articles/information as a source of reference and education only. I cannot be held responsible for misadventure from the misuse of the products featured or any therapeutic method mentioned within this article or Website. If there is any doubt regarding any therapy or product mentioned, then please aquire a consult or seek out a qualified natural animal health practitoner.