Thursday, August 18, 2005

Don't Dip for Demodectic Mange

Demodex Mites and Your Dog: "If you choose to use amitraz (Mitaban Rx) to treat the demodectic mange at this stage you will have
eliminated the possibility of determining if the mange would have cleared up on her own, unless the
amitraz doesn' t work. I do not believe that you can use the ease of treatment as a gauge to
determine whether or not a case of demodecosis would have resolved on its own. There is probably
room to argue this point but I think it is better to be sure of this situation prior to choosing to breed a
dog with demodecosis.
Amitraz (Mitaban Rx) is a very toxic medication. This is the other thing that makes me reluctant to
treat a patient for a demodecosis prior to the time it is obviously necessary to do so. In order to
understand how a medication this toxic ever got approved, you have to understand the whole
situation. Prior to the time that amitraz was available most dogs that developed generalized
demodectic mange died from the disease. When I was in veterinary school this was a serious threat
to affected dogs, as there was no effective treatment at the time. So when amitraz killed 3 out of the
1100 test dogs and caused other dogs to have adverse reactions, including, incoordination, severe
lethargy and seizures, this was an acceptable risk -- compared to the high likelihood of death from
the demodecosis. However, this risk is not as easily justified when looking at the population of dogs
who will get over the mange all by themselves, which is approximately 80% of the dogs affected by
demodecosis. I am opposed to putting my patients and their owners at risk for severe side effects
when there may be no reason to do so. "

--this is a measure of last resort!


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