Dear Dr. Fox • My Yorkie-daschund mix has been diagnosed with mange. So far, she has had three shots of ivermectin, just finished Simplicef tablets and has some special shampoo.
Her condition seems to be improving, but now she has matted patches of hair on her hind legs. When you scratch the matted hair, it comes right off. The vet says the entire family — my husband and I — needs to be treated for mange, but so far our medical doctors will not help. My husband has a recurring rash on his back, arms and legs. I have had few symptoms.
We don’t know how the dog came into contact with mange, although there was a mangy timber wolf in our pasture. We actually saw the wolf a number of times when he was sleeping in our pasture; we burned the brush pile he was sleeping in this spring. The doctors have been clueless. I have only experienced minor irritation.
When my husband burned the brush, he thinks the smoke may have gotten on him. But my mother and brother-in-law were diagnosed with scabies recently. What else can we do — for the dog and ourselves? — M.J., Bemidji, Minnesota
Dear M.J. • First, good for you for at least giving that poor wolf some shelter through the winter in your pasture. Many wolves with mange, having less and less fur insulation, die during the winter. Although it’s against state wildlife regulations, providing food for such suffering wolves is one humane option.
Your dog probably picked up the Sarcoptes scabiei (itch mite) while sniffing around where the wolf had been sleeping in the brush, and then infected you and your husband. I came home from India one time after treating dogs and other animals and developed itchy bumps on one arm, which I recognized as probable scabies. I went to the emergency walk-in clinic at a major teaching hospital, where they did a scraping and found nothing — which is not uncommon. The only thing I needed was Benzyl benzoate cream.
This is what you and your husband need. Essential oils of lavender, black pepper or citronella can also help. A lime-sulfur shampoo may help your dog. Usually, no more than two injections of ivermectin are needed to clear up the infestation in dogs. Boil all sheets, covers and clothes; don’t sleep with your dog; and put out clean sheets for the dog to sleep on to break the infection cycle.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, Mo. 64106.