Wait for it......
For those who don't know, Bailey is a 1 yr. old chocolate Lab mix I found at my school back in February. She was running around campus and my students - knowing how much I love dogs - told me about her and eventually helped me catch her. I brought her home and took her to the vet, where she was diagnosed with several ailments (you can read about them here) including demodectic mange. The vet's initial treatment idea was to use something called ProMeris. This is a topical drug used for flea and tick control that also, according to the vet, had proven successful in treating demodex.
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm VERY picky about what I use on my pets. I decided to do some research on ProMeris before I bought any and BOY am I glad I did! I read some absolute horror stories of pets being permanently disabled or even dying due to this treatment, so there was no way I was going to use it on Bailey. Add in the fact that it's also toxic to cats (of which I have 3) and that's a definite no-go.
Damn good thing, too, because ProMeris has now been taken off the market and is no longer being produced. YES!! I was right!!
Since the mange was localized, mainly on her face, I tried Goodwinol ointment since it seemed pretty harmless. Unfortunately, it didn't work either. In fact, Bailey's mange went from being just on her face to several spots in her sides, back, and legs. I was getting desperate. This poor puppy was going bald before my eyes.
I did more research and found something called Dermisil, which looked very promising. I liked that it was more organic and not so much a chemical, so I tried it. Nope. Didn't do a thing. She was losing fur even more rapidly than before.
After exhausting all these options, I took Bailey back to the vet to see what else could be done. This is where I learned about ProMeris being taken off the market. The vet (a different one) recommended doing a Mitaban Dip treatment series. I had read about this and was skeptical about it as well, but after asking MANY questions of the vet, decided to go ahead with the treatment. Basically, it's a 6-week series of medicated baths followed by the actual dip, with a skin scraping done after the 5th dip to make sure the mites are gone. If the test is negative, she is given one more dip just to be sure, then she's done. I would take Bailey in at 7:30am and she would stay at the vet all day to dry off and for observation to make sure she wasn't experiencing any major side effects. The only side effect I saw was that she would be very drowsy when she got home...but I was also giving her Benadryl to help relieve any itching she might be experiencing so that probably contributed to the drowsiness.
She's been in treatment for 5 weeks now, and the improvement is amazing. Her fur is growing back and her coat in general is glossy and soft, and she has experienced no adverse effects from the treatment. She still has a few spots on her face, but they are improving rapidly. Now that her skin test came back negative, she'll be done after next week's treatment. Yay!!
This was definitely a learning experience. If you are reading this and are planning to get a dog or puppy, make sure they are mange-free! The vet thinks it's very possible Bailey got demodex through her mother, since it can be passed on from mother to puppy (this is why it's highly recommended that female dogs with demodex be spayed so they can't breed. Bailey will be getting spayed later this summer). The main thing now is to make sure her immune system stays strong, since a suppressed immune system is one of the main reasons the mites get out of control.
I know we're not quite out of the woods yet, but the negative result was very encouraging, and it's obvious just by looking at her that she's improved.