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Does Motor Oil Really Help Against Demodectic Mange?

Thursday, May 31, 2012 Comments

You may have heard this one before: “If your dog has demodectic mange, just get some motor oil and rub it on the infected parts. It’ll get better, trust me!”

This remedy has all the features of an old wives’ tale. A rumor heard from a bar somewhere? Check. Advice supposedly passed down from ‘seasoned veterans’? Check. Implausible solution? Double check.

Alas, this particular remedy sounds too good to be true, and it is. It’s pretty much a given that whenever an industrial-grade fluid touches naked skin, the results will always be unpleasant. This includes dumping the stuff on a dog with a skin problem.

Photo credit: amazonpilgrim.com
But what would happen if you pour motor oil all over your dog? For starters, there’s always the severe rashes that will result due to skin irritation. It will also cause extensive skin damage, because our dog’s skin will actually absorb all the toxic chemicals from the motor oil.

That’s all just on the surface too, but it gets much worse than that. When a dog absorbs the oil through the skin, it penetrates the body and affects the internal system as well. Obviously, this causes a whole new host of problems, such as drastic changes in the blood pressure, as well as severe kidney and liver damage.

All this makes for a list of things horrible enough to get nightmares from, but unfortunately there’s one more gruesome aspect left to cover. Remember how dogs just love to lick and bite themselves all over, especially if they have demodectic mange? Well, what happens if they follow their instincts and proceed to lick their own skin… after being coated with motor oil?

Yes, they’ll swallow it, and the oil will induce vomiting, which in turn will introduce some of the oil into the lungs as well. This subsequently gives them pneumonia.

That should be enough of a reason why you should never, ever use motor oil to treat demodectic mange.

Now that we’re clear about what not to do, however, let’s indulge in our curiosity a little more. Why the heck did people use motor oil in the first place, anyway?

Motor Oil probably did cure demodectic mange once, buuuuuut…

"Please leave the motor oil to your engine, and the mange treatment to your veterinarian!" 

Yes, there’s a good chance that it was used as a treatment option successfully. Obviously, even this statement could be false – I’m really just speculating here.

I’ve found that there’s actually a coherent reason why it was viable then, but not now. But rather than jump into conclusions from the get-go, let’s walk through my little pet theory first. It’s essentially made up of three key points, the first being:

Motor oil produced 50 years ago had a different chemical makeup than the ones available today.

It’s no secret that the oil produced nowadays are very different from the ones made 50 years ago. There have been many changes to its chemical properties since then, but one of the more significant ones concern the level of sulfur present; it’s much, much lower than it once was.

Most people used burnt motor oil for mange treatment – fuel that was already spent in some form.

One interesting trend that I’ve been coming across is the fact that many of those who vouch for the oil’s viability used burnt versions of motor oil. They swore up and down that it worked, even though many other people horrifically disagreed. Keep in mind that this was what they did, not what they heard somewhere.

It’s also worth noting that burnt motor oil still contains a fraction of sulfur in it. But what’s all this talk of sulfur about, anyway? Well, it actually turns out that…

Sulfur is actually a pretty good deterrent to parasites.

The chemical is commonly used to treat parasites on both pets and humans, and there are many products in the market that include sulfur as a main ingredient. In fact, some demodectic mange remedies also include the use of sulfur in their procedures.

So it’s not much of a stretch after all for motor oil to be perceived as a good remedy for demodectic mange. In the past, the higher sulfur levels may have helped initially in clearing up the skin problem, which led to the unlikely remedy that we’ve been hearing about for ages since. The current users of burnt motor oil may also be seeing some form of success because the sulfur content was actually having a positive effect on the dog.

However, I hope you haven’t forgotten that motor oil is definitely not acceptable as treatment for
your dog’s demodectic mange! Some may indeed have gotten lucky and had their dogs’ mange cured by it, but it’s still a very dangerous method to use and will most definitely not work out for most other dogs.

Besides, there are other, better options out there. Why would you choose to dunk your dog in a smelly, greasy liquid instead?

Need more information on safer and easier home remedies for demodectic mange? Just visit dogskintreatments.com to find out more.

Is it Healthy to Start Your Puppy on an All-Natural Puppy Food Diet?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 Comments

Photo credit: dogsnaturally.co.uk
One of the best things a pet owner can do for their puppy is to provide it with the most nutritious food possible. While there are a variety of excellent puppy foods available at mass retailers, many owners are beginning to favor all-natural dog foods instead of mass-produced commercial brands. Because there are so many factors to consider in this process, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of starting your puppy on an all-natural diet.

The most obvious reason to start a puppy on an all-natural puppy food diet is the ability to control what he or she eats. When you make complete nutrition puppy food at home, you are ultimately in control of what the puppy consumes - something that you can't always do with a store bought puppy food brand. You do not have to worry if the puppy is consuming products that may be recalled in the future. The widespread pet food recalls of 2007, along with products still on the market that are reportedly dangerous, make many pet owners justifiably afraid of giving their pets a product that may be harmful to them. Because a puppy is more vulnerable to the possible dangers of commercially-produced pet food, deciding to prepare an all-natural, home-cooked diet is one way of preventing this issue.

While deciding to put your puppy on an all-natural diet may seem to be in the dog’s best interests, remember that there are some major downsides to selecting this dietary path. Preparing puppy food requires a great deal of planning—an issue with busy lifestyles. Puppies also have special dietary needs, which have already been addressed with commercial dog foods. Although it is possible to prepare all-natural pet foods at home despite a busy lifestyle with good planning, homemade pet food can also be cost-prohibitive. Because dogs require a meat-rich diet, the expense of healthy meats may increase the cost of feeding a pet considerably versus purchasing commercial dog food.

One compromise that many make in this argument is to select vet-recommended brands of pet food. Many of these brands are purchased exclusively at veterinarian’s offices. Other options include pre-made natural pet foods—containing real meat, vegetables, and small amounts of grain—often sold at major pet stores in the refrigerated section.

Choosing the right diet for your puppy can be a difficult decision. There are many dietary choices available for pet owners. Selecting the right diet for a puppy is a matter of weighing multiple considerations: time, cost, risk, nutrition, and lifestyle.

Off-leash Dog Parks in the Madison, WI Area


Madison is a very pet-friendly city, with many trails and parks for people and pets to enjoy. Dane County also features many nice off-leash dog parks for your canine pal to let out some energy. Here's a list of some of the parks to try out with your pooch:


Brittingham Dog Park, 401 West Shore Dr, Madison WI

Sycamore Park Dog Park, 4517 Sycamore Park, Madison WI

Quann Park Dog Park, 1802 Expo Drive, Madison WI

Demetral Field Dog Park, 2297 Commercial Ave, Madison WI

Warner Park Dog Park, Sheridan Drive, Madison WI

McCormick Greenway Dog Park, 702 N. McCormick Ave, Madison WI


Middleton Pet Exercise Area, County Highway Q S of Hwy K, Middleton WI

Sun Prairie

Sun Prairie Pet Exercise Area, 1025 South Bird St, Sun Prairie WI


Token Creek Park Pet Exercise Area, 6200 US Hwy 51, DeForest WI


Viking Park Pet Exercise Area, 2525 County Hwy B, Stoughton WI

Cross Plains

Indian Lake Pet Exercise Area, 8183 Hwy 19, Cross Plains WI


Prairie Moraine Parkway Pet Exercise Area, 1970 County Hwy PB, Verona WI


Yahara Heights Pet Exercise Area, 5428 State Hwy 113, Waunakee WI

***Please note that each dog park has different requirements for using their facility. Be sure to check the website for each park and familiarize yourself with the rules for use before taking your dog!

Did You Know That Demodectic Mange Comes In Two Different Types?

Monday, May 28, 2012 Comments

Demodectic Mange is a single specific skin problem in dogs, but what people usually don't realize is that it's often categorized into two types: localized and generalized. The main difference between the two is the severity of the symptoms in each type, but there are others as well, such as the locations of these symptoms on the body.

Spots of localized mange
Photo credit: k911.biz
Localized Mange

The symptoms of localized mange are generally milder than generalized mange; they mainly appear as small bald spots, and no more than five of them at that. The symptoms also frequently appear on the area around the head and neck, as well as the paws. It’s definitely possible for it to manifest in other spots, but the main feature to note is the limited number of bald spots that can be seen.

Generalized mange on a bulldog
Photo credit: findavet.us
Generalized Mange

This variant of demodectic mange is much more serious than the localized one, and if you’ve seen a dog with it before, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

In contrast with localized mange, generalized mange covers practically the entire surface of the body in red rashes, and the skin is further damaged in spots where the dog has scratched itself. This can result in some serious scarring, and it can be a very ugly sight if it isn’t stopped.

Why are there two different types of demodectic mange?

The distribution of localized and generalized mange may seem random, but the truth of the matter is that the severity of demodectic mange is predetermined by one simple factor: the immune system.

A demodex mite. Eww!
Photo credit: sciencephoto.com
Normally, the immune system is able to control the spread of the demodex mites that cause the mange. But when it grows weak, the mites will be able to overcome the immunity of the dog. This is how demodectic mange typically starts.

If a dog’s immunity is brought low for only a short time, the mites will only be able to affect a select few areas of the body before they are overcome again. This brings about symptoms that are classified as localized mange. Incidentally, puppies and dogs that have been ill are the only ones that get localized mange, and in their case, the immune system is easily repaired with just a bit of care given to them. Puppies will eventually mature and fully develop their immune system, and adult dogs will eventually recover from their illnesses.

However, the circumstances surrounding generalized mange are very different from localized mange. The generalized form of mange only occurs when a previous case of localized mange is allowed to progress unhindered, and will proceed to affect a significant portion of the body surface. This happens because the immune system remained weak throughout this period, long enough for the mange to worsen.

There are several reasons for the constantly low immunity. In some cases, this is due to a particularly vehement illness taking a toll on the body, or just plain old neglect. Apart from that however, it is far more likely that the dogs suffering from generalized mange all have one thing in common: a defective immune system.

This malfunctioning immune system is genetic in nature – it’s passed down from parent to child, which means that these dogs have had a weak immunity since the day they were born. Because of the nature of this disease, it’s also highly likely that their mother has the same trait as well. This defect will eventually become the cause of many health problems that will plague these dogs, but demodectic mange remains one of the most common problems simply because of its method of striking whenever the immune system is weak.

Here’s a summary of the article’s points:

- There are two types of demodectic mange: Localized and Generalized. They are commonly distinguished by the severity of the symptoms, as well as the locations where they occur.

- Localized mange usually has around five bald spots on the body, usually found near the head and neck area as well as the paws.

- Generalized mange is a more severe version of the skin problem, and is distinguished by the large area of rashes and damaged skin covering the dog.

- Mange is caused by a weak immune system, and the severity of the problem corresponds with the length of the period with low immunity; a shorter gap may translate to a minor case of localized mange, while an extended period increases the chances of developing into generalized mange.

- Localized mange is commonly seen in puppies or sick dogs, and can be cured relatively fast. It is possible that the problem can be resolved naturally (i.e. without any treatment given).

- Generalized mange is usually found in dogs that have been denied general care and concern, or have genetic defects resulting in a permanently damaged immune system.

While still considered the same problem, the difference between localized and generalized mange can be quite distinct. As a rule, localized mange can be easily taken care of, while a case of generalized mange will require more attention and treatment before the dog can make a full recovery.

Do you think your dog has generalized demodectic mange? Are you having problems getting rid of it? If you’d like to learn more about how to treat demodectic mange safely and effectively, visit http://dogskintreatments.com now to get started.

Animal Hoarding: How Many Pets Are Too Many?

Saturday, May 26, 2012 Comments

Recently there have been several news articles on the number of pets that should be allowed in a home or physical area. Pet lovers want to be able to have as many pets as they can, while the people who are concerned about the number of pets worry about the care that the pets are getting. In the end it should come down to how well the pets are being cared for, and their needs before the needs of others. If you love animals you may already have one or two dogs or cats, and you may be considering adding other animals to the mix. There is no set number at how many pets are "too many", but you should take several factors into consideration before you get another pet.

Proper Care

One of the biggest considerations if you want to add another animal to your family is whether or not you can continue to provide proper care for the animal. Each animal takes time and money for proper care. Some of the saddest pet stories on the news are when the owners simply had too many pets, became overwhelmed, and were not able to properly care for their pets. It is best to slowly add to your pets one at a time, so that you do not end up having to give away animals that you have grown to love. Always consider the cost of food, veterinary care, and other variable expenses when adding a new pet to the family. Also, part of good pet care is having a plan in place in the event you have to evacuate. The more pets you have, the harder it will be to find a shelter or a hotel that will let you bring your pets.

Space Considerations

Another important aspect of taking on new pets is whether or not you have enough space available for your pet to run and play, as well as to sleep. This may be easier if you have a fenced in yard where your dogs can run around outside. However, you also need enough room inside of the house to accommodate your animals. If you have a large yard or live out in the country, you may be able to take on more pets and animals because you have the additional space. However if you live in an apartment in the city, one pet may be all that is best for you at this time. You must also consider the laws and ordinances for the area you live. Some cities, counties, states, and even countries have strict rules for the type and number of pets that can be kept within their borders.

Humane Treatment

Finally you need to be sure that you are treating your pets humanely. It is important that if you do have an extra litter or if you are breeding dogs that you have a space that allows the animals to stay healthy while they are in your care. If you are someone who wants multiple pets, you will need to make sure you have enough room and time to properly care for the animals. All pet owners (with the exception of commercial breeders) should spay and neuter their pets to avoid unwanted litters, and to help prevent health problems associated with intact animals. Before adding another pet to the family, you should always ask yourself "Why do I want this pet? Am I doing what is in the best interest of this pet and my other pets?" As tempting as it is to take in every cute kitten or puppy you come across, you must always remember to do what is right for the  animal and for your pets at home. Though it's sometimes hard to realize, the right home for that animal may not always be with you.    

Catie Keeler is the primary researcher and writer for mortgagerates.info. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a degree in business and communications. Her current focus for the site involves refinance rates and wireless network monitoring.

10 Steps to Orchestrate the Perfect Doggie Pool Party

Friday, May 25, 2012 Comments

As the weather heats up and more of our friends are starting to throw awesome barbeques and pool parties, we often find ourselves leaving our beloved four-legged friends at home so we can go out and enjoy some fun in the sun. While our pets are typically used to not being invited (for shame!) and patiently stay home awaiting our return, maybe it’s time to pay it forward and throw a special gathering just for them. If you have a pool, or a back yard large enough to throw down a kiddie pool or some sprinklers, why not let your favorite pets have their own summer celebration and invite some of their friends, too? Here are tips for throwing a fabulous (and disaster-free) doggie pool party that will be fun for canines and humans, alike.

Photo credit: veezle.com
1. Survey the scene.

The first thing you need to do is set up the perfect party area. Make sure all fences are closed off and there are no exits for your guests to run off. Also, clear the area of anything that could be dangerous for them, like lighter fluid next to the grill or sharp gardening tools.

2. Start the party with a goody bag.

A great way to break the ice for your guests and their owners is to hand out goody bags before, instead of after the party starts. Include some treats and toys so the owners can take a moment to show their dogs the goodies while guests arrive.

3. Don’t skimp on treats.
This is a party, so best place to add a “wow” factor is with the food. Try decorating doggie cupcakes or giving out the biggest dog bones you can find.

4. Provide plenty of fresh water.

The healthiest and most hydrating thing for your guests to drink is plain, old water. Set up dishes around the yard, spaced far enough away to avoid squabbles.

5. Steer clear of food that will create disaster.

Even though you may want to start out the party with a bang, avoid serving foods that dogs go nuts for, like steak. This will cause a huge commotion and someone could get hurt.

6. Design dog-friendly water games.

If you have a deep pool, try planning some water games for all the dogs to play. With the owners’ help, try creating a relay game. Break up the dogs into two teams. Then, line up each team and throw two toys into the pool for the dogs to fetch and bring back. As soon as a dog brings back a toy, send out the next dog in line. The first team to finish wins.

7. Add a kiddie pool for the young’uns.

Not everyone is old enough to play in the deep end, so make sure to make accommodations for puppies and provide shallow water to play in.
Photo credit: supercoolpets.com

8. Have enough shade for pets and people.

A summer party is always a drag if there is no relaxing shade provided, and both humans and dogs need a chance to cool off once in a while. Set up some comfortable human seating in a shaded area so owners can relax and converse.

9. Let your guests know this is not doggy daycare. 

Just like a kid’s party, it’s a bit taboo to simply ring the doorbell and drop them off. Most of your guests will know that they need to accompany their pets to the party, but make sure it’s clear by inviting both the dog and human explicitly.

10. Don’t invite the bullies.

If you know there is a dog that doesn’t play well with others, is a bit too old to handle a pool party, or is just simply out of control, try not to invite him or her. You may want to spare their owner’s feelings, but remember that you have to keep the safety of your other guests in mind first.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email angelita.williams7@gmail.com

Why do cats like catnip?

Friday, May 18, 2012 Comments

We’ve all seen it...a frenzied cat rolling around in catnip, sheer ecstasy on their furry little face. They may start running around like a crazy cat, they may start eating the catnip, or they may start playing frantically with their favorite toy. And then in flash, the episode is over. What is it about catnip that makes cats go wild?

Photo credit: wildeherb.com
Catnip is a perennial herb  in the mint family that grows up to 3 feet tall and has white flowers. The leaves and stem contain a chemical called nepetalactone, which enters the cat’s system through the nose. Whether or not the cat responds to the chemical appears to be genetic, and about  50-75% of cats are affected by catnip.  Interestingly, large wild cats can also be affected by catnip! When a cat smells catnip, it acts as a stimulant, causing the wild running around and playing often witnessed. However, when a cat eats catnip, it acts as a sedative. That’s why you may see your kitty “zonk out” upon ingesting it. 

Nepetalactone is also believed to be a hallucinogen, similar to marijuana or possibly even LSD. Luckily cats cannot overdose or become addicted to catnip, nor is it harmful to them. Many theories exist on why exactly cats act the way they do on catnip, but the most prevailing belief is that it mimics the pheromone that attracts cats. The reaction may be somewhat sexual; the rolling behavior often exhibited is similar to that of female cats in heat. The reaction does not appear to be completely sexual, however, as other behaviors like playing, stalking, and pouncing often accompany a “catnip high.”

The effects of nepetalactone are short, and the average cat only responds to catnip for about 10 minutes.  After that, the effect dissipates and the cat will no longer react to catnip for at least several hours. Catnip for cats is a safe way to stimulate a cat’s desire to play, and is a fun addition to a cat’s playtime (assuming he or she is in the majority that reacts to catnip!) Catnip can be purchased at pet supply stores, or can be easily grown in a home garden. The homegrown variety tends to be quite strong, and many cats enjoy eating the fresh green leaves. It can also be dried and stored for your cat’s enjoyment all year long!

Unique and Unusual Cat Breeds

Thursday, May 17, 2012 Comments

When most people think of cats, they think of the big orange tomcat they grew up with or perhaps a classic gray tabby. Those of us who are “cat people” know just how many unique cat breeds there are, but even those familiar with cat breeds may not be aware of some of the more rare and unusual breeds.

Enjoy this list of unique, interesting and unusual breeds!

Photo Credit: catfacts.org

The Sphynx cat, or “hairless cat”, is probably one of the most “love it” or “hate it” breeds of cat out there. A lot of people find the odd hairless look a little disturbing, but some people think hairless cats are the cutest cats around! Although they’re known as a “hairless” breed, some actually have a downy fur covering their body. Sphynx cats have different “coat patterns”, too. Their skin can be pink, black, solid, spotted—you name it! Sphynx cats are a fiercely loyal breed, and require an owner who will give them a lot of love and attention. They also require someone who will bathe them regularly to keep their skin from becoming greasy. Sphynx cats are often described as feeling like a rubber hot water bottle! 

Photo credit: pictures-of-cats.org
Savannah Cat

The Savannah Cat is a new and controversial breed created by crossing a domestic cat and a Serval. Savannah Cats vary greatly in appearance, temperament and price depending on their breeding. An F1 (a first generation cross of a cat and Serval) is the most expensive and the most “wild”; with each outcross, the cost of the cat goes down because there is less Serval  in the cat. Savannah Cats are very large and maintain some of the “wild cat” characteristics like growling and hissing to communicate (unlike the normal kitty meow), the strong desire to be outside (many walk great on a leash!), and the occasional unfortunate aversion to using the litter box. Savannah Cats are definitely not a breed for everyone, and much research should be done on their special care requirements before considering one as a pet.

Photo Credit: lapermfanciers.com

LaPerm cats have soft, curly/wavy coats caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation. They first showed up in the early 1980’s in Oregon. They come in all coat colors and patterns, and are sometimes described as feeling like mohair. Though there are other breeds of rex or curly-coated cats, the LaPerm does not seem to be directly related. Despite the fact that the breed is only about 30 years old, LaPerm breeding programs now exist all over the world. LaPerm cats are considered to be more hypoallergenic than many other breeds, though there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat. 

Photo Credit: acfacat.com
American Curl

The American Curl is another newer American breed, first noticed in the early 1980’s. They have ears that curl back towards the back of the head, caused by a genetic mutation of the cartilage. The curled ears do not cause any health or hearing issues for the cat, though they do require frequent cleaning. American Curl owners must be careful when handling the cat’s ears, as the cartilage can be easy to damage.  All American Curl kittens are born with straight ears, which begin to curl within the first 2 weeks. It takes about 4 months for the cat’s ears to reach their final curled shape, at which point they become stiff to the touch.

Photo Credit: aboutmunchkincats.com

There is only one way to describe the Munchkin cat- “low to the ground”! Due to a genetic mutation, Munchkins have short legs that give them their unique, short stature. Among breeders and cat fanciers, the Munchkin is a controversial breed. There have been disputes over the ethics of breeding a cat with legs as short as the Munchkin, and differing opinions on whether short legs can cause issues with mobility and the health of the skeletal system. So far it seems that Munchkins can run and jump as well as any other breed, and significant spinal and other skeletal afflictions do not appear common. The breed is recognized by TICA and other affiliated organizations, but the CFA does not accept the breed. Some countries have even outlawed the breeding of Munchkins for perceived ethical reasons. 

Basic Tips on Taking Care of Your Horse

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Comments

All those who love horses and own few of them, should indeed take responsibility for taking care of their animals and provide all basic needs and some loving care. In fact, even before getting a horse, it is important to ensure whether one has capability to take care of them. This is necessary for ensuring best performance from them. 

Photo credit: horses.about.com
Here are a few tips that can help horse owners in taking care of their horse:

1. Grooming the horse- Good grooming is very important and helps in keeping the animal clean and comfortable. This can be achieved with the help of grooming tools and materials. However, before grooming, it is important to tie the horse in a proper way at a safe place.

2. It is important to ensure constant and fresh supply of water to the horses. Ample supply of fresh water in the stable or barn ensures that they have adequate water supply to quench their thirst anytime during the day.

3. Horse should be housed in a clean stable. While putting up a horse shelter, it is necessary to provide a clean straw bedding to enable him to rest in a comfortable way. Horse stable should be cleaned daily especially if horse is stabled for most of the time during the day.

Caring for horses also means that they should be provided with the right bedding. Aside from that it is important that they do not stand the entire day, as they need some rest. It is best to provide some straw on the barn or on the stable of horses to provide some bedding to the animal to enable them to lie with ease. Straw offers comfortable and warm bedding for the horses, but all soiled straw should be replaced to prevent the outbreak of fungal infections and various other organism that may cause the diseases in the animal.

4. Regular check up of horse by a vet is very important. Therefore, visit to the vet should be scheduled on regular basis as this will also help in detecting any health issues early.

5. Horses need lot of exercise to stay fit and healthy. Therefore, sufficient space should be provided to them to move and run around. In fact, owners should ride them frequently.

Photo credit: spottedfeverfarm.com
6. Horse’s teeth should also be checked on regular basis to maintain a healthy animal. It is best to schedule a yearly visit to an equine dentist to ensure their dental health.

7. Deworming the horse- Proper deworming is essential for keeping the horse healthy and fit. Horses should be dewormed at least once every five weeks. However, it is best to consult a good veterinarian to ensure the use of right dewormer.

8. Provide a wider space for grazing- Animals need sufficient space for grazing. If interested in raising lot of them, sufficient space should be the primary consideration. It is necessary to ensure that pasture is free from any holes as they can injure horses.

These are just few grooming tips that should be kept in mind while raising horses. This will not only help in maintaining their health, but will also help owners in raising more animals in the future.

Hayley works for Anything Equine, an equestrian clothing store that provides helpful advice and tips to beginner riders. Her years of experience have helped Hayley gain lots of knowledge about equestrian products and especially professional riding boots. 

Using Ivermectin for Demodectic Mange, Explained

Monday, May 14, 2012 Comments

Ivermectin is one of the few medicines that vets regularly prescribe for dogs with demodectic mange. The drug is easy to administer, and results are usually seen within a short period of time. It's been proven many times over that Ivermectin is successful in curing the skin problem, but that doesn't mean it can be considered as the de-facto solution for it.

The problem with Ivermectin is that it isn't the wonder drug most people think it is. Yes, it does seem to get rid of the mange, but its only a temporary solution at best. And that's not to mention the various negative side-effects that can result from its use, some of which can even prove fatal.

How do you know if Ivermectin is the right type of treatment for your dog? Here are a few questions you should ask to help you decide.

What is Ivermectin?

Simply put, Ivermectin is an active ingredient in several medicines, specially designed for getting rid of parasites on a body. In the pet world, these are available in several products meant for different animals, like horses and dogs.

For dogs, two of the most popular products are 'Ivomec' or 'Heartgard', both of which are marketed as parasite control drugs. They affect skin parasites and several others that inhabit the bloodstream of the dog, such as heartworms. Incidentally, it is also used to prevent heartworm infestations in dogs as well, although that's not its primary purpose.

Photo credit:   tylerthewonderdog.com  

How is it administered?

Ivermectin is usually produced in liquid or tablet form, which are administered to dogs orally - that is, the dogs are fed the drug.

The dosage measurements vary for each dog, determined by their weight. Usually the vet will provide the appropriate dosage, but generally speaking, a dose of 0.3mg/kg once every two weeks is sufficient for the treatment of demodectic mange. The liquid version of Ivermectin is sometimes packaged in filled syringes with set amounts, which makes it easier to gauge the dosage levels.

How does Ivermectin work?

Once it is administered to the affected dog, Ivermectin enters the bloodstream, using it as a means to affect the demodex mites in contact with the dog's skin.

From that point onwards, the drug does two things: Firstly, it disables the nervous systems of the mites, effectively paralysing them. Then, it manipulates the dog's white blood cells into attacking the mites and killing them. In this way, the mites will no longer cause further skin damage to the dog's body. So long as the drug remains in the body, the demodectic mange will be kept away indefinitely.

A minor note about Ivermectin: it doesn't affect unhatched demodex mites still in their eggs. Therefore, more than one dose of Ivermectin is required to completely eradicate the mites from the body.

Advantages of using Ivermectin

Ivermectin has actually been proven to be capable of destroying the mites efficiently, which is why vets are still recommending it as their first choice in treating demodectic mange.

The drug is also very easy to administer, since they're designed to be ingested orally and not given in the form of injections. This removes any effort required to calm the dog, since an injection can be a stressful experience.

Lastly, Ivermectin is relatively safe when used responsibly. This requires the vet and the owner to fully understand the dog's condition and to adapt the treatment accordingly. If extensive care and caution is exercised, Ivermectin should not cause any trouble in the short-term.

Disadvantages of using Ivermectin

So far, Ivermectin seems like the perfect method of demodectic mange treatment; it's safe, easy to use and most of all, it's effective. In spite of all this, however, there are still a few disadvantages of using Ivermectin that should be highlighted:

1.) It only solves half the problem. As we've said before, the purpose of Ivermectin is to kill off the mites that are causing demodectic mange to happen. However, that only settles part of the equation. The true key to stopping demodectic mange is to repair and rebuild your dog's immune system, because it's the only thing that can stop the demodex mites from appearing again. Even if all the mites are killed in one go (which is impossible, due to Ivermectin being unable to affect unhatched mites), the weak immune system will always be unable to prevent the mites from causing demodectic mange in future.

2.) Reliance on Ivermectin. This is somewhat related to the first point. Some owners may discover by themselves that the drug is indeed a short-term solution; once the treatment stops for the affected dog, the mange might come back. Because the immune system wasn't strong enough to handle the mites on its own before the Ivermectin was withdrawn, it still remains vulnerable to another attack and may cause a relapse.

At this point, the owner can pursue two options: keep the Ivermectin flowing to shut the mites out permanently using chemical drugs, or start building up the immune system to help the dog to recover on its own. Unfortunately, some owners choose the first option and suddenly find themselves spending a lot more in pet medical bills, just to keep the problem from spreading.

Besides the increased expenses, depending on Ivermectin as a long-term solution can also cause the immune system to 'slack off', letting the drug do all the work. When the Ivermectin doses eventually cease (which it eventually will), the dog will be essentially defenceless against the mites because its immunity is non-existent. The demodectic mange will most definitely reappear with a vengeance then.

Photo Credit: singletrackworld.com

3.) Possible allergies to Ivermectin. This drug may be the default treatment recommended by vets to treat demodectic mange, but Ivermectin should never be given to some dogs due to possible allergic reactions.

Border collies and other herding breeds in particular are highly allergic to Ivermectin; a relatively low dose for another dog may be too much for a collie, and will cause severe side-effects such as lethargy, dehydration and even death.

Most people know about this innate allergy and will keep their dog away from the drug, but it actually isn't as widely known as it should be. Some professional vets may not even know that a border collie shouldn't receive a Ivermectin dose!

4.) Long term use may cause liver damage. This is another reason why Ivermectin should not be given over a long period of time. While relatively harmless when used as a temporary solution, the drug may cause damage to the liver in the long run. It's important to remember that Ivermectin is primarily a pesticide for use against parasites, which means that it's essentially a type of poison. Giving your dog Ivermectin for a year straight may hurt your dog as well.


Ivermectin is used to cure demodectic mange by killing the mites, and it does its job very well. The problem only starts when dog owners and even vets start treating it as a wonder drug due to a lack of understanding, and depend on it exclusively.

The one thing that you should know is that Ivermectin only solves the problem of a mite overpopulation on your dog's body as long as it's being administered; the mites will return as soon as it stops and will start the cycle all over again. The mange will only clear up if the mites are denied the chance to spread, and the only thing that can do that is the immune system of the dog. Unfortunately, the Ivermectin does nothing to help in that regard.

The only other way to control the mites is through continuous use of Ivermectin, but as we have discovered earlier on in this article, it's definitely not a feasible treatment plan for your dog.

You might be thinking of using Ivermectin as a plan to treat your dog's demodectic mange, but I'm sure you already know by now that I don't think it's the best thing to do. But there's no need to feel helpless - there are more solutions to demodectic mange than you know.

Simon has a miniature schnauzer and owns a website devoted to gathering information about dog skin problems. Do you need more information about demodectic mange? Just visit http://dogskintreatments.com to find out more about its causes, the demodex mite, as well as the various methods of treatment available.

How to Treat Your Pet's Allergies

Friday, May 11, 2012 Comments

When it's allergy season for you, it's also allergy season for your pets. Your pets can be allergic to pollen, dust, mold, certain foods -- even fleas or dander from other animals.

When your pets suffer from allergies, they can experience excessive itching or licking, particularly of the paws or the anus. They may even experience coughing, sneezing or runny eyes.

Your pets don't have to suffer through the season. There are many home remedies and medications that can help alleviate your pet's allergies and relieve symptoms. Here are a few you can try:

Soothing Baths

Many pet shampoos are formulated to soothe itchy skin and relieve allergy symptoms. Oatmeal shampoo is particularly helpful for relieving itch and reducing inflammation. If you don't want to buy the special blend, you can simply add a cup of oatmeal (uncooked) to your dog's bath water. Let the shampoo or the mix rest on your dog's skin for at least 10 minutes.

Simply washing your pet regularly can also help to relieve allergy symptoms by keeping the coat clear of allergens. Any pet shampoo can do the job!

Photo Credit: beckeranimalhospital.com

Hair Cuts

Long hair helps to trap dander, pollens, and other allergens close to the skin. It is also harder to keep clean. Trim hair regularly for easier maintenance and to keep skin clear of potential allergens.

Keeping hair trimmed also makes it easier to keep out fleas, which can cause an allergic reaction themselves or can break the skin with their bites, leaving it more vulnerable to other allergens.

Healthy Diet

Many commercially available pet foods are full of potential allergens, including wheat, corn, and additives. If you notice that your pet is experiencing allergies, determine if food is the culprit by trying an elimination diet. Choose a different brand of pet food that is free of known allergens and that is all natural and does not contain chemicals or additives. If your pet’s allergies clear up, diet was likely the cause.

Even if the food you buy is not the cause of the allergies, switching to a healthier brand of pet food may still help relieve the symptoms of other allergies. Foods that are rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin C, healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids, and bioflavanoids can all help to relieve allergy symptoms.

Topical Treatments

Many of the same over-the-counter treatments that can work for you can work for your pet (though you may have to purchase a salve that’s made especially for your pet). Anti-inflammatory creams, ointments, and witch hazel can all provide relief. Antihistamines like 
Benadryl can also combat an allergic reaction.

Talk to your vet to find out the proper dosage of these treatments for your pet, or to find out if you need to buy a similar product that is specially designed with your pet’s needs in mind.

Photo Credit: habitatboise.com

Holistic Treatment

Acupressure and Chinese herbs can offer your pet relief from allergies and a number of other illnesses. You can learn the acupressure points yourself to offer your pet some relief at home, or you can find a practitioner that specializes in providing care for pets. Chinese herbs can be ordered online, or you can find a practitioner with training in treating pets to create a special blend suited for your pet’s particular needs.

Of course, your vet can likely prescribe some medication to treat your pet’s allergies and to provide relief for symptoms like itchy, burning skin. If you can’t in to see your vet right away, or you’d like to offer your pet some non-medicated relief, these treatments may help. Try offering your pet soothing baths, experiment with diet, and offer holistic treatment. Soon your pet will stop itching and start loving the outdoors again!

Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves doctoral degree programs and sociology phd programs.

Cute and Cuddly: 3 Perfect Pet Options for Young Kids

Thursday, May 10, 2012 Comments

Many parents come to fear the moment their precious children ask for a pet. Not only does this bring on the endless begging from your doe-eyed little bundles of joy, but it also brings visions of filthy hamster cages, puppy chewed shoes, and potential vet bills. Even for those of us who adore animals and wish to have a family pet at some point, the decision to get a pet for your young child is never a simple one. Pets can play an endlessly important role in your family structure. Pets instill lessons in responsibility, provide beautiful opportunities for entertainment, and are simply wonderful additions to a household at times. However, the choice of what pet to get and when to get it should be made carefully and as an entire family unit. When considering a first time pet for the young children in your household, consider these three animals are wise and safe choices.

Photo credit: themomcrowd.com
The Right Dog

For many, a family may not feel entirely complete without perpetually hairy furniture and a wagging tail to greet you when you get home. Dogs are a classic choice as the family pet. Of course, dogs are one animal that requires a large amount of care and consideration, making it not necessarily the best choice for very young children. But, if your heart is set on getting a puppy for your youngster, there are a few particular breeds that can be easier to care for than others. Before running out and getting the cutest puppy you can find, you want to evaluate your household structure. Who will be the primary caretaker of the dog? Where will the dog go in the house? What will the dog do throughout the day? These are all things that should be considered. If you evaluate things and find that a dog suits your family well, next you want to find the right breed. Research what breeds have the right energy levels, temperament, and common care needs that will work for you. Larger breed dogs are often considered better choices for young children both because they can put of with the children handling them more easily and because they tend to be friendlier with small kids.

If a dog is too much responsibility for your family and youngsters at this time, there are many other starter pets that can be great fits for first time pet owners.

Photo Credit: sharpmoms.com
The Classic Goldfish

The goldfish is a classic option as a child's first pet. The goldfish requires relatively little maintenance, but is a great way to give your child some responsibility. They will have to feed the fish each day and keep the tank clean regularly. It's important to consider the initial costs of getting a fish. While the fish itself is typically very inexpensive, setting up a nice tank with rocks, plants, and a pump (if needed) can add up more than you might expect. These are all things that have to be maintained carefully and will require adult supervision when caring for during cleaning. It's typically smart to get at least two goldfish so that they can keep each other happy, and you should know that they can live up to 25 years (woah!).

Photo Credit: thepetscentral.com
The Cute Hamster

Hamsters can be a great choice for a child's first pet. For many of us, the hamster was our first pet as children. They are little fluff balls of cuddle—adorable and very easy to care for. Like goldfish, hamsters are very small so they do not take up a lot of space inside your home to take care of. Hamsters can also be very sociable and fun once they get used to your family and being handled. There are, however, a few things that parents should keep in mind before getting a hamster for their youngster. Hamsters are nocturnal. This means that they will likely not be very playful or active during the daytime when your kids will want to play with them. This also means that they will be active and playful at night, which can be somewhat noisy. This is something to keep in mind when you are finding a place keep their cage at bedtime. Also, because hamsters are so small, they are also rather delicate. Very young children may handle them improperly and end up injuring them. It may be wise to get a pet hamster when your children are old enough to understand how to handle an animal carefully. Hamsters have a relatively short lifespan, living up to around two years.

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email : blauren99@gmail.com  

Eat at Burrachos in Sun Prairie on May 5! Benefit DCHS!

Friday, May 4, 2012 Comments

What can we do about bad Wisconsin dog breeders?

Thursday, May 3, 2012 Comments

Did you know that as of June 1, 2011, all dog sellers and facilities that sell 25 dogs or more from more than 3 litters (including rescues and shelters) must be licensed and comply with the standards of care established in ATCP 16? This law "requires inspection and licensing of many dog breeders, dealers, and sellers, as well as shelters and rescues that foster and adopt out dogs. The new law also prohibits selling puppies less than 7 weeks old unless they go with their mothers, and requires that certificates of veterinary inspection – health certificates – accompany dogs that are sold or adopted for a fee. The intent is to protect the welfare of dogs and to protect consumers who buy or adopt them." (Source: Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association.)

A dalmation at Pretty Penny Kennels in Plymouth, WI (Learn more here)
Photo Credit: Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
Unfortunately, there are still many "backyard breeders" and "puppy mills" that fly under the radar of ATCP 16. Whether they sell puppies from the back of a truck, from a barn, or with the help of online classifieds websites like Craigslist, it is important to understand that no law can fully prevent disingenuous breeders from continuing bad breeding practices. Many dogs that comes from these bad breeding operations have health and/or behavioral issues, may not have had life-saving vaccinations, and have not been spayed or neutered. 

Of course not all dog breeders are bad! There are many honest, caring and law-abiding breeders in the state of Wisconsin that do their best to breed well-tempered, genetically sound and healthy pups. But how do you know if the breeder you're working with is reputable? How do you know they have their dogs' best interests in mind? That's where the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Comes in. They maintain a database of all licensed dog breeders in the state of Wisconsin, which is searchable by name, county and even other US states. These breeders have all been licensed and agree to comply with the regulations under ATCP 16. Before you purchase a new dog or puppy, check this list!

So what do you do if you come across a "bad breeder"? What if you know someone who is thwarting this important piece of state legislation? What if you come across a repeat Craigslist offender? Or what if a breeder appears on the DATCP list, but isn't following the standards of care required of them in ATCP 16? As a pet lover and citizen of Wisconsin, it is important that you report these types of breeders to DATCP for further investigation. The only way we can put a stop to puppy mills and bad breeding in the state of Wisconsin is to turn over offenders and make them accountable for their choices. Together we can keep our state and our beloved dogs safe, happy and healthy!

For more info about ATCP 16 and dog breeders in Wisconsin, please visit The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project.

Join DCHS for "Cinco de Meow", Friday May 4 - Sunday May 6, 2012. $5 Adult Cat Adoptions!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Comments
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