Before the advent of ivermectin, a dewormer and miticide, lime and sulfur dips were the standard treatment for puppies afflicted with mange. Today, vets don't prescribe these dips as often, since ivermectin given internally kills off the mange mites. However, ivermectin sensitivity affects certain breeds or mixes, especially those with collie heritage. Your vet might recommend a lime and sulfur dip for these puppies or as additional treatment.
If your puppy starts itching like crazy and you don't see any fleas on him, it's possible he's been exposed to highly contagious sarcoptic mange, also known as canine scabies. The mites causing mange are too small to see with the naked eye. Crusty lesions form because your puppy scratches or bites the infested areas. Your vet can diagnose the infestation after an examination and taking skin scrapings. Even if she doesn't make a definite diagnosis, your vet might suggest dipping because of its relative safety in puppies and broad-range efficacy.
Lime and Sulfur Dip
Lime and sulfur dip acts as more than a miticide. It also kills fungus and bacteria, if those culprits are causing itching and lesions in your puppy. The dip is safe for use in young puppies, as long as you follow directions carefully. It consists of 97.8 percent sulfurated lime concentrate, available from your vet or by prescription.
Lime sulfur dips are concentrates, so you have to mix the recommended amount with water and shake well before using. Wear gloves for mixing and to dip your puppy. Shampoo your puppy with an antibacterial shampoo, rinsing before dipping. Pour the dip over your puppy, ensuring that it reaches all affected areas. Keep it out of his eyes, nose and mouth. You'll have to reapply the dip once a week or more -- your vet will give you directions. When you're finished, don't rinse or towel the dip off your pup. Put a cone collar on your puppy so he doesn't lick off the dip.
Lime dip stinks, so your puppy will smell pretty bad after treatment. So will your bathroom, if that's where you dipped the dog. Lime sulfur dip temporarily stains a white or light-colored dog yellow. While you'd obviously wear old clothes to dip your puppy, if the dip stains your garments they're likely to stay yellow. Since the lime sulfur dip can also discolor jewelry, take off any rings, bracelets or the like before dipping your pup.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.