Homeopathic treatment for sarcoptic mange?

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vetuste_ennemi | 10:10 Fri 29th Jun 2012 | Animals & Nature
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My wife and I recently subscribed to the National Fox Welfare Society because we believe the fox or foxes which visit our garden may be suffering from mange. We have just received mange treatment from them, but the accompanying booklet describes the medicine as homeopathic (Arsenicum Alb. & Sulphur 30c). The same leaflet also describes their treatment for sprains as homeopathic (Arnica 30c). We didn't pay for snake oil. Can anyone tell us if the NFWS is a bona fide organisation and that their "homeopathic" treatment are actually proper medicines?


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I worked for an animal welfare organisation some years ago, and encountered NFWS a few times. Yes, they are most certainly a bona fide well-established group, and have done a lot of research into mange treatment in foxes. So please don't worry on that count.

But I'm a bit surprised that they use homeopathic remedies, and I'd be interested to know why they have gone down that road. I might even drop them a line to find out, as I am intrigued. All I can say is that I don't think they'd use it if they didn't find it successful.

On a personal level, I've had homeopathic treatment for meniere's disease and it worked brilliantly in a way that conventional drugs didn't, so I wouldn't dismiss it as snake oil. And yet clinical trials always come out inconclusive - I don't know why.

Let me know how your foxes get on with the treatment.
Question Author
Thank you for your reassurances, Kiki. I'm unconvinced that homeopathy can work without psychosomatic effects difficult to imagine in the case of a fox. Nonetheless they must have evidence of its efficacy.
Apart from which, I wonder (NPI) what Sandy Roe makes of your new dress code and what effects, if any, it has on his piety.
vetuste, I've just emailed NFWS as I'm now really intrigued and want to find out about this. I'll let you know what they say.

On a more sombre note, I am deeply distressed that my appearance might have an adverse effect on Sandy and possibly be the cause of impure thoughts (or worse, heaven forbid!). For the last couple of days I have been contemplating reincarnating as Paddington Bear, but it's just too darn hot for a duffel coat at the moment. So for the moment anyway, Wonderwoman remains.
Yep, kiki, keep wonderwoman, she does it for me !
LOL, Tony, glad to hear that! x
Knew you would be.
sulphur is for any blockage (like boils or styes) and arsen alb is for nausea/food poisoning and arnica is for bruises *in humans* (which i believe in)!

i don't know how that would work for mange though!
can't hurt at least
That's a very good point, rowan!

cath, with mange the mite infestation causes infected sores, so maybe the sulphur would be good for that? Not sure about the others though
ah, thanks kiki! i thought i was dry skin!
I always use arnica for bruises or swellings in my dogs and it certainly reduced the healing time
we did this too and successfully treated either two foxes or the same one twice! They told us to put the medicine on to jam sandwiches as the fox would be sure to eat them! I'm fairly sure that the leaflet that came with the medication explained that it was very effective against mange but if the fox didn't have mange it wouldn't harm it. Perhaps that explains the homeopathic treatment.
Question Author
Thanks, Grange. Nice to have a success story. Yes, I think they're using the word homeopathy in a looser sense than its typical meaning of diluted to the nth degree. Interested in hearing their response to Kiki.
I'm sorry but all homeopathic treatments are snake oil

You have a bottle of water there - no more - no less

Ever wondered why nobody sells Homeopathic Gin?
I meant to say also that the other thing we did was to improve their diet by giving them a tin of dog food each evening. This seemed to improve their general health and made healing easier. We were rewarded when one of them brought four cubs to play in the garden! I know this is all very taboo these days but I hate to see anything suffering and mange must be horrible!
jake - clinical trials have proved inconclusive. The efficacy of homeopathy has neither been proved nor disproved. Unfortunately modern science tends to take the attitude that 'we can't figure this out, therefore it cannot possibly be' - a most unscientific stance IMO.

There is a strong argument that homeopathy success stories are mainly down to a placebo effect. I'm sure there is some truth in this. However, this theory falls down when you consider the number of homeopathic vets there are. (Google this and you may be surprised.) Bear in mind that vets are scientifically trained to a very high level - far higher than the knowledge required of a GP. Why would any of them therefore include homeopathy in their practice if they didn't believe that it can work? Cynical money-making gimmick? That wouldn't last long as a money-spinner if the animals in their care died, now would it? Would caring pet-owners be prepared to see their animals suffer unnecessarily because of a misguided faith in 'snake oil'? I think not.

Maybe having a bit of an open mind is better than taking the 'guilty until proved innocent' stance?

As for your question about gin - people drink gin to get pissed; people take homeopathic remedies to address health issues. There's a difference.
Question Author
Delighted that you've seen the cubs, Grange. We've seen earlier families, but none recently. We've always fed them dog meat and biscuits, not to mention a variety of take-away remnants and doggy bags from various restaurants, so the part of their diet which depends on us isn't, I hope, an issue.. There shouldn't be any taboo associated with these delightful and intelligent opportunists. Everybody's heard about the baby who was attacked by a fox a year or two back. Well that's the one occasion I've heard about in the whole of my life and, I suggest, anybody else's. On the other hand we all know that thousands of children are bitten by dogs (some of them family pets) each year.
JakethePeg, I share your cynicism about homeopathy, much as I hate to disagree with the Wonderful Kiki, but am reserving judgment until we see NFWS's reply to her e-mail.
I'm using homeopathic treatment for a family of 3 foxes. Mum & one of her cubs had mange, her other cub seemed not to have it.

Please seek professional advice before even considering conventional treatment, like you can get from the vets. It can be deadly to certain breeds of dogs like any with collie genes, other animals and even foxes if a fox overdoses on it. Easily done if anyone leaves treatment for more than one fox out in food.

Thankfully their mange was caught in the early scratching, restless and biting their rear stage. No clearly visible fur loss, just a small bald patch above mum's tail.

I initially used jam sandwiches to put the drops on, but they didn't seem overly keen, so quickly changed jam for unpasteurised, raw honey. The foxes have woofed this up every night. It's more nutritious for them too. eBay does large tubs at good prices. I always put more little sarnies out than there are foxes. Scattered around my garden to ensure all foxes get the treatment. Mange is highly contagious for foxes, so best any visiting foxes get a sarnie. So I put 8 small sarnies out each night.

I saw mummy fox a few days after treatment and she was looking a lot better. She was more relaxed and far less scratching.

I used to see her and her cubs out in the daytime frequently prior to the treatment.

Now, I don't see them in the daytime at all. Sarnies are always gone. Occasionally I've seen one of the foxes going under the laurel hedge to eat one.

They're now sleeping in the daytime presumably, relaxing after their night time walk.

So I'd say that despite my initial reservations, the homeopathic fox mange treatment has worked. Nearing the end of the 6 week nightly treatment now. Make sure the treatment continues for this time. I'm also giving it to my dog for the same time as a precaution in the same dose.

I'd use the homeopathy drops again. I got a 50ml dropper bottle from a known, reputable UK fox rescue that sells it on eBay. The first bottle I got was tiny and only lasted a few days or so.

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