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Tuesday, February 1, 2005; Page C11

Dear Dr. Fox:

For more than over a year now I've been treating my 14-year-old collie/shepherd mix for mange. Because of the collie in him, my vet doesn't prescribe ivermectin because it is known to produce seizures in collies.

When you mentioned the old-fashioned sulfur-lard mix, I tried in vain to buy sulfur. I finally found a foul-smelling liquid from Happy Jack (www.happyjackinc.com) that contains sulfur, pine tar oil and some other stuff. It was very hard to find, but it worked after just a few treatments (although my house reeked from it).

I have since found another mange medicine spray from Happy Jack. It has an active ingredient of benzyl benzoate (29 percent). My dog had one treatment a week ago and only has one spot by his ear that needs treatment. Success at last!

Although I've been very careful, I seem to have gotten a bit of mange on myself now. My doctor doesn't know anything about mange and has referred me to my vet who, in turn, has referred me to my doctor. My question to you is: Can I use the spray on myself to treat the mange? I don't want to use the liquid because the smell would drive my co-workers out of the office.

S.F., Dearborn, Mich.

Your veterinarian is correct -- ivermectin (used to treat mange, get rid of other internal parasites and prevent heartworm in dogs) can be harmful to certain breeds, including collies.

I am glad you found the tar-and-sulfur-based shampoo, which is an old and effective mange remedy. So is benzyl benzoate (a chemical that can be toxic to cats), which is easier to apply and less odoriferous. It is also effective when applied to the skin to treat sarcoptic mange in humans, a condition that is called scabies. (something I have experienced on my hands and arms after handling and treating infected dogs in India). However, before applying it on your skin, check with your doctor first.

To further inhibit mange in your dog, boost his immune system with a multivitamin/multimineral supplement that your veterinarian can prescribe, plus a tablespoonful of vegetable oil (like flax or safflower) mixed in his food once a day.

Dear Dr. Fox:

I adopted an extremely affectionate, sweet, 4-year-old orange male cat who just would not be an indoor cat. For just about two years now, he has had the run of a four-lot area with three other neighbors. One neighbor has three cats that have been indoor cats until now. Well, my cat, Casey, thinks that all this land belongs to him. Ladies and gentlemen, the fights begin!

No other person would attempt what I do, which is pick him up while he's in the middle of a full-on hissy-fit with one of the other cats. He's already had two separate tooth punctures on either side of his mouth.

Is there anything we can do to help these kitties get along? A.B., Rockville

The short answer is "no." I only hope some unfamiliar cat infected with feline AIDS or other communicable disease doesn't come into your cat's territory.

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