We WD-40’d our dog.

Let me explain. Although mange infests animals in every corner of the planet, here on Guam, it seems that this malady has a particular fetish for boonie dogs. Especially our dog, Lily. We’ve taken her to the vet to address her mange issue numerous times. Correction: I’VE taken her to the vet. My Chamorro husband doesn’t believe in taking pets to the vet. As he explains it, they had various assorted pets when they were growing up on the island, and never once did they take an animal to the vet. If one of them got sick, the poor thing died and they got a new dog, cat, deer, whatever. But as I explained to him, that was then, this is now. Now, he has three animal-loving daughters and WE take our pets to the vet. Otherwise, HE deals with crying girls. Anyway, back to our lovable, mangy Lily. Every time she contracts mange from some stray, it costs me anywhere from $75 – $100 to get rid of the stuff, from the shot to the meds to the vet visit.

My daughter’s friend’s dog had horrible mange – the poor dog was bald. When she saw the dog a few weeks later, it was running around sporting a shiny, full coat of fur. “Wow,” my daughter said to her friend. “What did you do to get rid of the mange?” “Oh, we sprayed her with WD-40,” her friend replied. My daughter relayed this story to me as I was watching our poor Lily scratch and bite her hind quarters. I turned to the man of the house and said, “Go spray Lily with WD-40.” So he went outside, sprayed the stuff on a rag and rubbed Lily down with it. In a few days, whoosh! The mange was gone. Lily’s skin, once red and raw, was now clear and pink under her fur.

I told our neighbor about the WD-40 cure, and he said it made sense because before the war, they used to rub old motor oil on their dogs to get rid of mange. So this remedy has been around on Guam for a while. Apparently, the mangy parasites do not like WD-40 or motor oil. They must have a hard time latching onto the dog’s skin when it is slick and greasy. Somewhat concerned about the toxicity of the WD-40 on the dog’s skin, though, I wondered if baby oil would work just as well. So I turned to a place where you can find all kinds of information about pets and their mange – and anything else for that matter: the internet.

I typed in “home cures for mange” and up popped a site with all these suggestions on it, from a borax and peroxide mixture that you don’t rinse off your dog, to mayonnaise, cooking oil, and a mixture of laundry soap and one tablespoon of bleach (I would not recommend the bleach mixture – I would think anyone with common sense would not think it prudent to rub a solution containing bleach onto their pet’s skin. Then again, others might say that about spraying your dog with WD-40.). Other recommended remedies included rubbing your pet with Vaseline, neem oil, castor oil or tea tree oil. Somebody did warn that if you put cooking oil on the dog’s skin, the dog can get sunburned so you should keep the dog out of the sun. Also, someone else warned that motor oil can cause liver failure in pets. Uh-oh. The two most sensible home remedies seemed to be this borax and peroxide mixture, which many people raved about, and tea tree oil.

Of course there is the old standby for us on Guam – the ocean. Yes, salt water not only cleans up chicken pox scabs, it apparently helps get rid of mange, too. And it’s very plentiful.

So in retrospect, Lily will not be getting another dose of WD-40 as a mange treatment. Next time, we’re going organic. It’s going to be the great blue Pacific and tea tree oil.

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