When Linus was brought to Lake Martin Animal Shelter two months ago, he had received severe burns from hot motor oil. Shelter manager Mia Chandler said some consider this a “home remedy” for mange, but it only causes terrible wounds and leaves permanent scars on the animal. | Submitted

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Motor oil never a remedy for mange

Published 12:35pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

Though the four-month-old puppy Linus is on the mend and has found a new home, the pup’s happy story could have ended much differently based on his condition when he arrived at Lake Martin Animal Shelter two months ago.

Shelter manager Mia Chandler said when Linus was picked up by animal control officers and brought to the shelter, it was obvious he had been subjected to a “home treatment” for mange, a common skin disease caused by mites.

In this particular case, Chandler said the pet’s former owner had poured hot motor oil on Linus’ back.

“There is a ‘procedure’ that some folks use where … they don’t necessarily use room-temperature oil. Sometimes they remove oil from a vehicle that has recently had an engine running (and pour it on the dog). It’s scorching hot, and it literally sears the skin. It’s really sad when an individual knows they need to bring their pets to the vet but instead try to self-medicate,” Chandler said. “We have half a dozen cases a year where the dog is scarred for life because the burn is so severe.”

Linus was in treatment for the burns for close to two months.

“Just like people, burns are one of the worst injuries – infection is high, and it’s incredibly painful,” Chandler said. “At the vet he had to be sedated, scrubbed and get a surgical shave-down. He was such a trooper through the whole thing.”

Chandler stressed the importance of seeking the opinion of a veterinarian on whether a dog has mange before the owner takes matters into his or her own hands.

“You could be mistreating and aggravating the situation and making it so much worse,” Chandler said. “All mange is treatable, but sometimes it does take a longer time frame.”

Linus’ adoption was approved Wednesday, Chandler said, and she was pleased to see him go to a loving home.

“The wound is actually almost completely healed, but he will be scarred for life – you will be able to tell he had a severe wound,” Chandler said.

Chandler stressed the importance of taking pets to a veterinarian if any issues arise.

“If there’s something that is abnormal about your pet, it’s in the best interests of your pet to seek professional medical advice,” Chandler said. “Do not treat before you are aware of the situation.”