Itchy Dog

brownthumbiaNovember 14, 2010

My one dog is having a terrible time with her abdomen. She scratches and licks until she has it so sore I have put on a collar so she can't reach the spots. Every year I have to get her prednisone for this problem and they always help. This year it's not working. I took her back to the vet, he gave her a shot and started the prednisone over again. Nothing is helping. I changed the brand of food she's eating, plus changed the treats. When she can't reach the itch to lick it she scratches herself raw. I tried making little boots for her back feet but they stayed on for about 5 minutes. Two vets have seen her and neither knows what to do for it. I have, in the past, cleansed the area, which is her entire abdomen, with Listerine mouth wash. She really likes that. Then I've put bag balm on it so that it might help the healing. She doesn't do the licking, of course with the collar on but the minute I take it off she starts right in. Anyone have any idea what I can do for this poor thing? I can't imagine her having to go through the rest of her life with that collar on. ANY suggestions would be welcome. BTW I also tried a special shampoo from the vet and a spray from him. Thanks. BT

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Have you asked the vet for a referral to a skin specialist? I'm surprised they haven't sent you to one since it appears her problem is beyond their capabilities. If he's not willing to refer you, start looking around for one.

She could be allergic to something she lies down on so watch where she's spending a lot of her time.

I can't imagine the frustration of having an itch or irritation and not being able to reach it. I do hope she finds some relief.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 12:24PM
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I can relate.I have a basset that her stomach stays broke out.Certain times of the year are worse and if she lays on grass it starts.She licks more than she scratches and has it red,swollen and irritated.She uses predisone for those times it real bad and it does help her after a few days.I've used benadryl for the itching to.Her allergies are enviromental the vet says most likely. Shes tried other foods,diets.I do wash her with a shampoo I ordered and it helps.The most I can do is try to keep her somewhat comfortable during the bad episodes.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 1:33PM
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what were you feeding before and what brand are you feeding now?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 4:05PM
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I agree with the idea of going to a veterinary dermatologist, and you can try several approaches to helping your dog (often trying them all at the same time works well).

First of all, though food allergies do occur, MOST skin allergies are NOT related to food (90%). But if it were a food allergy, changing brands of food is rarely going to help, as most of the time dogs are allergic to an ingredient in the food, not a brand of food. Common ingredients implicated in food allergies are soy, wheat, beaf, chicken, turkey, and less often, corn and lamb, and least often, rice and other products. You will find most dog foods contain at least one of these items so swithching brands rarely (though possibly) resolves the problem for those 10% of itchy dogs who have any sort of food allergy.

For the rest (90%) it is usually an enviromental allergy- atopy or flea allergy or house-dust mite allergy (sometimes it can be mange or something more serious, but mange is not seasonal and it is incredibly itchy- rarely ever would respond to cortisone).

So for those dogs you can do multiple things. Best would be to move to a new cliamte... oh well, not usually an option for most people.

Antihistamines are always a safe thing to add into the treatment mix, though they are not very strong medicine... just very safe (as long as you follow your vet's dosages- MORE is rarely better with antihistamines and can really create some bizarre manias if overdosed). Long term use of antihistamines is very safe.

Fatty acid supplements are likewise very safe, though sort of slow to help out. Still, good for lots of things (joints, kidneys etc.) other than just allergic skin. Fish oil (primarily Salmon oils) are the best. Cod Liver oil is NOT a good choice- too much vitamin A and can end up being very toxic.

Antibiotics are almost always a good idea when skin is getting scabby or raw, and can help with the itch as well as get rid of the secondary Staph infections... antibiotics should be used precicely as your vet recommends, and often for months at a time (1 week of antibiotics rarely end up doing anything worthwhile). Most cases I refer to the derm clinics that end up on antibiotics are on a 2-4 month course of therapy, sometimes indefinite.

Shampoos are rarely that useful in treatment of allergies, as most, if not all, further dry the skin and make it itchier. They can rinse off antigens, and help get rid of infections, but usually need to be followed by conditioners if they are not going to contribute to the problem rather than help it.

Topical sprays can be useful for focal allergic spots, but rarely are useful for 'whole body' itching. Some have cortisone and antbiotics in them, and are really pretty good at helping, at least a lot more so than over-the-counter products.

And lastly, of course are the 'strong meds' like cortisones and cyclosporines... these are meds with potential side effects so using them has to be done under close veterinary supervision.

Often using all of the above is needed for severe allergy dogs. The veterinary dermatology specialist will help you diagnose the problem, first, and then prescribe appropriate treatment. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 1:04AM
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annz, I totally agree with not being able to scratch an itch. But the thing is, she does not even act one little bit like it itches when she has the collar on, like she never tries to reach an itchy spot. She is very contented to lie in the window and watch the world go by. But the minute I take it off she starts licking her paws. We even talked about maybe it has just become a habit. I do brush her a lot just to make her feel better. Well, makes me feel better anyway just to think I'm doing something. When she starts licking I just tell her, "no, no, no licking." She stops right away, looks at me like, "why not?" LOL I am trying a few things I found online yesterday, so hopefully something will work. I would have taken her to a specialist a long time ago, but my income isn't too great and I don't think they work cheaply so I'm just grasping at ideas. But, thanks to all of you for your replies. I do appreciate it so much, and I hope with all my heart I find a solution soon. BTW I did change food. was giving her Science Diet and am now giving her Blue Buffalo chicken and brown rice. My dogs don't seem to care for lamb very well. But the change hasn't seemed to help her.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 10:28AM
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I can understand your concern about the cost of a specialist but I've used them many times with my pets and haven't found the overall cost any higher than my regular vet. If you add up what you've spent on several trips to your vet, OTC med, and the cost of different brands of food you may have easily paid for an office visit and a skin test at the specialist.

They may find it's something you'll have to deal with the rest of her life, but I think you'll find the specialist will be more knowledgeable about the best meds for whatever her condition is.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 5:46PM
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Agree. I tell people it's usually cheaper to see a specialist. A generalist will work up your dog by the process of elimination - more visits, more tests, no results. A specialiast can, on the basis of experience, often zoom in on the dx and propose treatment much more quickly. Often in the same visit. This is much better for the dog as issues are identified, addressed, and resolved more quickly. But find most people remember this approach only if I explain the cost savings aspect :(

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 7:20PM
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I just wanted to tell you that the last 2 days she has been doing much much better. Her belly is no long red and it looks like everything has healed over. I wipe her with baking soda and water every time she comes in from outside. Then a little bit of mineral oil all over and it really seems to be helping. Keeping fingers crossed, though. I do take the collar off of her once in awhile just to let her stretch and scratch under the collar and get a good smell of the lawn for once but I don't want to take it off all the time yet. Too cowardly in case I'm totally wrong and it doesn't work. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and thank you all for your great input. If all else fails I will have to take her to a skin specialist--about 90 miles away, I think.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 10:09AM
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I may have found one reason for her licking and scratching....I was going to pull the hair out of her ears last night and noticed that the hair in the one ear was dirty!!! Now, I think she may have ear mites so I am cleaning her ears out with a vinegar/peroxide mix and then putting drops of mineral oil in it. It is looking much better this morning and i'm wondering if the mites marching around in her ears would cause her to be nervous, hence the scratching. Sure would drive me crazy. Any ideas?? Just in case anyone else has a problem like this---check the ears. I don't remember either dog ever having ear mites before.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 1:31PM
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I have a cockapooh she was always chewing and scratching and going on steroids but after treatment she would go back to chewing we finally had a blood test done to see if she had any food or enviromental allergies found out she is allergic to dust mites and mole for the dust mites you have to decide which is the right method for your dog they say wash the bedding once a week there are sprays and laundry remedies you can use also I change my dogs bedding every other day I put a sheet on top of her bed so I can easily wash sheets often rather than taking her bed apart all the time I wash her actual bedding about once a month..the vet suggested allergy shots too expensive for me. Vet said I can give her 1 1/2 pills of benadryl 25 mg. every 8 hrs does help..her weight is about 26 lbs if you give your pet benadryl be sure to check with your vet. she does get some flare ups if I see her chewing again I get the bendryl capsule and I put a little bit the powder on the itchy area it numbs it and she hates the taste I have to be careful not to use too much just enough to rub a little on the area..when I give her the benadryl I do not give her the capsules I use the pills so I can cut them in half.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 4:51AM
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