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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15583
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My Scottie has very soft paws and finds it dificult to walk

Resolved Question:

My Scottie has very soft paws and finds it dificult to walk on hard surfaces. He also has Arthritis in his lower back! He is 10.
Regards
George
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about Hugo's sensitive feet. Certainly allergies can create itchy feet, which leads to licking and the trauma to his feet can make them sore.
I see he is on Prednidale tablets, which is a steroid and used to decrease allergic reactions and inflammation and Tramadol for pain relief.
Ideally his veterinarian could also prescribe Gabapentin along with Tramadol for pain relief and other medications for his allergies if the steroid isn't working well to control them.
Long term for joint pain I do recommend using a combination of a glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) and an omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps). I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg to 40mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 kilogram dog could take 160mg to 320mg of EPA per day. Omega 3's and glucosamine/chondroitins work synergistically and improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them alone. They are available over the counter.
Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information: http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htm
You can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with symptoms of allergies. In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If his symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of his problem.
You can try:
1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with acetaminophen or decongestants as they can be toxic for dogs) at 2mg to 4mg per kilogram of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 7 to 12 kilograms of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 12 kilograms of body weight once or twice daily.
OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 2mg per kilogram of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.
Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. Give the one you pick a week trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use.
Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight, just as you would use for joint pain. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg to 40mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 kilogram dog could take 160mg to 320mg of EPA per day.
Cool water spot baths of his paws with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin.
If he has a secondary yeast infection in his paws it may help to use Mal-A-Ket wipes to clean his paws between baths.
Food allergy is very possible with him as well if he seems to be itchy all year round. Dogs can develop allergies to any protein or carbohydrate so even if he is only fed one thing that can be what he is allergic to. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" can be affected.
Make sure that the food that you put him on is a true hypoallergenic diet. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your dog isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your dog if those happen to be allergens for your dog. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food. 
Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin and then adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try. As far as permanent diets I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination. Purina Pro Plan Turkey and Barley or Nature's Recipe Vegetarian or Venison are pretty good products. I know that this isn't easy from personal experience (my dog is allergic to wheat) and it is time consuming, but worth it.
If you choose to try testing/treating him for a food allergy I recommend that you try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. You should see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.
You can purchase booties for your fellow to wear on walks, like those used for ice and snow protection, to protect his paws as well. These are available online and at many pet stores.
Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15583
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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