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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 26241
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My dog suffers with very itchy skin, I have tried changing

Customer Question

My dog suffers with very itchy skin, I have tried changing his food giving him allergy tablets spray in calming lotion creams and all sorts, he chews himself bald, I have really tried but I feel so sorry for him ! What else can I do ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I understand your frustration but there is a manner in which to methodically evaluate Paddy's history and physical findings and then treat him effectively. Please take your time perusing my synopsis of the pruritic (itchy) dog and then return to our conversation with additional information and further question or concerns... I’m sorry to hear of this with Paddy. Pruritic (itchy) dogs are suffering from an allergic dermatitis in the great majority of cases. Allergies to flea saliva, environmental allergens (atopic dermatitis) such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, and foods should be considered. (Paw and extremity licking indicates both atopy and a food intolerance and so it behooves vets to distinguish one from another.) In many instances, a concomitant pyoderma (bacterial skin infection), yeast infection (Malassezia), or mange mite (Demodex or Sarcoptes) might be contributory. Paddy's vet can check a sample of Paddy's skin surface microscopically (a “cytology”) for abnormal numbers of bacteria and yeast and skin scrapings can be taken in an attempt to find mites. Pyoderma is treated with a minimum of 3-4 weeks of an antibiotic in the cephalosporin class such as cephalexin (Keflex) and yeast is addressed with ketoconazole for at least a month. Our dermatologists tell us to apply an effective over the counter flea spot-on such as Advantage, a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline or one of the newer prescription products available from his vet even if fleas aren’t seen. Dogs can be such effective groomers so as to eliminate all evidence of flea infestation. Dogs who remain primarily indoors can contract fleas because we walk them in on us and flea eggs and larva can remain viable in your home for months. As the weather warms or you turn on heaters at this time of year, egg hatches are common. In severe cases, an anti-allergenic prescription glucocorticoid such as prednisone will work wonders for dogs allergic to the saliva of the flea. If you have other pets they may have fleas too but may not be allergic to the flea’s saliva. Environmental allergies are usually initially addressed with prednisone as well. In some dogs an over the counter antihistamine such as clemastine (Tavist) at a dose of 0.025 - 0.75mg/lb twice daily or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) dosed at 1-2mg/lb twice daily may be effective. Antihistamines, however, aren’t reliably effective. Adding fish oil to the diet at a dose of 20mg/lb daily of the EPA in the fish oil might synergize with antihistamines to provide better anti-pruritic action. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are antiinflammatory but may take 8-12 weeks to kick in. The new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) is likely to revolutionize how we address atopic dogs and should be discussed with Paddy's vet. Oclacitinib works as well as a steroid without a steroid's adverse effects. Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Paddy's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra. (I prefer the hydrolyzed protein diets.) A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time. We need to consider seborrhea in such a patient as well. This is skin disorder of keratinization and maturation. It's a diagnosis of exclusion of the above mentioned skin disorders and can be suggested by skin biopsy. Is Paddy's pruritis seasonal? Was it once seasonal and now year round? Can you upload a photo(s) of him to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if that icon is visible) or you can use an external app such as imgur.com or dropbox.com. I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 26241
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.
I can't set a follow up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update at your convenience.

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