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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My mongrel dog Ellie is 6 1/2yrs past 18 months

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Hi, my mongrel dog Ellie is 6 1/2yrs for the past 18 months she has been licking her back paws taking layers of her pads off, at first my vet thought it was due to her anal glands but has changed his mind. She's had blood tests & scrapes & all clear. She's had apaqual tabs which seem to stop her, on our recent visit to vets he said it could be separation anxiety & gave me a plug in adaptil which hasn't helped. Over night she has licked her front paw for the 1st time since this first started. I'm at the vets every 5 to 8 weeks with this problem and hate seeing her in pain, please could you offer any other advice on what to do as I'm now getting desperate as what to do for her. Regards Sandra
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, Sandra. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian & I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Can you confirm that she stops the behavior when on Apoquel?
What blood tests we actually done?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes she stops licking usually within a few days, last time she had them she started licking again 3 days after her last tablet. Not sure what blood tests she had except mites & dermatitis
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
First, if the Apoquel seems to stop her signs, this makes allergic skin disease the most likely reason for Ellie to chew her feet. This can be related to a range of allergens from proteins in her diet, to pollens/grass she comes into contact with outside, to environmental allergens (ie carpet powder, laundry soaps, dust or storage mites). Furthermore, since this has been going on for such a time, we do also have to be aware that there is a risk of habit induced licking/chewing being a partial issue here.
In any case, if she responds to the Apoquel, then it'd be ideal to continue this for her and not just have her on short courses. Often we use this drug for life in dogs that have underlying allergic skin disease. Otherwise, there are other immune modulating drugs like Atopica or even steroids that can be used instead (if the Apoquel has been a struggle to get into her vets for her).
Of course, that is only a management angle for this. If we wanted to know what was setting her off in hopes of modifying her exposure to what she is sensitive to, then we'd need to think about allergy testing. In that case, your vet can do this via blood sample or refer her to a dermatologist for intradermal skin testing. Based on the results of the one you choose, we can pinpoint what she is sensitive to, possibly remove her access to it (if it is a food protein) and have an immuno-vaccine made against that to help retrain her immune system to not react to that allergen.
As well, just to note, if this was a suspect food allergy, exclusion diet trials (where you feed a hypoallergenic diet like Hills Z/D alone for 6 weeks) could also be worth a diagnostic tool to consider here.
Overall, her response to Apoquel is a clue for us, as it suggests that she has an immune medicated allergic skin issue (since it'd not cure separation anxiety, mites, fungi, infections, etc). Therefore, she either should be put on this for the long term or allergy testing would be indicated for Ellie with a view to identifying what is triggering her to be irritated and chew. And the latter is ideal, since once we know what is causing her signs, we can address that for her to minimize its effects and keep her comfortable.
All the best, *****
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Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 17049
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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