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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 31775
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have a Weimeraner, one of 30 plus Dogs I have owned. I

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I have a Weimeraner, one of 30 plus Dogs I have owned. I have never had this problem before. She has been scooting for several months now, in spite of having her glands emptied on a regular basis, after a few weeks. This doesn’t stop her doing it, and now it starts again as soon as they are emptied. I’ve tried different foods, children’s Benadryl even apaquel, as I had some and I think those anti histamines helped. My vets aren’t giving me any answers I want. She does it now as soon as they have been emptied, and more than once a day and as soon as she has eaten. I’ve also tried probiotic supplements and a fibre supplement. Please help, she’s not a happy pup right now. She is 4, and this only started about 6 months ago.
Thank you Jenny Jones

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Jenny, I'm sorry to hear of this with your Weimeraner. Anal gland impaction/infection is too often incriminated as the cause of anal pruritis (itchiness) when, in fact, anal pruritis is most often one of many signs of a more general allergic dermatitis - atopy or food intolerance are important considerations. The fact that Benadryl or Apoquel appeared to be helpful suggests atopy is the more important consideration.

Environmental allergies (atopy) are usually initially addressed with a glucocorticoid (steroid) such as prednisone. 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 (maximum dose of 50 mg at any one time) 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 such as EPA in fish oil are antiinflammatory but may take 8-12 weeks to kick in. There are also products containing just EPA. The new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) is likely to revolutionize how we address atopic dogs and so a longer course of it should be discussed with her vet. Oclacitinib works as well as a steroid without a steroid's adverse effects. Please note that atopy, at least initially, should have a seasonality to it while a food intolerance should cause pruritis regardless of the season. Chronically atopic dogs may be pruritic year round.

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 her 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 her 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 because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein.) 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.

For now, simply applying a thin film of an over the counter hydrocortisone cream to her anus at least thrice daily can be very helpful in controlling her anal pruritis. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you very much- very helpful - can I come back to you when Ive addressed this with my Vet, as, as yet they haven’t helped at all ? I was a theatre nurse and so understand all the drugs/ treatments etc. Although not the doggy ones per say !

You're quite welcome. Yes, I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

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Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.