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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33247
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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old dog 14/15 yrs always suffered from an allergy makes him

Customer Question

old dog 14/15 yrs always suffered from an allergy makes him scratch - alot - down his sides - def not fleas - along with scratching always drinks alot of water - now peeing v frequently and it smells quite strong too - blood test for kidney function about 9 weeks ago was clear. Has been prescribed when he was younger with steroid shots which def helped, He's too old now for the shots. We used a steroid shampoo for a while - bathing him almost daily but that stopped being effective pretty rapidly. Most recently he's been prescribed steroid tablets 1 daily for a week then 1 evry other day but it hasnt worked. Any ideas?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Milo. His stranguria - frequent urination - concomitant with that strong odor - indicates a urinary tract infection (UTI) commonly seen secondary to the administration of steroids. UTIs involving the kidneys can also cause polydipsia (increased thirst) and subsequent polyuria (increased volume of urine).

Our thinking is necessarily confounded by the fact that Milo has always been a big water drinker and steroids cause polydipsia and polyuria even if a UTI isn't present. In addition, at his age we also have to consider other causes of polydipsia/polyuria - diabetes mellitus (he would also be polyphagic/increased hunger) and diabetes insipidus, hepatic failure, Cushing's disease (he would also be polyphagic/increased hunger), Addison's disease (rare), and hypercalcemia (increased serum level of calcium). It would be prudent to have Milo's blood/urine rechecked at this time. It's quite likely that antibiotics will be prescribed for a UTI at the very least.

If steroids aren't effective for his allergic dermatitis any longer, his pruritis (itchiness) may represent an emerging food intolerance which is often poorly responsive to steroids, or a secondary infection of his skin with either bacteria or yeast which will need to be addressed before steroids could work well once again. Please also discuss the use of the newly released cytokine antagonist called oclacitinib (Apoquel) will has antipruritic and antiinflammatory action and can eliminate the need for steroids in our allergic dogs.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.