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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33266
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Hi my dog has very sore paws can i give him spirulina? have

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Hi my dog has very sore paws can i give him spirulina? have changed his diet to raw no kibble on omega 3 6 9 ,salmon oil I put avc in his drinking water. Cannot touch his paws as he's very nervous he's always licking them more after eating?
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
To answer your question directly, yes, you can give Gruff spirulina but that algae is unlikely to be of value to him. Dogs that lick their paws to the extent of those paws becoming inflamed and sore are usually atopic and/or food intolerant. Atopy describes an allergy to environmentals such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc., and is addressed by short term glucocorticosteroids such as prednisone, the new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib, an immunosuppressant such as cyclosporin, bathing frequently to rid the skin of pollens that have attached themselves to the skin, and/or skin scratch or blood testing to identify the offending allergens and then desensitizing injections ("allergy shots").

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 Gruff'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 (my preference). 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. Gruff's licking more after eating may indicate food intolerance.

Any secondary infection in those paws needs to be addressed with topical and systemic therapy and so it would be prudent to have Gruff's vet take a look at him and you can then discuss the information I've provided in our conversation with his vet. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Dr. Michael Salkin and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Gruff has been on a raw diet( chicken, pork, beef) now for a month what do you think about raw? He has live bio yoghurt with probiotics/enzymes.

Could you advise me on any home remedies to improve his condition? I've been to the vet's on numerous ocassions and all the give him topical cream (does nothing) and antibitotics which cleares is up for a short time but really don'l like giving him antibitotics. What do you think about omega 3 6 9/ salmon oil have even tries kelp/alfalfa. He's had allergy test which came back negative and advise PLEASE!

Thank you for the additional information. Most vets frown upon raw diets because of the unnecessary risk of bacterial contamination to both pets and owners. There's nothing inherently wrong with chicken, pork, or beef, however, unless Gruff happens to be allergic to those meat proteins...and that's why I mentioned testing him for a food intolerance by feeding a hydrolyzed protein diet for a few weeks.

The antibiotics help because infection is present but that infection is found secondary to an underlying disorder - the allergies I mentioned above or perhaps the demodectic mange mite - and so until that underlying problem is resolved his feet won't completely normalize. Be sure that skin scrapings and cytology (examining the skin surface for abnormal numbers of bacteria and yeast) are performed. We don't want to overlook the possibiity that a mange mite is present or an undiagnosed yeast infection is present. Because his allergy testing came back negative, a food intolerance becomes more likely than atopy. We can't test for a food intolerance by allergy testing - only by trying a hypoallergenic diet such as mentioned above.

The omega fatty acids can be helpful in controlling the inflammation associated with allergic skin disease. If you feel that they're helpful, please continue administering them. I dose them at 20mg/lb day of the EPA in the fatty acid product you're giving Gruff. A reasonable home remedy is having Gruff stand in a pot full of Hebiclens solution for 15 minutes twice daily. This is a chlorhexidine-containing antimicrobial solution available over the counter at your local pharmacy.

Finally, when it seems that all hope is lost, you can have Gruff seen by a specialist veterinary dermatologist as can be found here: It's remarkable what these specialists can do when it seems that nothing more can be done for our dogs.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.