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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17087
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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Skin irritation in my 13 year old male rough haired terrier(about

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Skin irritation in my 13 year old male rough haired terrier(about 12 Kilos) can you help?
I am sorry to hear you are worried about Billy. My name is***** am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

This could be due to many things, and the treatment would be different depending on what is causing the skin irritation.

Skin conditions can be caused by infections, which would be treated with antibiotics.

They can be caused by allergies to things in the environment. Allergies can't be cured, but can be treated with antihistamines, Fish oil, Vitamin E, and sometime needs prescription medication such as steroids, cyclosporine or Apoquel.

Food allergies can cause itchy irritated skin. This can be cured, if the food that the dog is allergic to is eliminated. You start by getting a "limited ingredient" diet with only one grain or starch and one meat. Both these two things have to be things he has never eaten before, such as venison/sweet potato or duck/potato diets. You feed nothing else but the diet for 4 to 6 weeks. If the skin gets better, it is a food allergy.

Mange, caused by parasitic mites living in the hair follicles, can cause skin conditions. It is diagnosed by doing "skin scrapings" and looking for the microscopic mites in the hair follicles. It is treated with prescription medication, ivermectin.

Unfortunately, all these different conditions have different treatments, but all look the same.

If I see a dog with an itchy skin condition, I start by doing skin scrapings, and starting the dog on a good flea treatment, even if no fleas are seen. When a dog is allergic to flea bites, it can take only one or two fleas on the whole dog to cause itching and skin irritation all over the dog, and the dog often swallows the flea when he bites himself. Not seeing fleas is not a reason to assume it is not fleas; fleas are the number one ( and according to many dermatologist, also number 2 and 3) reason for skin problems in dogs. Sea bathing will not kill fleas.

Tea tree oil can make dogs sick if ingested by licking, or by being absorbed across inflamed skin. It is not recommended to use it in dogs, and especially not in cats. You can use a tea tree oil shampoo, if it is thoroughly rinsed off.

You can try an over the counter antihistamine like diphenhydramine (25 mg 2 to 3 times daily) or loratidine (5 mg once daily). Vitamin E and fish oil may help. If no skin scrapings have been done, that would be my first step if I were able to examine him.

Let me know if this helps, and what else I can answer.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

you suggest over the counter antihistamines: diphenhydramine 25mg 2-3 times daily, or Loratidine 5mg once a day.

Can you please explain the difference especially having regard to the size of dose?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

what is the difference between the two recommended 'over the counter' antihistamines especially having regard to the different levels of dose?

These are two antihistamines that are available over the counter. I recommend two because some dogs are better helped with one, some with the other.

The Loratidine (Claritin) is nice because it is only once daily. It is less likely to cause drowsiness. It can be more expensive.

The doses are different because they are different drugs. Every drug has a specific milligram per kilogram dose for that particular drug, and the time period when they have to be repeated. This varies from drug to drug, and also between species.


Rebecca and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Let me know if I can answer anything else.

Thank you for a good rating.