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GA- cv We took in a 2 year old ***** ***** that a couple said they

Customer Question

We took in a 2 year old ***** ***** that a couple said they couldn't keep as their son was tormenting he is just a sweetheart but he has started to nibble his paws and legs and scratch he doesn't have fleas could you give me any advice please
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Vet Marc replied 3 years ago.

I am sorry to hear Marly is itching. There are several things that could be causing itchying in a dog of 2 years old.

First, fleas. I know you have stated he does not have fleas, but a good rule of thumb is "for every flea you find, you miss 100". The most common cause of dog itching is fleas (~80%). To rule this out as a possibility, Marly should be placed on a flea prevention such as frontline (fiprolin). In addition, the environment needs to be treated. There are prescription only drugs that can be acquired from your vet that can be used to spray in the house to treat the environment.

If treating for fleas does not change how much he scratches, then the next most common cause is other ectoparasites like mites. Marly's vet can look for mites by taking skin scrapes and plucks and look under the microscope.

If there are no mites, then the most likely cause is allergies. Food allergies tend to come first. To rule this out as a cause of the itching, Marly would need to be placed on a food diet trail by your vet. Marly will be given a prescription food with hydrolised diet (broken down) such as Hills z/d or Purina HA. If Marly improves after a few weeks of this diet, it would be highly suggestive of a food allergy. Next, the vet will add in a single protein (e.g. chicken) and a single carbohydrate (e.g. rice). If he doesn't start itching, then the vet will add another protein and another carbohydrate. This will continue until the allergy is found.

If the food trial does not identify an allergy, that is after a few weeks on the hydrolised diet he is still scratching, the next most likely cause is environmental allergens. Your vet may refer him to a specialist dermatologist to perform skin tests to help determine the type of environmental allergen is at fault. The dermatologist then can create an injection that will help control the allergy.

If there are no medical causes of itching found with Marly, then it is most likely behavioural. Your vet can prescript some drugs that can help him cope with any stress or changes to his environment that has caused him to react. You could also pick-up a product containing Dog Appeasing Pheramone (DAP), which works in a similar way to Feliway in cats; it helps the dog calm down in stressful times. In addition, a referal to an animal behaviouralist could be the next step. The behaviouralist would look at Marly's individual case and find behavioural treatments that could help him cope.
Expert:  Camille-cssm replied 3 years ago.
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