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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33315
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 2 1/2 year old rescue Westie, neutered, has just started

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My 2 1/2 year old rescue Westie, neutered, has just started licking his paws excessively till they turn pink. His hind paws don't bother him so much.
I can't find anything between his claws except a wart , which I think has been there a while. Is there anything I can do or put on that will calm them down. I was thinking bicarbonate of soda in wam water, or disinfectant. Would antihistamine help?
Thanks a lot I'll await your answer.
Sharon Reeves
Hello! Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you. I have a question before I can help you properly, can you tell me how much Howie weighs please? This will help you get him treated. Dr. Dan
I'll follow up for Dr. Dan for you, Sharon. Paw and extremity licking in Westies most often results from atopy - allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, etc. Food intolerance will cause similar licking but isn't as commonly found as is atopy. Here's my synopsis of food intolerance for you: 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 Howie'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 (a hydrolyzed protein diet is 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.And here's my synopsis of atopy for you:Environmental allergies are usually initially addressed with a low dose of a prescription steroid such as prednisone. In some dogs an over the counter antihistamine such as clemastine (Tavist) at a dose of 0.05- 1.5 mg/kg twice daily or chlorphenamine (Piriton) dosed at 0.2-0.5 mg/kg twice to thrice daily 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 in fish oil are antiinflammatory but may take 8-12 weeks to kick in. The new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) is likely to revolutionize how we address atopic dogs and should be discussed with Howie's vet. Oclacitinib works as well as a steroid without a steroid's adverse effects.Bicarbonate of soda isn't expected to be of value for these allergic skin disorders. Please note, too, that atopy is expected to be seasonal - at least initially. A food intolerance isn't expected to be seasonal. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33315
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Alas Howie is a rescue , he was kept in a crate & used as a stud dog on a puppy farm in Ireland, I actually know very little about his history. When I got him 6 months ago he was tiny 5.2kgs, he's now 6kgsive been trying to eliminate things from his diet Ie. Chicken, wheat,, gluten but it's hit & miss, & he hates other Westie is 5 and about the time he turned 3 he started going black skinned , it appears to be grass related &I by Xmas he'lol be virtually pink again. He doesn't seem.bothered by it tough &I shows no signs of itching or licking. If Howies allergy is to food what's the first thing to try him on, wet or dry or a certain make that eliminates things that can cause allergies??
Hope to hear from you soon,
Best wishes Sharon
If Howie might be food intolerant it's not an issue of wet vs cry but, instead, eliminating all proteins that he might be allergic to. As mentioned above, I'd see how a hydrolyzed protein diet affects him such as Hill's z/d. There's nothing in that food he can be allergic to. Please note, however, that Westies such as Howie are usually atopic instead of food intolerant but, of course, the two allergic skin diseases can coexist. The black skin almost always indicates a secondary yeast (Malassezia) infection which is commonly seen with allergic dermatitis. It should respond well to a month's worth of ketoconazole prescribed by your vet. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.