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Mike McIntyre
Mike McIntyre,
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4606
Experience:  Veterinarian at Sioux Nation Pet Clinic
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My dog's been very itchy. She's up to date on her flea

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Hi, my dog's been very itchy. She's up to date on her flea prevention & I've combed her through countless times but can't find anything (no dirt or living fleas that I can find/just what looks like dandruff). That said, her skin is becoming increasingly irritated and she's been aggressively biting her tail and back in the last day or so to the point where she has drawn blood/caused scabbing and there are raised spots. When doing the latter she pants afterwards. She's also got a raised bump on her eye. It has been very warm the last few days. Are these symptoms common/manageable at home? My vet is closed today so a little anxious. Thanks so much!
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is your dog's name and age?
Customer: Teddy and she's a Cairns Terrier/Shih Tzu.
JA: How old is Teddy?
Customer: She is 8
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Teddy?
Customer: Her last flea treatment went on about 2 weeks ago - we used Frontline.
Hello. This is Dr Mike. I have been practicing for 19 years and I will be happy to help you today with all of your questions. First I would like to start with a few questions to help me better understand your case.
Any underlying medical concerns or medications we are on currently ? Any other pets living with her? Any changes to the hair coat?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No medications of changes to her coat as yet. She lives with a cat. She has no underlying medical concerns that I know of. She is a rescue that I have had since May but last year she was treated for a bladder stone issue that involved an operation. She has always been quite a scratchy dog but not on this scale.
Would it be possible to send me a picture or video of these areas? Are we causing open sores from the scratching ?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please find attached. Thank so much for your help with this. She is causing open raised bump sores from the scratching although I do not know if the bumps came first and she scratched them or if the bumps are a cause of the scratching.
Please give me a few minutes while I review all the images. Any history of allergies in the past ? Or itchy times of the year ?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No not that I am aware of, and this is my first summer with her.

Has the hair coat been becoming any thinner than usual? The pictures I could not quite tell if there was a thinning in the areas. The red dots appear to be localized hair follicle infections. Are these red areas very itchy?

Your cat is not experiencing any skin or itching problems?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No thinning of the hair and yes they are very itchy as she keeps going back to scratch and bite them. No itching on the cat and/or no skin problems that I can see. We did have a flea issue with her last month after she came into contact with next doors cat (she is a house cat). Hence why that was my first thought with Teddy. That said, I believe that the problem has been resolved as neither we nor the vet have been able to see any on her since treatment.

When the flea infestation occured, had we not been on any flea products prior to that? What brand of flea product are you on now?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
For the cat or the dog? We use Frontline on both. But had gone over a week or two on their monthly doses.

If she had fleas last month the flea eggs may have fallen off of her into the environment ( your house) then as they hatch they can hop back onto the dog. It can take up to 3 months of flea treatment on the pets to totally break the flea cycle. This could be one likely reason we are so itchy and self inducing the sores. Once they become itchy like this they are very sensitized to the itch. Even a small number of fleas that hop onto us before the Frontline kills them can induce a lot of itching. Perhaps you can discuss with your veterinarian this tomorrow, there is a great product called Apoquel from Zoetis. It stops itching and is much safer and less side effects than prednisone to stop the itch. If there was any potential allergy issues, the Apoquel will help a lot too. However from what you have told me, I have seen this many time3s with residual flea problems. Keep administering monthly flea products to both of your pets for a minimum of 3 months.

Mike McIntyre and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you - really appreciate your help. I will do as advised

You can try to clean up the bedding areas as best as possible where the pets sleep, however it is never possible to remove all the flea eggs. This is why best to focus on continual products administration monthly to break the cycle. If you have any other questions please let me know. Have a great day. Dr. Mike