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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33276
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

I have a 10 year old golden labrador called sasha, and i know

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I have a 10 year old golden labrador called sasha, and i know most dogs have a certain spot on their side or belly that gets the kicking leg reation, but sasha has recently started this kicking reaction when you stroke her back or side, can you advise please
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
You've identified the scratch reflex in dogs. Your stroking Sasha has created a nerve impulse that travels to the spinal cord which then activates nerves that move the nearest hind leg. The leg kicks rhythmically as if to scratch the itch. The location and intensity of the itch dictates the location and intensity of the scratch. This is a true reflex arc mediated solely within the spinal cord and so it's beyond Sasha's conscious control. It's a useful reflex when I check spinal cord function when a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) exists in my patient. It's not necessarily pathological, then, when this reflex can be induced.

If noticed to be excessive, however, a search for ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, mange mites, lice) should be made, Sasha's skin should be checked for lesions (pustules, erythema/reddening, etc.), and a thorough history taken by her vet in an attempt to rule an allergic dermatitis in or out. We're primarily concerned with a flea saliva allergy, atopy (allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc.), as well as food intolerance. Of course, Sasha may simply have become more ticklish as she has aged!

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

it seems to have came on more suddenly than i expected, i did however treat her with a product called spot on flea and tick treatment, which is applied to the back of the neck, could this be the sudden cause.

By the principle of Occam's Razor, it would make sense to attribute her hypersensitivity to a newly applied product such as that flea and tick product. If you're referring to Bio Spot Flea and Tick treatment, that product contains permethrin and methoprene which are generally safe for a large breed dog. The inactive ingredients in that product, however, may also be poorly tolerated occasionally. If you feel that Sasha is uncomfortable it would be prudent to wash away the Bio Spot. You'll need a detergent-containing shampoo, however (containing sodium lauryl sulfate, e.g.), or you can use Dawn dishwashing soap.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.