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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 17933
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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scooting ,licking and itching what do I need to do

Customer Question

scooting ,licking and itching what do I need to do
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I am sorry to hear that your pup is licking, scooting and itching.
She may be trying to lick, itch and scoot in response to a food allergy which can cause itchiness, often of the perianal area or face.
Other reasons for perianal itchiness include constipation or diarrhea, fleas, tapeworms or other gastrointestinal parasites, full or infected anal glands or impaction of the glands.
If she is a shepherd mix I also want to mention a condition called perianal fistulas as we see this more commonly in shepherds and their mixes. This is a painful condition where dogs develop fistulous tracts around the anus and lick and scoot in response to the discomfort. It is likely an autoimmune mediated disease process (body attacks itself) as it responds to immunosuppressive drugs and while it cannot be cured we can usually control it. It is diagnosed via a biopsy coupled with a history of perianal inflammation and tracts.
Make sure that her stools are normal size and consistency and look for any signs of worm packets that look like grains of rice too. If she's had fleas at all in the past year then tapeworms are a real concern and then you may choose to treat for those with a wormer containing praziquantal. I would also recommend submitting a stool sample to check for other gastrointestinal parasites.
If she has had fleas even if you don't see them now I do recommend using protection, if only during the spring, summer and fall months. They are the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog lick and scratch excessively so I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. Frontline Plus, Advantage or Advantix are excellent. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic.
She should have her anal glands checked either by your veterinarian or an experienced veterinary technician to make sure they aren't a problem.
If she will let you she may benefit from a cool compress to the area, patting dry and then applying a light coat of cortisone cream (like cortaid) to the area a couple times a day.
If she's been fed a new food or treats, or had table food my thought would be this is a food allergy. Treatment is topical cortisone and not exposing her to the allergen again. It can take a few weeks to get the allergen out of his system. If this has been going on a while perhaps she is allergic to her food and I recommend a hypoallergenic diet trial. You could try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects, though most owners see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.
Finally if she is having trouble passing stools then adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin (not pie filling, just canned pumpkin) to each meal will help soften her stools and make them easier to pass and thus make her more comfortable.
Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
I understand that you are concerned because she is a Cavalier.
Cavaliers as a breed do have some specific conditions that aren't related to anal gland problems or itchy skin. But these conditions affect the head and neck, and ears rather then all over the body or the perianal area.
Primary secretory otitis media (PSOM) is an inflammation of the middle ear caused by thick, glue like mucous filling the middle ear. It seems to affect the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCs) in particular. The outer ear will look completely normal, but the middle ear is affected.
Initially the dog will only have pressure in his ear head and neck, but as the disease continues we can see balance problems, his lip or ear may droop, drooling, an inability to blink his eye, and nystagmus (involuntary, rhythmic, rapid movement of the eyeball),a head tilt
and/or hearing loss.
Diagnosis is achieved via radiographs, an MRI or CT scan. Treatment is removal of the fluid from the middle ear, which in many cases must be done repeatedly.
Chiari-like Malformation and Syringomyelia (CM/SM) is a neurologic condition that commonly occurs in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It is caused by an accumulation of spinal fluid within the spinal cord in the neck region. This fluid accumulation is secondary to a malformation of the brain and skull. Basically the brain is too big for the skull, and the back of skull cannot accommodate the brain. The back part of the brain (cerebellum) herniates out into the spinal column canal which then interferes with the movement of spinal fluid, resulting in accumulation of spinal fluid within the spinal cord. The pressure of the fluid accumulation leads to clinical signs of the disease. These signs include discomfort or pain in the neck region. This pain can cause symptoms such as scratching on one side, many times without making skin contact, so the disease is also referred to as “neck scratcher’s disease.” Facial pain can also be a problem, which can be confused with ear pain. Eventually the pain can become severely debilitating. Neurological signs can also include front limb weakness, rear leg incoordination, loss of sensation, facial nerve paralysis, deafness, seizures, incoordination and loss of balance, vision loss, and head tremors.
So if she is scratching everywhere, especially her perianal area and scooting her bottom then she is likely experiencing allergies of some type or anal gland troubles.