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Linda Simon
Linda Simon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 657
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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Morning, my dog seems to have a skin irritation. I have

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Morning, my dog seems to have a skin irritation. I have tried worming and flea treatment as my cat brought fleas in with her. It seems to be more of her back end and gnawing at the base of the tail. I have given her antihistamines, which seem to have calmed it slightly.
Assistant: 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: Mia, she is 7 tomorrow. I have tried to call my vet for an appointment ad they don't have anything until Wednesday.
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Mia?
Customer: No previous health issues, thank you

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. One moment while I type my reply

Gnawing at the base of the tail does have a strong link to a flea allergic dermatitis (a reaction to flea saliva), so as you know your cat had fleas, this would be the top of the list.

If a dog has an allergy to fleas, they will over-react to even one bite and can become excessively itchy and uncomfortable. It's great that you have already given her a flea treatment. It may be that the fleas have gone but the irritation remains.

It is essential that you use an effective flea treatment on both the cat and dog (and any other cats or dogs they are in contact with). Not all flea products are created equal and some are not very effective. I have most success with a brand called Advocate.

Simply applying the flea treatment is only half the battle as 95% of the flea burden (eggs, larvae etc) live off the animals and in the house, so without treating the house, the problem will continue. All bedding should be hot washed at over 60'c, the floors need to be hoovered and it would be worth getting a flea spray e.g. RIP Fleas or Indorex.

It's good that the anti-histamines have helped a little. You can also bathe the tail base skin in a dilute solution of chlorhexidine (hibiscrub) or warm salty water to sooth the skin and prevent infection. This should be done twice a day.

DO NOT allow your dog to continue chewing/gnawing as this is exacerbating the issue. A buster collar / elizabethan collar may be necessary. Continued chewing will result in worse skin irritation and potentially a skin infection.

If things do not settle with the above measures, your pooch may need a stronger anti-itch medication from the vet to break the itch-scratch cycle they are now in, so it's good you have an appointment on Wednesday.

A final note, an irritated tail base can also occur with blocked anal glands. If you feel comfortable expressing the glands at home, do so in the bath tub with someone else holding your dog firmly. If you are unsure, this is something your vet can check for you.

Linda Simon and 3 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you