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Best Advice for Dogs with Skin Issues

I still need to publish a real post about Mr. Stix’s full backstory, but this feels more pressing. For nearly 18 months, Mr. Stix’s permanent nakey spot (from unknown injuries before he was rescued, including 15 fractures and this big patch of coat missing) has featured several inflamed, peeling areas. Initially I tried to fix it myself at home with things like aloe vera, vaseline, a veterinary ointment called animax that the shelter had give us while we fostered him most of 2019, etc. It’s sort of a combination of steroids, antibacterial, and antifungal stuff. I took him to see our main veterinarian in spring 2020, when there was a 2-month wait to get into see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. It has been quite a journey since then, and it’s nowhere near over. Here’s my best advice for dogs with skin issues.

Before I tell the ongoing saga with Mr. Stix’s skin. Here is my best advice for dogs with skin problems.

See a board-certified veterinary dermatologist as soon as you can. Yes, your main veterinarian can probably help, but it’s honestly best to go right to the top experts.

Agree to whatever skin scrapings / cytology the veterinary dermatologist recommends. This provides information about what types of secondary infections currently grow on your dog’s damaged skin.

Do NOT assume every skin issue is allergies. It often is some sort of allergic process, but NOT always and assuming so (and acting accordingly may only delay real solutions and subject your dog to all kinds of quack advice and home remedies).

Buy the best quality fish oil and Vitamin E supplements you can afford, if it’s recommended for your particular case of a dog with skin issues.

When necessary, agree to the skin biopsies (yes, like minor surgery) and have them reviewed by a veterinary pathologist that specializes in dogs with skin issues. The one we used is at Texas A&M.

Follow your veterinary dermatologist’s advice and plans, and keep the faith. These dogs with skin problems often don’t improve quickly. (I need to take my own advise. See below.)

Mr. Stix’s Story as a Dog with Skin Problems

This is what Mr. Stix’s nakey spot looks like when it’s normal. Photo from May 2019 soon after his hip surgery. The bald patch is permanent. That’s not the issue.

This is how bad the red / peeling areas got in mid-2020 when we saw our main veterinarian, who added a low-dose of oral Vitamin E and some topical too and told me to keep using the animax.

This is how it looked when Mr. Stix first saw the board-certified veterinary dermatologist in early August 2020, but the specialist had me STOP the animax and instead use a prescription anti-bacterial ointment (mupirocin) … as well as add a better quality oral fish oil and continue both topical and oral Vitamin E (but at a higher dose twice a day). We knew from the skin scrapings / cytology they did onsite that Mr. Stix had a bacterial infection.

But, without the daily topical steroids (which long term are a bad idea), Mr. Stix’s skin got much, much worse — even breaking open and scabbing over.

Our veterinary dermatologist had recommended doing the skin biopsies right away in August 2020, and I *almost agreed to it then, but I was VERY worried about the cuts resulting in skin that would NOT heal. And, I figured it was at least worth a try to use the prescription antibiotic ointment and other supplements and stuff.

But, by around Thanksgiving, it was clear we had to do the biopsy. That photo is kind of gruesome, so you can see it here, if you want. I wish I had done the biopsy sooner. I feel like I wasted time from August through November.

Post-Biopsy Diagnosis

As I expected, despite all the know-it-alls trying to tell me it was an allergic issue, it turns out that Mr. Stix instead has an autoimmune condition called erythema multiforme. They believe it was triggered by the trauma of his earlier injuries. They don’t think it is life-threatening. They don’t think it will spread to other areas of his skin. Just the already damaged, permanent nakey spot.

With that information in hand, we updated the treatment plan to include a topical, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ointment (tacrolimus — often pricey, but we used a Good RX coupon at Costco to get the cost down). They use a version of this medication orally for people who have had various kinds of transplants. It’s the smallest / safest option for treatment, and that’s where we started.

I was so hopeful it would work at the once-daily application, but the skin still didn’t heal completely.

So, in early 2021, we started applying it twice daily on the advice of our veterinary dermatologist.

But, it still hasn’t healed completely. It often improves a lot and then comes roaring back, so we had another appointment to see the specialist last week. We had to try something new.

Enter the Big Immune-Suppressing Drug

Despite my concerns and form of veterinary PTSD about major immune suppression drugs (after our experiences with Lilly), I agreed last week to add oral cyclosporine, which is also a drug that people get after various transplants. Mr. Stix would need to take it daily for life.

It smells like it’s made from skunk butts, so each gel-cap pill is individually packaged, and you keep them in the freezer because that can help with nausea it can cause (since it’s recommended you give on an empty stomach).

I found some good info on this med, and our veterinary dermatologist assured me that it has been safely used in veterinary medicine for like 20+ years, etc.

The med only comes in doses of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg, and at his size Mr. Stix’s ideal dose is around 88 mg once a day. So we went with 75 mg (25+50) to err on the lower side.

It takes like 3-7 days for the med to build up in the blood to therapeutic levels, but it takes more like 4-6 weeks to know if it’s going to help the skin (or not).

We made it to day 4, then the barfing started.

Anxiety

I wish I could say that this is all going to be fine, but I just don’t know. I feel like I just have to accept that the skin will never fully heal, even though seeing his raw spots up close while applying the topical med twice a day and topical Vitamin E once a day causes me so much angst and anxiety.

I supposed to check in with our veterinary dermatology team next week to confirm that Mr. If you loved this article and you would like to receive more facts relating to how Many toys do dogs Need kindly check out our web site. Stix’s weirdness and apparent suffering has improved.

It took a lot of convincing to get Mr. Champion of My Heart to agree to try the cyclosporine, so even if the specialist comes back and recommends maybe a lower dose, I doubt we’ll want to risk it … because Mr. Stix sure seemed to be having some neurologist issues to me, and after the Lilly situation, I just cannot do that again.

He is only 3 years old. I don’t want to make anything worse. It honestly felt like I’d poisoned him.

The good news is that most of the time his skin doesn’t seem to hurt or itch or anything — though I do have pain meds, if he needs them. It mostly just looks bad, and he has to wear a no-lick collar for about 20 minutes after I apply his meds so that he doesn’t lick it off.

His nakey spot is prone to sunburn anyway, and the topical tacrolimus increases the risk of burning, so I used his earlier sun-reflecting coat (which started to look ragged) as a pattern and sewed him a new / light sun protection coat. He looks very cute in it.

https://championofmyheart.com/2021/08/05/dogs-with-skin-issues/

Dogs

Have Some Dog-related Questions? We Have Answers

Bringing a dog into the home is a decision that should not be taken lightly. If you are considering, or have already extended your family to include a dog, there are things that you should know. Below, you will find a list of quality tips to use to help the transition easier for you and your dog.

If the cost of your dog’s high-quality food is a burden for your family, team up with another one and buy in bulk. The big-name pet store chains offer top rated names in pet cuisine at a significant discount when bought in the larger quantities. You can minimize the cost for you and some friends while still providing your dogs with fresh and wholesome meals.

Although the sound may be cute, your dog’s nails shouldn’t click along the floor when it walks. That’s a sign that the nails are too long. The nails should actually just barely touch the ground. Seek the advice of a professional on what tools are the best for giving your dog a pedicure.

Don’t give table scraps to your dog. This causes regular begging and will cause him to dislike his food. Feeding table scraps to your dog could lead to digestive problems or obesity. Make sure your dog does not sit near the table and beg, so you aren’t tempted.

When giving your dog a bath, make sure that you only put on shampoo that is intended for canines. Using lukewarm water, get the entire body wet and then begin applying the shampoo to their face, working your way down their body. Wait a few minutes and then take a washcloth and wipe off the suds from your pet’s face. Wash off the rest of the shampoo as well.

Dogs love to eat grass and other plants. When you’re outside, this may not be much of a problem, but if you maintain houseplants indoors, chances are they are poisonous to dogs. Before bringing a dog into the home, make sure all your houseplants are well out of reach of a dog who may be tempted by a green tasty treat.

You may be tempted to use your favorite hair shampoo on your dog, but this should not be done. Human shampoo can cause dog skin to dry out. Instead, find a quality shampoo that is made for dogs. When you bath your dog, make sure to rinse all of the residue out of his fur.

Determine your dog’s specific exercise regimen. Dogs have different fitness needs based their sex, overall health, age, breed mix, or breed. Every dog should have a couple 10-minute walks a day around the block. Dogs between 6 and 18 months, active breed or mixed breeds, terriers, hounds, and herding dogs will most likely require more fitness than others types of dogs.

If you have tried everything to get your dog to stop digging your garden to no avail, head to your kitchen. Mix up a batch of cayenne pepper (five tablespoons), hot sauce (also five tablespoons) and a quart of water in a spray bottle and spray it where he digs. It should discourage him quickly.

The kind of leash you use when walking your dog is very important. A small leash that would fit a small dog, like a chihuahua, is not going to fit a Rottweiler or pit bull. Get a leash that will fit your dog comfortably but also provided them with safety.

When the weather is hot outside, check your dog daily for ticks and fleas. Remove any fleas you find with a specialized comb. Fleas or ticks can be destroyed through numerous products on the market. Try talking to your vet about these products or other available options.

Having too many people trying to train one dog can cause problems. Your dog might become confused by different methods, different vocal commands and different ways of offering praise or punishment. One person should be in charge, and everyone else needs to reinforce everything this person teaches the dog.

Annual vet check-ups are important. This allows the vet to catch any diseases in the early stages before they can cause enough damage for you to even notice. In the long run, annual check-ups save the owner a lot of money and prevent the dog from a lot of unneeded suffering.

It is natural to want to get your dog trained as quickly as possible. However, remember that there is a limit as to how fast this process is going to go. If you are not realistic, you are much more likely to get frustrated with your pet, which could damage your relationship. Your pet will learn over time, but it may not happen as fast as you would like.

Even if your dog does not spend the majority of his time outside, it is still important that you bring him or her to the vet for their yearly shots. Your dog could come in contact with other dogs at the dog park or at your home. If the other dog is sick, it could pass on to your dog. This is why it is important that they are vaccinated every year.

Just as you would with a baby who has just begun to walk, you should take certain measures to protect your dog from harm in your home. For instance, if you decide to get a dog, get rid of any poisonous plants you have in your home. So many dog injuries and deaths can be prevented by taking a few simple steps.

It is important that you choose the best veterinarian for your dog. Randomly picking out a name from the phone book may not be such a good idea. Instead, ask friends or family members if they know of a good vet or look online for reviews on vets in your area.

If you want your dog to learn to “sit”, start by holding a cookie, or other treat, above his head. This will cause him to look up. When he looks up, gently push his hind end down, and give the command to sit. Give him the treat, and praise him. Soon, he will sit just by hearing the command and seeing your hand go up, and eventually will obey to the “sit” command alone.

You have a duty to your dog, to make sure his needs are met and he is well taken care of. When learning from this article how to approach it, it becomes easier. Use the tips, and you will find your dog is much happier.

Pets

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