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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. If you liked this short article and you would like to get much more facts relating to dog breeds that start with p kindly go to the web site. 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. 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

Great Solutions For Dogs That Anyone Can Follow

It’s a great feeling to own a dog. They are happy, loyal and friendly. They can be great friends to you, your children and your parents. To repay them, you’ve got to make sure you are doing the best job you can to take care of them. Here are some tips you can use to do that.

Be careful with your dog around Christmas season, many dangers are lurking just under the festive ambiance. For instance, electrical chords are typically strewn about during the holidays, and dogs often chew them, creating an electrical hazard. Dogs may be tempted to eat the decorations on the tree. They may also be tempted by the tree water, which can be toxic.

Never allow your dog to ride in a car unsecured. Sitting on your lap or in the front seat is dangerous both to him and your ability to drive. Always place him in an appropriately sized pet carrier or invest in a pet seat belt that will keep him snug and safe in the middle of the back seat.

Never bring your dog with you while flying during the hot summer months, unless the airline provides a climate-controlled cabin for him. Most of the major carriers use the same area for pets as they do for cargo, meaning your dog will have to endure some pretty high temperatures as you travel to your destination, jeopardizing his safety.

If you are struggling to get your pet to behave during a grooming session, apply positive reinforcement. With your words and your tone, praise your dog for anything little thing that he or she does well during the time you are working with him. Give him a treat when you are finished, so he begins to associate grooming with something good. You should turn your dog’s behavior around in no time!

Try to always be aware of how your dog is feeling. If your dog seems to be nervous, fearful, or scared of certain things, you should take note of this and try to avoid putting your dog in a stressful situation. When a dog is stressed or afraid, you could traumatize your dog if you insist that it stays in the stressful situation.

Avoid impersonating a medical professional when it comes to your dog’s health. In an attempt to save money, many people try to diagnose their pet’s conditions or use human treatments on various elements and that can be very dangerous to the animal. If you can’t afford full vet care, tell that to the doctor and ask their advice anyway or if they could arrange a payment plan for you.

It is important for you to take your dog in to see the vet on a fairly regular basis. Just like humans, dogs can develop health problems like toothaches, arthritis and weight gain. Do not wait until you think your dog is sick before taking him in to be seen.

Unless you’re okay with your dog playing with your shoes and other things around your home, buy him some toys. He will enjoy having things of his own, particularly if they are interactive like pull-toys you can use together. Also buy him things he can use to occupy himself and stay out of trouble!

Remember that dogs are creatures of habit and anything you start with him will be expected in the future. If you’re not keen on him sleeping with you, don’t let him do it only on occasion. Likewise, if you don’t want him begging at the table, never offer him a bite of people food. He will learn and accept things if you are consistent.

Be strong when the time comes to say goodby to your beloved dog. Many owners keep the animal suffering to keep them in their lives and that’s not fair to the dog. Consult with your vet, then talk it over with family. If it’s time to part ways with your dog, do what’s best for him.

When training your dog, consistency is everything. You must be consistent at all times. If your dog is not allowed to jump on people as they walk in, don’t allow your dog to do it even if a person says they don’t mind being jumped on. You should also make sure that everyone that’s around your dog understands your rules and are consistent with them.

To ensure that your dog is safe, you should try to make your home as dog-proof as possibly. This includes making sure that only safe play toys are within your dogs reach. If you have a problem with your dog getting into your kitchen trash or the things on your counter, you could consider getting a baby gate to prevent your pup from entering the kitchen.

If you’re considering introducing trick commands to your dog, make sure that you have first covered all of the basic commands, such as sit, lay down, stay, and come. Although trick commands are fun and entertaining, having a well mannered dog is more beneficial. Having a dog “stay” when asked will be more fulfilling than having a dog “play dead.”

Pick up your dog’s messes when you’re out in public. There are still some dog owners who take their dogs on walks and don’t bother to “poop scoop”. This is not a wise thing to do for a number of reasons. Be a responsible dog owner and carry a little bag and scooper if necessary, so that you can properly dispose of the waste. Non-owners will thank you.

If your dog makes messes in the house or chews when you are away, consider crate training. Crate training involves providing your pet with an appropriate sized crate to,stay in while you’re out of the house. It can keep your pet and belongings safe. Just make sure to never leave him in the crate for a very lengthly period of time.

If you are looking to get a dog but do not know where to look, turn to your local ASPCA or animal shelter. Getting a dog from one of these establishments is ideal because not only are they in need of a good home, but they have probably also been well taken care of. Most dogs are vaccinated, spayed or neutered and checked for illnesses at these places.

Keep your dog safe from dangerous chemicals. Similar to kids, cleaning chemicals and any car maintenance substances are harmful to them. These substances are poisonous, so if a dog gets any on them or ingests any, they could get burned, become very sick, or die. Store your hazardous chemicals in a place that your dog can’t get to, or keep them in a closed area using a child-proof lock.

This expert advice has now been committed to your memory so you can use it every day for your dog. This information lets you take good care of your faithful pet. Your dog will show his appreciation with his love if you use all you’ve learned here.

I’m just very drawn to Pets and I hope you liked my article. Don’t hesitate to take a moment to share this page if you enjoyed reading it. I praise you for being here. Come back soon.

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