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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. In case you have any kind of issues concerning wherever and tips on how to use australian shepherd With children (Damageclass18.wordpress.com), you are able to e mail us on our page. 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/

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Secrets Which Will Help You Find Success With Dogs

Do you want to know more about dogs? Since a lot goes into caring for a dog, their owner can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Some owners are ready to give up on dog training. This article has helpful tips you can use for your dog.

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.

If you are in the market for a new puppy, make sure you will have enough time to devote to his training. On average, you need to take a young dog outside to do his business eight times a day and that can take a lot away from your schedule. Training takes more time and patience than most people realize.

If you are interested in providing your dog with the healthiest of diets and making positive contributions to the earth’s environment, make his food from scratch. You can buy locally grown organic ingredients and provide him all the proteins, carbs and fats he needs with no preservatives while reducing the waste from packaging as well.

Be careful to not over feed your dog. Obesity is a huge problem for animals these days due to the fact that many dog owners allow the animal to determine how much it eats each day. For the best results, and health of your dog, you should follow the instructions of your vet when it comes to feeding habits.

Having fresh and clean water available to your dog at all times is a must. Dogs become dangerously dehydrated in a matter of days, so its very important to always have water ready. Dogs will also appreciate water that is clean. If you find it necessary to drink filtered or bottled water because of the quality of water from your tap, then be sure to provide your dog with the same high quality water.

Before you head out for a day of fun in the sun with your dog, dab a little sunblock on him! Dogs can get very serious burns on their noses and the inside of their ears, so include him in your sun-protection regimen. Just make sure there’s no zinc or PABA in the product you use.

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 your dog seems to have a bad reaction from every shampoo you use on him, try a green product. Most commercial brands of dog shampoo contain a lot of things like phosphates and sulfates, which can irritate your dog’s skin. They are also harmful to the environment so you’ll be solving two problems at once.

Always make sure your dog has fresh water available. Water is essential for the health of a dog. He can easily become dehydrated without it or look for unsafe water sources, such as puddles or contaminated ponds. Making sure your dog always has water is an easy way to keep him happy and safe.

If your dog is always drinking out of the toilet, try changing how you provide him with water. Most prefer it cold and fresh, hence the attraction to the bathroom, so buy a fountain or thermally insulated dish to keep his water at a more appealing temperature. Also, add ice-cubes when it’s hot out and he’s panting

Always be the boss with your dog. A dog is not only much more apt to be obedient when you are in command, he’ll also be much happier. Dogs need to know what’s expected of them and that they are being led. This gives them a sense of security and you a more peaceful household.

If you are looking into getting a dog you should ask as much about the dog that you can think of. For example, you will want to know about its mannerisms, level of activity and how affection it is. Ask whatever you can think of, so that you do not regret your decision later.

Dogs love the outdoors. For the most part, dogs really enjoy being outside and being able to stretch their legs. Remember this when choosing the right dog for your family. If you live in an apartment, it is not really fair go look at a dog that needs lots of exercise, unless you are planning on jogging with your dog twice a day.

If you have a smaller breed dog, make sure everyone who touches him knows the proper way to hold him. Small dogs can be easily injured by inappropriate handling and many owners find this out the hard way. Gently lift at the belly from under his front legs and secure him with both hands.

When your dog has a bathroom accident on the floor, be sure to thoroughly clean the area. Use a cleaner that’s professional strength and follow that up with a good odor remover. If you still smell dog waste, the dog could be emptied to return to the scene of the crime and repeat the actions.

It is wise to check your area to find out what the local leash laws are. Many areas require a dog to be leashed at all times if it is not on your property. keeping your dog on a leash is a good idea anyway, as it can be dangerous to let your pet run unattended, where he could be hit by a car, or fight with other dogs.

Never allow a puppy to climb up or down steps in order to prevent joint problems in the future. This is extremely important, especially with breeds that are at high risk for hip dysplasia. Any sort of high impact shock such as jumping or stair climbing should be avoided due to the fact that their growth plates are still developing.

Now are you really ready to care for your dog in the best way possible? As long as you endeavor to use what you have learned, you should be! Take your new knowledge and put it to use and you’ll see changes right before your eyes. Enjoy your dog and love them to bits!

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