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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. 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/

Pets

Excellent Article About Dogs That Is Simple To Follow Along

When you have a dog, you have a best friend. Millions of dog owners around the world know this to be true. However, you are tasked with caring with a dog if you choose to bring one into your home. That’s why you need to have some tips about how best to do this. Keep reading for some great dog tips.

If you are thinking of getting a new dog for your family, be sure you are prepared for this commitment. Smaller dogs will require at least a 14-16 year commitment, and larger dogs will require at least 10 years. If you are not prepared to own the dog for its entire life, then do not choose a dog as a pet.

If you notice your dog gets dry skin in the winter, you probably need to brush him or her more often. Doing so will get rid of old fur and help get their oil glands working properly. Try brushing once in the morning and once in the evening to see if it makes a difference for your pet.

If you are planning to take your dog on an extended car-ride, talk to your vet about motion sickness medication first. Avoid feeding him before setting out to prevent queasiness and vomiting and make sure you buy him bottled water if you are traveling to any destination that is known to have issues with water quality.

If your puppy or dog is constantly chewing up your furniture, invest in some chew-toys. Scatter them around the floor, especially around the legs of the sofa and end-tables. Be enthusiastic about your offers to play with the chewies with your dog to encourage frequent use. This should eventually deter him from chomping your furniture.

Before deciding on what type of dog to get for your family, consider space. Even though you may love the bigger dogs that you can really wrap your arms around, you may not have adequate space for a large breed. Take your home and yard size into consideration before bringing home a new pooch.

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.

A dog needs plenty of love and attention. You should try spending at least a couple of hours a day with your dog. Play in your backyard or take your dog to the nearest park. You should get plenty of exercises before coming home and petting your dog for a while.

Dogs need a great deal of attention on a daily basis. If you have a hard time making time for your dog you will soon notice that there are behavioral problems that were not there before. In the least, you should try to set aside an hour each day just to love your dog.

In case you loved this information and you want to receive more information relating to dog breeds that start with p generously visit our own web site. Dogs, like humans, can develop health problems, and because of this they should be taken to see their vet at least once eat year. This can help to diagnosis any health issues early on, reducing both the extremity of the illness and the cost to fix it. Do whatever you can to follow this rule of thumb strictly.

If you’re trying to break one of your dog’s unwanted habits, make sure that you understand that it will not happen overnight. Breaking a habit takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged and give up if it seems like your pup isn’t making progress. Keep at it and maybe try changing your approach to the training. Sometimes this can be the boost that your dog needs.

Make sure that you’re feeding your dog a good quality food. Most dog foods available at your grocery store are mainly made up of grains or corn. Instead of this, you should try to find a dog food that is mostly made of meat. Foods that are high quality can provide you with many benefits, such as having a healthy pup, less vet visits, and your dog’s coat will shine more.

Your dog needs healthy teeth and you should brush them regularly. This helps to prevent dental problems and gum disease, but also prevents other illnesses. Infections in the mouth can spread to other areas of the dog’s body, like the kidneys and the heart. Pet stores sell special toothpaste for dogs.

Check you dog for parasites and take preventative measure. Flea and tick collars are important. Keep in mind certain collar work better in different seasons and geographic areas. In addition, check your dog’s ears. Ear mites are common. Also, check the dog’s stool to ensure he hasn’t picked up worms in his digestive system.

If you leave your dog with a boarder, there are certain things you need to tell them. First, make sure the boarder has a number to reach you in case of an emergency. Also, tell them of any behavioral issues you dog has. If the dog needs special foods or medication, let the boarder know this as well.

When taking care of your dog’s grooming needs, do not neglect their feet. Obviously, dog’s do not wear shoes so their feet are exposed to the elements and could hurt their feet in debris outside. Look for any cuts or abrasions on their feet and if you find something serious, bring him or her to their vet.

Never give your dog away for free, no matter how desperate you might feel to get rid of it quickly. Even if you can not care for the animal, it is still your responsibility to be sure that it will have a good life to come. Instead, take the time to investigate the person that you will give it to and charge a re-homing fee to ensure that they are serious about caring for the animal.

Do your homework before getting a new dog. Take your time to research the different breeds and what their needs are. You might find that a dog you like the looks of, would be a terrible fit for your family. Too many dogs end up in shelters because people didn’t take the time to learn about their newest family member before getting them.

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!

Dogs

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