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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. In the event you loved this information and you would like to receive details relating to do bunnies eat succulents assure visit our own web site. 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/

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Dog Care Tips That Will Work Like Magic

As a dog lover, you understand the joy such a pet can bring to your life. You will never be alone again, and you will always have a companion who thinks the world of you. In return, it is your job to care for them, and this article will teach you all you need to know.

Keep on top of fleas. Not only can fleas cause infection in your dog, if one is swallowed, your pet can get tapeworms as well. Speak to your veterinarian about the best prevention method, but remember that this is not a one shot deal. You will have to continue your efforts over the life of your pet.

Keep your dog’s teeth in tip tip condition. Just like humans, a dog can suffer from toothache, gum disease and even tooth loss. Regular brushing will ensure that that his teeth and gums stay healthy and strong. Without regular brushing, it is estimated that dental disease will affect up to 80% of dogs by the age of three. As well as dental cleaning by a vet, make sure that you brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

Make your own dog biscuits to provide your beloved canine with the healthiest treats. Most commercial products are over-loaded with chemicals that aren’t good for dogs, despite adding flavor and aroma. Use quality ingredients and tell your dog what you’re doing in the kitchen! Get him all excited and let him taste-test as soon as they’re cool.

If your dog has fleas, and they fall off his coat onto your floor, vacuum them up. However, remember that fleas are pretty good escape artists, so you need to throw out the bag immediately after you are finished. To be on the safe side, tape the bag completely shut before you take it out to your trash can.

Be prepared for natural disasters that also impact your dog. Have an emergency supply of water and food for him and know in advance if your local shelter for people will allow pets inside. Too many pets are injured or lost following storms, floods and other situations that cause chaos in a community.

Do not overlook your dog’s bad behavior. Ignoring it for a while can make it harder to correct later and you don’t know what may happen if you don’t. This could lead to huge problems down the road.

Designate a family member or close friend to be responsible for your dog, should something happen to you. If you are in an accident and unable to get home, your dog will need someone to feed him and address other needs. Perhaps you trust a neighbor with your house keys and they could act for you in a time of need.

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.

You want to ensure that all trace of pet accidents are removed when they occur within the home. Use some professional strength cleaners and a good odor remover that works. If any scent remains, the dog might soil the area over and over.

Use an olive oil spray to keep your dog’s dish sparkling clean. Particularly if you feed him canned food, it can quickly cake-up and dry on the inside of the bowl, making it hard to wash later. As a bonus, the olive oil will help to keep his coat shiny too.

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.

Your dog needs to be protected in the summer time. Dogs get overheated quite easily. Reserve a cool and shady area for your dog to hang out. Be sure your dog can get to clean, cool water at all times. Also, dogs can have problems with the sun’s rays, so see if the vet has any sunscreens for dogs.

Make sure that you carry small bags and gloves with you while you are out walking your dog. If he uses the bathroom outside, it is your responsibility to clean up the mess. It is unsanitary for you to leave it there, and it some places you may receive heavy fines for that.

Make sure that you carry small bags and gloves with you while you are out walking your dog. If he uses the bathroom outside, it is your responsibility to clean up the mess. It is unsanitary for you to leave it there, and it some places you may receive heavy fines for that.

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.

When training your dog, always make sure that you enter a room before allowing the dog to. This is important because it is an obvious form of dominance that your dog will understand. Establishing dominance will help with your ability to train your dog and with its overall behavior patterns.

Whatever type of dog you have, and whether or not you are a novice owner or a pro, the advice you have read here should be able to help you out. When you take the time to learn, as you have today, you really are working hard to make your dog as happy as possible. Great job!

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As a passionate reader on Pets, I imagined sharing that excerpt was sensible. Those who appreciated our post if you please don’t forget to pass it around. Many thanks for being here. Don’t forget to check our website back soon.

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