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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. If you have any thoughts with regards to in which and how to use Cats Eat Their Babies, you can get hold of us at the webpage. 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

Learn About Dogs With These Simple To Follow Tips

Are you looking for tips for being a responsible dog owner? If so, you have come to the right place. There are quite a few tips that can help you when it comes to owning a dog. Continue reading to learn more about being the pet owner your dog deserves.

Whenever you travel with your pet, don’t skimp on the packing. Of course you need to be well supplied with his food, water and any medications he may be on, but experts advise that you also bring his grooming supplies, vaccination paperwork, tags and an extra leash. Also, bring a flat sheet for when your dog will be on hotel furniture.

Not everyone is good at training dogs, so quit trying if you see things are not going as well as planned. Instead of beating yourself up about it, get in touch with a trainer in your area. Since they have more experience with dogs, it may be much easier for them to train yours.

If your dog has long hair, make sure to take the time to trim the fur around his feet. If you allow your dog’s hair to grow too long, they can get things stuck in their fur. This could lead to injuries between the pads of the feet and around the nails.

Don’t make you dog eat something they don’t want to eat. For instance, don’t force it to eat a treat that it appears to hate. The best judge of what your dog likes is the dog himself. Fancy name brands mean nothing.

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.

Daily brushing for your dog does more than simply prevent shedding. Daily brushing helps the coat to stay beautiful and shiny. When you brush a dog, you are moving the skin’s oils evenly throughout its fur, so it really makes the fur shine and feel great.

Some people think that it is necessary to bath a dog often. The truth is that unless your dog gets into something to get dirty, they only need bathed once every two to four months. Bathing more often could strip their skin of the oils they need for a healthy coat and skin.

Lift your dog properly. If you have a little dog or puppy, place your one hand under their chest and use your other hand for supporting their rump and hind legs. If you’re lifting a big dog, lift them from their underside supporting their chest using your one arm and using your other arm to support their rear end. Never lift a dog by their back legs, tail, or the nape of their neck.

Get creative with your dog’s ongoing training. For example, teach him commands in other languages or show him how to do something that will really impress everyone he meets. He will love showing off to people and the extra learning will create a more well-behaved animal who is happier with himself.

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.

If your dog has been playing outside, take the time to inspect its ears and neck for ticks. These parasites are very common and could make your dog sick if you do not take action right away. Take your dog to the vet if you do not know how to remove the ticks yourself.

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.

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.

Every dog needs to have a good amount of exercise in order to stay healthy and fit. It is a good idea for you to take your dog out for a walk at least once a day if you do not have a yard he can use to run around freely.

When you bring a new dog home, the first thing you should do is make sure they’ll always be able to get back to you. Invest in a safe collar and a tag that contains both your name and phone number. Most lost dogs don’t make it home, but with a good tag, you can be sure yours will.

If you have younger children in the home, make sure that you try to teach them what behavior is appropriate with your dog. Let them know the rules and what they are allowed to do. Some dogs are more tolerant of being jumped on, pulled on, and played with than other dogs.

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.

As you can see, taking care of a dog isn’t that hard. It might be hard at first, but this article can help. Use other quality resources, and talk to your vet if you need help with your dog.

Dogs

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