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Dogs

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/

Dogs

Easy Ways You Can Be A Better Dog Owner

They say all dogs go to heaven, but that can be hard to believe when your pooch is acting out. If you’re having trouble with your dog, you may be frustrated, and you may not know where to turn. The suggestions in this article will help you deal with your dog and appreciate its finer points.

Hugs are great to give your pets, but kisses are not that great. Your dog’s mouth is fairly dirty at any given time. Dogs poke around trash cans, love smelling and licking other dogs’ body parts and enthusiastically drink from toilet bowls. Many people believe that dogs’ mouths do not have as much germs as humans’ mouths. This is completely wrong!

If your dog gets lost, it is very unlikely that you will see him again unless he has proper identification. Tags can come off, so the best option is a microchip. It is quick to put in your dog, and it causes minimal discomfort. Simply register the chip ID after it is put in, and your pet will always have his identification with him.

You may know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but you may not know the specifics. Chocolate is dangerous because of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous, with a high amount of stimulants. White chocolate contains the least amount of stimulants. Take you dog to vet if he ingests chocolate.

If your dog has separation anxiety or you wish to be really nice to them, keep music on while you are going to work. The noise make them feel more secure and keeps them company. This is a good way to keep your dog from feeling lonely.

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.

If your dog is a digger, make sure to protect him and your garden. Some plants are poisonous to dogs, not to mention the damage those paws can do to your prized flowers and produce. Put up an appropriately sized fence to keep him out or consider using an electric one.

When a dog behaves badly, correct him immediately. Ignoring it can help your dog to establish lifelong bad habits. Should you loved this short article in addition to you wish to be given more info concerning dogs that start with p (http://Www.Mafiamind.com/) kindly pay a visit to our own website. The longer you wait to address the problem, the worse the problem will become. Your dog might hurt someone else, or you, so take steps to control him early on.

If you live with other people, make sure they are aware of your training “rules.” It is important that everyone redirects the dog off of the furniture, for example, and that they use the same language when doing so. If everyone’s rules are different, your dog is just going to get confused, which will make the training process much longer and more difficult.

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.

If your dog seems lonely or seems to have separation anxiety, leave the radio or a CD on when you leave the house. The sounds of the music will provide a sense of security and company for your dog. This little touch can help your dog feel less anxious as he awaits your return.

You shouldn’t use a chilly, wet nose to gauge your pet’s health. There are many reasons for your dog’s nose to be cold and wet even if the dog is sick. The overall amount of energy your dog has, its eating habits, and its general behavior are what you should watch. These are better signs of how your dog is feeling. Their temperature can be checked via their rectum.

Although some dogs do well on the recommended amount of food to be given each day, some dogs need more or less. Instead of just going by what your food says to feed your dog, try to keep an eye on your dog’s body. If you notice that your dog is gaining a bit of weight, cut the food intake back a bit.

If you live with other people, make sure they are aware of your training “rules.” It is important that everyone redirects the dog off of the furniture, for example, and that they use the same language when doing so. If everyone’s rules are different, your dog is just going to get confused, which will make the training process much longer and more difficult.

If you pick up a dog from a shelter, make sure that he has been seen by a medical professional. You don’t want to bring home a sick dog unless you are aware of it, particularly if you have other dogs at home. Make sure to ask if the dog you have chosen has been around sick dogs in the past few weeks as well.

Busy dogs are happy dogs. Dogs get bored so easily. This can cause your dog to chew or have other negative behaviors. Tired dogs generally make happy ones. Keep your dog busy to prevent boredom and anxieties that could lead to issues such as chewing.

Do you feel stressed out a lot? Dogs have been proven to help lower your blood pressure and help you to feel calm. People who own dogs often live longer than those who do not. Dogs can also bring you happiness and comfort if you are suffering from an illness.

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.

Having a dog isn’t all fun and games. You have to give yourself some time to really think about what you’re doing, and to act accordingly. You can use the tips here to help you to know what you need to do. You can always have a happy dog, if you take the time to give it a little thought.

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