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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/

Dogs

Take Control Of Caring For Dogs Today!

Dogs are known as man’s best friend. This saying is quite true. Knowing about dogs can help your relationship between you and your dog. This article will give you some great advice on having a dog as your best friend.

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!

Always be prepared to pick up after your dog with a scoop and bag. Although most people think that this is simply a polite thing to do so that others don’t step in it, your dog’s excrement is actually hazardous!rnIt contains a bacterium that can contaminate local supplies when it washes through to ground water.

Never hit your dog. There are better ways to train a dog without having to resort to violence. The best way to train a dog is to reinforce positive behaviors with treats and attention. Negative behavior should be handled with a stern and disapproving voice as opposed to striking the animal.

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.

Be prepared to have a lot of patience with your dog during potty-training. Much like children, dogs learn at different speeds and ages and your canine may be slow or stubborn. Have good resources at your fingertips to assist your efforts and remember not to get angry when your dog has “accidents” as that will only impede his progress.

Check with your vet to determine the amount of food to feed your dog daily. Though some folks feed whatever the package recommends, those guidelines are not always appropriate and can lead to overfeeding. Speak to the vet about what makes sense for your dog.

Be cautious with female dogs in the heat. If you aren’t, you may have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Male dogs can pick up the scent of a female dog in full heat up to five miles away. If you liked this short article and you would like to obtain additional details with regards to why Cats try to Bury Their food kindly check out our own web-site. This may cause a fight or impregnation if a male dog spots her.

If you already own a dog and are getting another one, have the two meet before bringing the new one home. Dogs can be quite social, but some are more effective at socializing than others. Finding the right dog for you will save you lots of trouble in the end.

Respect your pet. When out on a walk, do not force your dog to interact with other people or animals if he does not want to. There is a reason why your dog may not want to get too close, and it is important that you listen to him. If you try and make him interact, your dog may begin to act out over time.

Remember that dogs are creatures of habit and anything you start with him will be expected in the future. If you’re not keen on him sleeping with you, don’t let him do it only on occasion. Likewise, if you don’t want him begging at the table, never offer him a bite of people food. He will learn and accept things if you are consistent.

Consider puppy training classes for your young pet. Puppies are eager to learn, and a class is a wonderful atmosphere to let them do so in. Classes are also often cheaper than individual lessons. This will teach your pup essential behavioral skills and allow the two of you bonding time too.

Never leave your dog inside your vehicle. Remember that your dog needs supervision and that it could become dehydrated very quickly, especially during the hot summer months. It is best to leave your dog at home for a few hours if you have to go somewhere and cannot take your dog inside.

Dogs sometimes get tiny cuts on their paws. If your dog gets a small cut, wash it with an antiseptic and place a bandage around the area. Deep or serious wounds must be seen by a vet.

Some vitamins are not beneficial for dogs. If your dog already has a good diet, avoid giving him supplements. Too many vitamins can damage his body, particularly the bones, joints and blood vessels. Before giving your dog vitamins, speak with your vet.

Don’t bathe your dog after you have applied a flea or tick medication. Some medications tout that they are waterproo, but they only mean against rain or swimming. They will largely wash away with a dog shampoo, rendering the treatment ineffective. If you must bathe the dog after a treatment, use a soap free shampoo.

No matter what kind or length of fur your dog has, it is important that they are brushed regularly. Without regular brushing, your dog’s fur may become matted. Matted fur can cause inflammation on your dog’s skin and is very difficult to remove. Also, brushing their fur regularly gets rid of dead hair and helps distribute oils.

Dogs will need veterinarian check ups twice a year when they become old. Dogs can age quickly over the course of a year, and older dogs will need more vet examinations in order to catch any changes their bodies may be going through. Additional tests, such as blood, urine, and ultrasound may be needed.

Hopefully, the advice you’ve found in this article has addressed any concerns you might have. Even if your problem isn’t addressed specifically, you may find that these suggestions can help you resolve your issue. Dog care isn’t as complicated as it seems, and some tips truly are one size fits all.

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