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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/

When In A Spot Of Dog-related Trouble, This Article Will Help

Anyone can go out and get a dog and bring him home. However, if you wish to properly care for your dog, you must know what you’re doing. Pay attention to the following helpful advice so that you can make sure your dog has everything it needs in order to live and long and healthy life.

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 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.

Keep a leash on your dog at all times. Something could distract him, like a squirrel or a cat, causing him to leave your side. You are responsible for anything your dog does, as well as for his safety.

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.

Be sure your dog sees the vet once a year. Your pet will need to go to the vet so it can get tested for heart worms, get a general check up, and to see if the shots are still up to date. A puppy will have to visit the vet more frequently. You need to go to the vet as soon as your dog seems sick or hurt.

Make sure you have the correct dog supplies. Here is more info about Dog Breeds Beginning With P (Www.Freshstation.Org) visit our site. Before bringing your dog home for the first time, be sure that you are equipped with the right supplies. Every dog needs a good sized food and water bowl, a collar and leash, toys, and a comfy place to sleep. Also, remember to purchase an identification tag immediately.

Be sure to keep your dog’s nails clipped in order to prevent injury. This can occur both from the dog scratching itself or also from having its nails get caught in things such as carpet. In order to be sure you are cutting the nails correctly, be sure to check with the veterinarian or groomer.

Send your dog to school! He will feel more comfortable knowing exactly what is expected of him and obedience school will help him learn that. It will also boost his self-confidence, and of course, make a more well-behaved pet of him. Call around locally and see if you can sign him up for a trial class and take it from there.

Accept the aging process in your dog and know how to meet his changing needs. Your older dog may require dietary changes, more rest and not be as playful as he once was. This doesn’t mean he should be left to grow old in a corner. Adapt to his needs and make his golden years enjoyable!

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.

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.

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.

Do not make training your dog seem like a chore. Dogs pick up on this negative energy and will have a difficult time learning if you are not in the right mind frame. Make it fun and try to look at it as a bonding experience with your pet. When your dog is having fun, they will learn their training quicker.

If you bathe your dog often, watch out for signs of painful earaches that can be problematic for canines. They can happen when too much water gets into the ears. Use cotton balls dabbed in baby oil while giving him a bath, and that should keep water from getting in, even if he splashes around.

If you are not sure how your dog will react to other dogs, make sure you keep them on a leash during the first introduction. Rescue dogs especially can be unpredictable around other dogs. Keeping your dog on the leash will allow you to better control their behavior. Once you feel comfortable and your dog is adjusted, you can take them off the leash and let them play.

You need to teach your dog a few simple commands at a very young age for its own safety. Your dog should always come when you call its name and a command such as ‘give’ should be used to get your dog to stop gnawing at a potentially dangerous object.

If you are thinking about getting a dog, it is crucial that you choose a bread wisely. For instance, if you have children, large vicious dogs may not be a good idea. Or, if you live in an apartment, smaller breeds may be better. Pick a dog that works well with your lifestyle.

Once you are equipped with great advice about caring for your dog, you will be better prepared for the day to day life with him. You will be better capable of dealing with any issues that occur. Take notes and post them around your house so when you question what you are doing, you can get a quick reminder of what you should do.

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We’ll Answer All The Dog-related Questions You Might Have

You love your dog to the ends of the world. He loves you straight up to the moon. That love is irreplaceable, which means you have to ensure your dog is happy and healthy every day of the year. This article has a ton of great advice for you, so continue through until the very end.

If you are looking for a great family pet, but are on a budget, consider rescuing an animal.You can get one at a local shelter for minimal costs and the dog will come with a clean bill of health and all his shots. If you are interested in a specific breed, contact a rescue group specializing in only those pooches.

Your pet needs vaccinations, much in the same way that your baby does. Some common vaccinations that dogs require include rabies, hepatitis and distemper. Each pet is different, and each will have a different immunization schedule. Your veterinarian is a great resource when it comes to which vaccinations are right for the age and breed of your pet.

When preparing to groom your pet, start the session off on the right foot by helping your dog relax. Spend a few minutes simply petting him, starting with the head and then rubbing the back, paws, belly and even tail. Once you feel your dog is happy and content, begin grooming him.

If you are thinking about adopting a dog, try taking a couple of weeks off work so you can spend some time with your puppy and teach it a few good habits. Training your puppy and helping it get used to its new environment will be much easier if you are home.

Keep the nails on your dog trimmed. If the dog’s nails curl under, your dog might be in pain. Buy some clippers and do the job yourself. If your dog does not respond well when you try to trim the nails, a groomer or even your veterinarian can handle the task.

Don’t be upset if your dog does not want to get dressed up. It’s becoming more popular to dress your dog in dog clothes, but some dogs just don’t like the feeling of having clothes on. If your dog does not relax after the clothing is on, you should remove the clothing to avoid your dog trying to remove it by itself.

Daily brushing for your dog does more than simply prevent shedding. Brushing your pup daily will help make their coat shiny. The brushing motion encourages distribution of the skin’s oil, leaving the coat healthy, soft and glossy.

Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog the habits that you would like to see from them. For example, if you notice that your dog barks anytime someone enters your home you could reward him for not barking with a treat. The dog will then associate being quite with the reward that he will receive.

Dog training requires you to be consistent. Once you decide you want to establish a rule for your dog, do not make any exceptions. Make sure everyone at home helps you enforce the rule and encourage your guests not to let your dog jump on them or to not acknowledge your dog when it barks.

Have a rotating schedule for dog-related responsibilities in your home. It’s not fair for one person to always be taking care of him, and he’ll feel more like a family pet if everyone pitches in. Kids often lose interest in a pet and leave the work to parents, but it’s important that you teach them to keep up the commitment!

If you breed your dog, do so responsibly. The AKC advises all owners of pure-bred dogs to make an effort to advance the breed and discard all other motivations, such as money or experimentation. Consider the repercussions of your actions before allowing your dog to mate and create a litter of puppies.

To discourage your dog from chewing everything in the house, combine equal parts of water, white vinegar and apple-cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Gently mist things like shoes and umbrella handles and this should repel your dog. If not, dab a little minty muscle ointment on the things he’s prone to chomping and that should work for sure.

You need to invest in a quality collar and ID tag with your address on it. Choose a robust collar that is adapted to the size of your dog. You should be able to easily fit two fingers inside the collar. Do not forget to update the ID tag if you get a new phone number.

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.

A great way to have some company on your car rides is to take your dog with you. Most dogs enjoy riding in the car. Riding in the car is also a good place to practice some training exercises with your pet as well. You can practice “stay”u009d when the dog enters and exits the vehicle. Always remember to leave windows down because heat from a closed car can kill the dog.

Do not set expectations too high for a dog. Dogs have a much shorter attention span than humans do, so adjust your training time with your dog accordingly. Try training your dog for a few minutes each day so he doesn’t get too frustrated at first.

Discipline is as important for puppies as it is for children. In fact, it can be more important because puppies quickly grow to full size and need to respect you before reaching full size. You should gently but firmly teach your puppy he is not allowed to bite or jump up on anyone.

Now that you have reached the end of this article, have you learned something new? If so, how will you start to use it in your everyday life? The most important part of learning is using your new knowledge, so take the time to implement this advice and enjoy the benefits you receive.

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