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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/

Follow This Great Article About Dogs To Help You

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.

When you are trying to teach your dog new tricks, you should always be patient. Different dogs will learn things differently. If your dog isn’t picking up a new trick right away, give him time. You could also try changing your teaching method. Your dog may respond better to a different approach.

Never allow your dog to ride in a car unsecured. Sitting on your lap or in the front seat is dangerous both to him and your ability to drive. Always place him in an appropriately sized pet carrier or invest in a pet seat belt that will keep him snug and safe in the middle of the back seat.

Give your dog a great place to sleep. Every dog needs a bed to call his own that is temperature controlled and comfortable. If not, the dog may alternate sleeping locations between undesirable locations, such as your sofa when you’re not watching. A bed also gives him a great sense of security and belonging.

Be sure to keep all medications out of the reach of children and pets. Even if the dog were to eat a couple of pills, it could have very life threatening effects. If your dog gets to your medication, you should call your veterinarian right away.

Teach your dog to be trained, even if you don’t plan on devoting a lot of time to special tricks. A dog needs to understand the basic hierarchy of the home and should be prepared to listen and learn throughout his life. Practice the basics like “sit” and “down” in the beginning and introduce something new every once in a while.

Attention exercises must be practiced daily. These exercises will help you gain your dog’s attention when they are barking or being disruptive or destructive. Once you can gain your dog’s attention, you will have less to worry about when you have him out of the house or when there is company over.

It is very common for objects to get lodged in the pads of your dogs paws. Check them regularly to make sure that nothing is in there. If you see something, be very careful about taking it out, or it may become lodged even deeper. It is a wise to use tweezers for this.

If your vet gives you special instructions for your dog’s care, follow them to the letter. The dog may hate that cone on its head, but it’s there for a very good reason! It is always best to follow the recommendations shared by your veterinarian.

Take your new dog to a vet. Make a vet appointment right after the dog comes home. Your vet will provide a full check up and establish vaccination dates. Unwanted puppies are a tragedy, so make sure your dog gets spayed or neutered.

Make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise- both physical and mental. By teaching your dog tricks that he can do around the house, such as grabbing the newspaper, you’ll be keeping your dog mentally stimulated. He can feel useful and like a family member, and continuing to train him will keep his mind sharp.

If you have a new puppy in the house that suddenly begins chewing things, do not fear. This could be a sign that your puppy is teething. To keep puppy from chewing on your belongings, make sure that you have provided him with plenty of chew toys of his own.

Groom your dog frequently. Keep them clean and reduce the amount of hair they shed by brushing them frequently. When the weather warms up, start checking them for ticks and fleas daily. Dogs generally require a few baths a year. Before you give your dog a bath, make sure to cut or comb out mats and tangles. Rinse their coat thoroughly to avoid dirt sticking to any soap residue.

Keep your dog hydrated. Similar to humans, dogs need plenty of fresh water to drink. If a dog doesn’t get enough water, they can easily get dehydrated, sick, and possibly die. Provide them with a fresh water bowl every day. Always keep it filled and clean for them. Keep the bowl in single location.

It is not uncommon for dogs to get cuts on their paws from stepping on pieces of glass and debris. If your dog has a tiny cut, use an antiseptic to wash it with and then bandage the area. If the cut seems deep, visit your vet.

When choosing a leash and collar, opt for strength. A thick, short leash is your best bet to ensure complete control of your dog. If you have multiple dogs, consider a leash which attaches around your waist to free up your hands for picking up poop or pulling a dog back into line.

Pick up your dog’s messes when you’re out in public. There are still some dog owners who take their dogs on walks and don’t bother to “poop scoop”. This is not a wise thing to do for a number of reasons. Be a responsible dog owner and carry a little bag and scooper if necessary, so that you can properly dispose of the waste. Non-owners will thank you.

Many dogs enjoy things like fruits and vegetables, rice, eggs and cottage cheese. There is nothing wrong with letting them have these things, but they should not make up the bulk of their diets. You should feed them dog food, and implement these items around 10 percent of the time.

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.

Pets

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

Bringing a dog into the home is a decision that should not be taken lightly. If you are considering, or have already extended your family to include a dog, there are things that you should know. Below, you will find a list of quality tips to use to help the transition easier for you and your dog.

Look into subsidized health care for your dog if money is tight. Many local communities, in cooperation with groups like the SPCA offer discounted services that have proven invaluable to dog owners. Look into getting your dog spayed or neutered and vaccinated for a fraction of veterinary costs at a sponsored event probably close-by to you. Just contact the SPCA or an animal shelter in your town.

If your dog is still getting used to the grooming process, only work with him or her in short bursts. Groom for about five minutes and then stop and move on to another activity. Eventually, start adding on two or three minutes to your total grooming time until your pet is able to handle a full session.

Hot summer days are harder for dogs to handle than humans. Always make sure your pet has enough water to drink. Provide them with a shaded area to rest if they are going to be outside for any length of time. And, if your dog begins acting in an unusual manner, call the veterinarian. Heatstroke could be fatal, so it is important to get medical care as soon as possible.

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.

If you do not have any ear cleaner solution on hand, you can use a baby wipe instead. Simply wrap it around the tip of your finger and wipe the inside of the ear’s surface. Only go as far as your finger can easily fit. Do not use Q-tips as they can injure the ear.

If you’ve got just one dog and he doesn’t seem all that happy or is left alone a lot, think about getting him a friend. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and they like to be around other dogs. Match them on energy and temperament for the best selection.

When you have just about any concerns with regards to in which along with tips on how to make use of dogs that start with p, you possibly can call us on our own web site. If you’ve got the most well-behaved and lovable dog around, share his good nature with those less fortunate. You could bring him to visit the elderly in nursing homes or sick children in hospitals. Not only will you be improving the quality of life for those people, but your dog will love being a super-star wherever he goes!

Do you have a hard time keeping your dog from barking? You might be encouraging this behavior without even realizing it. Your dog will keep barking if you acknowledge this behavior. It is best to ignore your dog until it stops barking, even if your dog wants to come inside.

Always use a leash when your dog or puppy is out in public. This helps you make sure your dog always stays by you and prevents them from wandering off or getting into trouble. This can also help you restrain your dog if something upsets them so that they don’t hurt another animal or person.

When it comes to training your dog, you should never have several people in charge. Everyone does things differently, and too many commanders may confuse your dog. Assign a person to do the training and then have others fortify what he learns by following the same guidelines and respecting the procedure.

You should be giving your dog clean water regularly. Even if your dog does not drink too much water, you should still change his bowl twice a day. Also, if the tap water in your area isn’t great, give him or her bottled water. When it comes to drinking water, your dog should have the same quality as you have.

Any dog accident in your home should be cleaned up immediately. Use a cleaner that gets rid of smells. If any scent from their excrement is left behind, they may keep soiling that area.

If you have a smaller breed dog, make sure everyone who touches him knows the proper way to hold him. Small dogs can be easily injured by inappropriate handling and many owners find this out the hard way. Gently lift at the belly from under his front legs and secure him with both hands.

Have your current dog choose your new dog. While dogs are naturally social, some find it easier to get along with newcomers than others. If you find that your dogs are compatible, a lot of anguish and trouble can be saved.

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.

If you have a dog, it is important that you see the vet for a routine check up at least twice a year. Doing so verifies the good health of your beloved family member. If a problem is caught, it is more likely to be less detrimental if caught sooner than later.

One if the keys to training your new dog is lots of practice. The repetitive and consistent training is the best way to teach your dog proper behavior and good long term habits. If you do not have the time to devote to training a dog, you should consider choosing a different pet.

Now that you’ve read this article, you probably have a better understanding of everything dog care entails. As long as you put what you read into practice, there really shouldn’t be anything that can make this go badly. Take time to read this article if you have questions.

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