If you have an itchy dog, it gets very frustrating very quickly. Nothing seems to help for long, and everyone tells you something different. Is it the food, is it grass, is it mites?
This is an opinion piece, not a regular clinic article. I have been seeing itchy dogs for nearly 30 years and have yet to see one who cannot be helped. Here I’m going to boil down all the conflicting advice into my simple step by step approach.
If you have an itchy dog, then you know how hard it can be. What would you say then if you were told that one of the most effective treatments is sometimes not offered to you? Or that other times it should never have been used.
Prednisolone is a problematic drug, and I understand why vets avoid it, but sometimes it’s just what’s needed. Amber, who’s pictured above is a perfect example.
A normal chicken’s leg is a thing of wonder: shiny, evenly spaced scales completely cover the leg and top of the foot, giving you the unmistakable reminder that chooks are really little pet dinosaurs.
You know a normal leg when you see one, but it’s harder to notice when it’s not. Scaly leg in chickens often goes unrecognised in flocks until it either gets bad, or you end up at the vet for another reason.
There’s just one common cause of a lump on a cat’s face. Have a look at the picture above. I hope you can see that the left cheek isn’t chubby, it’s swollen. This is an abscess and it needs veterinary attention.
Do you have a dog that has a thyroid problem? Or have you started to suspect a low thyroid level could be making your dog sick? Then there’s something you need to know: hypothyroidism is the most poorly diagnosed hormonal disease of dogs.
Lymphoma in dogs is unfortunately quite a common cancer. It happens when the white blood cells called lymphocytes start growing and multiplying uncontrollably. They then spread to the lymph nodes, blood or internal organs.
A rare form that targets the skin is epitheliotropic lymphoma (EL), also called mycosis fungoides or cutaneous lymphoma. It has a very different appearance and outlook.
For a variety of reasons, lip and mouth problems are common in both kittens and cats. Most are easy to fix, but beware: they are hard to tell apart and some are extremely serious. Here are the essential facts for cat owners.
Just read this message. Can it be that we are finally able to help these poor dogs?
“I have a Westie with atopic dermatitis. Have just started on Cytopoint – 2nd injection last week. First one lasted 6 weeks. Have been vilified on a number of FB groups as have other Westie members. Last week was told “well if you want your dog to go blind it is up to you.”
After 5 years my boy has found relief. Tried Atopica and Apoquel. Lots of steroids and antibiotics. Diet. Raw. Grain free. Hypoallergenic. Elimination. Malaseb. Baking soda. Iodine. Tee Tree oil. Oatmeal shampoo and conditioner. Sox. Bootees. Sandals. Onesies. Everything except the cone of shame.”
Grass seed season in southern Australia is that time between October and year’s end when extra care is needed. All dog owners need to know how to prevent and treat this menace. The same also applies to cats to a lesser extent.
I have never seen a drug either so hyped or so demonised as Apoquel®. If you have a dog that lives with itchy skin and allergies you’ve probably already heard of it. You might have heard of miraculous cures of long-suffering dogs. You might instead have heard of a drug too dangerous to trust.
Every seen a mangy dog? Probably not, at least not the way I mean. You have to be my age or older, or travel to disadvantaged places, to be likely to say yes these days. What passes for ‘mange’ now is nothing compared to what it looked like up to a generation ago.
“I thought you can’t bath a dog more than once a month”. We hear this almost every day when we tell someone how the right bathing strategy can help their dog’s skin (read how to bath dogs later). This has to be the most common and widely held myth of all and it deprives dogs of a great way to soothe their itchy skin. However, there is an element of truth to it.
This is Toyah’s gift to all dogs with itchy skin. She had mild dermatitis for a while and her owners quite rightly thought a bath would help. They found a nice-looking soothing shampoo with tea tree oil and gave her a good clean. Instead of getting better, her dermatitis got dramatically worse, and three days later when she came to us her skin was looking angry and sore.
In these days of the ‘Cone of Shame’ most people know that pets shouldn’t lick their wounds. But there is also a long folk tradition that licking and saliva are good for healing. So where is the truth? Somewhere in the middle, as I will explain.
Ted and Millie have been seeing us for over six months now. Ted has a joint problem, recently diagnosed and treated, while Millie has mostly just ‘come along for the ride’. A few weeks ago, however, Millie developed itchy skin associated with pinpoint scabs on the head.