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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

Solid Dog Tips And Advice Just For You

Who doesn’t love having a dog? The attention they give you is second to none. The friendship they provide is stronger than most. That’s why you have to pay your dog back and make sure that you are doing everything you can for him. Here are some suggestions about how you can do the best for your dog.

If you are in the market for a new puppy, make sure you will have enough time to devote to his training. On average, you need to take a young dog outside to do his business eight times a day and that can take a lot away from your schedule. Training takes more time and patience than most people realize.

Never bring your dog with you while flying during the hot summer months, unless the airline provides a climate-controlled cabin for him. Most of the major carriers use the same area for pets as they do for cargo, meaning your dog will have to endure some pretty high temperatures as you travel to your destination, jeopardizing his safety.

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.

You should only try to teach your dog one new command during each training session. Even if you think your dog is good at picking up on things and will have no issues with that, it is much less confusing for you and him if you focus on just one thing at a time.

Ease your dog into knowing a new baby that comes into your home. If you cherished this informative article in addition to you desire to get more info concerning dog breeds v kindly stop by our website. Dogs can be very jealous and you need to continue to show him plenty of love an affection, even though you’ve got a brand new bundle of joy in your life. Talk to the dog as you handle the baby and keep him in the loop.

Keep your dog’s teeth in tip tip condition. Just like humans, a dog can suffer from toothache, gum disease and even tooth loss. Regular brushing will ensure that that his teeth and gums stay healthy and strong. Without regular brushing, it is estimated that dental disease will affect up to 80% of dogs by the age of three. As well as dental cleaning by a vet, make sure that you brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

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.

Be strong when the time comes to say goodby to your beloved dog. Many owners keep the animal suffering to keep them in their lives and that’s not fair to the dog. Consult with your vet, then talk it over with family. If it’s time to part ways with your dog, do what’s best for him.

If you are having trouble training your dog, see a professional. A lot of people wait until their problems are enormous, but if you would see a dog trainer as soon as you start having difficulty, you will find training goes more easily. Not only that, but you will save yourself a major headache.

If your dog is always drinking out of the toilet, try changing how you provide him with water. Most prefer it cold and fresh, hence the attraction to the bathroom, so buy a fountain or thermally insulated dish to keep his water at a more appealing temperature. Also, add ice-cubes when it’s hot out and he’s panting

Before you head out for a day of fun in the sun with your dog, dab a little sunblock on him! Dogs can get very serious burns on their noses and the inside of their ears, so include him in your sun-protection regimen. Just make sure there’s no zinc or PABA in the product you use.

If you are looking into getting a dog you should ask as much about the dog that you can think of. For example, you will want to know about its mannerisms, level of activity and how affection it is. Ask whatever you can think of, so that you do not regret your decision later.

When it comes to feeding your dog, make sure that you are using a reputable brand that contains enough nutrition. This is important because there are dog foods that contain an undesirable amount of filler in the food. You want to be sure that your dog is getting the amount of nutrients that it needs in order for it to be healthy.

Consider getting your dog from a shelter. Many of the dogs that are brought there are well behaved, yet the owners could not handle the responsibility that came with raising them. For the best results, visit the shelter a few times so that you can find the dog that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Never approach a dog you are unfamiliar with. Teach your children the same thing. An unfamiliar dog may look friendly, but he could have a vicious bite. Even if he is not a biter, he might jump on you, potentially causing harm. Always ask his owner for permission before approaching him.

When training your dog, always make sure that you enter a room before allowing the dog to. This is important because it is an obvious form of dominance that your dog will understand. Establishing dominance will help with your ability to train your dog and with its overall behavior patterns.

If you want your dog to learn to “sit”, start by holding a cookie, or other treat, above his head. This will cause him to look up. When he looks up, gently push his hind end down, and give the command to sit. Give him the treat, and praise him. Soon, he will sit just by hearing the command and seeing your hand go up, and eventually will obey to the “sit” command alone.

As you can see, taking care of a dog isn’t that hard. It might be hard at first, but this article can help. Use other quality resources, and talk to your vet if you need help with your dog.

Pets

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