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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. If you liked this information and you would such as to get additional details pertaining to at what age do pitbulls stop growing, lmf168.com, kindly browse through the webpage. 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/

Pets

Great Advice Any Dog Owner Can Use

Dogs are unlike any other animals you can own as a pet. They love you unconditionally, cheer you up when you are down, and want you to love them as much as they do you. This article will tell you how to make your dog’s life as amazing as it deserves it to be.

When giving your dog a bath, make sure that you only put on shampoo that is intended for canines. Using lukewarm water, get the entire body wet and then begin applying the shampoo to their face, working your way down their body. Wait a few minutes and then take a washcloth and wipe off the suds from your pet’s face. Wash off the rest of the shampoo as well.

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.

If you have medication is your home, even if it is just over-the-counter medication, place it where your dog cannot access it. Getting into those pills could seriously impact your dog’s health and even cause death. If you notice that your dog has consumed any of your medication, you need to immediately contact your vet.

If training has become routine and boring with your dog, consider introducing agility exercises into the mix. These will still teach your dog to obey and be challenging, but they tend to be a lot more fun than the regular commands. Get the whole family involved by making an obstacle course and working the dog through it frequently.

Try to always be aware of how your dog is feeling. If your dog seems to be nervous, fearful, or scared of certain things, you should take note of this and try to avoid putting your dog in a stressful situation. When a dog is stressed or afraid, you could traumatize your dog if you insist that it stays in the stressful situation.

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.

Determine your dog’s specific exercise regimen. Dogs have different fitness needs based their sex, overall health, age, breed mix, or breed. Every dog should have a couple 10-minute walks a day around the block. Dogs between 6 and 18 months, active breed or mixed breeds, terriers, hounds, and herding dogs will most likely require more fitness than others types of dogs.

If you have tried everything to get your dog to stop digging your garden to no avail, head to your kitchen. Mix up a batch of cayenne pepper (five tablespoons), hot sauce (also five tablespoons) and a quart of water in a spray bottle and spray it where he digs. It should discourage him quickly.

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.

Determine your dog’s specific exercise regimen. Dogs have different fitness needs based their sex, overall health, age, breed mix, or breed. Every dog should have a couple 10-minute walks a day around the block. Dogs between 6 and 18 months, active breed or mixed breeds, terriers, hounds, and herding dogs will most likely require more fitness than others types of dogs.

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.

Your dog’s nose is not a way to determine if your dog’s health is good. Your dog’s nose may be wet and cold even if they are sick. Judge a dog’s health by demeanor, appetite, and energy levels. You will be able to learn a lot about how your dog might be feeling. A dog’s temperature can be taken rectally if need be.

It is natural to want to get your dog trained as quickly as possible. However, remember that there is a limit as to how fast this process is going to go. If you are not realistic, you are much more likely to get frustrated with your pet, which could damage your relationship. Your pet will learn over time, but it may not happen as fast as you would like.

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.

Don’t delay the social interaction of your puppy with other dogs when it is young. Getting your pet groomed, taking it on play dates with other dogs, or going to the dog park can help your dog to socialize with other animals.

Yelling at your dog or displaying any other violent behaviors are not good options. Your dog will fear you and establishing a bond with your pet will be very hard. The best way to train your dog is to use positive reinforcement and simply say no in a firm voice when you catch your dog misbehaving.

Some people think it is cute to give their dog alcohol, but it is dangerous. In high doses, alcohol is toxic to humans and even more so for animals. In addition, it affects co-ordination, causing accidents, and can decrease a dog’s respiratory rate. Even small amounts of alcohol can kill a dog.

Not only do you have a friend when you have a dog, you also have a responsibility. It’s important that you do your best to make sure that your dog is well-fed, healthy and happy. You need to make sure that you use the tips here to help you so that you and your dog both enjoy a good life.

Dogs

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