This post listed below involving Dogs is pretty much enlightening. Read it for yourself and decide what you think about it.
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.
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.
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.
You And Your Dog – Tips For A Great Relationship
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.
Keep on top of fleas. Not only can fleas cause infection in your dog, if one is swallowed, your pet can get tapeworms as well. Speak to your veterinarian about the best prevention method, but remember that this is not a one shot deal. You will have to continue your efforts over the life of your pet.
Your dog has teeth just like you, so it makes sense that he needs proper dental care. Invest in a dog toothbrush and brush his teeth often. Simply allowing the vet to do it at his regular checkups is not enough. You can also purchase treats that are specifically meant to help with your pet’s teeth.
Don’t give table scraps to your dog. This causes regular begging and will cause him to dislike his food. Feeding table scraps to your dog could lead to digestive problems or obesity. Make sure your dog does not sit near the table and beg, so you aren’t tempted.
Just like humans, dogs need to get a good amount of exercise each and every day. If your dog does not get the exercise it needs, it health will decline, and so will his attitude towards life. Take the time to exercise your dog for at least a half hour each day for the best results.
Not everyone is good at training dogs, so quit trying if you see things are not going as well as planned. Instead of beating yourself up about it, get in touch with a trainer in your area. Since they have more experience with dogs, it may be much easier for them to train yours.
To make your dog happy and increase the bond between you, try learning how to give him a massage! It’s been shown in recent studies that structured massages are highly beneficial to a dog’s health and can improve their overall well-being. This activity can also be very relaxing for you as well.
Designate a family member or close friend to be responsible for your dog, should something happen to you. If you are in an accident and unable to get home, your dog will need someone to feed him and address other needs. Perhaps you trust a neighbor with your house keys and they could act for you in a time of need.
Don’t forget about your dog when writing your will. Many pets end up being fought over or neglected completely because specific instructions were not left regarding their care. Include a clause that clearly directs your loved ones on what to do with your dog so that he’s well taken care of.
Unless you’re okay with your dog playing with your shoes and other things around your home, buy him some toys. He will enjoy having things of his own, particularly if they are interactive like pull-toys you can use together. Also buy him things he can use to occupy himself and stay out of trouble!
If you are not allowed to place a fence in your yard but want your dog to run freely there, consider an electric fence. Electric fences are easy and inexpensive to install, and they can help to keep your free roaming pet safely contained. If you have any inquiries concerning where and exactly how to make use of monorchidism In Dogs, you can contact us at our own internet site. Using them will require a little training, but they are quite effective if you put the work in.
Consider puppy training classes for your young pet. Puppies are eager to learn, and a class is a wonderful atmosphere to let them do so in. Classes are also often cheaper than individual lessons. This will teach your pup essential behavioral skills and allow the two of you bonding time too.
If you’re going to be away from your dog for a short period of time, it might be a good idea to invest in a dog crate. A crate for your dog will provide it with a safe and secure area to go into when you aren’t able to watch it for a period of time.
If you have younger children in the home, make sure that you try to teach them what behavior is appropriate with your dog. Let them know the rules and what they are allowed to do. Some dogs are more tolerant of being jumped on, pulled on, and played with than other dogs.
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.
Make sure your dog has a quiet spot in which it can sleep. A crate is a great place to put your dog in the first few months. If you do let your dog sleep with you, be prepared to let him do it every night.
If you’ve just brought home a new puppy, you need to designate a sleeping area for him. If you want to use a crate for it’s bed, don’t let your pup in your bed. If you let your dog sleep in your bedroom or on your bed, keep in mind that you will not easily get rid of this habit.
Do your homework before getting a new dog. Take your time to research the different breeds and what their needs are. You might find that a dog you like the looks of, would be a terrible fit for your family. Too many dogs end up in shelters because people didn’t take the time to learn about their newest family member before getting them.
All of these hints are now at your fingertips, so it is time to make use of them. Take them each, one by one, and start using them every day. The more you change about your dog’s life, the better it will be overall. A happy dog makes for a happy owner, after all!
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