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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

Got A New Dog And Need Some Advice? Read This!

Are you looking for advice on being a better pet owner? Could you use a few tips on how to provide for your dog? You’re in the perfect place. This article is bursting at the seams with tips, tricks, and suggestions, all of which will help you do right by your pet.

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.

When you have a dog, make sure that you give him enough water. Water should be made available to your dog at all times of the day, particularly in the summertime. Put his water bowl somewhere where no one will trip over it, otherwise you’ll be cleaning your floors all day!

Never give your dog milk! It’s not necessary for his body and he doesn’t have the proper enzymes to digest it anyway. Feeding your dog cow’s milk can lead to chronic diarrhea and leave him with an upset stomach, among other health problems. Stick with plain old water for a healthy and hydrated dog.

Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Plenty of dogs are overweight, and just like humans, this can lead to health issues. People tend to overfeed their dogs, and many also feed them table scraps. A dog doesn’t need as many calories as most people think; talk to your vet about how much you should feed him each day, and what food is most suitable. A vet will advise you based on his size, age and lifestyle.

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.

Avoid impersonating a medical professional when it comes to your dog’s health. In an attempt to save money, many people try to diagnose their pet’s conditions or use human treatments on various elements and that can be very dangerous to the animal. If you can’t afford full vet care, tell that to the doctor and ask their advice anyway or if they could arrange a payment plan for you.

House-training your dog will be much easier if you adopt a routine. You should go for walks regularly throughout the day and come home during your lunch break if necessary. If your dog has to be home alone for long hours, do not leave a bowl full of water unless it is very hot.

Brush your dog often, even if he’s got short hair. It’s good for his coat and skin and can alert you of possible issues like fleas, tics and eczema. The dog will also enjoy the attention and brushing him regularly will keep more of his fur from flying around the house and landing on your furniture and carpets.

Dogs, like humans, can develop health problems, and because of this they should be taken to see their vet at least once eat year. This can help to diagnosis any health issues early on, reducing both the extremity of the illness and the cost to fix it. Do whatever you can to follow this rule of thumb strictly.

Use an olive oil spray to keep your dog’s dish sparkling clean. Particularly if you feed him canned food, it can quickly cake-up and dry on the inside of the bowl, making it hard to wash later. As a bonus, the olive oil will help to keep his coat shiny too.

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. If you loved this report and you would like to acquire far more info regarding How To Keep Cat Out Of Sandbox (Https://Setiweb.Ssl.Berkeley.Edu/Beta/Team_Display.Php?Teamid=2452384) kindly pay a visit to our own web-site. This will teach your pup essential behavioral skills and allow the two of you bonding time too.

Be thoughtful about breeding your dog. Repeated breeding of a female can evetually lead to severe health problems for both the dog and the puppies that is born from her. If you plan to breed be sure to do your research first so that you can be sure that you are doing the right thing for your animals.

Check your dog for ticks and fleas every day when the weather gets warm. Try using a flea comb to remove any fleas that you find. There are a lot of available products that can control fleas and ticks on your dog. Talk to a vet regarding these products or some other options.

Make sure your dog is safe when out in the heat. It’s easy for a dog to get overheated. Make sure that your dog has a shaded, cool spot for hot weather. Clean water will also be extra important during these months. Consult with your vet about the necessity and advisability of sunscreen for your dog.

If you are thinking about getting a dog, it is crucial that you choose a bread wisely. For instance, if you have children, large vicious dogs may not be a good idea. Or, if you live in an apartment, smaller breeds may be better. Pick a dog that works well with your lifestyle.

Never give your dog away for free, no matter how desperate you might feel to get rid of it quickly. Even if you can not care for the animal, it is still your responsibility to be sure that it will have a good life to come. Instead, take the time to investigate the person that you will give it to and charge a re-homing fee to ensure that they are serious about caring for the animal.

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 a happy and healthy dog, you must be a responsible pet owner. There are many things you must do and that will not only help your dog, but will be helpful to you and your relationship with him, too. Use the tips here to make sure your time with your dog is the best it can be.

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