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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/

What Every Dog Owner Needs To Know

Dogs are known for being great pets because they’re loyal and friendly. However, if you don’t know how to properly care for a dog, they could be trouble. If you’re wondering what you can do to be sure you’re dog is being cared for properly, read over this article carefully.

If you are on any kind of medication, you should ensure your dog never gains access to it. Dogs can have very negative side effects from even small amounts of medications intended for humans. If your dog does ingest some of your medication, get in touch with your veterinarian immediately.

When training your puppy or dog, keep the sessions short! Experts say that a dog has the attention span of a small child, sometimes less, and that longer sessions will actually cause him to forget everything you’ve learned together. Use positive reinforcement and limit your training sessions to no more than 15 minutes.

Choose a dog in that can easily and happily blend into your lifestyle. For instance, if you like to go running, you’re not going to want a little dog that can’t keep up with you. However, if you’re someone who stays mainly at home then seek out a small dog that loves to be adorned with lots of love while lounging around the house. Keeping a mismatch out of play makes both of you happy.

When preparing to groom your pet, start the session off on the right foot by helping your dog relax. Spend a few minutes simply petting him, starting with the head and then rubbing the back, paws, belly and even tail. Once you feel your dog is happy and content, begin grooming him.

Don’t forget to trim your dog’s nails regularly. Long nails can make him uncomfortable, cause injury to his feet and will ruin your floors. If he makes a “click” sound when he walks on hard wood or linoleum, that’s a good indication it’s time for a trim. Ask your vet to do it if necessary.

When preparing to groom your pet, start the session off on the right foot by helping your dog relax. Spend a few minutes simply petting him, starting with the head and then rubbing the back, paws, belly and even tail. Once you feel your dog is happy and content, begin grooming him.

Dogs love to eat grass and other plants. When you’re outside, this may not be much of a problem, but if you maintain houseplants indoors, chances are they are poisonous to dogs. Before bringing a dog into the home, make sure all your houseplants are well out of reach of a dog who may be tempted by a green tasty treat.

Your dog needs healthy teeth and you should brush them regularly. This helps to prevent dental problems and gum disease, but also prevents other illnesses. Infections in the mouth can spread to other areas of the dog’s body, like the kidneys and the heart. Pet stores sell special toothpaste for dogs.

If you breed your dog, do so responsibly. The AKC advises all owners of pure-bred dogs to make an effort to advance the breed and discard all other motivations, such as money or experimentation. Consider the repercussions of your actions before allowing your dog to mate and create a litter of puppies.

Be prepared to have a lot of patience with your dog during potty-training. Much like children, dogs learn at different speeds and ages and your canine may be slow or stubborn. Have good resources at your fingertips to assist your efforts and remember not to get angry when your dog has “accidents” as that will only impede his progress.

When you are walking your dog in the wintertime, there may be rock salt or chemical ice melters that come in contact with his feet. Once you get back in the house, wash his paws and dry them gently. This will prevent these items from causing any type of infections.

If you’ve got the most well-behaved and lovable dog around, share his good nature with those less fortunate. You could bring him to visit the elderly in nursing homes or sick children in hospitals. Not only will you be improving the quality of life for those people, but your dog will love being a super-star wherever he goes!

If you enjoyed this short article and you would like to obtain even more facts regarding how to keep cat out of sandbox kindly go to the page. Invest in a separate tub if your dog gets frequent baths. Buy a large metal basin where you will have plenty of room to scrub, but won’t risk clogging the pipes in your bathroom. Giving him a bath outside and away from the slipperiness of a porcelain tub is also safer for you

When crate training a dog, be sure to allow it to stop making noise (barking, whining, crying) for at least 30 seconds before opening the crate up. This is important because otherwise the dog will believe that as long as it keeps making noise, you will come and open the crate. It can be hard to do this, but is necessary. Of course, always be sure that the dog is safe and not making noise for some other reason.

Make sure that you spend adequate time on each thing that you try to teach your dog. Even though your dog might catch on to something, for example the “sit” command, it may not be mastered. You’ll want to make sure that the command is done every time that you ask no matter what situation you are in before you move onto a new command.

You need to teach your dog a few simple commands at a very young age for its own safety. Your dog should always come when you call its name and a command such as ‘give’ should be used to get your dog to stop gnawing at a potentially dangerous object.

Never allow a puppy to climb up or down steps in order to prevent joint problems in the future. This is extremely important, especially with breeds that are at high risk for hip dysplasia. Any sort of high impact shock such as jumping or stair climbing should be avoided due to the fact that their growth plates are still developing.

Whatever type of dog you have, and whether or not you are a novice owner or a pro, the advice you have read here should be able to help you out. When you take the time to learn, as you have today, you really are working hard to make your dog as happy as possible. Great job!

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Answering Your Dog-related Questions Is Our Job

A dog scratching at an empty dish may want you to feed it. When your dog needs to empty his bladder, he might scratch at the door. When you have a dog wanting attention, it could give you a certain look. Sadly, not everything he wants is to easily communicated, so read on to learn more about a dog’s needs.

Never hit your dog. There are better ways to train a dog without having to resort to violence. The best way to train a dog is to reinforce positive behaviors with treats and attention. Negative behavior should be handled with a stern and disapproving voice as opposed to striking the animal.

Take your dog to the vet regularly. This may seem like an added expense that you don’t need, but when you take your dog to the veterinarian, he can screen your dog for diseases and make sure he is in the best of health. This of course prevents problems down the road.

Your pet needs vaccinations, much in the same way that your baby does. Some common vaccinations that dogs require include rabies, hepatitis and distemper. Each pet is different, and each will have a different immunization schedule. Your veterinarian is a great resource when it comes to which vaccinations are right for the age and breed of your pet.

Don’t assume your toy-sized dog’s bite isn’t dangerous, just because he’s little. A lot of owners brush-off training, thinking that the smaller breed dog can get away with a little bad behavior and this isn’t true. As a responsible canine master, you’ve got to make certain your dog does not pose a threat to anyone by having him well trained.

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.

Pet boarding and day-care services are a billion dollar business, so make sure you get your money’s worth if you have to leave home without your dog. Although kennels offer interesting opportunities to socialize, your dog will be happier with familiar surroundings. Thoroughly check references for a sitter-service and keep him in his own home if at all possible. Otherwise, put him in a reputable kennel and check up on him oft

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.

Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog the habits that you would like to see from them. For example, if you notice that your dog barks anytime someone enters your home you could reward him for not barking with a treat. The dog will then associate being quite with the reward that he will receive.

Dog training requires you to be consistent. Once you decide you want to establish a rule for your dog, do not make any exceptions. Make sure everyone at home helps you enforce the rule and encourage your guests not to let your dog jump on them or to not acknowledge your dog when it barks.

Always be sure that your dog understands that you are the master if you want to have a well behaved pet. This is important because if your dog believes that he is dominant over you, then you have a much smaller chance of getting it to obey your commands and behave according to your wishes.

Feed your dog dry, premium-quality dog food. This kind of dog food helps to make sure your dog gets all of their vital nutrients. Making sure that they get proper nutrition helps them live a longer life and reduces their chances of obesity, malnutrition, skeletal problems, muscular problems, and many more conditions.

To discourage your dog from chewing everything in the house, combine equal parts of water, white vinegar and apple-cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Gently mist things like shoes and umbrella handles and this should repel your dog. If not, dab a little minty muscle ointment on the things he’s prone to chomping and that should work for sure.

Always make sure your dog has fresh water available. Water is essential for the health of a dog. He can easily become dehydrated without it or look for unsafe water sources, such as puddles or contaminated ponds. Making sure your dog always has water is an easy way to keep him happy and safe.

When you are finding out what kind of dog you want to get, you might want to introduce the prospective pet to your current pet. While dogs are social instinctively, certain breeds and temperaments get along better with others. If you manage to find two dogs who are instant best friends, it will make your job of training them to get along that much easier.

If your dog is ruining your home while you are gone, it is probably suffering from anxiety. This issue is very common in young puppies, especially if they are still getting used to being home alone. You should find some toys your dog can play with and let your dog have a shirt or a blanket that smells like you.

When choosing a vet for your dog, make sure that it is a good experience for both you and your dog. You want your dog to feel comfortable so that the visit will go smoothly. It’s also important to find a vet that helps you fully with any concerns that you may have.

If you have kids, then you probably know how important schedules are. Dogs are the same way. Without knowing what to expect during the day, your pet is likely to become cranky or mean-tempered. How they feel will affect how they behave. That’s why it’s important to provide proper training, playtime and nutrition.

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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