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Dogs

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/


Easy Ways You Can Be A Better Dog Owner




Dogs are known as man's best friend. This saying is quite true. Knowing about dogs can help your relationship between you and your dog. This article will give you some great advice on having a dog as your best friend.

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!

Don't give table scraps to your dog. That encourages him to beg and makes him not want his own food. Giving your dog table scraps isn't good for his health as it could result in weight gain and digestive problems. Insist that your dog wait away from the table during family meals to avoid temptation on his part - and yours.

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.

Brushing your dog's teeth is important, but it is not easy. If your dog is resisting, once a day simply lift their lips and use your finger to rub their teeth lightly. Do it quickly at first, and then begin to draw out the time you spend performing this action. This will help them get use to the process. After that, you can begin using an actual brush and toothpaste.

If you notice your dog gets dry skin in the winter, you probably need to brush him or her more often. Doing so will get rid of old fur and help get their oil glands working properly. Try brushing once in the morning and once in the evening to see if it makes a difference for your pet.

When choosing a dog for your home, don't forget to estimate the size it will be as a full grown adult. This is especially true if you have small children at home. Although a small puppy will be cute, it may grow into a large, one hundred pound dog. Do some research on the average adult size of the breeds you are considering.

Some people think that it is necessary to bath a dog often. The truth is that unless your dog gets into something to get dirty, they only need bathed once every two to four months. Bathing more often could strip their skin of the oils they need for a healthy coat and skin.

Respect your pet. When out on a walk, do not force your dog to interact with other people or animals if he does not want to. There is a reason why your dog may not want to get too close, and it is important that you listen to him. If you try and make him interact, your dog may begin to act out over time.

Attention exercises must be practiced daily. These exercises will help you gain your dog's attention when they are barking or being disruptive or destructive. Once you can gain your dog's attention, you will have less to worry about when you have him out of the house or when there is company over.

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 use a leash when your dog or puppy is out in public. This helps you make sure your dog always stays by you and prevents them from wandering off or getting into trouble. This can also help you restrain your dog if something upsets them so that they don't hurt another animal or person.

If you pick up a dog from a shelter, make sure that he has been seen by a medical professional. You don't want to bring home a sick dog unless you are aware of it, particularly if you have other dogs at home. Make sure to ask if the dog you have chosen has been around sick dogs in the past few weeks as well.

If you are training your dog to not pull when on the leash, you should invest in a quality collar and leash. If you have a larger dog, the force of it pulling might be able to break basic collars and leashes. For this reason a good, strong collar is recommended when you are walking your pup.

Don't bathe your dog after you have applied a flea or tick medication. Some medications tout that they are waterproo, but they only mean against rain or swimming. They will largely wash away with a dog shampoo, rendering the treatment ineffective. If you must bathe the dog after a treatment, use a soap free shampoo.

In order to potty train a puppy, it is of utmost importance to take the dog outside frequently. Doing this will familiarize your puppy with the association between outside and going to the bathroom. Failure to do this will result in a harder time breaking your new family member of his/ her bad habits.

Make sure that you carry small bags and gloves with you while you are out walking your dog. If he uses the bathroom outside, it is your responsibility to clean up the mess. It is unsanitary for you to leave it there, and it some places you may receive heavy fines for that.

Now that you know more about some great advice for taking care of your dog, you can make sure your loving addition to the family is pleased and satisfied. Your dog is going to do everything he can for you, so you need to make sure you return the favor. Use the information you have read to help you.
Dogs

Need Help With Your Dog? Here Are Some Tips.




Dogs make wonderful pets. They provide joy and unconditional love to their owner. You both will be happier if you have a greater knowledge of their needs. This article provides lots of tips on taking care of your pup.

Your dog speaks to you, but it is through non-verbal cues. Your job is to learn to listen carefully so you understand the message. Avoid forcing your dog to interact with others if he doesn't want to. It could end up with someone getting bit. Look for non-verbal cues and follow what the dog is telling you.

If your dog gets lost, it is very unlikely that you will see him again unless he has proper identification. Tags can come off, so the best option is a microchip. It is quick to put in your dog, and it causes minimal discomfort. Simply register the chip ID after it is put in, and your pet will always have his identification with him.

If you are interested in providing your dog with the healthiest of diets and making positive contributions to the earth's environment, make his food from scratch. You can buy locally grown organic ingredients and provide him all the proteins, carbs and fats he needs with no preservatives while reducing the waste from packaging as well.

Have a rotating schedule for dog-related responsibilities in your home. It's not fair for one person to always be taking care of him, and he'll feel more like a family pet if everyone pitches in. Kids often lose interest in a pet and leave the work to parents, but it's important that you teach them to keep up the commitment!

Don't give your dog leftovers from your own plate. This can make your dog not want to eat his dog food, and it will promote begging. Table scraps can actually lead to obesity and other health concerns. Don't allow your dog to beg at the table while you are eating.

Practice your training regimen for your puppy near your home. Don't train them in any areas full of people. They can get distracted, which can make it harder to train them even basic commands.

If your vet gives you medication to take home and administer to your dog, be sure and ask for ideas on getting him to swallow it. Dogs differ in their tolerance of pills and badly-flavored liquids, so have a few tricks up your sleeve in case he resists. Getting a dog to take medicine is important, but often challenging.

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 considering owning a dog, keep in mind the size of your home when selecting the breed. Large dogs do not mix well with small apartments unless you have the ability to walk them frequently. They need exercise and room to roam. In this situation, a smaller barred might be the better choice.

Check your dog for ticks and fleas every day when the weather gets warm. Use a type of flea comb to get rid of fleas you see. Fleas or ticks can be destroyed through numerous products on the market. Speak with your vet before using anything and ask them what your options are.

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.

Stepping on at what age do pitbulls stop growing or glass is a common hazard for dogs waling outside. If you spot a cut on your dog's paw, clean it using an antiseptic before bandaging the cut. If the cut seems deep, have a vet check it out.

Control your voice to control your dog. When he is a good boy, speak in a high-pitched voice and shower him with praise. When he misbehaves, use a very low and gruff voice to indicate your displeasure. Being consistent with this will help him learn faster, making training him much easier on you and him.

Before you decide to go get a dog you should think about the individual needs of different breeds of dogs. Some dogs can get enough exercise in the home, while others may need a few hours outside each day. These factors can mean a lot when it comes to meeting the needs of your new family member.

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

If you have a dog, it is important that you see the vet for a routine check up at least twice a year. Doing so verifies the good health of your beloved family member. If a problem is caught, it is more likely to be less detrimental if caught sooner than later.

Don't bathe your dog after you have applied a flea or tick medication. Some medications tout that they are waterproo, but they only mean against rain or swimming. They will largely wash away with a dog shampoo, rendering the treatment ineffective. If you must bathe the dog after a treatment, use a soap free shampoo.

Puppies may be cute when biting on a slipper, but the cuteness fades when it turns into a dog who is ripping them apart. Stop these problems early. If he's doing something wrong, say "no" firmly. It is best to address this issue early.

A dog can be a faithful companion, but you must know what it takes to be a responsible owner. The article here shared tips any dog owner can use to help make sure their time with their pet is enjoyable. Use what you learned to have the best relationship possible.
Pets
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