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external pageWe have stumbled upon this article pertaining to Dogs down the page on the net and concluded it made good sense to discuss it with you in this article. 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. 

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  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/

(Image: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1Rm4Hd9EyoTqSOWe5ryp6CGYsmo_qleQT) external page Great Advice Any Dog Owner Can Use

We all love to ask for advice. Sometimes we ask about our children, or a house repair, or even financial situations. Asking for advice about dogs is also great, and this article is a perfect place to start. You'll find a ton of tips which really change how you view your dog.

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 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.

If your dog has long hair, make sure to take the time to trim the fur around his feet. If you allow your dog's hair to grow too long, they can get things stuck in their fur. This could lead to injuries between the pads of the feet and around the nails.

Talk to your vet about how much to feed your dog. Some people feed the dog based on their food package recommendations, but these can be wrong and cause them to be overweight. Check with you vet to find out about the feeding guidelines for your particular dog.

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!

You may be tempted to use your favorite hair shampoo on your dog, but this should not be done. Human shampoo can cause dog skin to dry out. Instead, find a quality shampoo that is made for dogs. When you bath your dog, make sure to rinse all of the residue out of his fur.

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.

If your dog seems to have a bad reaction from every shampoo you use on him, try a green product. Most commercial brands of dog shampoo contain a lot of things like phosphates and sulfates, which can irritate your dog's skin. They are also harmful to the environment so you'll be solving two problems at once.

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.

If training your dog is more than you can handle, you should consider sending it to obedience school. Do some research to find out more about the different obedience schools in your area and talk to other dog owners to find the best school possible. It is best to send your dog to obedience school while it is still a young pup.

Owning a new puppy is very similar to having a new baby. Puppies need a lot of attention and have to be taken care of constantly. They are not ready to be left alone for long periods of time and need to have a fair amount of attention devoted to them.

If you have a smaller breed dog, make sure everyone who touches him knows the proper way to hold him. Small dogs can be easily injured by inappropriate handling and many owners find this out the hard way. Gently lift at the belly from under his front legs and secure him with both hands.

Do not believe that a wet, cold nose can judge the health of your dog. A cold and wet nose could be due to many reasons, and it does not preclude illness. Keep an eye on your pet's health by monitoring their mood, appetite levels, and how much energy they have. They'll all really tell the story of your pet's health. If necessary, you can get a rectal temperature reading as well.

One if the keys to training your new dog is lots of practice. The repetitive and consistent training is the best way to teach your dog proper behavior and good long term habits. If you do not have the time to devote to training a dog, you should consider choosing a different pet.

Keep your dog safe from dangerous chemicals. Similar to kids, cleaning chemicals and any car maintenance substances are harmful to them. These substances are poisonous, so if a dog gets any on them or ingests any, they could get burned, become very sick, or die. Store your hazardous chemicals in a place that your dog can't get to, or keep them in a closed area using a child-proof lock.

It is important that you choose the best veterinarian for your dog. Randomly picking out a name from the phone book may not be such a good idea. Instead, ask friends or family members if they know of a good vet or look online for reviews on vets in your area.

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.

(Image: https://freestocks.org/fs/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/easter_bunny_7-1024x1536.jpg)As you can see, taking care of a dog isn't that hard. It might be hard at first, but this article can help. Use other quality resources, and talk to your vet if you need help with your dog. (Image: https://drive.google.com/uc?id=18b6-8FEmB1eaMtbvxZm9kA3lPEhKk5oZ) We are very excited about Pets and I really hope you liked the page. Remember to take the time to distribute this content if you enjoyed reading it. If you are you looking for more in regards to difference Between a rabbit and a bunny stop by the page. I recognize the value of your readership.

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