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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.

Great Tips For Caring For Your Dog



There is not another pet in the world like a dog. A dog can give you the loyalty and friendship that you can't get with another animal. That's why they deserve special attention. Here are some suggestions to assist you in making sure your dog can live the good life.


You may know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but you may not know the specifics. Chocolate is dangerous because of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous, with a high amount of stimulants. White chocolate contains the least amount of stimulants. Take you dog to vet if he ingests chocolate.

Avoid insisting that your dog socialize nicely with every other passing dog. Experts recommend that your dog be able to tolerate introductions through sniffing and eying with another animal, but say forcing the issue can create problems. Accept your dog's lead when meeting and greeting other animals and allow for natural interaction.

You may know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but you may not know the specifics. Chocolate is dangerous because of the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous, with a high amount of stimulants. White chocolate contains the least amount of stimulants. Take you dog to vet if he ingests chocolate.

Be careful around Christmas time with a dog in your home; it's the busiest time of year at 24/7 animal clinics! Things like hanging and tree lights pose a danger to your dog, as they could become tangled or gnaw their way down to raw wires. The loveliest of Christmas plants are also hazardous to a dog's health, so take extra care during holidays.

It's a good idea to have your regular dog training sessions in your own yard or at home. Don't train them in any areas full of people. This can cause your dog to get distracted, which can make training them simple commands almost impossible.

If you're on a tight budget at home, think carefully before getting a dog. They actually cost hundreds of dollars annually, but many people don't realize this until they've actually forked over the money. Depending on the size and regular maintenance requirements of your new dog, you could be getting in way over your head and forced to part with him later so make sure beforehand.

Do not make training your dog seem like a chore. Dogs pick up on this negative energy and will have a difficult time learning if you are not in the right mind frame. Make it fun and try to look at it as a bonding experience with your pet. When your dog is having fun, they will learn their training quicker.

Your dog should not be left alone outside all day. While this happens quite often, a dog needs interaction during the day. When your dog is the only one you have, leaving him alone will make him sad. Plan on bringing your dog inside when the weather is rainy, snowy, very hot, or very cold.

If your dog isn't happy or is lonely, consider buying a second dog. Because dogs typically run in packs, they typically love being around other canines. Match them on energy and temperament for the best selection.

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 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.

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 essential that you get your dog vaccinated. Vaccinations will protect your dog from different types of illness and diseases. Most vaccinations are done at your dogs yearly check-up. Your vet can explain what each vaccination is for. The rabies vaccine is required by law in many different states.

Even if your dog does not spend the majority of his time outside, it is still important that you bring him or her to the vet for their yearly shots. Your dog could come in contact with other dogs at the dog park or at your home. If the other dog is sick, it could pass on to your dog. This is why it is important that they are vaccinated every year.

Dogs need water just as much as humans do. In fact, approximately 70% of their bodies are water! You need to be sure your dog always has fresh, clean water to drink. Keep bottled water on hand in case of emergencies. You want to make sure your pet has something safe to drink no matter what.

No matter what kind or length of fur your dog has, it is important that they are brushed regularly. Without regular brushing, your dog's fur may become matted. Matted fur can cause inflammation on your dog's skin and is very difficult to remove. Also, brushing click here to read the full report. gets rid of dead hair and helps distribute oils.

It is wise to check your area to find out what the local leash laws are. Many areas require a dog to be leashed at all times if it is not on your property. keeping your dog on a leash is a good idea anyway, as it can be dangerous to let your pet run unattended, where he could be hit by a car, or fight with other dogs.

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.

Care For Your Dog Properly With This Article



When you are doubting your dog ownership skills, you may feel very alone. There are many other dog owners out there who feel exactly the same! Mistakes are made, and we can learn from each other through those situations. Here are some simple tips on being a better owner for your dog.

When you have medications of any sort, keep them where your dog cannot get to it. Swallowing even one pill can end very badly, with a sick or dying dog. If you notice that your dog has consumed any of your medication, you need to immediately contact your vet.

It's a great idea to keep a snap-shot of your dog handy (a digital pic on your phone is ideal) whenever you're traveling with him. That way, if he happens to get separated from the family, you have an up-to-date picture of him that is easily accessible for showing people or can be downloaded for printing up "lost" flyers.

Avoid issues of jealously if you have more than one animal. Particularly if you bring a young dog into the home of an older dog, problems can arise. Be considerate of the patience and energy levels of your senior dog and make sure his feelings aren't hurt by giving the new guy all the attention.

Schedule regular veterinary visits. Regular veterinary exams are extremely important for your dog's overall health - as with humans, it is important to catch any health problems early on. The vet will make sure that your dog is up to date on his vaccinations, and check for any other issues such as weight and dental problems or parasites.

Do you have a "wrinkly" dog, like a bulldog? If so, you have to be conscientious about the grooming process in order to help keep your pet clean. After you brush, take a baby wipe and use it to get in between the folds on their body. Make sure, though, to get them fully dry after doing so.

Unless you're okay with your dog playing with your shoes and other things around your home, buy him some toys. Pets Roof 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!

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.

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

Before you head out for a day of fun in the sun with your dog, dab a little sunblock on him! Dogs can get very serious burns on their noses and the inside of their ears, so include him in your sun-protection regimen. Just make sure there's no zinc or PABA in the product you use.

Be sure to schedule a check up for your new friend with a trusted veterinarian. Immediately after bringing home the new dog, schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. Your dog will get a vaccination schedule and a checkup. Ask your vet about neutering your dog. Shelters are filled with unwanted animals and not neutering your dog means you could be making this problem worse.

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.

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.

Just like a human, any dog needs consistent cleaning. While a dog doesn't need a daily bath, they at least need a bath once a week. A clean dog will be less likely to develop skin problems and will help you keep your house clean.

Dogs love the outdoors. For the most part, dogs really enjoy being outside and being able to stretch their legs. Remember this when choosing the right dog for your family. If you live in an apartment, it is not really fair go look at a dog that needs lots of exercise, unless you are planning on jogging with your dog twice a day.

Some people think it is cute to give their dog alcohol, but it is dangerous. In high doses, alcohol is toxic to humans and even more so for animals. In addition, it affects co-ordination, causing accidents, and can decrease a dog's respiratory rate. Even small amounts of alcohol can kill a dog.

Just like people, dogs need their exercise too. Playing a game of fetch or Frisbee is a great way to get your dog to burn some calories, while having fun at the same time. Dogs should also be walked everyday. Some dogs require more exercise than others, which is why it is so important to understand your dogs needs.

Teach your dog a few basic commands. Simple commands like sit, stay and heel are important for keeping your dog safe and helping him to become friendly around other people. Dogs can easily learn these commands in very little time, and lessons are available if you need some extra assistance.

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.

Not only do you have a friend when you have a dog, you also have a responsibility. It's important that you do your best to make sure that your dog is well-fed, healthy and happy. You need to make sure that you use the tips here to help you so that you and your dog both enjoy a good life.

We had been made aware of that article on Dogs from a buddy on another web address. Sharing is good. Helping people is fun. Thanks for being here. Kindly check up our site back soon.
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