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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 is honey okay for cats 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/


Breeders Best Tips On Training Your New Dog




There is no such thing as a perfect dog owner. You may look back regretfully on mistakes you've made, but the truth is that you're not alone. Learning from your mistakes is key, and this article should show you the right way to care for your dog as it is chock full of advice from other owners like you.

Just like people need regular yearly physicals, dogs need the same thing. Your dog can't speak to you, which means it isn't easy to tell if they're having a tooth ache or issues with arthritis. Annual checkups can catch these things before they become major problems.

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.

Be careful if you're searching for a new dog on Craigslist or other classified ads. Many people exaggerate the truth in order to unload problems or challenging training issues and you could end up with an impossible situation on your hands. Only talk to people who are verifiable through vet records and demonstrate positive handling experience.

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.

Be sure to praise your dog freely and consistently whenever he exhibits a desired behavior. This communicates to your dog that he is doing just exactly what you want. It also teaches your dog that when he does the things you want, he will get praised.

Try not to force your dog to eat things. If you're trying to get your dog to eat a new treat and it's not showing any interest, don't force them to eat it. When you are a new dog owner, it may take a while to figure out what he does and doesn't like.

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.

Although the sound may be cute, your dog's nails shouldn't click along the floor when it walks. That's a sign that the nails are too long. The nails should actually just barely touch the ground. Seek the advice of a professional on what tools are the best for giving your dog a pedicure.

Try to provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to socialize. Take him on walks to the park or beach where he will be around people and other dogs. Encourage his interactions with others and praise him for good manners. He'll be much more comfortable in any setting and generally happier too.

You should take the time to reflect about your lifestyle before getting a dog. You may really want a dog; however, you need to have both the time and patience to make the commitment that a dog requires.

Punish your dog carefully. You should never punish your dog for a mischief that happened more than fifteen minutes ago since your dog will probably not establish a connection between the punishment and the bad behavior. If you catch your dog misbehaving, say no in a firm voice and have your dog sit in a corner for a few minutes.

Make sure that you're feeding your dog a good quality food. Most dog foods available at your grocery store are mainly made up of grains or corn. Instead of this, you should try to find a dog food that is mostly made of meat. Foods that are high quality can provide you with many benefits, such as having a healthy pup, less vet visits, and your dog's coat will shine more.

If your dog is covering everything in the house with his shedding fur, grab a paper towel. Lightly wet it with water and rub it down his back in the direction of fur growth. The loose hair should come off easily on the paper towel and your dog will love the attention too!

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.

Keep your dog hydrated. Similar to humans, dogs need plenty of fresh water to drink. If a dog doesn't get enough water, they can easily get dehydrated, sick, and possibly die. Provide them with a fresh water bowl every day. Always keep it filled and clean for them. Keep the bowl in single location.

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.

There is a wealth of information available to help you to become a fantastic dog owner. Bringing him home is only the start of the journey. Caring for your dog is a lot of work. Take the information learned today and use it to make the experience with your dog very rewarding.
Pets

Tips For Finding The Perfect Dog For You And Your Family




Owing an animal is a major responsibility. In a way, it's almost as if you have a child, but your dog barks vs crying. While this is a serious responsibility, you can care for them with knowledge and patience. Continue reading to find out some great tips for caring for your dog.

If the cost of your dog's high-quality food is a burden for your family, team up with another one and buy in bulk. try this -name pet store chains offer top rated names in pet cuisine at a significant discount when bought in the larger quantities. You can minimize the cost for you and some friends while still providing your dogs with fresh and wholesome meals.

Obviously, dogs are unable to sleep. Therefore, you have to pay attention to your canine's non-verbal cues. If your dog is fearful or shy, do not insist that they interact. It could end up with someone getting bit. Look out for non-verbal hints so that the dog can guide your actions.

Your dog needs a stimulating environment if it is going to live a long and healthy life. Providing him or her with one is not really that hard. Simply make sure you take your dog for walks each day, and purchase a few toys that you and your pet can play with together.

Know the basics of pet first-aid if you have a dog in your family. Being able to react quickly in an emergency, such as your pooch being bitten by a snake, can mean the difference between life and death. Read a good book on the subject or ask your vet to brief you on the basics.

Giving your dog a bath is essential to his health. Depending on his size and activity level, toss him in the tub weekly or monthly and always use a shampoo that is made for dogs and is pH balanced. Pets have different pH levels than humans and a good dog shampoo will leave your canine clean with a beautiful shiny coat.

Check to make sure your dog's collar is adjusted properly by fitting two of your fingers comfortably underneath it and pulling gently. There should be just enough room to do this and no more, otherwise he may be able to wiggle out of it. Always keep it on, except during crate transport, as the collar can get snagged and injure.

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.

Getting a dog on a whim is rarely a good idea. You need to make sure you can afford to feed a dog and cover medical expenses before getting a pet. Research different breeds to figure out which dog would be best for your family, your lifestyle and the size of your home.

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.

If you're going to be away from your dog for a short period of time, it might be a good idea to invest in a dog crate. A crate for your dog will provide it with a safe and secure area to go into when you aren't able to watch it for a period of time.

Although some dogs do well on the recommended amount of food to be given each day, some dogs need more or less. Instead of just going by what your food says to feed your dog, try to keep an eye on your dog's body. If you notice that your dog is gaining a bit of weight, cut the food intake back a bit.

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.

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.

Never leave your dog inside your vehicle. Remember that your dog needs supervision and that it could become dehydrated very quickly, especially during the hot summer months. It is best to leave your dog at home for a few hours if you have to go somewhere and cannot take your dog inside.

Never punish your dog for their negative behaviors. This will only lead to confusion and possibly resentment as well. If you want a well behaved dog it is best to instead focus on the behaviors that you like and work from there to train them to add more positive behaviors to the list.

Never approach a dog you are unfamiliar with. Teach your children the same thing. An unfamiliar dog may look friendly, but he could have a vicious bite. Even if he is not a biter, he might jump on you, potentially causing harm. Always ask his owner for permission before approaching him.

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.

After reading the above article, are you now more aware of what is required to care for a dog? This article has given you important advice than will ensure you know how to care for your dog. Use these ideas to ensure that your dog is happy and well cared for.

I'm certainly very occupied with Dogs and I hope you enjoyed reading our blog post. Sharing is caring. Helping others is fun. We value your readership.

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