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Pets

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/


Here Are A Few Barking Good Dog Tips.




Dogs have been considered mans' best friend for thousands of years. That lovable animal that you think of as a member of the family has the ability to serve in many capacities. This article outlines some of the ways dogs have been useful to humans in the past, and still serve and important purpose in today's world.

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.

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

Daily brushing for your dog does more than simply prevent shedding. Brushing daily can ensure your dog's coat is shiny and healthy looking. The reason for this is that brushing helps distribute the skin's oils throughout the coat to condition the fur and skin.

Hot summer days are harder for dogs to handle than humans. Always make sure your pet has enough water to drink. Provide them with a shaded area to rest if they are going to be outside for any length of time. And, if your dog begins acting in an unusual manner, call the veterinarian. Heatstroke could be fatal, so it is important to get medical care as soon as possible.

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.

Teach your dog to be trained, even if you don't plan on devoting a lot of time to special tricks. A dog needs to understand the basic hierarchy of the home and should be prepared to listen and learn throughout his life. Practice the basics like "sit" and "down" in the beginning and introduce something new every once in a while.

Accept the aging process in your dog and know how to meet his changing needs. Your older dog may require dietary changes, more rest and not be as playful as he once was. This doesn't mean he should be left to grow old in a corner. Adapt to his needs and make his golden years enjoyable!

If you choose to adopt a pet, take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Shelter dogs have likely been exposed to all kinds of viruses, such as parvo and distemper, which are deadly. It's crucial that your pet has all necessary shots before it's brought into your house.

If you have a new puppy in the house that suddenly begins chewing things, do not fear. This could be a sign that your puppy is teething. To keep puppy from chewing on your belongings, make sure that you have provided him with plenty of chew toys of his own.

It is natural to want to get your dog trained as quickly as possible. However, remember that there is a limit as to how fast this process is going to go. If you are not realistic, you are much more likely to get frustrated with your pet, which could damage your relationship. Your pet will learn over time, but it may not happen as fast as you would like.

You shouldn't use a chilly, wet nose to gauge your pet's health. There are many reasons for your dog's nose to be cold and wet even if the dog is sick. The overall amount of energy your dog has, its eating habits, and its general behavior are what you should watch. These are better signs of how your dog is feeling. Their temperature can be checked via their rectum.

If find this is lonely, consider a friend for him. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and they like to be around other dogs. Ensure you carefully select your dog's match based on behavior and energy levels. By doing this, both of your dogs will be happy.

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.

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.

Every dog needs to have a good amount of exercise in order to stay healthy and fit. It is a good idea for you to take your dog out for a walk at least once a day if you do not have a yard he can use to run around freely.

Stay up-to-date on dog food, specially foods that have been recalled. There have been foods recalled because of being toxic to dogs. You can look online for the latest information about any such recalls, especially on pet friendly forums. You can quickly get news this way.

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.

Your dog loves you unconditionally, and you want to make sure you provide the most for him. Therefore, it's imperative that you utilize the information you've been given so that you can work towards taking good care of your pet. Your pet deserves proper care, and you can now provide that to him.
Dogs

Caring For Your Dog: Tips And Tricks




When you adopt a dog, you never know what you're going to get. Like a box of chocolates, every single dog is different. That said, there are a few things they have in common, such as unconditional love. To make your dog the best he can be, you have to be the best owner, so read the advice below.

Be careful with your dog around Christmas season, many dangers are lurking just under the festive ambiance. For instance, electrical chords are typically strewn about during the holidays, and dogs often chew them, creating an electrical hazard. Dogs may be tempted to eat the decorations on the tree. They may also be tempted by the tree water, which can be toxic.


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.

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.

Be certain that your dog is getting sufficient exercise. Dogs need routine activity and play in order to stay happy and healthy. Even the smallest amount of exercise, such as throwing a ball, will be good for your pup and you. Not only will your canine buddy get the stimulation required for staying healthy, the two of you will bond much more closely.

Teach your dog to be trained, even if you don't plan on devoting a lot of time to special tricks. A dog needs to understand the basic hierarchy of the home and should be prepared to listen and learn throughout his life. Practice the basics like "sit" and "down" in the beginning and introduce something new every once in a while.

Don't be upset if your dog does not want to get dressed up. It's becoming more popular to dress your dog in dog clothes, but some dogs just don't like the feeling of having clothes on. If your dog does not relax after the clothing is on, you should remove the clothing to avoid your dog trying to remove it by itself.

To protect your dog in the event he is lost or stolen, have a microchip surgically implanted by your vet. These handy chips store data that can be retrieved by a shelter or animal officer and used to contact you. They are painless to put in and offer peace of mind for the pet lover!

Know the symptoms of dehydration in your dog, as it is a common ailment that can be dangerous. Particularly during hot dry summer months, your dog may pant excessively and experience a loss of the elasticity of his skin. If you see this, encourage him to drink water and add a little Pedialyte to rehydrate him.


Be consistent when giving your dog commands. This is an area where a lot of dog owners have a problem, especially when you won't feed your dog from the table but your spouse will. Make sure that everyone in your home understands what's acceptable so that the dog will receive a clear message. That will make him more likely to obey.

Remember the saying "The more people that work on something, the less likely they are to succeed" while you train your dog. Not everyone will do things the same way, which can cause confusion. You should have one person take charge of the training procedure, and then ask everyone else to follow their lead once the dog has learned a few simple commands. This allows for consistency that is least likely to confuse your pet.

Dogs, like humans, can develop health problems, and because of this they should be taken to see their vet at least once eat year. This can help to diagnosis any health issues early on, reducing both the extremity of the illness and the cost to fix it. Do whatever you can to follow this rule of thumb strictly.

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.

Always be the boss with your dog. A dog is not only much more apt to be obedient when you are in command, he'll also be much happier. Dogs need to know what's expected of them and that they are being led. This gives them a sense of security and you a more peaceful household.

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

You must learn how to introduce your dog to other dogs. Keep him on his leash during introductions so you have better control. Start with a walk by while keeping his attention on you. Then, on the next walk by, allow the dogs to sniff each other a bit. This will allow them to get to know each other without the dangers of attacks.

You should be giving your dog clean water regularly. Even if your dog does not drink too much water, you should still change his bowl twice a day. Also, if the tap water in your area isn't great, give him or her bottled water. When it comes to drinking water, your dog should have the same quality as you have.

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. can a puppy have too many toys 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.

Caring for a dog can be extremely hard, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. Thanks to the advice in this article, you can appreciate the best parts of being a dog owner without getting hung up on the bad. Take advantage of what you've learned here, and forge a better relationship with your pet.
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