I have a 13 year old terrier/schnauzer mix that is licking and biting at his paw, legs, belly. It's pretty raw in some places. We tried Benedryl as well as an antibiotic but these have not helped. I'm looking at oil of oregano?? Any opinions? Advice?? Thanks so much, barb
Type of Animal: Miniature Schnauzer
Name of Dog: Bailey
Benadryl & novocephalexin
Hello, welcome to JustAnswer! I am a Veterinarian and will help you right away!This sounds like it could definitely be allergies. It leads to itchiness for sure and chewing and just general discomfort. There might not be too many things you can do at home, and you might need something much stronger to help Bailey. Oil of oregano, I see where you are going with that. But, there are better oils to use for the skin. Let me give you my entire skin allergy information:It seems like you have done everything, but you actually haven't yet!Steroid shots are kind of a last ditch option for allergies and skin problems in pets. They work GREAT and do stop the itch right away. So, they can be used for that. But they don't really adress the problem they just mask the problem.It sounds like you have been to your Vet, and some of these tests might have been done. But, if they haven't they are good place to start. Because you might be barking up the wrong tree if you are treating allergies and it turns out to be mites for example.I recommend a skin scraping to look for mites. These are often very deep under the skin and because of that you might not see them with the first scraping. You may have used some flea and tick meds, but these don't always get scabies for example. Revolution is a good product that does.A pluck of the hair is good idea too to rule out other causes of infection, irritation like fungus. It might not look like ringworm, but until the pluck is done you can't be sure.Also, a smear of the skin might reveal that there is actually an infection below the surface that you can't see. Yes, this does happen. Some of these pets will need to be on antibiotics for 4 weeks or more to be sure. You said you have used antibiotics, but it is very important to answer these questions:1. how long? a minimum again of 4-6 weeks is needed for deep infection. Two weeks is not enough.2. which antibiotic? some are better than others - clavamox, cephalexin, baytril have all been used routinely by me, but in some cases there is a skin infection that requires a higher dose than usual or might need to be cultured because of bacterial resistance.Lastly a skin biopsy is not a bad idea with chronic issues. It sounds worse that it is. Usually this is like what your doctor might do in the office. A little local, a punch biopsy tool, and a suture or staple to close and you are going back home again.Dermatology gets confusing. Because of this you might need a dermatologist to iron it all out. This link will help you find one in your area. I know you may have spent a lot already, but you will spend MUCH MUCH more trying to figure this out than just going to a dermatologist for pets. Trust me: Please click here for dermatologist information - you'll be glad you did Changing the food is a good idea. But food changes may take up to two months or more to show positive effect. IT's not just the quality of the food but the protein source. Your dog might be allergic to proteins in the food or wheat gluten, etc.The food I have seen the best results with is Wellness brand. People are loving it! And they keep telling me. I figure that most people don't like to tell you when something is working, they usually will tell you when it doesn't. But this is the opposite of that. My clients really say it helps. I don't get paid by Wellness, but I wish I did. Click here for that link This link will also help you understand a proper food trial for allergies [http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2499](CLICK HERE)[/url]In the end your pet might have to be tested for skin allergies. This might cost some money, but will be well worth it in the end.There are medications for atopy, or inhalent allergies, that work GREAT in pets. One is called Atopica. It isn't super cheap, but there are ways to get the price down. Most smaller pets for example can get down to about $30 a month, which is really actually very cheap when you think about it. Here is a link with their information as well. Truly consider at least trying it. The results are often amazing! http://atopica.com Certain antihistamines will work for some pets and not for others. For some benedryl at 1mg per pound helps every 12 hours. It might not have helped your pet. That's ok. Keep in mind that this won't work as well for mites or infections. Another prescription medication is hydroxyzine. It works very well at blocking ITCH not just as an antihistamine. And remember there are dozens of antihistamines out there. Not all of them are approved for use in dogs, but that doesn't mean that we aren't using them. Consult with your Vet if you have one you might want to try.And actually, what might help the most, and is VERY easy to try is adding in fatty acid/fish oil supplements to the diet. I think this is where you were going with the oregano oils. I'll tell you though I have had great luck with some oils. These nourish the skin, and replace normal oils. They are also anti-inflammatory so they help decrease the inflammation that leads to itch. This would, of all the things I have mentioned, likely be the first and easiest to do.There are MANY types out there. Every petco and petsmart will have similar products. I like this one Click here SO there are lots of options. Unfortunately, none that are free. BUT, these suggestions I gave you I give because they often DO work. So, don't be afraid to try them. Good luck!
Over 10 years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.