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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17683
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My dog pulls out her fur on the end of her tail, and right

Customer Question

My dog pulls out her fur on the end of her tail, and right at the end of her back above her tail.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr.B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has Bitt had these signs?

Are you seeing any changes to the skin (ie pimples,pustules, scabs, sores, ulcers, redness, dander, or crusting)?

When did you last treat for fleas? What did you use?

Has she had any diet change in the 4-6 weeks before this started?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No diet change. Flea drops one month ago, as directed. Advantage brand. It happens twice a year. Could it be allergies
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

First, if there has been no diet change, no obvious skin disease, and we are seeing a seasonal appearance; then allergies would be on the top of our list for Bitt. Now I am glad that you are using an Advantage product monthly, but I would check which one you are using. The original Advantage (as opposed to Advantage II, Advantix, and Advantage Multi) has been showing some flea resistance and therefore we are seeing some treated dogs still having issues. Now while I'd hope that would not be the case for her, I mention it because the tail base is one of the most common sites for flea allergy dermatitis. And in flea saliva sensitive dogs, all it takes is one bite to trigger an immune reaction and cause the signs we are seeing.

With fleas aside, our other concern for seasonal allergies would be out grass and tree pollens. Now these are obviously not something we can readily remove from her environment, but if her signs are mild we can counter that allergic reaction. To do so, we often will put mildly affected dogs like Bitt on antihistamines. Most commonly we use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/diphenhydramine-benadryl).A low dose (ie. 0.5-2 mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce that allergic irritation. We like to keep the dose low, as it can cause drowsiness (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your wee one has any health issues or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first.

Further to that, for dogs that find antihistamines not strong enough, there are also treatments that her vet can dispense. These include immune modulating medications like steroids, but also Atopica and Apoquel. All can tone down the immune system's overreaction to allergens and stop the irritation that is triggering her behavior. They can be used as needed and could be a seasonal option for her As well, for long term management, you may also want to speak to her vet about immunotherapy. This is where we test a blood sample or perform and inter-dermal skin test to pinpoint what allergens are to blame. Once this is known, your vet can have their local lab develop an immuno-vaccine for Bitt against those specific allergens. This works to retrain the immune system such that these allergens no longer trigger the reaction they currently do.

Overall, based on Bitt's history, this is very suspicious of a mild seasonal allergic skin issue. Therefore, since she is only targeting her tail and there are no signs of infection causing skin changes, we'd want to consider an anti-histamine at this stage. If we find that soothes her signs, then we can use this as needed during her problem seasons. Otherwise, if she needs something stronger, then the above veterinary options would also be worth considering for her.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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