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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27933
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a boston terrier ,he has hair loss on s front and

Customer Question

i have a boston terrier ,he has hair loss on his front and back feet,i have taken him to the vet,they did a scraping and found nothing ,they gave him antibiotic no help they say its a food allergy but its not getting better.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

If your Boston has been licking at his feet and causing the hair loss both atopy - allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc. - and a food intolerance (less likely) should be considered. Atopy can be addressed with a corticosteroid such as prednisone or, preferably, with the new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) which should work as well as a steroid but without a steroid's adverse effects. Alternatively, you can have him scratch or blood-tested to see what he's allergic to and have a serum manufactured with which you would administer "allergy shots" or sublingual therapy.

Food intolerance/allergy is best addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that her immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen but it can take up to 8-12 weeks in some dogs. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

Make sure that in addition to skin scrapings a cytology (microscopic exam of a small sample of affected skin surface) is also performed. We need to know if abnormal numbers of either bacteria or yeast are present which would need to be addressed before the above therapies can be successful. His poor response to an antibiotic would appear to rule out abnormal numbers of bacteria, however. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A big help,I now have new things to try,thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Good to hear. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Same ,for now.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks! Keep me posted.

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