Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.
I'm sorry that your Beagle is itching; I'm certain that she's quite uncomfortable.
There actually could be quite a number of different reasons for this behavior but if this is the first time she's ever had this problem, then pollen-type allergies are not likely to be included on the list....not unless you've moved recently or new landscaping or carpet has been installed or something similar to which she's never been exposed before.
2. Allergies to fleas are also a very common problem in dogs and cause them to itch which I'll include even though you don't see any of them on her body. These patients can become allergic to the flea saliva and one flea can cause them to go crazy. The fleas hop off and on so you might not see them. The area affected is usually on the back in front of the tail, the backs of the legs and the stomach area.
3. If this is entirely new behavior (there have never been skin issues before)or the itch level is worse than it's ever been (if there have been skin problems in the past), then Sarcoptes Mange mites is a strong possibility. These are very itchy mites but are often difficult to find on a skin scraping done by your vet. A blood test is currently available which is more accurate than skin testing although it's not 100% accurate either.
When presented with a patient who is extremely itchy (10/10 for example), then this is one of the first things that should be considered.
(If you have chickens, then Dermanyssus gallinae which is a mite that affects both dogs, people and chickens is a possibility.
4. Food allergies can also cause a dog to itch, especially around their anal area. Typically, these dogs are reacting to foods which they've been eating for a while...not to new foods....
4 Dogs can also become allergic to the food that they have been eating for a period of time; this is difficult to diagnose without a hypoallergenic food trial which is basically reading the label of their current food and feeding them something entirely different (usually the protein and/or carbohydrate source). It can take several months on the new food to know if this is the problem or not.... although, again, this is somewhat of an uncommon problem for a dog this age. Usually, food allergies are seen in much younger dogs.
Options for you to consider to deal with the skin now would be:
1. Shampoos that contain Chlorhexiderm in the label. You should be able to find something like this in pet stores; you wouldn't have to buy it from your vet. I would bathe her two times a week.
2. Over the counter Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) may be helpful to help reduce the itch level in some patients although sedation can be seen as a side effect.
The dose would be 1 mg per pound of body weight twice a day.
3. Fish oil supplements such as Welactin may also be of benefit although these are more of a long term solution for chronically itchy dogs, not so much for the acute cases.
4. Consider a change in food as I mentioned above which should be relatively easy to do unless she has health issues which would take priority.
I hope this helps. Deb
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