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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23745
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My 1.5 year old dog, pit , is obsessively licking his paws

Customer Question

my 1.5 year old dog, pit bull, is obsessively licking his paws and rekdom... my vet has put him on anti-allergy food but it's just getting worse... please help
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.
Julie, Juneau's licking of those areas is consistent with both a food intolerance and atopy (allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites) and atopy is found far more commonly than a food intolerance.Atopy is usually addressed with a short course of a low dose glucorticosteroid such as prednisone or, preferably, with the new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel). Any secondary bacterial or yeast infection in those paws needs to be addressed. Juneau's vet can perform a cytology (microscopic exam of a small sample of the skin surface for abnormal numbers of bacteria and yeast) and then treat accordingly. Skin scrapings of this skin should be performed as well looking for an underlying demodectic mange.A food intolerance which is found in ~15% of these dogs is 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 Juneau's 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 her 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 because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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