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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10743
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My dog has been treated for fleas for nonstop scratching

Customer Question

My dog has been treated for fleas for nonstop scratching licking and biting. After the treatment and inspection of his entire body to find no fleas he is still scratching, biting at areas of his body and licking for hours at a time.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 8 months ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I am not set up to do phone calls but would be happy to answer any questions you do have online. If you get a request for a phone call, it is from the website and not myself. In order to give an informative and concise answer, it may take a few minutes before I respond back to you, so don't be alarmed if you don't hear back immediately if you have responded back to me within 10 minutes of my response. I do have a couple more questions, though, to see if I can better assess your situation.

Where exactly on his body is he itching?

Any areas of hair loss or sores/redness on the skin? If so, where?

Is there any substance that looks like dirt on his skin?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Where exactly on his body is he itching? Answer.....Everywhere.....legs, side he scratches with back legs.....licks endlessly his crotch area with a disgusting slurping gulping noise, behind his ears which also causes him to yelp out sometimes. I have to bathe him once a week bc he well smells bad. I use the same shampoo the SPCA used which is an oatmeal based shampoo with aloe and stuff. I brush him with a very expensive dog brush called the furminator to make sure theres no larvae from fleas.Any areas of hair loss or sores/redness on the skin? If so, where? No sores, no red skin, no fleas, nothing.Is there any substance that looks like dirt on his skin? No, he is an inside dog and other then not being house trained, he is indoors 95% of the time, so no dirt.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Additionally he sometimes bites at his tail which is only a nub as it was removed, yesterday he was at it for over 30 minutes, biting, licking.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 8 months ago.

Thanks for the information. I assume no areas of hair loss either? While fleas are still possible because you cannot always see the fleas, especially if there are only a few running around on them, or the dog is allergic to the flea saliva, there is a strong possibility that you are dealing with some other form of allergy as well, either environment or food. Environmental allergies are most likely. The best course of action is to have your vet rule out an underlying skin infection to make sure he doesn't need to be on antibiotics (less likely if there are no skin lesions whatsoever, including hair loss, scaling and crusting), but it sounds like he most likely needs to be on a course of prednisone to get the itching under control. Determining what the allergy may be usually requires allergy testing, which is usually not necessary if you don't plan on putting him on allergy injections. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No, there is no hair loss and there is absolutely not 1 flea on him, ive looked for hours...hes a huge dog and ive done my due diligence. I KNOW for a fact there isnt 1 flea on him but this scratching and biting and licking is forcing me to make a decision on whether or not to keep him. The food he eats is nothing more then his dog food, no people food is given, although he tries to beg hes on Science Diet Advanced which is what the SPCA was feeding him. Whilst I want to take him to the vet, I dont want the vet to say well theres really nothing you can do as its just something he does and poof $100 for a vet visit for no answers. He wasnt doing it for the 1st couple of days when we bought him home a couple of weeks ago but since then its nonstop, if an anti itch medication either orally or applied to his skin will absolutely rectify the problem im willing to accept that and get it, but if it doesnt work im going to be more inclined to make him an outside dog so I don't have to listen to it. If he was doing this at the SPCA when we were checking him out he'd still be there.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 8 months ago.

Well, like I said, it does sound like he has more of an environmental allergy issue to something growing or pollinating outside. It could be stuff in the house as well, like dust mites, mold, dander, etc. The problem with allergies is that there is not a cure. The closest thing to a cure is allergy injections based off allergy testing, which is not always 100% effective. Some of these dogs may need to be on prednisone a few times a year to control the allergies or something like Apoquel or Atopica if needed more year round. It could just be a seasonal thing for him. Skin mites are still possible and cannot be ruled out without a skin scraping, but it sounds more like allergies to me. As far as food allergies go, the only way to rule those out is to put him on a prescription hypoallergenic or novel protein/carbohydrate diet for 12 weeks. Nothing else but water can pass his lips during that time. He at least needs to be on some medication for the itching before he really does damage to his skin, though. Those medications should work, but they will not cure the problem. Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Expert:  Dr. John replied 8 months ago.

Hello. I was following up to see how Bo is doing and to see if you have any further questions.