Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Health Questions
Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about Sassy!!! Can you tell me, does the scratching seem to be the same year round, or does it seem worse certain times of the year?
Has she been on any medications for the itching yet?
Ok. If the itching is on the mild side and she is only getting skin infections rarely, then the first step (in addition to the fish oil) would be starting a daily antihistamine. We often start with hydroxyzine (this is prescription only) or cetirizine (zyrtec). Diphenhydramine (benadryl) is another option, but I don't feel like we see as much success with it as the other antihistamines. The hydroxyzine is usually the most cost effective choice in a larger dog. I would recommend calling your vet and asking if they feel a trial of antihistamine would be appropriate for your pup, and they can prescribe their preference to start her on. It may take a few weeks to see results.
Sometimes we need to try a few different antihistamines before we find one that works. If none seem to be effective, then the next steps would include:
-considering a special diet trial- if the problem is year round, it is possible it could be a food allergy
-considering a trial of the drug Atopica or Apoquel, which are immune system modulators that can help with allergies
-considering allergy testing and starting allergy shots to try to desensitize your pup to environmental allergens (the allergy testing/shots doesn't work for food allergies).
Here is an article that goes over some of our options for itch relief as well FYI: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=599
Please let me know if this link comes through for you, and if you have any additional questions.