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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19542
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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my dog keeps scratching and pulling her hair out , it has ...

Customer Question

my dog keeps scratching and pulling her hair out , it has beengoing on for quite some time. i had her to the vet, two different ones, they helped for awhile then she would start in again. i have been giving her baths with malseeb medicated shampoo, she has not been eating very well lately, what can i do???she is a sheltie, has had a good diet, i also tried giving her omega 3&6 fish caps, has not helped she just had a bath awhile ago and looks terrible, also has been scratching her ears and the inside of the ears looks flaky and kink of yucky
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 years ago.

From your description of skin problems, I think you are dealing with an allergy condition and your dog has developed an ear infection.

You can read up on allergies here:

A lot of dogs have an allergic reaction to corn and wheat and other items in dog foods, so you may want to switch dog foods to one that does not contain corn or wheat or try the elimination method I mention at the end of my answer. It may take several weeks to see improvement after the change of food. You may also give your dog Benadryl up to 2mg per pound every 8 hours.

There might be a secondary skin condition in addition to the allergy such as staph dermatitis or yeast dermatitis. Staph usually occurs on the lower regions of your pet and tends to have small pimple type bumps. Shampoo containing Chlorhexiderm and/or Oatmeal can help with this condition though it does not cure the allergy. Yeast typically shows as a greasy area that has a sweet musty odor. Sometimes the skin can become inflamed, darker and thickened due to itching. Yeast likes areas such as between toes, armpits and ears. Selsun Blue Shampoo can help with Yeast dermatitis. When shampooing, lather and leave on 15 minutes before rinsing. These shampoos are not meant to be a cure, just a relief.

It sounds like your dog has developed an ear infection. It is probably a yeast or bacterial infection. You can use a mixture of distilled vinegar, water and alcohol on a cotton ball to gently clean the ear.

In a yeast infection, you will see black buildup in the ear. You may also notice redness and bleeding, head shaking and your dog scratching the ear as well. You can try some miconazole cream to see if it helps until you can get in to see the Vet, but it isn’t a cure for underlying condition

You will have to have your vet look at it and determine if it is fungal or bacterial in nature so the appropriate medication can be given. Ear infections are not pleasant for your dog and I hope you can get him seen soon.

The following site has a recipe for a home remedy that may provide some relief though I recommend visiting the vet for medication.

Allergies are very frustrating to deal with as you can treat the symptoms, but as long as the allergen isn't identified, it keeps coming back. You may want to see a dermatologist to determine the exact cause for the allergy or use the elimination method described on the following website.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
i have already elimaated the food alergy thing since one of the vets said he thought it was a food allergy. tried the fish and potato diet fo4 months, didnt help. tried meds and do use benedryl, not working, the meds worked for awhile maybe a couple of weeks, i use dog food without whear or corn, i have been using timberwolf recently. she does have a odor if i do not bath her for about 6 days. i have been bathing her quite often since this happened and also used selsun blue. her ears do n ot have black areas, i also have tried several things on her such as vinager diluted thinking it could be a yeast infection i have not learned anything; that I was not aware of as yet, like i said the vet had seen her two different ones, and i still have not found out what could be causing her problem
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 years ago.

It is difficult to know what a customer already is aware of and what they have tried. I also assumed that she had been tested for mites (mange) and ringworm. If she was not, I do suggest that this be done. Many times mites are not seen even when a scrapping is performed, so a second scraping may be needed.

Since you have done food trials and for the required amount of time, then most likely your girl is allergic to something besides food and your best bet to clear this up is to have allergy testing done. You would be surprised at the number of dogs who are allergic to grass and other common things.

This would be your next step. Once they identify the allergen, they can do allergy shots such as people get to desensatize her and eliminate the cause entirely.