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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Small animal private practice general surgery and medicine.
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My dog has a sore on his leg that vet told me to put antibodic

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My dog has a sore on his leg that vet told me to put antibodic ointment on. Just a precaution, after I had called them back and said it looked more swollen then I thought it should have been, they had me put him on antibioditics. I don't think they thought he needed them. The sore didn't look any worse than when i went in when they didn't give him them pills. I think they did it because of my concern. My question is related to something else though. I wrapped the wound to keep him from licking it and to keep the cream on better, but last night i must have wrapped it too tight because his leg swelled up. I had this happen to me once and it deswelled ralatively fast, and the doctor told me not to worry about it. However, I unrapped my dogs leg at 9am and it is 12pm now and it hasn't deswelled that much. I gave him Tramadol and Rimadyl that I had for our other dog of the same size and age. And although he seems more comfortable, I don't know if I need to take him in. What should I do? Will it deswell eventually or could there be complications.

Dr. Jo :

Hi!

Dr. Jo :

I'm Dr. Jo and would like to help!

Dr. Jo :

The antibiotics are a good idea......an infection called cellulitis can develop and the antibiotics will help with that.

Dr. Jo :

Your vet may have prescribed it because of your concern as well as a preventative for the cellulitis.

Dr. Jo :

Also, has a fracture or broken bone been ruled out already?

Dr. Jo :

What is the sore/wound from?

Dr. Jo :

And, did your vet instruct to use compress (cold or hot) therapy at all?

Dr. Jo :

Thanks for answering my questions.......trying to get a good handle on what is occuring.

Customer:

I don't think there is any broken bones. As far as I know he hasn't injured himself. It looks like his callous just got irratated, swelled up and he licked it open a little because a small portion of it is an open wound, as in missing skin. All they told me to do was put ointment on it, and later when I told them i was worried about it the antibiotics. I need to get him one of those cone things becaused I can't keep him from licking it. But it does look swollen, so I thought about a cold compress, I just didn't know if I should. I have never seen his callous swollen like this before so I am not really sure what caused it. it is about two inches across

Dr. Jo :

Okay, it sounds like he could have a lick granuloma if he has had this sore on this leg awhile.

Dr. Jo :

There is usually an underlying cause for this.......usually allergies but it can also be arthritis.

Dr. Jo :

The dog licks and licks it so much that the fur is removed and an open wound occurs.

Dr. Jo :

Then, the wound gets infected and the dog licks even more........vicious cycle.

Customer:

What caused it to swell so much? Just the licking?

Dr. Jo :

Yes, the constant licking!

Dr. Jo :

The skin becomes irritated, inflammed, and then swells.

Dr. Jo :

Lick granulomas can be very aggravating to treat and healing can take a while.

Customer:

Should I put a compress on it and get a cone tomorrow? And is the swelling in the whole leg that i caused by the too tight wrapping of any concern? His leg is swollen all the way to his paw, but I am sure it is most likely from the wrapping. it is the first time he wasn't able to get the wrapping off, so i know it was tighter than before. He won't get blood clots or anything? How long do you think it will take to deswell?

Dr. Jo :

Some things that would help are....1) an e-collar to prevent your dog from licking the wound 2) don't wrap the leg....open air will help it heal better 3) long term antibiotics with broad spectrum for 3-4 weeks.....maybe longer if still not healed 4) treat allergies and stop the itch cycle with an anti-inflammatory dose of prednisone 5) use bitter spray on the wound to further discourage licking.

Dr. Jo :

As far as the swelling goes......

Dr. Jo :

Keep gently massaging the leg to encourage circulation.

Dr. Jo :

The body will rid the excess fluid that has built up in the leg with increased circulation.

Customer:

How about a cold compress for the wound? So I do that?

Dr. Jo :

The swelling should decrease within 12 hours. Unless you wrapped the leg so tight that it completely cut off circulation..........that would be a bad scenario.

Dr. Jo :

Can your dog walk okay on the leg right now?

Dr. Jo :

You can put a cold compress on the wound for about 5 minutes 3 times a day......this will help decrease swelling.

Dr. Jo :

If your dog's leg is still swollen and has not decreased at all.......I would definitely get him in to see the vet.

Customer:

Yes he is walking just fine. He was sore when i unwrapped it and he favors it a little or he was. The only concern is that this dog has a high tolerance for pain, so it takes a lot before I know he is hurting.

Dr. Jo :

Still swollen tomorrow AM......sorry meant to put that in.

Dr. Jo :

Good, if he is walking just fine he should be alright in regards XXXXX XXXXX swelling!

Customer:

Okay, you scared me for a second:)

Dr. Jo :

Make him rest today and just do the massage like I mentioned.

Dr. Jo :

Sorry for the scare........but we do have to warn people when wrapping or when we cast legs.......too long and too tight and the leg is going to die!

Dr. Jo :

=)

Dr. Jo :

The pain meds you mentioned are good ones to use.

Customer:

Thanks. This is really helpful. When I take him in, i am sure they know what they are doing, but sometimes they forget to tell us why they are doing it. I always feel better knowing why, and I would rather you scare me a little but tell me why. Should I use both meds that I told you about, the same as I used it for our other dog and for how long, until the wound it healed or until the leg swelling goes down?

Dr. Jo :

Also, as far as ointments.....neosporin would be fine and if you want to clean the wound with some dilute chlorhexadine solution (ask your vet for some) twice daily it may help it heal as well.

Dr. Jo :

Tramadol and Rimadyl are fine to be used for pain together. Rimadyl can be hard on the kidneys......so you don't want to use it twice daily for more than 3 days.

Dr. Jo :

You want to use the antibiotics for about 1 week beyond when the wound heals to prevent reoccurence.

Customer:

Okay. No problem. Thanks. Any other advice?

Dr. Jo :

Ask your vet if he/she thinks your dog might have allergy issues........if so, this problem will probably reoccur in the exact same spot unless the allergies are treated.

Dr. Jo :

A 3 week, short course of prednisone will help if that's the case and then you can treat when pollen counts are high, etc.

Dr. Jo :

Also, a food allergy could be the problem. If your dog didn't respond to prednisone.......you could try a 3 month food trial with a novel protein diet to see if that helps.

Customer:

Okay. He does have allergies. But i have only noticed them in a certain part of Boulder Colorado and it has only be naselly. I have never notice a skin issue before

Dr. Jo :

If your dog has allergies to pollens, etc. he will also probably get ear infections regularly.

Dr. Jo :

Dogs can become more sensitive to certain allergens over time.......including certain food proteins (most commonly chicken or beef).

Customer:

He has only had one ear infection and it was in the last year. We have had him since 2000 and with his floppy ears I would have expected more. Over all he has been a really healthy dog. I will look into his food though. We will try another kind.

Dr. Jo :

There is definitely something going on to cause your dog to lick his leg this way..........solving that issue will prevent it from cropping up again. More uncommonly, it can be more of a psycological issue.....nervousness, etc.

Dr. Jo :

I wouldn't switch foods yet.

Dr. Jo :

If he responds to the prednisone therapy.......it means its not a food allergy.

Dr. Jo :

The diets you would need to try are quite pricey.

Customer:

Okay.Why would predisone not work for food allergies?

Dr. Jo :

That is why I recommend clients treat for atopy (allergies to pollens, dust mites, etc.) first. Food allergy is only prevelant in about 30% of dogs with allergies too.

Dr. Jo :

The pred is not strong enough to impact the GI tract/immune system inflammation that occurs with the ingestion of an allergic protein......

Dr. Jo :

That is why we remove the protein source in question from the diet altogether. With atopy, the allergens are inhaled or sit on the skin causing irritation.....

Dr. Jo :

If you do decide to do a food trial.......it is strict. No treats, table scraps, flavored heartworm pills, and you must feed the diet 12 weeks strictly.

Dr. Jo :

Eukanuba Kangaroo, Science Diet z/d or duck/potato, etc. are the ones you would need to try.

Dr. Jo :

Anyhow, we're way off topic from a swollen leg huh?

Dr. Jo :

Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Customer:

Two last questions and I will let you go. Hopeful it is yes or no quesitons I have benadryl I got for my other dog. Should i start giving that to him now? Also, I think it is unrelated but our other dog has been acting like she has a cold, sinusy and coughing. She has never had this before and they though it was an infection. it went away after the antiboditics and came back and went away on its own. The vet thought it might be allergies. You don't think it is related do you? Could the same thing be causing a problem with both dogs?

Customer:

To clarify, benydral for the dog with the wound not the "cold"?

Dr. Jo :

Benadryl would be fine, up to 3 times daily. If your Springer is the same size you can follow your vet's directions from before. However, Benadryl doesn't work for most dogs......about 28% or so. The other dog's symptoms could be related.....asthma type signs are less common in dogs with allergies (more cats usually). So, it is possible!

Dr. Jo :

Yes, Benadryl for wound dog...........just fine.

Customer:

Okay. Thanks for all the help!

Dr. Jo :

You are very welcome! I'm glad I could help.

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