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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20592
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My dog is a black lab & he is 13 years old he has been ripping

Customer Question

My dog is a black lab & he is 13 years old he has been ripping his hair out on his butt and lower back feet and stomach... Why?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am afraid that the expert you have requested is not currently available. Still I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has Jake been showing these signs?
Have you changed his food or offered any new treats/people food in the 4-6 weeks prior to this starting?
Any changes to the skin (ie pustules, pimples, scabs, sores, ulcers, redness, scaling or crusts)?
Any dragging or scooting his bottom on the ground?
What dose of Benadryl did you give? How often? How much does he weigh?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He's been doing this for about 6 months now it wasn't as bad and then all of the sudden all of his hair was being ripped out.everything has been the same in the home nothing new has changed for him or around the house.he does have scabs and sores from itching and biting so much at his skin. We give him one Benadryl and jake weighs about 95-100 pounds.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
Now as I am sure you can appreciate, chewing/itching/hair pulling are all signs of skin irritation. If this has been chronic and he has no signs of bacterial or fungal infections; then allergies will be a major concern here. As well, if he is targeting all around his back end (or the closest he can reach), then do be aware that we can also see this secondary to anal gland disease. So, you may want to just have those checked by a vet or groomer, so it can be ruled out as the trigger for his signs.
Otherwise, we do need to consider allergic skin issues. If he hasn't had any diet change or changes at home, then hopefully food allergies and household based ones can be put to the bottom of our list of concerns. Furthermore, while I do think keeping up on flea treatment is important (as its a cheap way to make sure flea saliva allergies are not an issue), the pattern of his skin signs are not those we usually see with fleas. So, we'd have to consider allergens that can change without our control like pollen allergies. And I would note that belly and feet focused allergies, are not uncommon with grass type allergies (and his backside could be affected if he is sitting in the grass).
With all this in mind, we do need to consider supportive care. It looks like you have the right idea, but I would note that if you are giving Jake one tablet of Benadryl (Diphenhydramine; 25mg), this is only 0.2 mg/lb dose. This is a sub-therapeutic dose and we'd not expect that to make any difference to allergic skin irritation. Instead, we need to give 0.5-2 milligrams per pound every 8-12 hours. It can cause drowsiness, so you could start with the lower end of the dose. But it'd be worth adjusting that it a proper dose for his size to see if you can soothe his irritation. Of course, if his signs are just so severe, you may want to speak to his vet about prescription treatments like steroids, Atopica, or Apoquel. These are stronger then the antihistamines and could potentially break that itch/scratch cycle to get him more comfortable.
Otherwise, bathing can be helpful but potentially just plan on rinsing those affected areas when he is back from his walks. This way we can reduce any continued contact of any irritating pollens. As well, I do find the emollient or oatmeal based shampoos to be more soothing for itchy sore skin.
Finally, since skin health issues can be related to low essential fatty acid (EFA) levels in the skin cells, you can consider supplementing for this as well. To do so, we often use fish oil supplementation (Omega 3 & 6; which we'd usually give a dose equal to 20mg per pound of their body weight. For example, a 10lb dog would want 200mg EPA + DHA). Otherwise, if Jake likes fish, you can provide these fish oils via offering a small volume of fresh salmon weekly. In either case, fish oils will help his skin health and also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can soothe irritated skin. And just in case he isn't keen on fish, then there are alternatives like Viacutin or Yumega that are available over the counter.
Overall, his signs do sound suspicious of allergies and I'd be most concerned about pollens or grasses here. Therefore, do consider amending your Benadryl dose to work better for him and considering the above. If we can get him comfortable, then that is grand. Of course, if he is just so severely itchy, then do consider those other alternatives from his vet to soothe this itch and get him comfortable.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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