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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29770
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 7 year old Mini Schnauzer perspires on her back. It is

Customer Question

My 7 year old Mini Schnauzer perspires on her back. It is now causing a skin irritation.
She is also biting at her paws.
Any thought
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Biting at the paws is pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of both atopy - allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc. - and, less commonly, food intolerance. Both types of allergic dermatitis can cause generalized pruritis (itchiness) and the skin changes you're seeing on her back. It's important to note, too, that secondary infection by both bacteria and yeast (Malassezia) are commonly seen with an allergic dermatitis and those infections will compound her pruritis and irritation.
Her vet will need to perform skin scrapings of affected skin in order to rule in or out an underlying demodicosis (Demodex mange mite) and perform a cytology - microscopic exam of a small sample of the skin surface - looking for abnormal numbers of bacteria and yeast - and then treat predicated upon the findings of such testing.
In most cases of atopy a short course of a corticosteroid such as prednisone is prescribed. Food intolerance is addressed differently...
Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that her immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from her vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (my preference). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.
Finally, because she's a schnauzer we must always consider the comedo syndrome when the backs of this breed are involved in a skin condition. The schnauzer comedo syndrome is a common acne-like disorder of follicular keratinization causing few to many nonpainful, nonpruritic comedones (blackheads) and crusted papules. Please let me know if you're seeing such blackheads.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have another schnauzer in the home and he has Schnauzer comedo syndrome. The perspiration is different.
I had not thought of allergy. I changed food from Science Diet to Blue....
Should I change to Hills or go back to Science Diet ?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
If you want to see if a food intolerance exists, you'll need to feed the Hill's z/d. There isn't a Science Diet presumptively hypoallergenic food.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hills it is
Thank you ;)
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Sounds good. You're welcome.
I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.