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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29730
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dog is chewing on s legs and paws it it looking raw and

Customer Question

My dog is chewing on his legs and paws it it looking raw and painful. Is prednisone safe to treat it? And what is the dosage for a 19 pound ***** ***** terrier?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Pruritic (itchy) extremities/paws in ***** *****s is most often due to atopy - allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc. Food intolerance can mimic atopy but isn't found as commonly. A short course of a corticosteroid such as prednisone dosed at 0.25 mg/lb twice daily can be very helpful. It's important to recognize, however, that such excoriated skin is likely to be secondarily infected by both bacteria and yeast and those infectious agents need to be addressed as well. Spot's vet can perform a cytology - a microscopic exam of a small sample of Spot's skin - looking for abnormal numbers of bacteria or yeast and treat accordingly.

At 12 years of age, there might be disorders in dogs which would make prednisone contraindicated. These disorders include heart and renal failure, diabetes mellitus, and urinary tract infection. Please let me know if such disorders exist or other pre-existing disorders exist that might contraindicate the use of that steroid.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi doctor, Spot does has not been diagnosed with any of the mentioned disorder, I believe that his condition is stemming from running through our yard which it can get very wet and muddy, it has been wetter than usual and causing him to loose natural oil which makes him itchy. We are trying to keep him away from it but bring a good listener that he us he tries to chase our neighbors dogs. What is your suggestion to try to help him heal? Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Ideally, his vet should take a look at him and test him as I mentioned. If that isn't possible, his skin needs to be cleansed twice weekly with a non-insecticidal and hypoallergenic shampoo such as Allergroom (please see here: which often can be found over the counter in pet/feed stores as well. You can see how prednisone affects him at the dose mentioned above. You're likely to find antihistamines such as Benadryl unhelpful. Less than 10% of dogs suffering from an allergic dermatitis benefit from antihistamines. If you're concerned that his skin is becoming too dry, adding a balanced omega-3/omega-6 fatty acid supplement to his diet should be helpful. These supplements are available over the counter as well. I regret that I can't be more specific from you from here. I, too, would need to examine and test Spot.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.