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Ask Dr Scott Nimmo Your Own Question
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20247
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My shizu scratches all the time I've bathed m in hartz

Customer Question

my shizu scratches all the time I've bathed him in hartz oatmeal shampoo, but that hasn't helped, He dosn't have fleas. please help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.

Hello Tom,

This is just a quick note to let you know that I am locked on to your question and am working on it now.

My name is***** and I am a small animal vet with many years experience and rest assured I will do my best to answer your question to your satisfaction today. However before I can start I need a little more information to make things clearer for me so could you please answer the following :

1. How long has Spanky been having an itch skin? { How many weeks or months }

You can then expect a written reply sometime within the next fifteen minutes or so.We also have the option to talk things over by telephone or via an internet service such as Skype if this is more convenient for you. Please get back to me if this is more suitable for you. { There is a small extra charge for phone calls }


Dr Scott

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
six months -we got him from a relative.who is going thru a divorce
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Tom

I have worked out an answer for you, please read it through and see what you think.

Sorry to hear Spanky is uncomfortable, however I have worked out an answer for you, please read it through and see what you think.

I can make the following general comments based on my past experience of a great many such cases over the years. Basically if you exclude infectious skin diseases such as sarcoptic mange which only your vet can do via a skin scraping as it is a microscopic mite then you are often left with a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis { atopy }, Basically this is a form of chronic allergic dermatitis, but it can be notoriously difficult to treat.

I will tell you some more about it and what causes atopy ...

1. Some cases of atopy are due to an allergy to a small protein in the saliva of the flea which the flea passes when it bites. So stringent flea control is a must not only on your dog but in the house as well. Where a dog is hypersensitive only a couple of bites may be enough to trigger a massive skin reaction, there may be so few fleas that the owner does not see them. I know you have not seen fleas on Spanky but it is good practice to carry out flea control in any case when dogs present with this sort of skin condition.

2. It can also be an allergy to components of the diet so consider a commercial scientifically formulated hypo-allergenic diet, your vet will advise and will stock these but you can also get them from better pet stores. If you go down this road your dog will have to be fed only this and water and it may take six weeks for this approach to show any signs of success.

3. Other allergies are more difficult to pin down and exclude such as to pollen or house dust mites,because you can never get rid of the actual allergen these dogs can be maintained on a variety of drugs such as antihistamines steroids or atopica.

4. There is some very good evidence that evening primrose oil supplement can help in cases of atopy, using one quarter the human dose rate in a dog like yours would be a safe dose.

5. So from the above what can you hope to do on a home remedy basis if you are dealing with atopy.

A. Strict flea control.
B. A proper skin hypo-allergenic diet and stick to it religiously.
C. A prescription anti-allergy drug from your vet or an over the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl to be used daily initially and then reduced according to response. More info here : LINK
D. A human evening primrose oil supplement daily { orally }.
E. And in combination with the above carry on with soothing oatmeal shampoos twice a week, human ones are fine.

Allergic skin conditions can be very difficult to treat even for experienced vets and often a cure as such is not possible, this being an allergy and such dogs often have to stay on low level maintenance drugs for life. But if you were to try all of the above { simultaneously } then at least it would be a logical first approach, and who knows, it could help ...

I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.


Dr Scott

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Tom,

I am just checking back in to see how your dog is getting on after our recent dialogue concerning his skin condition ...

Please get back to me and let me know how things are going.


Dr Scott

If my answer was helpful to you then I would be much obliged if you would be be kind enough to rate my service to you using the site rating system, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.
Hi Tom,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Spanky. How is everything going?
Dr Scott Nimmo

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