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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16927
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Dog has a skin infection that started as a cut. he has

Customer Question

dog has a skin infection that started as a cut. he has really dug at it and it got a lot worse in one day
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: he has open scores that are red but not dripping blood. he dose have yellow discharge and it has a bad smell
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response, but your requested expert isn't online which delayed your question coming up on the list for all to answer. I would like to help if you are still interested in an opinion.

I'm sorry to hear that your pup has an area of raw, red, hairless, skin that is itchy and has a bad odor. This is likely a hot spot or superficial pyoderma lesion.

Hot spots are caused by the skin getting wet, sometimes from swimming or bathing and not getting dried off properly but most of the time they come from a dog licking, chewing or scratching an itchy area and breaking the skin barrier due to an allergic reaction of some type, allowing bacteria that normally live on the skin to get in the skin and thrive.

If this is a hot spot then getting him to stop scratching and allowing the skin to heal should help. This likely involves placing an elizabethan collar so he cannot reach the spot to lick and treating the underlying allergy.

Allergies are the most common cause of itchy skin. He may have more than one allergy given how symptomatic he is now. Dogs that have one allergy often develop several with time. The effect of multiple allergies aren't additive, they actually compound one another.

Allergies are not something that we cure, we can only control them so they can be quite frustrating.

Even if you don't see fleas I do recommend using protection. They are the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog scratch so I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. Frontline Plus, Advantage II or Advantix are excellent topicals, and another option is the new Seresto flea and tick collar that works for 6-8 months continuously. I don't normally recommend collars but this one works very well without toxic side effects for most dogs. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic.

Other allergens can be inhaled (like grass pollen, dust mites or molds) and you can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those (they also help with the symptoms of flea allergy). In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If his symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of his problem.

You can try:

1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combo products as they can be toxic) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15-25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours. Dogs take a much higher dose per pound of body weight compared to people so don't let the size of the dose he would need concern you.

OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pound dog once or twice daily.

OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound of body weight orally every 8 hours.

OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.

OR 5) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at 1/2 mg per pound of body weight orally every 24 hours. That would be one 10mg tablet per 20 pounds of body weight. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because dogs cannot tolerate decongestants.

Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another, most dogs seem to respond best to Zyrtec. But every dog is an individual so I gave you several options. Give the one you pick a 5-7 day trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight, which means if he is between doses go with the higher one. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 80 pound dog could take 1600mg of EPA per day.

Clip/shave the hair in the area around and over the hot spot lesion very short and use a solution mix of Betadine solution (povidine iodine solution) and warm water, made to look like weak tea to clean it. Clean the affected area twice daily. Make sure you get the solution, not the scrub. This is an antibacterial and will dry the lesion out to allow it to heal. No need to rinse this, let it dry on his skin. It does stain horribly though so you probably want to do this outside. Clipping the hair stops bacteria from wicking into the site and allows the skin to breathe and dry.

In cases where the infection gets deeper than the surface of the skin oral antibiotics may be needed to treat deeper infection. If he isn't significantly better in 3-4 days he should see his family veterinarian.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
all this started with a cut on his neck that happened on sunday. yesterday when I got home from work his under neck was all red. it seems that it started from the cut. dose that change your thoughts?
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Not necessarily.

"Hot spots" can look like a cut if we have a deeper area at the center of the lesion. That may just be the area he focused his scratching.

Whatever this lesion is, it is raw and the foul odor and yellow discharge point toward it being infected.

So shaving the hair to decrease wicking into the lesion and allowing air into the area around the lesion, and cleaning it with betadine solution and warm water will clean and dry out the lesion and help it heal.

Omega 3's are great at supporting skin health, and antihistamines won't hurt him and may decrease the itchy feeling, so no harm in using them.

But if he isn't improving over the next couple of days you know he needs to see his veterinarian for an examination and likely a prescription of oral antibiotics.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara