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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7303
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc
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He is 4 years old and has been scratching a lot lately. Took

Customer Question

He is 4 years old and has been scratching a lot lately. Took him to get groomed and it just got worse now he had raw spots in the underarm area just the front legs. He kinda smells like a stinky corn chip foot too.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: Yes no wound, fleas or tick. Just raw and the hair is gone. It makes me sad that he's suffering this itch. I've been wondering if I should put some benedryl in a hot dog...
JA: The Expert will know what to do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Toby
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Toby?
Customer: His eyes look a little red around where the lashes are.
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 11 days ago.

Hi there,

Thanks for your question regarding your boy Toby who has been scratching a lot more than usual recently. I am currently typing up a response and will have something for you in the next few minutes.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind Regards,

Dr E

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 11 days ago.

Hi again,

Thank you for your patience. As above, there are a number of possible causes for Toby's ongoing skin issue, and raw spots, including a flea, food or contact allergy and I will run through some of these possibilities with you now.

Firstly - you need to make sure that Toby is definitely up to date with flea control. Make sure you are using a flea product appropriate for his weight. Even if you cannot see any fleas on him doesn't mean there are one or two lurking and oftentimes this is all it takes for a dog with flea allergy dermatitis, that can lead on to pustules and small areas of skin infection as a result of scratching. In Toby's case it does sounds like he may have an underlying allergy of some sort with secondary infection, however this could also be caused by parasites or fungi (ringworm or yeast).

Basically dogs are allergic to four main things - food, fleas, grasses/plants (contact allergy) or environmental allergens (canine atopy - the dog version of ezcema). I am sure you have worked through all of these with your Veterinarian, but I always like to ensure I have talked through each of these with my clients. Flea allergies are avoided by strict flea control - every 4 weeks with Advantage multi or every 5 - 6 weeks with Frontline. You must also ensure any other cats or dogs in the household are treated at the same time. Keep up with the topical flea treatments you have been giving Toby and make sure it is a reliable product from your Vet clinic. I would also suggest spraying the house with an appropriate product that kills all flea larvae and house mites. You can get this sort of product from your local Vet or pet store.

For a food allergy, you need to undertake a food trial for Toby with a 'novel protein' diet such as Royal Canin Anallergenic and needs to be fed SOLELY for 8 - 10 weeks. After the 8 - 10 weeks with Anallergenic, you can slowly introduce different foods week by week with the guidance of your Veterinarian. Contact allergies are best treated by avoidance of the plants that are to blame, but identifying the exact cause of a contact allergy can be very hard. A referral to a canine skin specialist may be the way to go in Toby's case for either a skin patch test or a blood allergen test.

It is also possible that Toby may even have skin mites or lice and skin mites. These could be either Demodex (less itchy) or Sarcoptes mites (VERY itchy) and you should ensure a full Veterinary check up so that he or she can carry out a physical examination and possibly a skin scrape to check for mites and lice, as well as signs of fleas.

The next step would be to double check for fungal disease (such as ringworm) and there are several tests for this including a UV light and a fungal culture. Again a full Vet check will be able to confirm or deny this possibility.

You should also purchase a medicated shampoo that will deal with both yeast and bacteria, and the product Malaseb is the most ideally suited for this. This requires you to make a lather and leave this lather on for 10 minutes before washing off! For many clients this is easier said that done, but it is SO important. This will be a lot more effective than the oatmeal shampoo if he is constantly scratching and nibbling himself. Finally - it may also be a good idea to have this boy's thyroid level checked as often dogs with hypothyroidism can have skin changes like this (and similar to the photo you sent through). In the mean time, you could try some Benadryl - the dose generally used is 1mg per pound of body weight twice daily, although this only works in around 30 - 40% of dogs with a skin issue.

Hi again,

Thank you for your patience. As above, there are a number of possible causes for Toby's ongoing skin issue, and small pustules including a flea, food or contact allergy and I will run through some of these possibilities with you now.

Firstly - you need to make sure that Toby is definitely up to date with flea control. Make sure you are using a flea product appropriate for his weight. Even if you cannot see any fleas on him doesn't mean there are one or two lurking and oftentimes this is all it takes for a dog with flea allergy dermatitis, that can lead on to pustules and small areas of skin infection as a result of scratching. In Toby's case it does sounds like he may have an underlying allergy of some sort with secondary infection, however this could also be caused by parasites or fungi (ringworm or yeast).

Basically dogs are allergic to four main things - food, fleas, grasses/plants (contact allergy) or environmental allergens (canine atopy - the dog version of ezcema). I am sure you have worked through all of these with your Veterinarian, but I always like to ensure I have talked through each of these with my clients. Flea allergies are avoided by strict flea control - every 4 weeks with Advantage multi or every 5 - 6 weeks with Frontline. You must also ensure any other cats or dogs in the household are treated at the same time. Keep up with the topical flea treatments you have been giving Toby and make sure it is a reliable product from your Vet clinic. I would also suggest spraying the house with an appropriate product that kills all flea larvae and house mites. You can get this sort of product from your local Vet or pet store.

For a food allergy, you need to undertake a food trial for Toby with a 'novel protein' diet such as Royal Canin Anallergenic and needs to be fed SOLELY for 8 - 10 weeks. After the 8 - 10 weeks with Anallergenic, you can slowly introduce different foods week by week with the guidance of your Veterinarian. Contact allergies are best treated by avoidance of the plants that are to blame, but identifying the exact cause of a contact allergy can be very hard. A referral to a canine skin specialist may be the way to go in Toby's case for either a skin patch test or a blood allergen test.

It is also possible that Toby may even have skin mites or lice and skin mites can commonly cause these putules. These could be either Demodex (less itchy) or Sarcoptes mites (VERY itchy) and you should ensure a full Veterinary check up so that he or she can carry out a physical examination and possibly a skin scrape to check for mites and lice, as well as signs of fleas.

The next step would be to double check for fungal disease (such as ringworm) and there are several tests for this including a UV light and a fungal culture. Again a full Vet check will be able to confirm or deny this. If after these tests there is no diagnosis, the next step would be to carry out a food trial as above.

You should also purchase a medicated shampoo that will deal with both yeast and bacteria, and the product Malaseb is the most ideally suited for this. This requires you to make a lather and leave this lather on for 10 minutes before washing off! For many clients this is easier said that done, but it is SO important. This will be a lot more effective than the oatmeal shampoo if he is constantly scratching and nibbling himself. Finally - it may also be a good idea to have this boy's thyroid level checked as often dogs with hypothyroidism can have skin changes like this (and similar to the photo you sent through). In the mean time, you could try some Benadryl - the dose generally used is 1mg per pound of body weight twice daily, although this only works in around 30 - 40% of dogs with a skin issue.

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 11 days ago.

Hopefully that message came through ok? Let me know if you have any other questions regarding your boy Toby.

Dr E

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
the stinky corn chip foot smell?
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 11 days ago.

Hi again,

This is most likely related to a bacteria or yeast infection due to interdigital dermatitis. This dermatitis is possibly due to a primary underlying allergy (such as atopy or a food allergy). You can actually give your boy foot baths utilising the Malaseb shampoo (mentioned above) from your veterinarian. Using a cap of this in 1 - 2 liters of luke-warm water, you can then bathe your boy's paws in this for 4 - 5 minutes each. This would help deal to any secondary bacteria and/or yeast present that are likely causing this smell.

I would also recommend following up with your veterinarian to try and find an underlying allergy.

All the best,

Dr E

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 8 days ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Pet Doc
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 6 days ago.

Hi again - how are you getting on with Toby now? Did you manage to get a medicated shampoo for him and follow up with your local vet as yet?

It would be great to get an update when you get a moment.

Dr E