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My terrier keeps biting his paws. Alfie 7 yes. 7 years old…

Customer Question
My terrier keeps biting...

My terrier keeps biting his paws

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the dog's name and age?

Alfie 7 yes

Veterinarian's Assistant: How old is Alfie?

7 years old

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 1 hour by:
9/28/2017
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 33,769
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

I'm sorry to hear of this with Alfie. Biting and licking of the extremities is most often associated with atopy (allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc.) and, less commonly, food intolerance in our dogs. Secondary bacterial and yeast infections are common in excoriated paws.

Environmental allergies (atopy) are usually initially addressed with a glucocorticoid (steroid) such as prednisone. In some dogs an over the counter antihistamine such as clemastine (Tavist) at a dose of 0.025 - 0.75mg/lb twice daily or chlorphenamine (Piriton) dosed at 0.2 - 0.5 mg/kg every 8-12 hour may be effective. Antihistamines, however, aren’t reliably effective. Adding fish oil to the diet at a dose of 20mg/lb daily of the EPA in the fish oil might synergize with antihistamines to provide better anti-pruritic action. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are antiinflammatory but may take 8-12 weeks to kick in. The new oral immunotherapy using the cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) is likely to revolutionize how we address atopic dogs and should be discussed with Alfie's vet. Oclacitinib works as well as a steroid without a steroid's adverse effects. The new injectable immunotherapy with the monoclonal antibody IL-31 (Cytopoint) should also be discussed with his vet. Please note that atopy, at least initially, should have a seasonality to it while a food intolerance should cause pruritis regardless of the season. Chronically atopic dogs may be pruritic year round.

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 Alfie's 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 his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra. (I prefer the hydrolyzed protein diets because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein.) 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.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin
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