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Ask Dr Scott Nimmo Your Own Question
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20736
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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my dog is licking the hair off his tail, she is 12 years old.I

Customer Question

my dog is licking the hair off his tail, she is 12 years old.I dont know what it is?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Hello Wheezy 1970

I will be very pleased to try and answer your question but to enable me to do so with accuracy I need to know a little bit more information, so first can you tell me :

1. Has your dog hair loss elsewhere?

2. Is this hair loss about a third of the way down the tail and an area about 2 - 3 inches in diameter

This is just a information request for which you have not been charged, I am online at present.

Scott Nimmo BVMS
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The hair loss covers most of the tail about one inch in diameter. she has not lost any hair elseware.The other side of the tail,however looks like it is starting to shed, or thin out here and there.The area where the hair is gone,is red and sometimes a little bloody.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the quick reply,

While I cannot diagnose this over the internet it sounds to me from your description that this is most likely to be some kind of skin allergy and this is common in the dog but a list of possible skin conditions might read as follows :

1. Allergic skin disease is very common in dogs and external antibiotics etc. would have no real effect against it. Treatment would involve trying to find out the cause of the allergy and then using anti-allergy drugs if necessary to calm the situation down. Flea allergies are always possible.

2. Mange such as sarcoptic mange, this is caused by a microscopic mite and is a very itchy disease. It is treated with a variety of drugs to kill the mite such as ivermectin for example. The first stage though would be to carry out a skin scrape to identify any mites.

3. Gross bacterial skin disease is possible and usually a course of injectable or oral antibiotics are used.

Very often dogs make things worse by their biting and scratching at the area, the more it itches the more they bite at it and so on. While a neck hood would to the total answer it might well help in conjunction with some anti-allergy treatment.

I know you have come to this site looking for some cure but I have to tell you that treating skin diseases in the dog can be difficult and demanding even for experienced vets, so your best way forward would be to have a vet check your dog over and point you in the right direction.

If I have not covered your question fully enough or you would like to ask more I will be online for the next hour or so and I will be at your disposal.

Scott Nimmo BVMS
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Your lack of ananswer is of no help to me.I will take her to the vet, for a solution to the problem. I cannot accept,as I have no answer.Thank you for your time.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for letting me know, rest assured if it was possible for me to somehow resolve your dog's condition over the internet I would.

When you think it through I am sure you will see that any treatment I might suggest based on a guess might well be the wrong thing to do.

As I cannot suggest treatment based on guesses all I can do is to talk all the possibilities over with you so you are better informed about the subject.