How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lisa Your Own Question
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16545
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Lisa is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have an Australian Cattle dog, 10 years old. She has chewed

This answer was rated:

We have an Australian Cattle dog, 10 years old. She has chewed off most of the fur on her tail. She continues to dig and chew. What could be causing this?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Unfortunately, in an older dog who is traumatizing their tail, when everything else has been tried and failed, it's usually a neurologic issue.

We're never sure if they go after their tail because it's painful or because there's something in her brain that is telling her to chew at it.

Since you've tried most everything else, I'm afraid the best option is to have the vet take a peek at her. They'll make sure there's no underlying medical issue like a skin infection that is causing her to be bugging it.

If you wanted to try a little Neosporin with lidocaine (available at any store) which is a topical antibiotic and a numbing agent for a few days, that would be acceptable. If it turns out that she leaves it alone with the Neosporin, then odds are that we're dealing with an infection. If it doesn't help, then you could try giving her one low dose aspirin (Just plain aspirin...we never use ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen sodium as these can all be toxic to dogs even in very small amounts) Just try to make sure you give it with some food to avoid upsetting her stomach, and don't give it for longer than a few days without consulting your regular vet.

I hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What about other areas on the lower half of her body...digging and chewing until she pulls out her fur to the point of bleeding. Could this be related to fleas? We have given her Frontline or Advantage, which does not seem to be effective.

If you're not seeing any fleas, then odds of it being a flea reaction are pretty low. My thoughts are that it's either neurological or there could be a problem with her thyroid. In older dogs with hair/coat issues, we often see thyroid problems as the cause. Unfortunately this is also a case where you'd have to have her seen by a vet to determine the cause.

I understand that you(like so many other people) are in a hard financial spot right now. There are some organizations that might be able to help. If you'll follow these links: ,, you'll find dozens and dozens of organizations that may be able to help pay for you to take your dog to the vet. Also, there are some clinics who offer free exams and other treatments and require that you only pay for medications. If you'll follow this link: , you can see if there is one in your area.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

While I agree with your comments, my husband seems to think Nicky is reacting to fleas. Could the symptoms described also be related to fleas? If a trip to the vet is necessary, I won't hesitate.



If you have been treating for fleas, and haven't actually seen any fleas, then it's doubtful that's what the problem is. Especially when you consider the fact her hair loss is only on the bottom part of her body...fleas would cause a reaction everywhere.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the excellent service.

You're very welcome!

I hope Nicky is feeling better soon!!
Lisa and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Deb,

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