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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Jan. My 2 year old pitbull has been excessively scratching

Customer Question

Hi Jan. My 2 year old pitbull has been excessively scratching for the past 2 weeks to the point where scabs are present. Today we discovered his entire belly has turned red from chest all the way down to his legs. He had a bath with oatmeal shampoo two days ago. We think he might be going through stress as we have been doing construction in the house and has disrupted his routine. We are not sure what we can do for him
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.
Has he had any unusual treats or change in food?
Have new carpets, flooring, etc been put down where he would have access to it?
Is he on flea preventative?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We buy him the same treats he's had since he was a puppy. We bought him a new bed about a month ago. No new flooring or carpets. The construction is isolated to the master bathroom. We give him flee drops on a regular basis.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
It sounds like he is having an allergic reaction which is why I asked about food and treats. Since you bought him a new bed, I'd suspect the bed since the time is close. It could take a week or so for the itchiness to start as the result of an allergic response. Once he is scratching, he damages the skin which then allows yeast or staph normally present on the skin to multiply unchecked by the immune system. Yeast or staph dermatitis in turn is itchy as well and dogs scratch which keeps the cycle going.
So while an oatmeal bath might help the skin, as long as the underlying allergen is around or the yeast or staph dermatitis is not being treated, the itching, redness, etc will continue.
The first thing I would do is take up the dog bed and put it in a plastic bag and remove it to somewhere he can't get on it. Then try some benadryl at a dosage of 1mg per pound every 8 hours to help combat any allergic reaction. This should help with the redness, rash and scratching.
As I mentioned, with allergies dogs tend to develop staph or yeast dermatitis as well. Staph usually occurs on the lower regions of your pet and tends to have small pimple type bumps. Shampoo containing Chlorhexiderm and/or Oatmeal can help with this condition though it does not cure the allergy. Yeast typically shows as a greasy area that has a sweet musty odor. Sometimes the skin can become inflamed, darker and thickened due to itching. Yeast likes areas such as between toes, armpits and ears. Selsun Blue Shampoo can help with Yeast dermatitis. When shampooing, lather and leave on 15 minutes before rinsing. These shampoos are not meant to be a cure, just a relief until your pet can see a Vet.
To be on the safe side, check the ingredients and packaging of the food and treats to make sure it has not been "improved" which could mean an additional ingredient has been added.
You should also have a skin scraping done to ensure he has not contracted sarcoptic mange. Mange is caused by mites. One form, demodectic, is not contagious and usually strikes younger dogs than yours or ones with compromised immune systems. Sarcoptic mange is contagious and a dog can contract it by coming into contact with an infected dog or where they lay, etc. A skin scraping will rule this out.
Pit bulls are more prone to allergies.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Deano. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler