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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3028
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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I have a 12 year old mixed breed flatcoat retriever that has

Customer Question

Hi there, I have a 12 year old mixed breed flatcoat retriever that has a few issues adding up. Looking at her you would think she was neglected and found on the side of the road when the truth is farthest from it.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Lily
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Lily?
Customer: She is losing hair, chewing obsessively to the point of being raw, and no matter what she eats, she keeps losing weight and looks skeletal
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

1) Where is she chewing?
2) What flea prevention is being used and how often is it applied?
3) On any meds?
4) When did she last have diagnostics with your vet (blood work? x-rays) and what was run?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Her legs, tail, and lower back. We alternate between frontline and advantage II per our vet's advice because we had a very bad flea season and nothing seemed to be working aside from capstar which killed them but didn't prevent reinfestation.At her last vet visit she was given a cortisone shot for the itching and some rimadyl tablets.Her skin has a constant oily discharge and her back is starting to curve to the left towards her rear end.
As a puppy it was told that she had offset hips and that hip dysplasia would be a problem in her senior years.I am having trouble affording the vet bills seeing as vets no longer accept payment plans, only credit cards which I can't seem to be approved for with my student loan debts crippling my credit score.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She has been my best friend for 12 years now ( I got her at 3 months old ) and I cannot stand seeing her in this state and feel both embarrassed and ashamed for the way she looks. I have tried everything the vet has recommended for her skin condition as far as topical treatments and shampoos go. I even tried selsun blue which the vet said would work in the case of a fungal problem. He stated that these are all hormonal issues and hasn't run labs on her.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Can you attach a few pictures of her and/or video so that I may see what you're seeing?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I just took these now.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Bless her little heart. She is textbook for allergies and flea allergy dermatitis. Goodness.

Okay, let's see what I can find to help your girl:

What medication is she taking at this time that isn't flea prevention?
Still on rimadyl? What date was the cortisone injection?
Have you tried anything other than frontline, advantage and capstar?
Have you tried any oral antihistamines?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I meant to tell you that she also gets benadryl daily per the vet's advice. She got her last shot maybe 4 months ago.
We tried seresto collars which didn't seem to work either. I ended up having to borax the entire house to get the fleas under control and spoke with all of my neighbors who were also having difficulties with fleas. They tore down an entire street of abandoned barracks (I live on a former navy base) and there was a huge influx of stray cats that moved into our backyards which I believe had a large role in the problem.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

No problem. How much does she weigh and how much Benadryl is she receiving at each dosing? How often?

I am going to put in an offer for a phone call if this might be easier for you over the phone.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Sorry, I literally have 20 dollars in the bank right now which is why I couldn't afford another vet visit. 25mg once a day of benadryl, she has lost quite a bit of weight over the last month and I would say she is only about 50 or 60 lbs now. Which is of most concern to me health wise.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

That's okay, I offer them when I can. If the customer cannot accept, we continue on as we have been.

At 50-60#, she is not only not receiving enough Benadryl but she's not receiving it as often as needed. As well, I have never found a medium to large breed dog with allergies that has responded very well to benadyl. I prefer and use Zyrtec. The intense itching that she is experiencing may be part of her weight loss, but it could also be something else.

Give me just a few moments here to type out some extra info for you on what I'd do in your position.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm not sure I'm going to use that vet anymore. I'm always in the waiting room for 45 minutes yet out the door without much information within 5 minutes and handed a bill for upwards of 300.00.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

1) Begin giving daily Zyrtec. With her intense itching, go 7-10 days before judging how well it's working for her. You can buy this OTC at any human pharmacy and if the off brand is available, save some pennies and get the cheaper version. Dosing info here:

2) Switch to another flea prevention. Frontline and advantage are showing lots of resistances, which I'm surprised your vet didn't mention. The seresto collars do seem to work quite well for dogs, but the Scalibor collars don't. Confirm which one you've used, just to be sure. I would look at using Bravecto, Comfortis or Nexgard. This is a chewable tablet, so if you need to bathe her you won't be washing off the product (which can happen with advantage, which decreases the chance that you'll see benefits). These can be purchased online, but you may need a prescription to order. Bravecto may be out of your price point, but Comfortis and Nexgard may be in your price range. Also consider calling vet offices to see if anyone sells single doses. Depending on local regulation, they may need to see your pet first so make sure to ask if this needs to happen and, if so, if the vet charges for this check. Some vet offices are required to see the pet before they dispense but don't charge to peek at the dog and say they definitely need flea prevention and then not charge for that brief exam. More info:

3) Start giving her satin balls to help put weight on her. This can wait until later on if needed and money put toward other treatments. She's thin but she is not emaciated. Recipe:

I’ll be standing by if you have other questions. Let me know if I can help further.

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Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 11 months ago.

Checking in, JA Customer. How is your companion feeling?