Dog

Get your dog care questions answered by Experts

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

My Cocker Spaniel has the same habit of excessive sniffing…

Customer Question
My Cocker Spaniel has...

My Cocker Spaniel has the same habit of excessive sniffing and scratching. For the scratching, we started him on benadryl for a week but it didn't help. Went to the vet and they gave him a steroid to take for a few weeks but he continues to itch. I've changed his diet to make sure it isn't food related but nothing is working. Still itching and excessively sniffing. What further can I do?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name and age?

Chico Rico and he's almost 8.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Chico?

Nothing else unusual.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Dog
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Dog Question
Answered in 24 minutes by:
12/19/2017
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33,265
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
Verified

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Can you clarify "excessive sniffing" for me, please? Is Chico Rico sneezing with nasal discharge?

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No sneezing or discharge. Every object he walks by he stops and sniffs for an unusual amount of time. He goes from room to room sniffing anything at the level of his nose. Once done he'll lay down the get back up and do it all over again. This is all day long. Sometimes he will sniff mine, my mother's, or another guest's leg for a long time or until you tell him to stop.
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago

Thank you, Tee. I don't believe that his sniffing represents pathology unless he's become obsessive/compulsive which is described as mood/behavioral disorders characterized by repetitive, invariant, patterned behaviors that are exaggerated in intensity, frequency, and duration given the inciting stimuli (i.e., expressed out of context). The behavior interferes with health and well-being. Earlier in the course you may have been able to stop the behavior, but that may not be the case at this time. Chico Rico may hide (to perform the behavior), become aggressive when you attempt to stop it, or may begin avoiding you.

Consultation with a specialist veterinary neurologist (please see here: www.acvim.org) might be considered. All cases of OCD warrant intervention which is individualized and based on frequency and severity of clinical signs. Treatment is usually a combination of behavioral and environmental modification and psychotropic medication. The goal is to minimize and if possible eliminate bouts of compulsive behavior and the concomitant anxious states that accompany them.

In general, we need to identify and eliminate trigger events/situations. No punishment should ever be used since it can heighten anxiety and worsen the problem. If possible, these pets can be redirected to an alternative and incompatible behavior such as licking food from a toy instead of licking the skin if the redirection doesn't make the pet more anxious. Pets should be calmly rewarded for any spontaneous calm behavior. Keeping a structured daily routine helps decrease anxiety. The most successful medications used in the treatment of OCD in people include SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and clomipramine (Clomicalm). Typically, psychotropic therapy is necessary for longer periods of time than other anxiety-based disorders (months to years depending upon severity and how long the disorder has been ongoing). Lifelong medication use isn't unusual in severe cases.

His excessive scratching isn't an expected trigger for obsessive/compulsive disorders but, instead, usually represents an allergic dermatitis. I'll post my entire synopsis of the itchy dog for you so you can see all of the things I need to consider...

Pruritic (itchy) dogs are suffering from an allergic dermatitis in the great majority of cases. Allergies to flea saliva, environmental allergens (atopic dermatitis) such as pollens, molds, dust and dust mites, and foods should be considered. (Paw and extremity licking indicates both atopy and a food intolerance and so it behooves vets to distinguish one from another.) In many instances, a concomitant pyoderma (bacterial skin infection), yeast infection (Malassezia), or mange mite (Demodex or Sarcoptes) might be contributory.

Chico Rico's vet can check a sample of his skin surface microscopically (a “cytology”) for abnormal numbers of bacteria and yeast and skin scrapings can be taken in an attempt to find mites. Pyoderma is treated with a minimum of 3-4 weeks of an antibiotic in the cephalosporin class such as cephalexin (Keflex) and yeast is addressed with ketoconazole for at least a month. Mites are addressed topically, orally, and by injection.

Our dermatologists tell us to apply an over the counter flea spot-on such as Advantage/Advocate, a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline or, preferably, one of the newer prescription products available from Chico Rico's vet to which fleas are less likely to have become resistant even if fleas aren’t seen. Dogs can be such effective groomers so as to eliminate all evidence of flea infestation. Dogs who remain primarily indoors can contract fleas because we walk them in on us and flea eggs and larva can remain viable in your home for months. As the weather warms or you turn on heaters at this time of year, egg hatches are common. If the area between the edge of his rib cage and tail (the “saddle” area) is particularly excoriated, a flea saliva allergy should be the most important differential diagnosis. In severe cases, an anti-allergenic prescription glucocorticoid (steroid) such as prednisone will work wonders for dogs allergic to the saliva of the flea. If you have other pets they may have fleas too but may not be allergic to the flea’s saliva.

Environmental allergies (atopy) are usually initially addressed with prednisone as well. In some dogs an over the counter antihistamine such as clemastine (Tavist) at a dose of 0.025 - 0.75mg/lb twice daily or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) dosed at 1-2mg/lb twice daily (maximum dose of 50 mg at any one time) may be effective. Antihistamines, however, aren’t reliably effective - as you've seen. 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 cytokine antagonist oclacitinib (Apoquel) is likely to revolutionize how we address atopic dogs and should be discussed with his vet. Oclacitinib works as well as a steroid without a steroid's adverse effects. The new injectable immunomodulary drug IL-31 (Cytopoint) should also be considered. 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 Chico Rico'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.

We need to consider seborrhea in such a patient as well. This is skin disorder of keratinization and maturation. It's a diagnosis of exclusion of the above mentioned skin disorders and can be suggested by skin biopsy.

You also have the option of having a specialist veterinary dermatologist (please see here: www.acvd.org) attend to Chico Rico. You can expect some combination of skin scrapings, cytology, bacterial culture and sensitivity, fungal culture, skin biopsy, intradermal or blood allergy testing, or presumptive hypoallergenic diet trials to be performed.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 4 months ago
Hi Tee,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin
Ask Your Own Dog Question
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Haven't gotten the skin test with him yet. Thanks for asking.
Dog Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

I understand. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Ask Your Own Dog Question
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33,265
33,265 Satisfied Customers
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience

Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets!

LinhCharleston, WV

$1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15

CarolCedar Hill, MO

I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all!

JudyNew Haven, CT

I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers.

NinaUSA

I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!!

Jasmine's MomUSA

Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there!

Sonya GEasley, SC

Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge!

Cathie MPompano Beach, FL

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Dog Veterinarian

3,044 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ

Joan

Joan

Vet Tech

5,447 satisfied customers

Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues

Candy

Candy

Veterinary Technician

7,973 satisfied customers

Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dr Scott Nimmo

Small Animal Veterinarian.

5,173 satisfied customers

BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

4,900 satisfied customers

UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management

Theresa

Theresa

A Voice for Your Pet

4,705 satisfied customers

19+ years experience in small animal medicine

Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew

Veterinarian

3,294 satisfied customers

Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

< Previous | Next >

Related Dog Questions
She has severe diarrhea this morning. This afternoon she
She has severe diarrhea this morning. This afternoon she came in from outside and I noticed blood colored dried area on her analysis and butt area. She has not been acting I'll and has been eating nor… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
5 wk old toy morkie who is constipated. Brownye. He is
He is crying and keep trying but it is stuck in his anus… read more
Dr. Schmidt
Dr. Schmidt
Associate Veterinarian
DVM
894 satisfied customers
Golden doodle is staying overnight at vet. She has not had a
Golden doodle is staying overnight at vet. She has not had a bowel movement in several days and is eating very little. Her calcium level is at 15. Is there anything other than cancer that could be cau… read more
Dr. Rachel
Dr. Rachel
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
714 satisfied customers
I have a miniature Maltese he is almost 6 years old. I have
I have a miniature Maltese he is almost 6 years old. I have never had him fixed. He started yesterday licking his testiculs and he has licked them so much they look raw. And now he is acting very stra… read more
Dr. Rachel
Dr. Rachel
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
714 satisfied customers
I'm currently on a flight with my chihuahua/pug mix and she
Hello. I'm currently on a flight with my chihuahua/pug mix and she isn't panting heavily. Should I be concerned? … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
My 5 pound yorkie ate a little bit of a paper towel. Will
Hello! My 5 pound yorkie ate a little bit of a paper towel. Will she be fine? Or do i need to worry about blockage in her intestinal tract? … read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
3,465 satisfied customers
Dog ate grapes yesterday. I just found out they're poisonous
Dog ate grapes yesterday. I just found out they're poisonous today! One dog is 60 lbs. he ate two or three, the other is 12 lbs he ate two. Neither has shown signs of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain,… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
33,265 satisfied customers
My was just had puppies and she looks like she is losing
My was just had puppies and she looks like she is losing hair, so I googled it and the signs are mainge … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
I have a 5 year old Australian Shepherd, he is a miniature
I have a 5 year old Australian Shepherd, he is a miniature and weighs 20 pounds. He was staring out the window and started to tremble. I don't think it is because he was cold, he has very thick full h… read more
Dr. Rachel
Dr. Rachel
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
714 satisfied customers
Coughing and gagging like he has something stuck in his
Coughing and gagging like he has something stuck in his throat … read more
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo
Small Animal Veterinarian.
5,173 satisfied customers
My pregnant dog has dark discharge, she's 47 days pregnant,
My pregnant dog has dark discharge, she's 47 days pregnant, my sister did an ultrasound and saw that there were 2 significantly smaller pups close to the birth canal, the other 7 are triple in size, w… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
They won't eat barely drink water I don't think it's parvo
They won't eat barely drink water I don't think it's parvo ain't their a worm that acts the way … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
I can't find a behaviourist in Vancouver, BC, who will help
I can't find a behaviourist in Vancouver, BC, who will help me with my case in getting my dog out of animal services. … read more
DakotaSouthFive
DakotaSouthFive
Independent Contractor
High School or GED
17 satisfied customers
My dog has a uti and the vet is closed until Monday. I was
My dog has a uti and the vet is closed until Monday. I was looking for something to give her relief until Monday … read more
DakotaSouthFive
DakotaSouthFive
Independent Contractor
High School or GED
17 satisfied customers
My dog eaten a homeopathic ointment and I give her avil
My dog eaten a homeopathic ointment and I give her avil tablet is it ok … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
She showed some blood around her vulva this afternoon. But
She showed some blood around her vulva this afternoon. But it has mostly dissipated which confuses me. She sometimes gets urinary tract infections but this does not seem to be that. No frequent urinat… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,105 satisfied customers
My femsle standard poodle aussie mix re ently got spayed.
My femsle standard poodle aussie mix re ently got spayed. About 5 says later she started coughing gagging and swallowing hard. Took her back to vet. Put her on temaril tablets 2 pills twice a day … read more
Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy
Medical Director
Doctoral Degree
4,900 satisfied customers
12 pound dog chewed on raid max ant trap 0.05% avermectin.
12 pound dog chewed on raid max ant trap 0.05% avermectin. Not sure if she even ingested any. Did not swallow any pieces of plastic. Should I induce vomiting with peroxide? … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
33,265 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x