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Rosie_MRCVS, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1065
Experience:  BVetMed MRCVS, Qualified veterinarian of ten years in small animal practice in England
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My dog has develop dry, scaly patches all over its body. She

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My dog has develop dry, scaly patches all over its body. She has been to the vet & been diagnosed as possible auto immune disease. The next step is to have her put to sleep and a swab taken. As this is going to be quite costly I have researched alternatives and in America they sell a product called Immugen which helps the dog's immune system. I am unable to buy them unless I live in America. Is there an alternative to this available in Aust or do you have any other advice.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Rosie_MRCVS replied 5 years ago.
Hi I'm Rosie one of the vets and I'd like to try and help you. Skin diseases can be one of the most frustrating things to treat so I can certainly understand how you feel about your little one.

As with most things there are a number of ways to treat your dogs condition. As a general rule, the sort of skin disease that causes dry scaly patches are caused by one of three things - infection, parasites or allergy. Patients can be allergic to pretty much anything, but the main culprits are pollens, housedust mites, food and fleas. Flea allergy tends to be around the tail area, but apart from that all of them can look the same - which is one of the most frustrating things about skin conditions. A rather rare condition, which I think may be the one your vet is referring to, is pemphigus. This is where the patient's own immune system attacks their skin, causing problems. This is a rare condition.

While the best practice is to get a concrete diagnosis, and swabbing would be part of that, if you want to avoid the cost of this (which I certainly understand) then there are other things which you can do. Skin infections need long courses of antibiotics, sometimes stretching into two months worth of treatment. One option would be to treat your little one with a longer course of antibiotics to see if that helps. As you wouldn't know for sure the cause of the problem without a swab this may not work, but it is something I would definitely be discussing with you if I saw you at my clinic.

I would combine this with a parasite treatment (usually selamectin, which is either called Stronghold or Revolution depending on which country you are in). Before you use it you must be sure that your little one doesn't have heartworm.

If it is an allergy (or pemphigus for that matter) then these usually respond very well to steroids. Best practice would be to identify what your little one is allergic to (usually with blood tests or tests on the skin itself) so you can either avoid it or start desensitisation. However, this can be an expensive route and quite a lot of my clients cannot afford this. For these patients, a short course of steroids (usually prednisolone) can help. There are side effects associated with this so the aim is to use a short a course as possible. If the clinical signs return once the steroids have finished then you (and your vet) need to find the lowest effective dose, and keep your little one on that.

I know that there isn't any information about Immugen in this answer, but in my experience products like that aren't particularly effective. I hope I've helped - if you have any questions from this then just hit 'reply' and I will get them and get back to you. Otherwise, if you have found this useful, please click 'accept'. Good luck, Rosie.
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