I'm not sure if this is actually allergy related... About two weeks ago my dog started chewing on his foot, and now there is no fur between two of his toes and the foot is swollen, but there are no obvious bites, scrapes, rashes or anything else there. About a week later his face started itching and he scratched an hole in the back of his head about the size of a nickel. A few days later he started scratching under his chin until there was a bloody scrape there too. Then his left eye got puffy and red and itchy, and his ear got itchy with tiny little bumps (but just the one ear) and he started scratching around his nose and mouth until there were little pink sore spots. I have tried cleaning the sores with witch hazel and putting neosporin on them, using cortisone on his foot and anyplace else that seemed really itchy, I used a skin soothing spray with bitters to help with the chewing, I gave him benadryl twice a day (around a milligram per pound) for a week and I keep toys for him to play with and I distract him when he chews (at least I do when I catch him... sometimes he hides to chew in peace). I checked him carefully for fleas, dandruff, rashes, ear mites and anything else I could think of but I don't see anything that could cause this... I am not working at the moment and I cant afford to go to the vet but I will if I really have no other choice, does anyone have any ideas?
I recommend starting by taking your dog to your veterinarian for assessment of the itch and medication recommendations. The most common reasons for itchy skin in dogs include skin infections, microscopic skin parasites such as scabies or demodex mites, food allergy, or pollen/dust allergies. The red spots and hairloss/swelling of the foot the you describe are suspicous for a bacterial skin infection. Your veterinarian can take skin scrapings to examine under the microscope for parasites and for skin infection. If skin infection is present, it is treated with antibiotics for 3-4 weeks and mild antibacterial shampoos. The itch can be treated symptomatically with mild oatmeal shampoos, fatty acids, antihistamines or a short course of oral steroids, but steroids are not a good choice for long term treatment due to their many side effects. If your dogs' itch persists or recurs despite anitbiotics and symptomatic medications, then I would suggest talking to your veterinarian about a prescription hypoallergenic diet. There is no accurate skin or blood test for food allergy; the test and the treatment are the strict hypoallergenic diet trial for 6-8 weeks with no other treats or foods. Lastly, if your dogs' symptoms persist despite all of the above, or if the symptoms only occur during certain seasons, then talk to your veterinarian about referral to a veterinary dermatologist for possible allergy skin testing and desensitization injections for pollen/dust allergies to identify and treat the underlying cause of the itch and recurrent infections, rather than just treating symptoms with medications (veterinary dermatologists can be found in your area by going to www.acvd.org and clicking on the "find a dermatologist" button). Hope that helps!
Kimberly Coyner, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Dermatology
Also I forgot to mention that these spots don't seem to cause him pain or discomfort and he is still playing and eating and everything as if nothing is wrong. The foot did seem to bother him just a little bit when I was trying to wash it down with water (his foot got a little muddy) but otherwise it doesn't seem to trouble him other than the itching.
This sounds like an unusual amount of itching and may be related to an allergy of some kind. Our Dr. Coyner will answer here, but if it is allergy, your only hope is to identify the allergen through testing, and treat accordingly which will mean several trips to a veterinary dermatologist.
These can be really bothersome and can become so severe as to cause the dog to scratch out hair, cause secondary bacterial skin infections etc. So I would plan on some veterinary medical help.
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