Dog Has Severe Itchy Skin with Pustules
by Bobbie Jedrzejczyk
(North Platte, Nebraska)
My dog once again broke out with pustules all over his body. He scratches and chews them to the point of bleeding, has red, irritated skin and once the crusties are washed away they are just red pimpley like bumps over his body.
I don't even know where to begin, he has such a story. Guess I will give you some background history on my guy, who is a neutered cocker spaniel and will be 10 years old in January.
I got him around 1 and a half years of age to show. I was never able to show him because health
problems got to him first. He had a scrotal hernia and had to be neutered, cherry eye that needed to be surgically fixed and chronic ear infections were the beginnings.
He developed elephant skin when he was younger that was localized to his throat latch area, from breast bone up to jaw area. It never went away once he got it, but I didn't pursue any cure then anyways as it didn't seem to be affecting him in anyway - it was just ugly.
As he has aged his symptoms have progressed and gotten worse, and he has been to multiple vets through out the years. He has been diagnosed with dry eyes and to keep that under control he must be given eye drops daily (neopolydex drops and optimmune ointment).
Once a few years ago at a local vet, they gave him a prescription for clavamox - that seemed to clear up the elephant skin on his neck, and hair actually grew in. Once he was off the meds though, it reversed and the elephant skin came back.
He is now a very itchy dog and major symptoms started about a year and a half ago. He lost all hair, maybe about 4 inches wide right down the middle of his back.
I took him to the vet and they prescribed cephalexin , antihistamines, and a change in diet (was feeding pro plan lamb ) to science diet potato and duck, I believe.
The antihistamines did nothing for his itching at all, even after changing to different kind. He was on them for a month or month and a half.
Also he turned his nose up after about 4-6 weeks of eating the science diet. So I put him back on his old shredded blend lamb pro plan dog food.
Then after trying that with no results at all,
they gave me some powder to sprinkle on his food to see if that would help at all. It was an antifungal if I remember correctly. We did the whole prescription of that with absolutely no results either.
He has had multiple skin scrapings done, and nothing shows on there.
He was tested at one time for thyroid and was shown to be borderline, so we put him on a half a thyroxin pill morning and evening and his hair on his back did grow back in after time. But his itchiness never subsided.
Beginning around last November he developed little pustules, as the vet described them to be, all over his entire body. Head, ears, neck, tail, muzzle, legs, EVERYWHERE! They get really crusty and scabby like.
I tried another vet in my clinic and he put him on prednisone, cephalexin for one month. The prednisone in the beginning worked on the higher dosage and he cleared up and stopped itching totally.
But once lowering the dosage, it doesn't help (except for a while he also had no hair on tops of all four feet and in front of his ear canals on side of head, and around his eyes, and inside back legs and since being on low dose steriods seems to still keep that at bay) and we are back to square one - he broke out with pustules all over again, chewing , itching, scratching to the point of bleeding, red irritated skin and once the crusties are washed away they are just red pimpley like bumps over his body.
I am a dog groomer and have even bathed him every other day for months before and that never really seemed to help at all, with all the medicated shampoos I tried.
Oh I should also add, he has not been vaccinated in years, and is no longer on heartworm medication. I felt his immune system was too compromised to continue with any of that.
I am looking for a new different approach to this and wondering, what holistically could be done for him?. I am trying to wean him off the steroids as they aren't helping and I hate the long term problems that could occur from them.
Are there any supplements? What about food?
What would cause this? Nobody ever seems to have a clear definite answer.
Thanks so much,