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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,

Bobbiel

Comments for Dog Has Severe Itchy Skin with Pustules

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Dec 15, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Has Severe Itchy Skin with Pustules
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Bobbie,

From the description and history of your dog and his photo, I can tell you that there will not be a 'quick' fix to his problems. You have attempted to manage his health issues over the past 10 years without resolving them, and it seems that he started off with inherited/genetic problems from a young age. Therefore, he must have inherited a compromised immune system and a weak vital force.

So, starting with diet, he should not be on a dry dog food. I would advise checking our page on raw dog food diets. Raw meats contain moisture that is vital for a healthy skin and hair coat, fats that are also necessary for the proper oils in the skin, and Vitamin C.

Although, I would not feed him raw pork or raw fish, the 'commercial' raw diets will commonly have chicken, turkey, beef or lamb in them. Dogs, and almost ALL animals, except humans, monkeys, guinea pigs and the Mediterranean Fruit Bat, produce their own Vitamin C in their bodies. (See our page on dog dietary supplements.)

Humans, and the others mentioned above, must have Vit C in their diet, to prevent a deficiency. In your dog's case, I worry that he is NOT producing enough Vitamin C. It is not included in dog food, and because dogs make their own vitamin C, dog food manufacturers are not required to include it in the food. (And cooking or heating meat will destroy vitamin C.)

Therefore a raw diet that is balanced, containing bone and vegetables, would be ideal for him.

Supplementing with Omega 3 fish oil for dogs added to the food would also help as a natural anti-inflammatory to the skin. Approximately 500 mg once a day for 2 weeks, then increase to 500 mg two times daily maintenance.

Continued in Part 2 below...

Dec 16, 2010
Part 2 - My Online Vet Response to Dog Has Severe Itchy Skin with Pustules
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

(continued from Part 1)

The severe dryness of his skin with all of the itching may be alleviated by some Coconut Oil soaks one time per week. Massage in some coconut oil all over the areas that are dry and scaly, and let it soak in for 4-6 hours. Shampoo with Palmolive dish soap if he is still greasy, to remove excess oil. Otherwise, if the oil has all soaked into his skin, use a baby shampoo.

Apple cider vinegar is sometimes useful in the skin fold areas under the neck, armpits and groin if there is any yeast or fungus associated with the formation of 'elephant' skin. You can apply it two to three times per week with a wash cloth to the affected areas.

For supplements that will improve his immune system, see our Dog Dietary Supplements page.

Next, seek out a holistic veterinarian to guide you along, as you can hopefully wean him off of the cortisone as you support his immune system and treat him holistically.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care, and Good Luck!
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Dog Itchy Skin,
- Dog Skin Rash,
- Dog Skin Allergies,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section.
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section

Jan 05, 2012
I am with you...
by: Anonymous

Dear Friend,
I have a treeing walker hound, Copper, that is having the same issues. His started in June of 2011. He was about a year or so old. Before that, we had never had any problems. The only thing that he has differently is that his skin has a very distinctive odor. It is awful! We have tried many different vets., medicated shampoos, and antibiotics. Although there has been a little improvement it hasn't completly gone away.
Good Luck with your dog.

Jan 06, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Has Severe Itchy Skin with Pustules
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment. If you have a question, I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Jan 14, 2012
Picture could be my dog
by: BrianSoFLA

I have a 10 year old over-breeded pit bull, which I say only because it seems like she was born with the same issues. First vet said mange.......Second vet said environment allergies.........Third vet says food allergies, consequently, Hill's prescription ZD seemed to work for about awhile. Her coat just never completely shined all the time. I am hopeful that a combination of supplements, cephalexin for the breakouts and a raw food diet will do the trick. I love my Foxy Lady, but $100 ZD Ultra that lasts 3 weeks is a bit costly considering it hasn't done the trick. Thanks so much for the information and I will post again win or lose in a few months.

Jan 15, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog has severe Itchy skin with Pustules
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Brian,
There are several VERY good holistic veterinarians in the South Florida area that may be able to help. Both of them belong to the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.

Dr. Anthony Krawitz in Boca Raton, Florida
Dr. Larry Bernstein in Miami, Florida

Try a holistic approach and see if you get better results!

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us
by clicking the like button at the top of the left
margin
. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.




Jan 12, 2013
My dog developed same symptoms after
by: Anonymous

My dog developed same symptoms after coming home from the groomer.She used "Green Groom" and didnt dilute it 50:1 as mandated on the label.She said she was "In a hurry" and had run out of the regular soothing shampoo and didnt have any "mixed" of the green groom, just before Christmas and now my dog is suffering miserably. I am so upset. Just as soon as it seems like it is clearing up it becomes systemic almost and pops up somewhere else. I called the manufacturer and they said dogs will have a severe reaction if the "All Natural" Green Groom concentrate is not diluted 50:1. There is a severe detergent chemical derived from coconuts that is a strong irritant. I have been spraying with gentocin from my vet but it keeps popping up in different areas, its crazy. He is the sweetest dog and has become a nervouse wreck over this. Shaking uncontrollably. What can be done if it is a chemical reaction? Please help

Jan 19, 2014
itchy skin NEW
by: Anonymous

our dog got this after visiting the vet the best thing is to bath the dog once a week and in between times use the dog spray with aloe its flees

Jan 22, 2014
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Has Severe Itchy Skin with Pustules NEW
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

January 21, 2014

Dear Anonymous from January 12 and 19, 2014,

Thanks for your questions. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Click here to add your own comments

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