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Dog Pruritis

by Lisa S.
(Baltimore, MD, USA)



My 8 year old, male, german shepherd has been biting, itching and scratching his groin and paws incessantly for a few days and I noticed today while giving him a belly rub that he had a rash all over his belly that is VERY itchy.

His diet has not changed, he is not taking any meds and has not been around any other dogs or animals. We bathe him as needed (not usually more than once a month) with an oatmeal soap-free shampoo.

He has had a normal medical history with only a fatty tumor removal about two years ago. He has developed two sores that are scabbed over on the top of his left front paw. I haven't performed any interventions at this time as I didn't notice a rash and was planning on mentioning the itching at his annual vet visit in April.

Thank you for your help, please let me know if you need more information.

Comments for Dog Pruritis

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Mar 26, 2010
My Online Vet Response to Dog Pruritis
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Lisa,
If your dog is licking and chewing the BOTTOM of his feet, and his groin area, creating the rash as you noted in your picture, I would suspect he has a 'contact' allergy.

This means that he is walking and/or laying on something that he is allergic to. Sometimes it can even be an allergy to the laundry detergent that you use to wash his bedding. Now that it is spring, it may be the new grass, ivy, or plants that are outside. Have you put in new carpet in the house?

If your dog is licking/chewing the TOP of his feet, especially his front feet, and also his face, he may have inhaled allergies. This would be like hay fever in humans, except in humans our histamine is located in our respiratory system, therefore if we inhale something we have allergies to, then we have sneezing, red eyes, and a runny nose. In dogs, their histamine is in their skin. So, they will chew and itch the top of their feet, face, ears, and around the eyes.

Your dog may have a combination of inhaled and contact allergies.

I would also check the top of his rump area at the base of his tail, rubbing the hair backwards to look closely at his skin to check for any fleas. A flea allergy can cause an intense pruritis. Dogs will chew and swallow the flea, but the residual flea saliva where the flea bit him will cause him to chew and itch incessantly for several days, even though you do not see any fleas.

See Dog Skin Conditions for more information on the above conditions, including some of the causes and some treatments, such as improvement of your dog's diet (dry food may not cause allergies, but it is not that good for maintaining a healthy skin and hair coat. If your dog has been on only dry food for 8 years, and he is now developing skin issues, then it is time to improve his diet.)

Click here to find a Holistic vet in your area. There will be alternatives to antibiotics, cortisone, antihistamines to help your dog and improve his health at this time.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: 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,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section

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