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Dog with Hot Itchy Skin & Mood Change

by Marjie A.
(Pulaski, TN)

Right Hind Leg

Right Hind Leg

Right Hind Leg
Lt. Hind leg.  Notice red blotches.  This is on all his legs, mouth, tail and ears.  Skin is hot to touch.
Diesel acts uncomfortable, irritable and is by my side most of the time, but doesn't want to be bothered.

My dog Diesel is chewing his skin to the point of drawing blood. He is acting depressed, he is not eating well, but he never had a good appetite, but now, he will go a day or two without eating.

His skin is hot and if I pet or scratch him, he itches himself with his back legs. His back legs looks like he has a thyroid problem, harden skin and swollen like, when a dog gets the rolls and swollen skin at the base of tail and fur loss but its on his legs, worse on the back legs.

Skin is hot, spotty with bloody chew marks and swollen in many areas on his legs. He scratches his ears, which are red and hot. Areas around his month and tail are itchy and red.

He chews so much that he hurts himself and he smells a like dirty dog, which is getting worse. Also I see muscle loss in the hind end.

Over the past year, I have used Benadryl {75mg}, lots of different shampoos and creams for itchy skin, dry skin, antibacterial, anti-fungal and lots of different foods. I feel it may be depression, thyroid imbalance or some hormone imbalance.

I called vet clinics, one never called back, one was not holistic and the other is a little far away!

Here's some background and info about the mood change...

Diesel is a 4.5yo neutered male German Shepherd. At 6 months old, he had reconstructed hip surgery (60% successful). He had always been on holistic, organic dry/can dog food and sometimes raw.

First 3 yrs, he traveled the country in a semi truck and trailer with me and a 2 yo cat that has been with me since her birth (Mom was killed, so I nursed and raised her).

Diesel had been a happy go lucky with people and other dogs. I let him explore whenever possible, he gets 2-3 walks aday, he was very well mannered and trained by me, but territorial while in the truck which was praised and got between me and other people, until he felt comfortable with them.

About 1.5 yrs ago, we started going to Connecticut to see my parents. With my Mom in need of help, I took time off from driving and spent a lot of time up there.

Diesel got attached to Mom and spent a lot of time with her. Diesel also got treats from Mom and Dad that I did not like but didn't fuss too much about. I did notice that he was not as happy go lucky, was not as happy to go trucking with me.

Diesel did hear yelling and fussing between myself and my Dad and between Mom and Dad, which I felt Diesel never had to deal with that before.

But one night, while getting dropped off at my truck and getting stuff out of the car and into my truck, I called for Diesel. He would not come to me. He sat in the backseat, and gave me a look... one that I never saw before. When I went to get him out...he growled at me.

My reaction was saying "Diesel" in a high voice. I was heartbroken. Never, ever had he done that before. I got hold of his leash, asked him to come, in a shaken voice, with a little tug and he came out. I didn't react anymore to the situation.

After my father left, we played and ran around in the parking lot, then got in the truck with no other incidence and hit the road. My father and I did continue to argue after that, but I kept it low key, when we were there.

7 months ago, Mom, Diesel, my cat and I drove down to FL for my Mom to stay for the winter and for me to move back home. Diesel started itching and chewing. I thought it was the sandy area that is full of fungus, sand fleas and other pests.

The 2 other dogs were having problems also. Also a lot of tension there from other family members and alcohol problems! Mom finally went back home last month and I moved to TN.

My info for Diesel was lengthy, but I knew something was going on long before now. I feel that the itching and chewing is due to something emotional or hormonal, not just environmental.

I am not able to send pics due to this new program I am using and not yet familiar with. BUT I can send pics from my phone.

Thank you for this service.


Comments for Dog with Hot Itchy Skin & Mood Change

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Jun 27, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog with Hot Itchy Skin & Mood Change
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Marjie,
From the description you have given of Diesel's history, the condition of his skin now, and his behavior, I will give you some preliminary suggestions until I can get some photos.

The severe itching sounds more like sarcoptic mange. Although, he may have some flea allergy problems with secondary yeast and bacterial infections along with it. (Giving him the 'dirty' dog smell.) He needs to have a skin scraping done to diagnose mange mites. See our page on dog mange for more information.

Bathing can help some of the bacterial and yeast issues, but the underlying mange mites will need to be treated for his skin to clear up.

Using an oatmeal shampoo may help some of the itching. Shampoo and rinse him off, followed by a rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar (Dilute apple cider vinegar 50-50 with water and pour it on the areas that are most severely affected). He will need this one time per week.

Flea control is VERY important. See our page on dog flea treatment. And check out Wondercide, made from cedar oil.

His behavior change may be due to pain. You wrote that he had reconstructive hip surgery when he was very young, and it was only 60% successful. I am not sure if you are giving him anything for pain. In the meantime, my advice would be to have some hip/back x-rays done, and depending on what is found, he may need acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and/or chiropractic ongoing treatments, to keep him comfortable.

Diet is of utmost importance to help these chronic issues. A raw diet would be the best. Although, that is the most expensive diet for a big dog like a German Shepherd.

See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options, and consider, checking out some raw diets.

Lastly, you should NOT give him any vaccinations. His immune system is very weak, and a vaccine would only worsen his already poor condition.

Here are a list of immune supplements that may help him.
1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

And here is a list of some holistic veterinarians that may help. But the skin scraping and x-rays can be done by a 'conventional' veterinarian.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

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

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Jun 27, 2013
hot itchy skin
by: Marjie Adams

Thanks very much for the Great info!!! I will go more completely raw. Diesel got pup vacs only, except 3yr rabies. I will get titers checked. Also, will get checked for mange and xrays. Never thought about mange or about Diesel might be in pain. Thanks so much. Will keep posted!

Jun 28, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog with Hot Itchy Skin & Mood Change
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

June 27, 2013

Hi Marjie,

From the photos you submitted, Diesel's skin does not look as bad as I would expect from Sarcoptic Mange. It would still be a good idea to do the skin scraping, and I failed to suggest previously, that you should also do a full blood panel that includes thyroid and heart worm test.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

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

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