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Incessant Itching Dog Rash on Ears, Neck, Legs, Flank, Back, Abdomen

by Melissa
(Baltimore, MD)

Ear with scabs

Ear with scabs

Ear with scabs
Groin area with rash/raised bumps
Scab on his neck and also legs
Charlie in itchy, miserable mode

This is Charlie, my 5 year old red hound/lab rescue. He is usually in excellent health. However 2 weeks ago I noticed he started scratching constantly. I saw a flea on him months ago but he never itched that much so I wasn't concerned.


I don't vaccinate him anymore, I refuse to put poison on him, and he eats grain-free food with filtered water and raw eggs from my hens. I also give him fish oil on occasion.

We have a cat in the house as well, but the cat isn’t itching.

About 5 days ago, in a bid to rid the animals and the house of what I thought were fleas, I powdered them and all of the carpets with food grade diatomaceous earth. I vacuumed it up the next day and gave him a bath with tea tree shampoo. Now, he is worse if anything.

I finally gave him Benadryl today to make him more comfortable (it worked, sort of). He's been snoozing more and itching less. However, once I started checking his fur out (which is difficult, it’s thick), I found various bumps and small scabs.

It seems no part of his body is spared. He itches his back, stomach, legs, neck, ears, everything – all day and all night.

One last thing – Charlie has a strong prey drive and we regularly take him in to the woods. He sometimes tracks down badgers, etc. A few weeks ago he came across a dying fox which did appear to have some horrible mange – half of its fur was gone and it didn’t even put up a fight when Charlie shook it by the scruff of its neck before my husband could get him away from it.

After the fox incident I took him home and scrubbed him head to toe, and then he didn’t seem to have any problems, until recently. The only treatment besides diatomaceous earth was I rubbed coconut oil in his ears today because of the scabs. I was considering rubbing it into his fur.

Comments for Incessant Itching Dog Rash on Ears, Neck, Legs, Flank, Back, Abdomen

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May 05, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Incessant Itching Dog Rash on Ears, Neck, Legs, Flank, Back, Abdomen
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Melissa,
May 5, 2013

For Charlie, if he has a flea allergy, then one flea could trigger a constant itching, even if that flea has jumped off or was killed.

The place where the flea bit him, (where the flea saliva is in his skin), will cause itching and scratching for up to 3-4 days. The more he itches and irritates his skin, the more he will scratch. The scabs you are seeing are caused by self trauma.

If the cat is not allergic to flea saliva, then she will not itch, even if she has fleas.

See our page on Natural flea control, Natural Dog Flea Medicine and Products - Treatment & Prevention

In the meantime, use oatmeal shampoo one to two times per week to 'calm' down the skin and decrease the itching.

Use coconut oil and massage into the skin, let it soak in for several hours, then use Dawn Dish Detergent to shampoo off the oil. If he is still greasy, rinse well, and shampoo again with the oatmeal shampoo.

The diet sounds good, but feed LESS dry food and more canned or a RAW diet would be the best. See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options

Also, immune supplements would be advised since fleas are parasites, and are usually attracted to 'weak' animals. Something must have affected Charlie's overall 'constitution', and lowered his immune system making him more susceptible to parasites.

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

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

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

May 06, 2013
Update on Charlie
by: Melissa

Thanks, Dr. Tillman! After the fox incident I was very worried about mange, but I am so relieved that you suspect a flea allergy instead. He is doing much better - last night I rubbed an entire pint jar of coconut oil into his fur and gave him a little more Benadryl. He has been licking and licking because he likes the oil, but barely a scratch all night; he seemed so relieved. He was more playful this morning, like his usual self. I do have some raw food in my freezer and I'll transition him back onto at least a portion raw food. I know it is better for him but it's expensive, so I was feeding it to him 50/50 with the dry kibble in water.

May 06, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Incessant Itching Dog Rash on Ears, Neck, Legs, Flani, Back, Abdomen
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Melissa,
You wrote,
"he eats grain-free food with filtered water"

But it is still DRY food, and adding water does not really 'reconstitute' back to its original form. Do they make the same thing in canned? It would be much better for him to feed canned plus RAW.

Glad to hear that just a coconut oil massage brought him relief! Probably starting good flea control, and relief for his skin, and he will be on the road to recovery very soon.

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!

Related Pages:
- Dealing with Dog Ticks Naturally
- Dog Tick Removal
- Dog Flea Medicine, Treatment & Prevention
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Fleas & Ticks Section

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

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