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Red rash, itchy dog skin with "waxy" texture

by Alexis Taylor

My 8 year old Maltese Rocky has been itching non stop for the past month or so. His hair was trimmed to better treat the skin issue, and his hair has not grown back.

He has a rash on his back, neck, stomach and back paws. It appears as tiny red dots the size of a pinhead when agitated. He sometimes scratches until his skin is raw.

His skin has a slightly wax texture on his back, and the back side of his ears has turned to a waxy, dark grey color.

We have begun bathing him in shampoo for sensitive skin and have changed his food to Iams organic kibble. Periodically we try and sooth his dry skin with lotion, but it doesn't provide any substantial relief.

In December of last year he was picked up from the local PetSmart where he was boarded while we were away over the holidays. A week or so later, his skin began to turn dry and slowly peel. The vet diagnosed him with a fungal problem and prescribed medical shampoo and some pills.

The issue eventually subsided until a month ago. When we tried to bathe him in the shampoo from the vet, his skin became irritated and we had to rinse it off immediately. We've used fresh aloe directly on his skin, olive oil, baby powder, everything to no avail. Hoping that the recent change in diet does the trick.

As a puppy, he had to have a hernia on his belly button surgically removed. Soon after he became lethargic and was rushed to the ER and put on an IV. Eventually he began eating regularly and developed in to a happy puppy.

Rocky's temperament is incredibly kind and loving. He rarely barks, has never bit anyone, and loves to be loved on. In this past month his personality has dwindled a little bit, as he is obviously uncomfortable.

Comments for Red rash, itchy dog skin with "waxy" texture

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Feb 29, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Red rash, itchy dog skin with "waxy" texture
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alexis,
Your 8 year old Maltese, Rocky, has developed what is called hyperkeratosis, which means the 'keratin' layer of his skin has become abnormally thickened. This will prevent the regrowth of new hair and alter the pigment of the skin. This condition may occur secondary to a fungal infection, chronic allergies, too much dry food in the diet, hormonal problems such as a low thyroid, mange mites or a genetic predisposition.

Basically, a dog that develops this has a poor immune system. To help Rocky:
1. He needs to be gradually changed from a DRY DOG FOOD to a canned or, better yet, a RAW diet. See our page on 10 Best Dog food options.
2. NO more vaccinations. A holistic veterinarian can help write an exemption form.
3. Add 200mg Omega 3 fish oil for dogs to his diet TWO times daily.
4. Boost his immune system with supplements. Here is a list:

a) Immuplex from Standard Process - Add 1/2 capsule to his food two times daily.
b) Missing Link Canine Formula - 1/4 tsp to his food two times daily.
c) OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder - Add 1/8 tsp to his food two times daily.

5. He needs a weekly or two times per week massage with coconut oil. Let the oil soak into his skin for 2-3 hours. Then shampoo with Palmolive Dish soap to remove the excess oil, rinse, and do a SECOND shampoo with an oatmeal shampoo. Rinse well.


Feb 29, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Red rash, itchy dog skin with "waxy" texture (PART TWO)
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alexis,

Here is the rest of my response:

6. He needs to wear a baby's cotton T-shirt to protect his skin from the constant scratching.

7. He should have a total blood panel to make sure he has normal thyroid, and no other underlying condition such as Cushing's Disease, dog diabetes, kidney problems, anemia, etc.

8. And if he did not have a skin scraping, that should be done to rule out mange mites, such as Sarcoptes mange.

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

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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

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