Dog Skin Itching
(Valley Stream, NY)
Reader Question: Dog Skin Itching
My Neo is a 7 year old Jack Russell that is constantly itchy. We recently visited the vet and allergy tests and skin slides were all negative. As instructed, I have been bathing him once a week for 3 weeks now with Keto Clor shampoo and Epi-Soothe rinse and it seems to help immediately after, but itching starts right back up after a couple of days.
He seems to be itchy all over, constantly turning around to scratch or bite himself on his sides as if something was biting him. He is on a monthly flea prevention so fleas are not an issue (so are my cats). The hair loss is mainly on his chest, neck and paws because it seems those are the areas he can get to more easily.
So I have several questions: Can there be something in the environment that is affecting him that cant be picked up on test? Could it simply be that he creates his own skin issues by just constantly itching or scratching for no reason and eventually it does become a problem? If weekly medicated baths are the answer, can they be done for a prolonged period of time? And last, how long before hair grow can be seen again if he stops scratching?
Any advice is greatly appreciated!Veterinarian Suggestions on Dog Skin Itch
Let me answer your questions one by one.
Can there be something in the environment that is affecting him that can’t be picked up on test?
Absolutely. I don’t know what type of allergy testing was done, but none test for all possible triggers. In general, intradermal skin testing is better than blood testing, and it is important that the dog not be treated with certain types of medications prior to skin testing to avoid false negatives.
Could it simply be that he creates his own skin issues by just constantly itching or scratching for no reason and eventually it does become a problem?
Yes. Scratching disrupts the natural barrier properties of the skin making him more likely to develop infections/inflammation that make him more itchy and likely to scratch. It can become a vicious cycle, continuing after the problem that instigated it all has resolved.
If weekly medicated baths are the answer, can they be done for a prolonged period of time?
Yes. Most medicated baths are safe to use on a long term basis. In fact, frequent bathing is an important part of allergy control regardless of what other treatments are put in place.
And last, how long before hair growth can be seen again if he stops scratching?
Hair regrowth will generally be evident within a couple of weeks once the primary problem resolves, but it can take several months before the coat returns completely to normal.
Chronic skin problems in dogs
can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. In many cases, making an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist is the quickest and in the end, the least expensive way to resolve the issue.
Best of luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM