Help for a Highly Allergic Dog

by Ro
(Calabasas, CA)

This 7 year old pug has elephant skin with pale green oozing on his stomach about 2 inches above his penis. His skin smells gross. He does not have much hair loss except a little on his stomach and on his butt which he keeps dragging to scratch it when it itches.

Does this allergy affect his anal glands?

The vet finally gave him a special bath yesterday along with a cortisone shot and he will be on prednisone for awhile orally also.

We had already begun putting tea tree cream on his skin, but do not really know if it helped since we only did this for 2 days prior to his additional vet visit yesterday. I do not think the vet was aggressive enough with finding a cure or even diagnosing the actual problem as I was left with the impression this was a fungus before and now I am told it is allergy. We put him on hypo-allergic dog food from the vet yesterday and will no longer allow him even the miniscule treats we used to give occasionally.

I want his beautiful skin to reappear and for all his fur to grow back. Does it sound like we are on the right track now - and how long might it take to get this poor boy back to normal?

Vet Suggestion for Treating Dog Allergies

Hi Ro,

Your poor dog!Let me outline how I approach cases like this.

First I start with a physical exam and complete history, and then, unless the answer is obvious (e.g., fleas), I move on to a skin scraping to look for mites, skin cytology to check for infection, and then a fungal culture for ringworm.

The test for ringworm can take two or three weeks to complete, so while we are waiting for those results I treat for anything that I diagnosed with the other tests, perhaps prescribe a broad spectrum parasiticide like Revolution to deal with some of the mites that can be hard to find on skin scrapings, and pursue any other leads that I might have.

If the fungal culture comes back negative and thedogis still not better, I move on to the next step in diagnostic testing. If I am leaning towards a food allergy (oftentimes these dogs have some GI signs like intermittent vomiting, soft stools, poor appetite, or flatulence in addition to skin problems) then I’d recommend a strict food trial with a hypoallergenic diet for at least two months.

If I thought environmental allergies were more likely, I’d recommend intradermal allergy testing. In some cases, skin biopsies are necessary before a definitive diagnosis can be made.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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