View Full Version : Rescue came in with fleas, severe hair loss and lesions

10th June 2009, 09:25 PM
Rescue that I just received today and will be fostering; 8 YO spayed female, puppy mill dog. She has no hair on her rear-end, back legs, stomach, and half of her back. She did have fleas (not an infestation, but I pulled 6 off immediately and then put Frontline on). The previous owner states she has flea & food allergies. This looks much more serious than a flea or skin allergy.

I'm switching her today to a grain-free food and fish oil supplement. Vet appt is not until Friday. I've been doing some research, and her skin looks like it could be a yeast-type infection.

Anyone have any advice on what could be causing this?

10th June 2009, 11:34 PM
Beware that it can be mange. Demodectic which is a mite that lives on the skin and is usually benign unless the dogs immune system is compromised and Scarcoptic which can be picked up by other animals including humans (scabies). There are a few other mites that can cause itching and hair loss.

11th June 2009, 12:56 AM
I have researched the heck out of mange, and in most cases it shows that most of lesions start at the head, ears, and neck and work down. Is this not the case?

This dog's problem are on the rear end, back, and belly. When I look at pics of flea bite dermatitis, this is what it looks like. But it blows my mind that a flea allergy could cause this much damage!

11th June 2009, 01:32 AM
I have researched the heck out of mange, and in most cases it shows that most of lesions start at the head, ears, and neck and work down. Is this not the case?

This dog's problem are on the rear end, back, and belly. When I look at pics of flea bite dermatitis, this is what it looks like. But it blows my mind that a flea allergy could cause this much damage!

Sarcoptic mange: extremely itchy skin (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-mange.htm#) disease that is sometimes referred to as canine scabies (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-scabies.htm) and is common in dogs. This type of mange usually attacks areas without hair...

This is what I found. I am probably just an alarmist.. I just didn't want you to accidentally get your family infected.

Cathy Moon
11th June 2009, 02:23 AM
When I look at pics of flea bite dermatitis, this is what it looks like. But it blows my mind that a flea allergy could cause this much damage!
Flea allergy can be just awful, and the irritated skin can easily get secondary infections. Our rescue dog had fleas and flea allergy. He was treated by our vet with Capstar, Clavamox, an anti-inflammatory drug, prescription shampoo, tapeworm meds, and Frontline. There was one more medicine, but I cannot remember. It was very expensive and the poor little guy had been suffering.

Are you sure the vet can't see her sooner? :flwr::flwr::flwr:

11th June 2009, 03:11 AM
We just got her today and I had already made an appt for Friday knowing she was coming in. I could possibly get her in tomorrow but the vet that does significant "financial favors" for rescue groups is off on Thursdays.

I picked off all the live fleas I could find today, applied Frontline and some triple antibiotic cream to the lesions and she is resting very well now.

Poor girl. :( She is completely freaked out and staying to herself tonight.

11th June 2009, 03:42 AM
Poor girl. :( She is completely freaked out and staying to herself tonight.

Poor baby, I am sure she will come around soon enough. She is in loving hands now! Thank you for giving her a chance at a great life from here on.

My two rescues, Harley and Sapphire had sarcoptic mange. They had most of their hair loss on their hind legs, tail and back area nearest the rump. I also had a "all-american" dog with severe flea allergies. He too, had most of his hair loss on his back legs and rump. His hair loss was not nearly as extensive as Harley and Sapphire's.

Here are pictures of Harley and Sapphire showing how they looked when I first brought them home. They had been cleared of the active mange infection. It took several months for their fur to grow back.

11th June 2009, 10:05 AM
Poor dog, I would keep her isolated until after the vet visit and you can get their advice.Use gloves handling her and dispose of her bedding once treatment has started.Hopefully she'll recover with appropriate treatment.

Brian M
11th June 2009, 10:23 AM
Hi chloe

Following your post word by word you are doing a wonderful job for this little girl ,good luck ,thank you and well done .

Warmest Wishes

Cathy Moon
11th June 2009, 12:25 PM
She's very fortunate to have you looking after her.

You might want to ask your vet for a few Capstar pills to keep at home, so you can treat the fleas immediately when your rescues come in. They work within just a few minutes and keep fleas off for 24 hours, when the frontline would provide protection from new fleas and flea eggs.

11th June 2009, 12:29 PM
Hi Chloe, I have no advice to add to what has been said, except to say that by being in your home and care is probably already doing wonders for her. Best of luck with her, does she have a name?
Hope your vet gets her sorted quickly and easily.:xfngr:

Cathy T
11th June 2009, 03:40 PM
Second Cathy's suggestion re Capstar. Jake has flea allergy dermatitis and can't tolerate flea bites. Which reminds me....I need to pick up a pack of Capstar with the warm weather coming on. The Capstar gets rid of all of the flea on the body almost immediately.

11th June 2009, 03:41 PM
Lexi, or Lil' Lexi as I call her. She is sweet as a button, but very shy as can be expected.

Am worried again about the mange- God, I hope it's not that since it's very contagious!

Jay- did your other animals get the sarcoptic mites when your two rescues came into the house?

11th June 2009, 04:55 PM
Like Sandy, I too would guess this is far more likely to be mange than a flea allergy -- definitely keep her totally isolated and do not carry bedding between rooms and be careful handling her. Sarcoptic mange is very common and humans can get it from the dog. We see regular cases of that and demodectic mange as well on rescue dogs. Frontline Plus can treat against sarcoptic mange. Demodectic mange is common too. All the dogs in the house will also need to be treated if you get this diagnosis.


Demodectic mange can be a sign of other immune problems/underlying serious illness.

I've never seen a case of massive hair loss that was related just to an allergy, and I've seen a lot of rescue and pound dogs with hair loss -- always mange.

11th June 2009, 05:36 PM
Well, too late for the isolation bit. She's been out and about with my crew since yesterday afternoon and her favorite spot is on the sofa. I called the vet this morning just to see if I could fit her in today and they are overbooked so I have no choice but to wait until tomorrow.

11th June 2009, 09:47 PM
When my 9-year old ruby (Megan) contracted mange (from foxes in our field) I was very worried that my 2 other bitches might also get it, but my vet reassured me that this was not inevitable, and he was quite right - neither did.

Megan was presumably at greater risk from her contact with the local foxes because she was already debilitated by SM. Even my 8-year old tri stayed clear - though we did immediately start a regime of monthly Advocate (in the UK) for all the dogs and we have religiously kept this up ever since - it costs a fortune as I now have four!!

Good luck with Lil' Lexi and we look forward to hearing all about her progress.

All best, Marie-Anne

12th June 2009, 12:41 AM
When I brought Harley and Sapphire home, they were no longer considered contagious because the vet refused to spay/neuter either one as long as they had active cases of mange. They had originally been confiscated by animal control along with many other animals from the home of a hoarder. When I first saw Sapphire her mange was acute. Her legs were red and raw. She was extremely depressed. I saw Harley for the first time, the day I brought him home. It took around two months of treatment in the shelter for the dogs to be considered well enough for S/N.

I do agree with Wagtails, that a healthy dog is less likely to get infected. In addition, you will be consulting with a vet who can show you what to look out for so if it does happen, you can treat the infection quickly. But still take reasonable precautions.

I am sure that Lexi will look absolutely beautiful once her coat grows in.

Again, thank you for giving her a chance for the life that she deserves.


12th June 2009, 06:54 PM
We just came back from the vet with VERY good news. No mites or mange. As soon I walked in with her, he said "wow, that's one bad flea allergy..."

She has an ear infection and a potential problem with one of her anal glands that I have to keep an eye on, but will post that situation on another thread.

Her fecal and heartworm tests were all negative!

Best news of all....and I find this to be close to miraculous...this Hunte Corp puppy farm, purchased from Petland, 8 Year old Cavalier, DOES NOT HAVE A MURMUR! :w**h**:

12th June 2009, 07:11 PM
Thats great news!

She'll be feelin better in no time, good on you for taking her in & loving her.

Brian M
12th June 2009, 08:53 PM

What good news for the two of you Big Congratulations :rah::flwr:

12th June 2009, 09:41 PM
That's such good news - especially about the lack of heart murmur. You must be SOoooo relieved.

She'll be feeling better in not time and you will be able to look forward to enjoying your new found chum, who will love you as only Cavvies can, bless her! :lotsaluv:

Brenda in SC
13th June 2009, 12:06 AM
That's great news! Keep us posted on the progress!!

Cathy Moon
13th June 2009, 12:13 AM
Such good news - you'll have her looking and feeling her best in no time at all! Congrats! :rah:

13th June 2009, 08:31 PM
Thats really great news & now you can enjoy getting to know her, good for you for taking her, im sure she'll pay you back tenfold with love:D

13th June 2009, 08:49 PM
Well, she is just my foster- the plan is NOT to keep her! ;) BUT, I can tell already that she will be a hard one for me to let go...she is a sweet girl. It will be a long-term foster I believe because of her age, but we'll see!

13th June 2009, 10:34 PM
That's good overall news! :) Though I'm not sure whether it is better to be an allergy than mange though as mange is easier to treat I think? An allergy to fleas must be really severe for a dog to lose so much hair; have never seen that before. :eek: With that type of allergy is it contained pretty well simply by keeping the dog Frontlined?

On her heart -- you'd really need a cardio to verify an 8 year old as murmur-clear if you want to be sure -- keep in mind vets will miss half of all early grade murmurs and more than half of all cavaliers would have murmurs by that age. I always take my vet's opinion on murmurs as an indication of no major murmur and a general indication of overall heart health, but not a real indication of whether a dog is heart-clear, or of a specific murmur grade.

13th June 2009, 10:44 PM
Her intake forms said food/ flea allergy, so I'm doubtful it is all fleas but mostly. A single flea bite can make a dog with a severe allergy to them itch for an entire month. So, on a tiny dog like this with 7 fleas on her when she arrived (and assuming the people who had her before could not/ did not think it important enough :x to get rid of the the fleas in her environment) she has been living in severe discomfort for who knows how long. So, yes, the key is trying to prevent her from ever getting bit by any flea, which means keeping her from places that probably have fleas (dog parks, woods, etc) and keeping a topical pesticide on her at all times. Her skin looks better already and I've only had her a few days now.

To add, I would never claim my vet's word on the murmur (or lack of in this case) is gospel, however it was very good news as were fully expecting it to be severe. So inaudible to my vet is big sigh of relief!

Brenda in SC
14th June 2009, 12:34 AM
:snap:Looking forward to pics (when she's better, of course!) She's in good hands - I know you'll take good care of her. She's a lucky gal to have you.:lotsaluv:

Cathy Moon
14th June 2009, 01:25 AM
Trisha, I just had a thought. Perhaps you might want to take some photos of her now, and photos as she heals and her hair grows back. Then show her future adoptive owner what happened when she was bitten by fleas and neglected. I would think the photos would help motivate her future owner to take extra good care of her. :flwr:

14th June 2009, 01:39 AM
I have taken lots of pics already. The sad thing is, the vet said this has been going on so long that on one area of her back, it is as smooth as a baby's bum, he's not sure there are any salvagable hair follicles and hair may not ever grow back there. Only time will tell.

14th June 2009, 01:52 AM
Here she is...as you can see she's not comfortable here at all. (Don't mind the blue sofa cover).


Here is her cute little old-lady face...


Cathy T
14th June 2009, 02:47 AM
A single flea bite can make a dog with a severe allergy to them itch for an entire month

This the case with Jake. He'll scratch and bite like crazy and I can't find a single flea on them. Then I'll find one on Shelby and know he has "one" on him. It's enough to set him off and make him absolutely miserable.

Could you convince her to let her guard down a little and just relax :-D What a sweet little face.

14th June 2009, 03:23 AM
What a sweet face! Glad that she didn't have mange. She sure looks like a very relaxed little lady. Hopefully she will find her special home really soon, but until then she sure looks very much at home.

Cathy Moon
14th June 2009, 04:24 AM
Oh, she's a sweet little one.

:xfngr::xfngr::paw::paw::paw: All of our fingers and paws are crossed for her in hopes that her hair grows back. I'm so glad it's summer. I wonder if she was like that all winter - how would she stay warm!

14th June 2009, 11:01 AM
Awww what a sweet face! Poor little thing with all that pink skin -- will be great to see her sorted and hair coming back in.

Brenda in SC
14th June 2009, 12:39 PM
Bet she'll be a different dog soon. It's amazing what TLC can do!

14th June 2009, 01:51 PM
Trisha, she is lovely and looks so shy, i hope she will start a brand new life soon thanks to your help :)