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Thread: Ideas from Experience?

  1. #1
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    Default Ideas from Experience?

    The title implies that I understand most of us on the board are not vets or animal-health professionals. However, I would still like advice from those who may have experiences related to the issue below.

    My lovely foster, Bella, came to me in June. Her fur was cut short then, and it was easy to notice little, flaky scabs on her hips. At the time, she would bite at these areas quite a bit. Her vet report did not say anything about a skin condition, and I noticed quickly that Bella would shift her biting attention from herself to a toy if one was presented. As she learned to chew on toys rather than herself, the scabs cleared up and went away.

    Time passed without any noticeable scabs. Then one day I noticed she had new scabs in the same locations. Bella had been kenneled a bit longer than usual the day before, so I wasn't sure if she had started biting on herself because of habit or if there was something else causing problems. So, with rescue approval, we went to the vet to have it checked out. The vet did a skin scraping, which came back negative for mites and other parasites, but gave her an antibiotic anyway. The vet could not determine the exact cause of the problem (medical or behavioral). (Yes, I know many would disapprove of the antibiotic without a definitive diagnosis--no need to point it out.)

    Bella took her pills like an angel, and the scabs went away. We made sure to provide a variety of chew toys whenever she was kenneled. With both of these 'treatments', the problem seemed solved: the scabs went away (as did the biting at herself) and Bella became a big fan of toys.

    Months have passed over this period, and today, as giving Bella some cuddles, I felt a large spot on her skin near her shoulder. At first I thought it was a tick, but on closer inspection, it was a large, flaky scab! It easily fell off with my poking, taking with it the surrounding fur. This was the largest scab I had ever found, but even though I felt around all over her body, I didn't find any other scabs.

    I know Bella can't bite herself in the spot on her shoulder where this new scab appeared, so I KNOW it has to be something else. She had not been biting at her legs or any other body part lately, so I don't think she feels itchy or irritated on her skin. Her belly and other exposed skin is pink and healthy in appearance. In all other areas, Bella is a healthy, well-adjusted dog--eats well, eliminates regularly, active physically, etc.

    What could cause flaky scabs and isolated hairloss and come and go over a period of several months??
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

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    Ring worm will, just thinking off the top of my head. Demodex mange as well? But the latter doesn't usually appear in just one place like a shoulder -- tends to start on feet, tail, chest etc as far as I know.

    Because you'd cleared up the other scabs, I'd be thinking one of two things -- that she may have simply cut herself somehow this time; or that this is something like ringworm and is unrelated to the previous problem. It does sound like you'd sorted the earlier problem, so just guessing this may be something unrelated...

    I am sure there are other possible dermatological issues that might cause scabs and loss of hair at the site, though!
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Ring worm will, just thinking off the top of my head. Demodex mange as well? But the latter doesn't usually appear in just one place like a shoulder -- tends to start on feet, tail, chest etc as far as I know.

    Because you'd cleared up the other scabs, I'd be thinking one of two things -- that she may have simply cut herself somehow this time; or that this is something like ringworm and is unrelated to the previous problem. It does sound like you'd sorted the earlier problem, so just guessing this may be something unrelated...

    I am sure there are other possible dermatological issues that might cause scabs and loss of hair at the site, though!

    I thought it might be ringworm when she first got here, especially when I noticed a suspicious looking discoloration on my own leg (I'm very susceptible to ringworm...) The vet said it wasn't, though, when I took her in (and my own leg cleared up fine...still dont know what it was!)

    The vet also tested for mange (negative), even though she, too, noted it was not a classic location to have the problem.

    It is possible they are unrelated issues, but it really, really looks like the same problem. (Bella's currently attacking a pillow; I'm glad she's not obsessing about this issue like I am!)
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

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    It sounds like flea bite dermatitis to me. Charlie had it. If you'd like, I'll look at his medical records to see what he was treated with - he was on 3 medications from our vet.
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy Moon View Post
    It sounds like flea bite dermatitis to me. Charlie had it. If you'd like, I'll look at his medical records to see what he was treated with - he was on 3 medications from our vet.
    Do you have to have fleas to have flea bite dermatitis? Or is it something they can have even after they are flea-free (say that three times fast!)?

    Surely my vet would have suspected this knowing she was a recent puppy mill rescue..... :S Then, again.....
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

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    I'm fairly certain they can still have it after the fleas are gone, because the skin is still infected and irritated. One of the meds he took was an antibiotic.
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

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    oh, boy, I feel for ya. My Kaya (malamute mix) has skin issues out the yazo. She gets flea bite dermatitis (annoying since I treat for fleas, but my neighbors on either side do not, so I constantly have to watch for even one flea to be introduced) and random skin irritation/infection that seem to have no trigger we can identify. She will start messing with an area until it is raw and scabby or infected(and she doesn't neccessarily have to be able to bite it or lick it). She has had problems on her neck and behind her ears, as well as her legs, elbows, base of her tail and the bottom of her paw (chewed her foot until it bled and made her lame during one episode. One toe is permanently disfigured). We tested for EVERYTHING, and even xrayed her paw and leg during the chewing to check for a foreign body. Of course there was nothing except a $400.00 vet bill to show for that.)

    Here is what I now have to do since we just don't know what the cause is. I changed her food to eliminate some common food allergy triggers. If she starts having a problem, I bathe her with Malaseb shampoo (prescription shampoo with antifungal and antibacterial agents). She goes on 4-5 days of prednisone, and 10 days to 2 weeks of antibiotics, either Cephalexin or Clindamycin. A topical spray called Calms is sprayed 2 times a day on the individual spots. She always clears up fast once treatment is started. Often, I can wash the spots daily with Malaseb and spray with Calms and get them to heal up without the pills.

    Good luck. Skin problems are a pain in the rear to deal with.

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