Dog Skin Allergies/Hot Spots/Whatever - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 01/05/04, 04:52 PM
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Lightbulb Dog Skin Allergies/Hot Spots/Whatever

If your dog has had this, you know what I'm talking about.
According to the local vet, this is the #1 dog ailment he sees around here. He says some people bring their dogs in totally hairless and black and covered with lesions.
Last year my dog got it with great drama and nastiness. If you've already heard this saga, skip on to the end.
I took her to the vet and they did a skin scraping and sold me some betadyne soap. Four days later it had spread so badly that I made an emergency visit to the vet. They gave her a cortisone shot (even though she wasn't scratching, which they wouldn't believe) and sold me some antibiotic pills.
The general conclusion was that if it's hot spots or a fungal infection, the betadyne should work but it will pretty much be lurking with us forever. If it's allergies, we can do tests for $100 and she will probably have to be on a restricted diet of very expensive nonallergenic dog food which we just happen to sell, plus monthly cortisone shots, and she'll still have the problem. Nobody really has a sure answer on what this problem is in any given dog, but it's extremely common and pretty much incurable.
Anyway, by this time I'd spent nearly $200 and nothing had helped at all. I posted a message on this forum- this was about Dec of last year- asking for advice, and somebody suggested Bag Balm mixed with tea tree oil. This did more than any of the other stuff put together. I put it generously a really bad black hairless area on her tummy every day for about a month, and within a week it had stopped spreading and the skin was softening a little and looking pinkish again.
So this stuff is great. Stinky and messy, but great. All was well for the spring, summer, fall, and early winter.
Then last month, out of the blue, the dog hatched another lesion. This time it was on the side of her face. Not again, I said. It was like the others had been, oozing pus and bleeding, hair falling out, spreading like something out of a science fiction movie.
I cleaned it up and put the Bag Balm stuff on it, but it was oozing so much gunk that I couldn't keep it clean to the skin even for a minute.
I didn't want to take her to the vet again for the joy of futiley throwing money at them.
My father then had the brainwave of calling a sled dog store in the area, figuring that since it's such a common problem they might have some insight. They instantly knew what he was talking about.
"Oh yeah, it's a zinc deficiency." they said. "Some guy was in here recently who had spent $1800 on vet bills for his dog with this. He started giving the dog 35 mgs of zinc every day and it was cleared up in two weeks."
Apparently zinc deficiency comes with the territory for many husky type breeds, and zinc isn't in normal dog food in sufficient quantities. So we figured what the heck and started giving the dog half a human zinc pill every day in addition to keeping the area as clean as possible. Once it stopped oozing, I put the Bag Balm stuff on it every day. From what I've been able to find on the net, zinc is necessary for the body to process vitamin E. Just to be sure there was plenty of that, I poked a vitamin E capsule with a pin and squeezed some out on a bit of bread and fed that to the dog. That may not have been necessary, but it couldn't hurt.
Within four days the sores were healing, and after two weeks, sure enough, the area was totally normal and the hair was growing back. I'll be giving the dog a zinc supplement once a month or so for the rest of her life since the deficiency is apparently chronic, but at least now I know what's wrong and I can fix it.
Just wanted to tell everybody about this. It was almost a miracle cure for me, and when I think of all the people who are paying huge amounts of money and seeing no results, and knowing how horrible it is to see the dog all diseased looking and not be able to do anything effective...I hope this will help.
Why vets aren't giving out this information rather than expensive shots, tests, and meds, I can only surmise. I noticed in the last Drs Foster and Smith dog catalog I got there's a whole several page section on meds and such for dog skin problems, so this is apparently all over the country and not being cured.
I'm going to try to tell everybody I can about zinc in hopes that this will no longer be a cash cow. I'm sure it won't work on every single dog in every case, but it works so well that it must be the answer for a lot of this.
Sorry this is so long.

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  #2  
Old 01/05/04, 05:16 PM
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Was hopeing this was a sure cure for my girl dog but after reading it, I entered google with 'dog zinc deficiency', found 2770 entries that state in the majority that the nordic breeds are the dogs affected, not your average mutt or hound.

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  #3  
Old 01/05/04, 05:25 PM
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thanks for the heads up -
just today went to the vet for flea/tick meds and mentioned our akita losing all its hair - not much itching and scratching but major hair loss (been getting worse over 18 month period) - he asked about hair loss pattern and when he found out about "rat-tail" hair loss (nked tail) he pinned it down to thyroid defficiency - nice guy - sold me a months worth of thyroid meds for 5 bucks and no charge for consult/advice -
will let you know what improvements(?) i see over the next month
....good luck with the zinc

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Old 01/05/04, 07:21 PM
 
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Thanks for the zinc idea!! Our yellow lab was treated for 'ringworm'..to the tune of at least $200. The srapes they did on her back never came back positive either. Plus the worry of the kids or us getting it from her was terrible.
This is what was suggested to us for hot spots. Our dog gets then under her neck. Apply 'genitian voilet' to the spots with a cotton ball. You can buy this liquid at the drug store, and made sure to buy thick rubber gloves too!! it stains. And a yellow lab sure looks pretty dotted with purple spots, so be prepared to explain.
I've also used polysporian on any cuts or nicks that she gets and it seems to heal up fine.

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  #5  
Old 01/05/04, 07:58 PM
 
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skin on dogs

Don't lose hope if your dog isn't a typical "nordic" breed in your eyes. I remember reading once that there are only 3 or 4 basic types, mastiff, hound, and spitz (nordic). All dog breeds go back to one of those types. It was amazing what fell into the spitz type, including shelties, cockers, akitas, huskies, etc. My daughter has a dog that is part husky and has a naked tail. You can bet I'll be telling her to try zinc.

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  #6  
Old 01/05/04, 09:13 PM
 
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I had a dog that had this condition a long time ago - a mutt golden retriever mix.

Turned out he had a thyroid deficiency and thyroid medicine corrected it. He went from almost totally black skin to back to soft and silky.

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  #7  
Old 01/07/04, 02:31 AM
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My dog had the long, expensive skin problem thing too. I solved it by adding correct fatty acids to her diet. I make an oil mixture - 1 part Flax Oil, 1 part Codliver Oil, 2 parts Sunflower Oil, and give her a teaspoon a day. (She's a 15-pound dog.) Her skin is now great!

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Old 01/08/04, 07:25 AM
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Skin problems in dogs are usually never cured- they are simply managed. If you have realistic expectations, dealing with them won't be so frustrating.

Skin lesions usually begin from some type of irritant - whether that be dry skin (poor nutrition or heredity) or whether it be parasites (like fleas or mange mites) or allergies or a fungus like ringworm - the dog begins to scratch or rub and soon you have an open oozing lesion.

Very soon, a secondary skin infection starts. Now you have a couple of things to isolate and to battle.

Complicate things further by adding high temps and humidity or even old bedding and you're things are going from bad to worse.

If your dog happens to be FEMALE, the stress of illness - or more likely - an estrus cycle or pregnancy and lactation can send her skin right over the edge.

And of course, there is always the possibility that what you are dealing with may be a suppressed immune system or as in the case of extremely inbred coyote populations - auto-immune. Auto-immune is being more and more prevelent in purebred dogs and some crossbreeds. It occurs in the wild and I have shot and killed weakened hairless, black skinned coyotes in East Texas. We're hearing of more and more of them due to lack of hunting pressure on these coyote populations.

All of the suggestions above have merit...one other not mentioned is one we used on our English Bulldog. In high heat and humidity, all those overlapping wrinkles can be a great place for oozy crusty skin lesions to form.
We bathed the varmint weekly and then mixed a 10:1 water and chlorine bleach rinse solution. We put mineral oil in his eyes to protect them, then poured on the bleach water, sponging into the folds and wrinkles. We let t stand for 10 minutes to air dry, then toweled him off.

We came about this solution when we noticed that our teenage son (who battled seborheaic dermatitis) cleared right up the minute he started swimming in the summer. Some of the solution might have come from exposure to the sun, but the chlorine seemed to be the magic cure.

Hope this helps for those who haven't found their solution yet. Just keep trying!

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  #9  
Old 01/08/04, 07:58 AM
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I had a not so bad skin problem with my two dogs. No black skin or lesions, but they were scratching all of their fur off. Someone told me that some dogs can get dry fur and skin, especially in winter, and especially if they like to lay in front of the fireplace like mine do. So I bought a humidifier and ran it at night in the room where the dogs sleep. (Seems the pot of water on the fireplace just wasn't enough.) It cleared up in about a week.

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Old 01/08/04, 08:13 AM
 
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Wow, some great ideas to try. And I'll try them, one at a time. I have a ShihTzu male that has terrible "allergies". The vet thinks he is allergic to grass, household dust, carpets, and anything else he touches, I think. He itches terribly and is on steriods to make life bearable (for all of us). I'm going to try this other stuff. Thanks.

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  #11  
Old 01/08/04, 08:41 AM
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Talking It's the food that's the issue.

We had this kind of misery with our ferrets, dogs, etc. It really is a problem in the food. Upgrade to Eukanuba or one of the better foods that are not made with diseased animals from the rendering plants. Avoid Walmart's food, Purina, etc. For details on this see Martin Goldstein's "The Nature of Animal Healing".


Also, the single best miracle supplement we have used is "Dream Coat" by Halo. The hair grew back within a couple of weeks. You can find it at most health food stores. I got it on-line at http://www.samsstore.com/dreamcoat.html


Good luck.

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  #12  
Old 01/08/04, 09:26 AM
 
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Back in the 80's had a dog that developed the loss of hair/black skin/open wound on her back and base of tail. At the time I was in England a few times a year, and a dog showing friend recommended something called "Bob Grass Skin Cure". It's a sulphur ointment, near black, and stinks to high heaven, but it did the trick. We've also used it to cure ringworm on my husband's arm, and scabies on my son. (diluted with mineral oil)

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Old 01/08/04, 11:24 AM
 
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I have a male Shih Tzu with occasional skin problems. He seems to get thick, crusty fungal spots that respond well to a comination of tea tree oil and another product by Halo called "Derma Dream". The most important thing I've found for him is that I stay on top of it. If I see one spot, I go on immediate full-blown attack. When I first got him he was covered with the crud. I tend to think it comes on from the hair not drying completely, then the fungus comes alive. Funny thing, the hair seems to come back darker in those spots, like the skin pigment changes. He's at the (new) groomer now, I'll ask her about the pigment change.

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Old 01/09/04, 05:47 PM
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Just another thing to throw out there, after having spent thousands on our mutt. He had terrible ear infections and skin rashes. Differents yadda yadda yadda. Well, he was put on a hypo-allergenic diet and low and behold, stupid mutt had food allergies, he can eat lamb and rice or chicken rice..beware if its says lamb meal on it. He is allergic to pork and beef products. however dairy and eggs are ok.

Talk to your vets about the possibility. almost a year later and no problems as long as he doesn't visit the garbage can for a midnight snack.

Tammy

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