10 THINGS YOU CAN LEARN FROM BUDDHIST MONKS ABOUT DOG BREEDS L
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Best Advice for Dogs with Skin Issues
I still need to publish a real post about Mr. Stix’s full backstory, but this feels more pressing. For nearly 18 months, Mr. Stix’s permanent nakey spot (from unknown injuries before he was rescued, including 15 fractures and this big patch of coat missing) has featured several inflamed, peeling areas. Initially I tried to fix it myself at home with things like aloe vera, vaseline, a veterinary ointment called animax that the shelter had give us while we fostered him most of 2019, etc. It’s sort of a combination of steroids, antibacterial, and antifungal stuff. I took him to see our main veterinarian in spring 2020, when there was a 2-month wait to get into see a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. It has been quite a journey since then, and it’s nowhere near over. Here’s my best advice for dogs with skin issues.
Before I tell the ongoing saga with Mr. Stix’s skin. Here is my best advice for dogs with skin problems.
See a board-certified veterinary dermatologist as soon as you can. Yes, your main veterinarian can probably help, but it’s honestly best to go right to the top experts.
Agree to whatever skin scrapings / cytology the veterinary dermatologist recommends. This provides information about what types of secondary infections currently grow on your dog’s damaged skin.
Do NOT assume every skin issue is allergies. It often is some sort of allergic process, but NOT always and assuming so (and acting accordingly may only delay real solutions and subject your dog to all kinds of quack advice and home remedies).
Buy the best quality fish oil and Vitamin E supplements you can afford, if it’s recommended for your particular case of a dog with skin issues.
When necessary, agree to the skin biopsies (yes, like minor surgery) and have them reviewed by a veterinary pathologist that specializes in dogs with skin issues. The one we used is at Texas A&M.
Follow your veterinary dermatologist’s advice and plans, and keep the faith. These dogs with skin problems often don’t improve quickly. (I need to take my own advise. See below.)
Mr. Stix’s Story as a Dog with Skin Problems
This is what Mr. Stix’s nakey spot looks like when it’s normal. Photo from May 2019 soon after his hip surgery. The bald patch is permanent. That’s not the issue.
This is how bad the red / peeling areas got in mid-2020 when we saw our main veterinarian, who added a low-dose of oral Vitamin E and some topical too and told me to keep using the animax.
This is how it looked when Mr. Stix first saw the board-certified veterinary dermatologist in early August 2020, but the specialist had me STOP the animax and instead use a prescription anti-bacterial ointment (mupirocin) … as well as add a better quality oral fish oil and continue both topical and oral Vitamin E (but at a higher dose twice a day). We knew from the skin scrapings / cytology they did onsite that Mr. Stix had a bacterial infection.
But, without the daily topical steroids (which long term are a bad idea), Mr. Stix’s skin got much, much worse — even breaking open and scabbing over.
Our veterinary dermatologist had recommended doing the skin biopsies right away in August 2020, and I *almost agreed to it then, but I was VERY worried about the cuts resulting in skin that would NOT heal. And, I figured it was at least worth a try to use the prescription antibiotic ointment and other supplements and stuff.
But, by around Thanksgiving, it was clear we had to do the biopsy. That photo is kind of gruesome, so you can see it here, if you want. I wish I had done the biopsy sooner. I feel like I wasted time from August through November.
As I expected, despite all the know-it-alls trying to tell me it was an allergic issue, it turns out that Mr. Stix instead has an autoimmune condition called erythema multiforme. They believe it was triggered by the trauma of his earlier injuries. They don’t think it is life-threatening. They don’t think it will spread to other areas of his skin. Just the already damaged, permanent nakey spot.
With that information in hand, we updated the treatment plan to include a topical, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ointment (tacrolimus — often pricey, but we used a Good RX coupon at Costco to get the cost down). They use a version of this medication orally for people who have had various kinds of transplants. It’s the smallest / safest option for treatment, and that’s where we started.
I was so hopeful it would work at the once-daily application, but the skin still didn’t heal completely.
So, in early 2021, we started applying it twice daily on the advice of our veterinary dermatologist.
But, it still hasn’t healed completely. It often improves a lot and then comes roaring back, so we had another appointment to see the specialist last week. We had to try something new.
Enter the Big Immune-Suppressing Drug
Despite my concerns and form of veterinary PTSD about major immune suppression drugs (after our experiences with Lilly), I agreed last week to add oral cyclosporine, which is also a drug that people get after various transplants. Mr. Stix would need to take it daily for life.
It smells like it’s made from skunk butts, so each gel-cap pill is individually packaged, and you keep them in the freezer because that can help with nausea it can cause (since it’s recommended you give on an empty stomach).
I found some good info on this med, and our veterinary dermatologist assured me that it has been safely used in veterinary medicine for like 20+ years, etc.
The med only comes in doses of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg, and at his size Mr. Stix’s ideal dose is around 88 mg once a day. So we went with 75 mg (25+50) to err on the lower side.
It takes like 3-7 days for the med to build up in the blood to therapeutic levels, but it takes more like 4-6 weeks to know if it’s going to help the skin (or not).
We made it to day 4, then the barfing started.
I wish I could say that this is all going to be fine, but I just don’t know. I feel like I just have to accept that the skin will never fully heal, even though seeing his raw spots up close while applying the topical med twice a day and topical Vitamin E once a day causes me so much angst and anxiety.
I supposed to check in with our veterinary dermatology team next week to confirm that Mr. Stix’s weirdness and apparent suffering has improved.
It took a lot of convincing to get Mr. Champion of My Heart to agree to try the cyclosporine, so even if the specialist comes back and recommends maybe a lower dose, I doubt we’ll want to risk it … because Mr. Stix sure seemed to be having some neurologist issues to me, and after the Lilly situation, I just cannot do that again.
He is only 3 years old. I don’t want to make anything worse. It honestly felt like I’d poisoned him.
The good news is that most of the time his skin doesn’t seem to hurt or itch or anything — though I do have pain meds, if he needs them. It mostly just looks bad, and he has to wear a no-lick collar for about 20 minutes after I apply his meds so that he doesn’t lick it off.
His nakey spot is prone to sunburn anyway, and the topical tacrolimus increases the risk of burning, so I used his earlier sun-reflecting coat (which started to look ragged) as a pattern and sewed him a new / light sun protection coat. He looks very cute in it.
Get All Your Dog Questions Answered Here
A dog is a person’s very best friend, as the saying goes. Millions of dog owners know that to be true. The challenge that you must be as good a friend to your dog as he is to you. If you use the tips below, you are going to be able to know you are a great friend to your dog.
When training your dog, use hand gestures along with the verbal commands. Your dog may pick things up much easier when they are given these type of signals. Try both methods to see which your dog prefers.
Never bring your dog with you while flying during the hot summer months, unless the airline provides a climate-controlled cabin for him. Most of the major carriers use the same area for pets as they do for cargo, meaning your dog will have to endure some pretty high temperatures as you travel to your destination, jeopardizing his safety.
When training your puppy or dog, keep the sessions short! Experts say that a dog has the attention span of a small child, sometimes less, and that longer sessions will actually cause him to forget everything you’ve learned together. Use positive reinforcement and limit your training sessions to no more than 15 minutes.
When clipping a puppy’s toenails, start slow. Introduce your little dog to them before you begin cutting. dog breeds starting with l may only be able to get a single nail done during a sitting. It could take some time for puppy to become comfortable with the idea of nail clipping, but soon, you will be able to get through it all at once.
You may be tempted to use your favorite hair shampoo on your dog, but this should not be done. Human shampoo can cause dog skin to dry out. Instead, find a quality shampoo that is made for dogs. When you bath your dog, make sure to rinse all of the residue out of his fur.
Giving your dog a bath is essential to his health. Depending on his size and activity level, toss him in the tub weekly or monthly and always use a shampoo that is made for dogs and is pH balanced. Pets have different pH levels than humans and a good dog shampoo will leave your canine clean with a beautiful shiny coat.
If you are training your dog, make sure the treat you are giving him really is desirable. Pets have preferences too, and if your dog does not like the treat you are providing, there is not going to be much motivation to do the right thing. Try out a few different brands, and remember that soft, chewy treats are generally the most well-received.
Be clear with your pet during training. The word “no” does not explain anything to your dog, other than that you are unhappy with something. Instead, explain which behavior you do want to see. For example, if your dog jumps on the furniture, tell him to get down instead of just saying the word no.
Before you have your dog fitted with a microchip, be sure and check the database of the company that will store his information. Not all of them are created equal and you want to know that you’ll get a fast response if your dog is lost. Look for a large database that connects to shelters and vets near you.
If you’re going to be away from your dog for a short period of time, it might be a good idea to invest in a dog crate. A crate for your dog will provide it with a safe and secure area to go into when you aren’t able to watch it for a period of time.
Designate a family member or close friend to be responsible for your dog, should something happen to you. If you are in an accident and unable to get home, your dog will need someone to feed him and address other needs. Perhaps you trust a neighbor with your house keys and they could act for you in a time of need.
Invest in a separate tub if your dog gets frequent baths. Buy a large metal basin where you will have plenty of room to scrub, but won’t risk clogging the pipes in your bathroom. Giving him a bath outside and away from the slipperiness of a porcelain tub is also safer for you
Always use a leash when your dog or puppy is out in public. This helps you make sure your dog always stays by you and prevents them from wandering off or getting into trouble. This can also help you restrain your dog if something upsets them so that they don’t hurt another animal or person.
Never approach a dog you are unfamiliar with. Teach your children the same thing. An unfamiliar dog may look friendly, but he could have a vicious bite. Even if he is not a biter, he might jump on you, potentially causing harm. Always ask his owner for permission before approaching him.
Crate training a puppy is a good idea if you’re going to be gone all day and will have nobody there to watch your pet for you. Doing this can prevent your items from being damaged and keep the dog from using the bathroom inside the home.
Be careful when choosing what kind of food to feed your dog. Some dog foods contain dyes and fillers that are simply not healthy for them. When choosing a food, look on the label for words like “AAFCO feeding studies” and “feeding tests”. These foods have gone through feeding trials and have been proven to be healthy.
Crate training a puppy is a good idea if you’re going to be gone all day and will have nobody there to watch your pet for you. This can help prevent damage to your home and unwanted urine or feces inside.
You now know what it takes to care for your dog as best as possible, so you are ready to bring your new mutt or purebred home! Keep learning to be have a pet that is healthy and happy. Join online forums and mailing lists to talk to other owners. You can always learn more, so you should never stop educating yourself.
Some Tips To Help You Take Care Of Your Canine.
Anyone can go out and get a dog and bring him home. However, if you wish to properly care for your dog, you must know what you’re doing. Pay attention to the following helpful advice so that you can make sure your dog has everything it needs in order to live and long and healthy life.
Your dog cannot speak, so you have to interpret non-verbal cues. You should never pressure your pet into interacting with strangers, be they human or canine. This could cause your dog to harm a person or another dog. Watch out for those non-verbal clues and let your dog guide any actions you perform.
Before deciding on what type of dog to get for your family, consider space. Even though you may love the bigger dogs that you can really wrap your arms around, you may not have adequate space for a large breed. Take your home and yard size into consideration before bringing home a new pooch.
Pet-proof your home before bringing a dog into it, just as you would for a crawling toddler. You need to move anything toxic to a higher shelf and consider the danger that plants may pose if nibbled by your dog. Remember that anti-freeze is deadly and that leaving things like pennies or crayons on floors can pose a choking hazard to curious pups.
If training has become routine and boring with your dog, consider introducing agility exercises into the mix. These will still teach your dog to obey and be challenging, but they tend to be a lot more fun than the regular commands. Get the whole family involved by making an obstacle course and working the dog through it frequently.
Never lose your temper or punish your dog if you find that they did something wrong. Negative reinforcement will simply make your dog scared, which will make it difficult for you to train them. Use positive reinforcement at all times to get your dog to cooperate when teaching him new things.
No matter what kind of dog you may have, hang up a few “Beware of Dog” signs on your property. They are known deterrents to would-be burglars and can help protect you and your family. Just the sign alone indicates probable failure of any robbery attempt and a single bark will have them running away!
Become familiar with the medical peculiarities of the breed of dog you have chosen. Check your dog’s genetic background if possible to determine if he is more likely to develop certain medical conditions. Also, ask your vet what you can do to help your canine beat the odds for his breed.
It is essential that you get your dog vaccinated. Vaccinations will protect your dog from different types of illness and diseases. Most vaccinations are done at your dogs yearly check-up. Your vet can explain what each vaccination is for. The rabies vaccine is required by law in many different states.
If your veterinarian prescribes medication or special care for your pet, make sure you follow their instructions to the letter. The dog may hate that cone on its head, but it’s there for a very good reason! Vets are professionals who have experience dealing with your situation.
It is natural to want to get your dog trained as quickly as possible. However, remember that there is a limit as to how fast this process is going to go. If you are not realistic, you are much more likely to get frustrated with your pet, which could damage your relationship. Your pet will learn over time, but it may not happen as fast as you would like.
Your dog needs healthy teeth and you should brush them regularly. This helps to prevent dental problems and gum disease, but also prevents other illnesses. Infections in the mouth can spread to other areas of the dog’s body, like the kidneys and the heart. Pet stores sell special toothpaste for dogs.
If you have tried everything to get your dog to stop digging your garden to no avail, head to your kitchen. Mix up a batch of cayenne pepper (five tablespoons), hot sauce (also five tablespoons) and a quart of water in a spray bottle and spray it where he digs. It should discourage him quickly.
Owning a new puppy is very similar to having a new baby. Puppies need a lot of attention and have to be taken care of constantly. They are not ready to be left alone for long periods of time and need to have a fair amount of attention devoted to them.
Take a long, hard look at your lifestyle to determine whether a dog is a good fit for you. Wanting a dog is the easy part, but is your lifestyle ready to handle a full time commitment like a canine?
Make time for your dog. You are probably aware that your dog always has time for you, so it’s time to return the favor. You might take the dog out for some exercise, or you might just set some time aside to rub his belly. Remember to spend a bit of special time with your dog, and he’ll appreciate it.
Just because a dog is outside doesn’t mean they need less attention than indoor dogs. He is likely to begin barking, digging holes or chewing if you do not give him enough attention. There is also a chance me may become aggressive. Spend some time with your dog and take the time to train it properly.
It is important that you give your dog plenty of exercise. Doing so will promote a healthy lifestyle for your dog and you. This is especially the case if the dog in question is very energetic. If you give your dog sufficient exercise, it is less likely he or she will cause problems inside the home.
Your dog does his best to make sure you are happy. There can be no question that he places you above anyone else. That’s why this article was written, to make sure that you return the favor. Use article just released laid out here to help you to be the kind of owner your dog deserves.
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