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allergy to weeds
jimsdog posted:
One of our dogs was diagnosed with skin allergies to weeds, he chews his feet and scratches at his eyes until they bleed. We give him an antihistamine once a day and sometimes twice, and use a perscription of EnteDerm. I have also tried Bag Balm. I try to soak his feet in epsom salt with a small amount oatmeal shampoo in the bathtub, although i cant do this each time he goes out. This combination seems to help at times- I feel soooo badly for him and want to help. Cant afford to take him to the vet, please help!! Despirate in northern california.
Bernadine Cruz, DVM responded:
Dear Jimsdog,
I am so sorry to hear of your dog's skin issues. Allergies can be extremely frustrating and painful.

Dogs and cats can be allergic to everything that you and I are and then some. I wonder how the diagnosis of allergies to weeds was made. Was it a skin test, blood test or a diagnosis that was made from the history that you provided your veterinarian?

If your dog is allergic to weeds, if it is at all possible to keep him from contacting the plants, that would be my first recommendation. If he contacts them when going for a walk, keep him on a leash and maybe find another route fro your walk.

Rather than soaking his feet, I would suggest that you wipe his feet when he comes in wit baby wipes or a moistened towel. Soaking his feet is actually not a good idea. It opens up the skin's protective outer layers, and allows the allergens to get under the skin.

EnteDerm is a steroid containing skin ointment. You need to be careful using steroids even when they are applied to the skin. If used too frequently and/or too liberally they can get absorbed through the skin and cause as many problems as steroids given orally. I am glad that you are trying antihistamines. There are several types on the market. I often recommend using Benadryl (the generic form is fine). Dogs take a much higher dose than we do and need to take it more frequently. Dogs can take 1 mg per pound body weight. They would take this dose 2 to 4 times per day, depending on how itchy the dog is. So, a 50# dog would take 50 mg (the usual over the counter adult capsule size is 25 mg) 2 to 4 times a day. They usually don't get sleepy or even dry mouthed with this dose.

Please try to see your veterinarian or at least call him/her to discuss your dog's case over the phone.

Best of luck...
Dr. Bernadine


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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