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Could it be allergies?
Will Draper, DVM posted:
Pets, like people, have allergies. They also express these allergies in ways that are similar to people. Some coughing and sneezing is normal. However, the symptom that we pets owners notice most is the scratching... and more scratching... and more scratching. At my practice, the number one cause of skin allergies in pets is flea bites (actually flea saliva). Itchiness and subsequent scratching can also result from a type of allergy known as atopy, which is an allergy to certain things in the environment, like dust, pollen, mold, or grass. Lethargy, nausea, and certain gastrointestinal symptoms can be evidence of a possible food allergy -- which can also cause skin redness, itching, and even hives.

Speaking of hives, this sign is one of the first things you'll see if your pet has an allergy to an insect bite. Pets are commonly affected by ant bites, bee stings, or spider bites. It is important to note that if you notice swelling on the skin, there can potentially be internal swelling as well, such as in the throat area. In these cases, labored breathing or trouble swallowing are important signs to look out for.

Red, watery eyes, nasal discharge, and ear infections can also be secondary to an allergen that is affecting your pet. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to have him/her examined by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Hopefully the cause can be determined, which is sometimes a lot easier said than done. Trust me. I'm a doctor. *Smile*

It is important to determine the cause of your pets' allergies, because the best treatment, naturally, is to avoid the allergen. In cases where the cause cannot be determined, veterinarians will typically prescribe antihistamines, hypoallergenic shampoos, fatty acid supplements, topical flea preventatives, or even dietary changes. In severe cases, cortisones may be prescribed. Many times, to cover all bases, a combination of many of the above will be recommended.

Does your pet suffer from allergies? If so, do you know what the culprit is? What steps have you taken to alleviate this problem?
Dr. Will
Ponyrun2 responded:
We had a Cavalier Spaniel that had severe "textbook" atopy... first we noticed she had a food allergy (beef, poultry, eggs)... then the flea bite allergy.... then an allergy to pyrethrins in the flea spray we were using to kill the fleas.... allergy to soap... most trees, plants, grasses, and weeds found in our area... she was even allergic to our cat and my parakeets !! She "grew into" her allergies by age two and "outgrew" them around 10... by this time she only had hair on her head and shoulders and a strip down her spine with a little tuft at the tip of her tail due to the damage all those years of itching caused.... in the meantime she was on prednisone, hydroxyzine, special shampoos, Science Diet d/d (before lamb went mainstream)...

Many of the dogs we've had developed flea-bite dermititis...

My current mixed breed boy developed gastritis, a sort of allergy, to his lamb based dog food... switched him to chicken/rice/oatmeal based dog food....

I had a Boxer that we think was bitten by a spider during the night... his whole face was swollen... the vet gave him a shot of dexamethasone(?) to prevent brain swelling and antihistamines to reduce the facial swelling... being a brachiocephalic breed it was recommended that he be watched so I had to take a sick day from work to keep an eye on him in case he developed breathing problems (luckily he didn't)....
givmemo responded:
I am currently having issues with my dog and have been to the vet twice but they cant tell me anything specific and have just given my dog antibiotics and pain medication and so far that has not helped.
My dog is a Cairn Terrier and he has been licking his right paw non-stop which appears to be swollen and he is limping as well, the pad looks red and is obviously sore and irritated but I cant see any other sign of injuries.
I have tried switching out his food to a vegetarian diet but that hasnt seem to help at all, the next thing I am going to try is to take him to the vet again and have them sedate him so they can get a closer look and xray the foot.
I am frustrated that I have gone twice to the vet and paid about $300 and still have no answers =o(
Ponyrun2 replied to givmemo's response:
More than likely he injured the paw at some point which first caused the irritation.... you might not have even been able to see the injury (a tiny cut, a small thorn, or even an ant bite)

It's a cycle... the dog starts licking due to a physical cause... the more the dog licks the more irritated it becomes the more the dog licks to relieve the irritation....

To break the cycle I would suggest either bandaging the foot until it completely heals and/or using an Elizabethan collar to keep the dog from licking the foot until it is completely healed... perhaps some more antibiotics just in case of infection from the constant licking....

I had to do this with a Lab mix I had that constantly licked his front leg (to the point where he actually created a lump called a lick granuloma)...
givmemo replied to Ponyrun2's response:
I had already tried wrapping it and also using the collar but the one that fit him still allowed him to get to his front paw so wasnt totally effective then I read a very interesting article about rock salt.
We had snow just after Thanksgiving which is when all of this started and apparantly it is very common for pets to get rock salt trapped in between thier pads and it sits in there and eventually develops sores.
Because my dog has long hair between his toes it wasnt easy to see any actual sores but I took thier suggestion which was to apply Bag Balm to his paws so I have been doing that twice a day for 3 days and HURRAH he is no longer limping and I am so happy he is better and that I didnt spend any more money on vet appts =o)


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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