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Dog Auto-Immune Problem? Please help!
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mamapants posted:
I have a five year old male dachshund named Rufus. I would like to get Rufus tested for Hypothyroidism and Lupus or another potential auto-immune disorder. Since the day after receiving a large group of vaccinations at 1 year old, Rufus has had varying symptoms listed below, with the most frequent being bacterial folliculitis.
We have seen two different dermatologists and several general practitioner veterinarians and have not received any indication of what his underlying problem could be. The dermatologists maintain that he has allergies, but full allergy testing revealed that he has only seasonal allergies and the related allergy shots have not helped; the response we have received to this is that allergy treatment is difficult.
The only treatment besides long-term antibiotics that has helped his bacterial folliculitis is frequent bathing with medicated shampoo. All doctors we have seen have told us to stop this because we could potentially dry out his skin. This advice is quite frustrating, because potential dry skin seems like a mild risk, especially compared to side effects of all of the medication this poor dog has endured (and, after a year of frequent bathing, his skin is not dry).

After four years of these symptoms, as I mentioned, that started the day after receiving a group of vaccines, I am convinced that the root cause of them is an auto-immune disorder. The question, of course, is which one? And then, once that is decided, how do we treat it?

Any advice/experience with something similar would be quite welcome. Thank you in advance.


Here are his symptoms, present on and off for 4 years:

- chronic bacterial folliculitis, responsive to antibiotics
- frequent ear infections, mainly yeast-based
- blackening/thickening of the underarms
- frequent yeast infections of the skin - mostly underarms and groin
- peeling nose, revealing bloody sores
- hyperactivity and compulsiveness
- agression towards other dogs
- patchy hair loss
- round, raised flat bump on mouth - size of a dime
- strange growths on paws
- weight gain, despite dieting and frequent exercise

Things that have helped:
- long-term antibiotics for folliculitis
- frequent bathing with Duoxo shampoo prevents the folliculitis
- cleaning and drying ears frequently cut down on ear infections, plus using vetromycin when symptoms appear

Things that have not helped:
- full allergy testing and allergy shots
- staph lysate shots
- varied topical treatments
- medicated foot soaks
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM responded:
Hello there,

Thank you for the complete history. it sounds like you have already sought the advise of two dermatologists, and generally they are ready and able to find out underlying causes and address them as well as the secondary problems.
Testing for hypothyroidism seems a reasonable idea and your rfamily veterinarian should be able to do that with blood testing. Immune-mediated skin disease like lupus is generally diagnosed with a skin biopsy, which could be done. Blood work does not really help with immune-medaited disease of the skin alone, although might help reveal other problems. Your doggie is a big young for cushings, another endocrine disease and I would not test for that at this time. Testing your dog's immune systemic for adequacy is a much more difficult question and not very easy. Hope this is helpful. \\Dr . SAndy Willis


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