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  1. #1

    Question Pitbull/Boxer family skin problems.

    Hello!!! I have a an 8month old pitbull (Bullet) and a 4 yr old Brindle Boxer (Griffen).They are the best match ever!!! They play ALLLLL day long.

    What vets, my girlfriend, and I have believed was allergies, I am rethinking is some sort of skin infection.

    Griffen has had what several vets and many other people thinking was allergies for a very long time. Occasionally the scratching and itching will be so bad, the vet prescribed prednisone. That seemed to do the trick for a long time. I did a LOT of research on Boxer allergies and decided that it was either any type of corn, or wheat that Griffen was allergic too. I've since switched both dogs to Core kibble.

    When I first got Bullet, the pitbull, he didn't have these scratching problems, but now he does.

    Both dogs are scratching like mad, all over it seems. Their front and back paws, bellies, armpits, ears. Griffen has it worse though, he does the infamous ear flap cuz his ears itch and he is frequently scratching his face.

    Also, they are starting to get little bald spots. Griffen's are much worse than Bullets, but they are all over Griffens back.

    One more thing that Griffen has is little bumps all over his back as well. Bullet does not have these.

    My goodness this thread is rediculously long, but I figured more information is better than less.

    If anyone could advice a plan of attack to help my poor itch-tastic dogs. :(


    P.S. They sleep on brand new dog beds, no change. Tried to remove them from any grassy environments for extended periods, no change.

    We live in Tucson AZ, it's kind of dusty, and hot here a lot.

  2. #2
    I'm wondering if it's more of an environmental allergy vs. a food allergy. Do you guys have carpet or hard floors? Do y'all spray Febreeze on the furniture? What kind of laundry detergent do y'all use? Do y'all spray any kind of doggy deodorant or use doggy wipes on the dogs at all?

    Since there are some bald spots on the dog(s), I would have the vet do a skin scrap on at least 3 spots and also have a fungal culture done to rule out any mites or fungal infection.

    Also, once all that scratching starts to irritate the skin, it opens the door for seconday infections to set in such as bacterial infections.

    Either talk to your vet about it again, or get a 2nd opinion from a different vet (which is what I suggest). Write down everything you can think of such as how long this has gone one, what you've done to try and treat it, any answers to the above-asked questions, and whatever else you can think of that's relevant.

    Predisone can definitely help, however it only treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is what needs to be determined. And long-term Pred use can have some serious side effects, so use it sparingly.

    You can try them on Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl), but it doesn't work the same in all dogs and it can take upwards of a week to know if it's making a signifcant difference. The dosage is 1-2 mg per pound of body weight twice a day. For example, a 50 lb dog will receive 2 25 mg tablets twice a day. However, to start off, I would give 3 25 mg tablets twice a day for the first several days. Also, if the dog weighs 67 lbs, round up to the 75 mg dosage (unless it's just for maintenance purposes, then you could/would do the low dose). If the vet sees fit, there is also a stronger antihistamine the he/she could prescribe.

    In addition to starting that, I would bathe both dogs is a sotthing oatmeal shampoo. Remember to let the shampoo soak for 3-5 minutes and then rinse very, very, very well (a few minutes after the water is running clear). Dry them the best that you can with a not try to blow dry as it will dry the skin out even more.

    And remember should you do either or both of those things, remember to jot it down so the vet will know any & all treatment methods you've attempted to help alleviate the symptoms.

    Keep us update on how things go! :)

  3. Miakoda seems to have some pretty good suggestions for the dog, and it can be an environmental issue as well other than a food issue. I don't know. Maybe it cna be any sprays you use, or whatever.

    You don't happen to use shampoo for people on dogs a bunch of times right? (We've done it when we give our dogs a bath when we don't have the dog shampoo and I heard it wasn't really good for them to use shampoos for humans, though my dogs didn't scratch like crazy). Or... Are you using a certain dog shampoo that might be causing this?

    And, they probably don't have any weird parasite making them scratch, right? Though, fleas and ticks are easy to see. It's bald spots, eh?

  4. #4
    Yeah, I think those are good suggestions! They are literally bald spots. The skin where the bald spot is looks a little darker than the rest of his skin that has hair. I've never used human shampoo or any human cleaning products on him. I have a special dog shampoo which is supposed to be for sensitive skinned dogs. Although I don't bathe him often. My GF is scared that he is allergic to the shampoo. Should I possibly bathe him more often than I am now? We do use febreeze from time to time, but I don't think that is it. We use it rarely and he does not especially seem to flare up when he comes in direct contact with it. (AKA he lies on the couch shortly after we spray).

    Right now I use Tide laundry detergent. But I have changed several times and not noticed any increase nor decrease in his condition.

    The house is 100 percent tile floors, but we have a few area rugs. One of them is cow - hide... Maybe that could be it?

    We don't spray or wipe the dog with anything other than straight water. (We are currently still training the pit with a little water squirt bottle.)

    He has a dentist appt this friday and I called to see if they could do some scraps while he was there. We've used the doggy insurance at Petsmart for almost all of Griffen's life. The vet there SEEMS on top of things... Maybe a second opinion couldn't hurt.

    Thanks for your suggestions!!!!

  5. #5
    Definitely have the skin scrapes and a fungal culture done. When you don't really know the answer, you've got to start somewhere and start ruling things out. Skins scrapes take just minutes to read and a fungal culture will take 10 days. And if both are negative, then you've just ruled otu 2 possible choices and narrowed down the field. ;)

    I hope it all gets figured out soon and keep us updated! :)

  6. #6
    I'm having similar problems with my two pitbulls Syrus and Deegan, it started right when it got warm/summer. It started on Deegan's inner hind legs near his private areas, now it's all over his belly and some of his armpits and I can see some spots on his back along with losing fur in spots. It starts off as red sore/pimple looking things then gets crusty yellowish but still pink and then dries up a little and looks like a scab but skin colored and then falls off along with fur in spots. It's driving me crazy and I'm a mess over it. I've researched and talked with vets and had appts about the same thing last summer I haven't found anything that has progressed the situation or managed it and would love to hear if anyone has any suggestions. I'm literally a mess over it as these are my babies and they are losing fur and having sores and ugh! Please just help if you have any suggestions or find any remedies or anything that can make some progress.

  7. ashgeo and wes: I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your pups. Skin problems are the most common reason that people take their dogs to the veterinarian for non-wellness visits. More than 20% of veterinary visits are for skin issues.

    Much of the problem is that there are so many underlying factors (allergies, parasites, disease, etc) and they are have very similar symptoms. Often, the only way to get a true diagnosis is to have your veterinarian, or a veterinary dermatologist, do a skin biopsy and have a dermatopathologist review the slides.

    If you have a chance, stop by and post your questions there. We have two board certified veterinary dermatologists who are answering skin issues questions.

    Good luck...keep us posted as to how they are doing.

  8. Besides all what has been said and excluding a fungus or other disease, it may be a good idea to stop using Febreeze, take the rugs out permanently and clean the house / floors with a white cheap venegar / water solution for a while. Alternative laundry detergent:

    You may also want to look into a product like Missing Link as a supplement:

    Also - use filtered water only....

    If the dogs are healthy otherwise and you try any of the above, be patient - at least 6-8 weeks.

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