My Border Collie-Pit Bull mix, Ike, had had some skin irritation and flare-ups before. But late last year, the skin on his belly and groin seemed to erupt overnight. Suddenly it was red and angry, hot to the touch and nearly hairless. His biting, licking and scratching was endless, and within two days the area was covered in pustules, scabs and other such crustiness. I was worried and upset over uncomfortable he was.
After a one-two punch of steroids and antibiotics, things calmed down. But soon the same symptoms were back. I spent hours giving Ike long baths that required him to remain in the tub, covered in medicated shampoo for 10-15 minutes (you can imagine the success rate there). For eight straight weeks I brought him to my veterinarian, who diligently questioned everything about his diet, his environment, his behavior, what changes I’d seen, what I’d done when things got better, on and on. I made lists, I took notes, I was terrified I’d forget some minute detail that could have unlocked the entire mystery.
And yet, it remained a mystery. On my veterinarian’s recommendations, we continued his antibiotics course, changed his food and removed his dog beds from the house. Things were looking up, and finally he went the past two months without a single patch of redness on his belly. His leg-thumping, house shaking, incessant scratching dropped to the occasional quick itch behind the ear. He flops carelessly on the floor, no longer treating his belly like it’s radioactive.
Although we never quite arrived at a cut-and-dry diagnosis, it was invaluable to have my veterinarian’s unwavering support and commitment to relieving Ike’s pain and discomfort. She took time to explain why he was asking her questions-anything and everything could be a clue. With his guidance, I feel more in control and better prepared to handle Ike’s skin issues in the future, and now that I understand the pain and frustration that goes along with dermatology issues, I’m even more committed to helping other pet owners find answers.
See below for photos of dogs with allergy rashes. For any questions about allergy rashes, call Rainbow Veterinary Hospital at (818) 846-1166.