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Old 2nd June 2009, 11:45 AM
johann's Avatar
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Frequent skin infections

Johann has had 6 skin infections that required antibiotics since we got him at 8 weeks old. We're thinking they are somewhat allergy related (scratches himself, then gets an infection). He eats Wellness Core (fish version) and gets grain-free treats only.

Any thoughts on causes for such frequent skin issues? I'm getting tired of the bi-monthly visits to the vet for meds.
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Old 2nd June 2009, 12:14 PM
Cami's Avatar
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I think you already answered your own question!
Something is causing him to itch and once he does, subsequently the skin gets infected.

On the other hand if the skin infection is CAUSING the itching then that is another story entirely. What type of infection is it? Has a skin scraping been done to see if it was a staph infection, yeast infection?

Determining the actual infection can sometimes help with finding a cause.

6 infections since when? How old he is now?

Where is the itching and do the infections present at those same locations?
Susi & Raine
Forever missing.....my angel Cami
3/25/03 - 2/17/10

Old 2nd June 2009, 12:23 PM
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My Napoleon gets skin infections too, but it is becuase he stratches all the time with his allergies...

Your vet should do a skin scrape, then they will know exactly what it is...

good luck!
Debbie: mom to: Bella, flashy fawn & Herbie (dachshund mix)..
& at the bridge:
Sandy (6/1/01-10/13/11) My heart! & Napoleon (12/23/03- 6/29/12) my little boy dog.

Old 2nd June 2009, 03:34 PM
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We've done multiple skin scrapings (not fungal, not demodex, not ringworm). The majority have been staph infections, this one appears to have some yeast as well. This infection is only in his armpit area of his front legs. Vet is thinking this one was because of moisture/friction breaking down the skin.

The other infections have been widespread (face/jowls, belly, chest, legs) and have been "simple" staph infections. This one is very localized to 2 areas.

I looked back at his vet records, and he's required antibiotics 5 times in 9 months for skin infections. He's 13 months old.

What really gets me is that we never see him scratching. Occasionally he'll scratch an ear or leg, but thats all. I'm not sure what kind of advice I was expecting, but really just needed to vent about it.

Old 2nd June 2009, 07:09 PM
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I recently had to put my dog down because she kept getting serious staph infections to the point where her final staph had no antibiotic that would work against it.

I know it seems like I'm a broken record on this site, but it may be time to look into seeing a veterinary dermatologist, otherwise you may find yourself continuing on this course of constant infection. I found this site where you can find a vet dermatologist in your area http://www.acvd.org/

Also how often are you bathing him? If he is having an environmental reaction that is causing him to scratch bathing him every 3 days in cool to warm water with some kind of moisturizing shampoo may help. When I was giving Cactus baths to make her more comfortable I was bathing her with Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo (is an anti-septic wash) and MalAcetic Shampoo (the clear bottle, if I recall what her vet told me this one helped against Yeast/Fungus).

Old 2nd June 2009, 07:10 PM
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Sit down and get comfy....this will be long!

Makes more sense now and just a few ideas based on very similar experiences.
My girl has allergies. We know what they are since she underwent allergy testing. Testing is never 100% but does give you some ideas. Either way the end result is the same no matter what they are allergic to. Avoiding allergens as much as possible is the only way to go.
Think about different allergens and what they could be.
Start working towards eliminating exposure.

Dust mites (there are two types). If you can clearly SEE any dust on various surfaces in your home then you have dust mites. Dust is also in places that you can't see. On the tops of items that you never even look at (curtain rods, mini-blinds, baseboards, picture frames, etc...). Too many items to mention. All the surfaces in the home need a thorough cleaning. Easier said than done I know. Been there done that. Once all surfaces are cleaned it is much easier to keep up with. We literally took a week to clean DUST.

Invest in anti-allergen furnace, AC and return intake filters for your home. Change them MONTHLY whether YOU think they need changed or not.

If you purchase food in larger bags and store the food in a plastic container....STOP. Storage mites are a potential allergen. Buy smaller bags of food and you will go through them quicker but storage mites multiply over time. The quicker you go through a bag of food the less time the mites have to grow in quantity. The small particles of food at the bottom of the bag/storage container are where the mites congregate. Toss that small amount of food/crumbs out and don't feed. It's not so much ingesting that food it is more of an inhalant allergy.

Vacuum more often than you think necessary. If you typically do it once weekly do it two or three times more.

Wash ANY and ALL bedding that he comes into contact with WEEKLY. Wipe down any surfaces of furniture that he is allowed on. Cloth couches, chairs, throw pillows, etc....just a warm washcloth over the area to remove any pollen that he might have on him that gets transported to those areas.

After he comes in from being outside take a wet wash cloth and wipe his face off. He will eventually get used to this. My girl now waits to get hers wiped off even in winter when she doesn't need it. Doesn't understand WHY we don't do it half the year!

No amount of antibiotics will get rid of an infection completely if the underlying cause is still present. Meaning once the meds are finished and continued exposure is still there (allergens with itching) it will come back as you have seen. Eventually the course of meds and the dosage will have to last longer and get more potent.

As for treating the staph infection BEFORE it gets to the point of needing meds, try bathing the affected areas with an antibacterial soap. A traditional bar of regular Dial soap is a good one to have on hand and it will last through many baths. Wash the rest of the body with whatever it is that you typically use. Once dry apply a cortisone-type med to the area. Anything over the counter will suffice. Once that is on take him for a walk so it has a chance to do its job. Usually anything topical only needs about 10 minutes to be effective. Make sure he doesn't lick it off!

You may never know what the allergens are but if you make it your mission to do the things I have mentioned you should notice a difference within weeks.

All that being said.....my girl is allergic to her own yeast. She has never had a yeast infection but she had been developing staph infections due to that allergy for upwards of two years. Makes no sense to me but it is what it is. She is also allergic to a list of items longer than my arm. Massive amount of antibiotics only to clear it up, finish the meds, have it return and back for a refill. We finally hit on a med that was really working and it did so quickly without making her ill BUT the cost was outrageous @ nearly $3.00 a PILL. Three pills a day for weeks at a time.....it was Zenequin.

I knew there had to be another way. I made the above mentioned changes (and then some like making sure that there were no weeds in my yard--she is allergic to specific weeds) and quite literally if I didn't tell you she has allergies you wouldn't know. The bloody armpits are gone and her face isn't raw from her rubbing it on the carpet all day long. We made it through a solid two years and then......


Staph infections came back with a vengeance. Itching day and night. Miserable no matter what I did. It wasn't until this past winter when she started losing her hair that I figured it out and requested that she be tested. CHRONIC skin infections are one of the symptoms of thyroiditis and it *typically* hits them at puberty. She has had this condition for years and I never knew it. If I had known then I could have been treating her for it and saved her a lot of hell and myself a lot of money, grief, heartache and if truth be told, my sanity.

I have been pushing thyroid problems a lot on BW lately for various ailments but they all seem to have quite a few things in common. Skin conditions being #1.

Nothing else you have tried has worked. A COMPLETE thyroid panel which includes a TgAA test is needed to rule out or confirm. It is a simple blood test and will run about $100. DO NOT accept the "traditional" scaled down thyroid test. COMPLETE PANEL INCLUDING TgAA (can't stress that enough). I will warn you however that *most* vets will "poo-poo" an owner who requests it on younger dogs NOT gaining weight, nearing complete balding in certain areas, lethargic, etc...(some other classical symptoms). But.....it's your DOG and your MONEY. If they had all of the answers Johann wouldn't be in the shape he is in and you wouldn't have to be consumed with worry!

My vet was ADAMANT that my girl didn't have any thyroid issues. So was her oncologist, her cardiologist AND dermatologist. I proved them wrong!!! Started meds and the staph infection went away within 4 days. Hair started growing back too.

VENT all you want! These babies are so very important to us and we all know how you feel. When we can't fix something wrong we feel so defeated.
The Following User Says Thank You to Cami For This Useful Post:
boxermomATL (4th June 2009)

Old 3rd June 2009, 08:58 AM
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Cacnie: I remembered your post about your dog and MRSA. I had the vet do a swab/culture to make sure its a regular staph infection and not MRSA. I'm a nurse and constantly exposed to MRSA.....so I figured it would be a good thing to start with. Thank you for the think to find dermatologists, the closest is about a 1.5 hr drive, but would be well worth the trip. We have a bottle of chlorahexadine and anti-fungal shampoo, I'll have to dig it out and start using it again.

Wow, that was long. But very helpful. I'm going on a cleaning spree today, starting with the living room (where he spends most of his time), washing all his blankets and bed, and wiping down the couch. We have all hardwood floors, so those are pretty easy to keep dust-free. But, we'll have to start moving the couch to clean under it more often. Probably an army of dust bunnies under there by now.

I never would have thought to buy smaller bags of food. Thanks! I know we have to keep the mouse food/bedding in the freezer because one of them got mites from his bedding.

I'm off to call the vet and talk to her about thyroiditis and running the needed blood test. She's pretty open to suggestions and encouraged me to do some online research to see what we can come up with for treatment. He does have hardly any hair on his back legs and his skin is always dry/flaky.

Thanks for all your help everyone!

Old 3rd June 2009, 02:01 PM
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He does have hardly any hair on his back legs and his skin is always dry/flaky.
That is where Cami went bald first. I was on the ground playing with her over the winter and just shouted to my DH....<slightly freaking out at the same time>
"Cami is BALD" "When did this happen?"
If you took her back legs, (looking from behind her) and split them in half the inner halves were completely void of hair. Butt was trying hard to catch up too. Skin was dry and flaky (thought it was winter dryness).

It is great that your vet is open to allowing you to help in the diagnosing process! That is half the battle.