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Excessive scratching
by Wanda Bonnett
Excessive scratching We acquired our 8 week old female puppy from a breeder who did not breed this particular puppy. We have had her for one week, and she has not stopped scratching. She also licks her paws. We had her checked out by a vet the day after we brought her home. She had a small irritation on her belly that looked like yellow and brown sores or crusty areas. He said shampooing every week should take care of it. Her scratching became worse so I called him again. He prescribed an antibiotic in case it was a bacterial infection, but the scratching continued. He is now treating her for skin mites. He gave her a shot two days ago. We have not noticed a decrease in scratching. The breeder recommended dipping the puppy in paramite, but the vet said she's too young for that type of treatment. The breeder will take her back, but if this is something that is curable, I would prefer to keep her. I need some advice. Can you help?


Wanda, could it be allergies? Dry skin from the winter weather? Maybe you should check with another vet before you take her back. It's hard when you become so attached. Keep us posted
Libby & Buster

My Buddy has skin allergies. We have found that the best shampoo for this is natural oatmeal shampoo. I have tried the conditioning shampoo sold by our vet, but actually get better results with the oatmeal shampoo sold at our local Walmart. He used to scratch to the point that he had sores and flaky skin. This no longer occurs. Also, we give Buddy Medrol which is prescribed by our vet for his allergies. We only give this when we notice the scratching/ watery eyes. You might question your vet as to whether this could be some type of dermatitis. If the dog did have mites this can cause an allergic dermatitis also.
Scabies (the type of mites you are probably referring to) can be awfully hard to treat in a young pup. I don't know how old they have to be before you use Paramite so ask your vet. If your vet has already done a skin scraping and determined this is definitely mites, then you really will just have to continue with the treatment until you get it cleared up. It can take several treatments to kill all the mites. I hope that the breeder also treats his/her other dogs, as this spreads quickly. Keep in touch with your vet and let him know how your puppy is progressing. If you feel he isn't doing enough for your dog, try a different vet.
I have a 16 month onld female (Angel) and she's currently having the same problems. My vet said he can't find anything as far as bacteria or mites. We discussed the possibility of allergies to grass or pollen, but it's now winter and the symptoms should've subsided by now. Unfortunately, I'm at a standstill right now as far as treating her. I too have tries oatmeal shampoo, with no success. Hopefully someone out there has some advice. Right now I'm experimenting with her diet to see of she's allergic to an ingredient in her food. I just started this yesterday, so I don't have any results yet.
Rudy will be 5 mos on Monday and he's been scratching too. He got to the point that he was scratching probably 50% of his waking hours. The vet took skin scrapings and didn't find anything. He also mentioned that even dermatologists & allergists only diagnose mites 30% of the time they are actually there. In other words, they are extremely hard to diagnose. Here's what he advised me to do before taking the next step which is seeing a specialist: Check/change the bedding. (I ran it through the washer twice on hot water setting with no soap.) Feed only in glass dishes (no ceramic, metal, etc.) Feed only lamb & rice dry puppy food. No treats. No chewies except nylabone (plain). Nothing at all except the lamb and rice food should pass his little lips. No bathing more than every two weeks. Use prescription oatmeal shampoo and prescription conditioner with an antihistamine. Nothing else on his skin (no Collyrium, etc). Distract him when he scratches (it can become a "habit".) After the scratching subsides, start introducing things back to him one at a time. The scratching hasn't stopped completely, but he is much, much better. The bath helped right away. Then he slowly got better over the past 2 1/2 weeks. So far he has gotten back frosted Cheerios (very important!!!) and carrot nylabones. I gave him a little carrot the other night - no reaction except an orange face! I gave him a nylabone "chooz" (beef) last night and after about a half hour, here comes the scratching of the face again! So, it's trial and error, but worth it cause my heart would just ache to see him so miserable scratching. They're supposed to be puppies - having fun and playing, not constantly scratching! Hope this helps & sorry it's so wordy... Marie
I would like to thank Libby & Buster, Becky, and Aimee for your suggestions. I intend to check each one out because I am not sure I could give Lacey up even though we have only had her for one week. She is too adorable and lovable. I have already made an appointment with a second vet this afternoon. By the way, the first vet we saw said that puppies under eight months old cannot have allergies. We have seen a slight decrease in scratching since my last message, and the vet feels encouraged that she is improving. He did indicate that it would take several weeks to get rid of mites, but I feel I need a second opinion. I will keep you posted. Michelle, good luck with Angel's diet. A friend of mine who has an English Spaniel said a change in diet worked wonders for her dog. Her dog had skin irritations, and her condition improved after changing her dog food.
Wanda B.
I took Lacey to another vet who confirmed that she does have skin mites. He did a skin scraping and was able to find one dead mite. Therefore, the shot she had earlier in the week was working. Her scratching has decreased, but the vet said it will take a few weeks before the mites are completely gone and the itching ceases. Marie, thanks for the information. You never know when it may be useful. I understand how you feel about seeing your dog scratch. It broke my heart to see Lacey scratching so much. I feel much better knowing what is causing the itching and that it is curable. Good luck to you.
Wanda B.
Wanda, I had a lhasa apso who got skin mites at the age of 11 years, due to his immune system being to low. At the time, my vet told me that normally only puppy's get mites because their immune system is not high enough. As they get older, their immune system builds up. I don't remember if he gave "Oscar" a shot, but we had to take him to the vet first week twice, then once a week for three weeks to get a special bath. So you see, it takes a while, but I think your baby will be OK, as she is getting older, her immune system will get stronger also.

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