How can I get my dog to stop biting and scratching his skin rash?
Original Question: My dog got a rash on his body that is making him bite his hair and skin to the point that it scabs and puss comes out. What is going on with him? He is 12 years old and I don't have healthcare nor money to take him to the vet. What should I do? Please help me. - Carmen
I’m Dr. Clayton Greenway with healthcareforpets.com and we’re answering questions this morning. We’ve got one here from Carmen and it goes, “My dog got a rash on his body that is making him bite his hair and skin out where he is getting scabs and puss. What is going on with him? He’s 12 years old. I don’t have healthcare nor money to take him to the vet, what should I do? Please help.”
So this is a common scenario and all veterinarians deal with it where you know let’s face it, veterinary bills are expensive and so it’s very important that I work with clients and that they’re upfront and honest with me about that because then I can provide options that may be helpful, that are low-cost and getting these questions answered, I always strive to sort of treat the pet without having you spend all that money but I still cannot overstate just how important it is to go get a veterinary appointment. See your veterinarian, make sure you know what condition you’re dealing with because if you don’t figure that out, things can get a lot worse and more expensive down the road. So I really recommend that if you can do it.
In this case, it sounds very straightforward and certainly I’m not doing the physical exam, so this advice has to be taken in conjunction with a consultation with your veterinarian, but it sounds as though there’s a bacterial infection going on and this is really common in dogs. The scabs and the puss would suggest that. Now sometimes there’s underlying issues like allergies, which can be quite complex and I’d recommend you watch our videos about allergies, but as far as these infections, they can sometimes spread all across the body. There are also infections called hotspots that can happen, a lot of people deal with those as well. You can use oral antibiotics when you’re dealing with a skin infection, but you can also try things like an anti-bacterial shampoo. You could drop by your vet and pick up something like that, that’s not very expensive and you could do a shampoo every other day. You could lather up that shampoo, leave it on for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off. That will decrease the bacterial load, help control the infection, in some cases, if it’s bad you could even do it every day. That can help out a lot, it’s a lot of work though. If you’re dealing with a small area, you could apply an antibacterial ointment to it. I don’t like to use a lot of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil can be toxic to dogs if given enough of it, but something like Polysporin over a small area could help.
You could also talk to your veterinarian about a spray. We do have things like that, that work really well that have an antibiotic in it and a steroid to decrease the inflammation and itch and these things can really help control infections without going to the level of medications and that’s ideally what we’re trying to avoid but there are things at home you can try first. If we had an infection somewhere on our arm, you can just start cleaning it, sterilizing it, so that you don’t have to run to the hospital every time, so there’s no harm in that.
But if something is starting to get worse and every day you’re watching it and it’s not improving, I definitely recommend you go to your veterinarian because it could be something else and there could be something underlying this. We also have to remember that skin infections occur sometimes because the dog is somehow compromised another way. So they could be having an immune condition or another complicating factor underneath this. So it’s always good to get a wellness exam, make sure that you run blood work and see that your dog is healthy otherwise, that there’s nothing complicating this to have these infections happen. So these are things to consider and I really wish you a lot of luck. Thanks for sending in the question Carmen and thanks for visiting healthcareforpets.com where we’re dedicated to your pet’s health and keep those questions coming.
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