Posts filed under ‘Skin issues’

Boogie’s skin problems – solutions! Fingers crossed.

One of the most popular posts on Boogie’s Blog is Hair loss and crusty dry skin… What is it?   Many other dog owners are experiencing the same troubles, have spent as much money as I have, and feel as desperate as I do.

This photo is from 4 years ago, but see the bald patches on his back and legs? This is what happens every summer, and what Boogie’s back looks like NOW.

I have written about Boogie’s recurring skin problem many times, every summer, when we get the same Staph infection diagnosis and another whopping course of antibiotics. Yes, the cephalexin clears up the skin issues but Boogie’s immune system gets messed up at the same time so I have never been 100% happy with this solution.  Some blog readers have shared their own success stories with me so I want to re-share them here.

From Carolyn&John:

Oh I can help you with this! Went through the same with my ridgeback. Spent a fortune and FINALLY found the answer. I wasted time with the specialists. My local RR Club hooked me up with an old school vet who had the solution. It is a staph infection and antibiotics won’t help long term because it’s so hard on the system and this whole thing is caused by a compromised immune system to start with. You need to start WEEKLY baths of chlorohexadine shampoo and add PB–8 probiotic to the diet. Basically treat the staph topically and bolster his immune system rather than tear if down. Also, I feed Honest Kitchen Thrive. It’s best for allergic dogs. I wish I could go on at greater length but I’m typing from my iPhone lol thumbs are sore Lol. But I found your blog by chance and wanted to help. Email me for more info as I have lots to share. We spent 2 years and spared no expense to fine what works. Silly thing is the solution isn’t even expensive. Ay! Best of luck!!

Today, this comment came in from Lawrence:

Thanks for posting this blog post. My BT, Buster 4mth old Male, had that weird scaly hair lesions with resulting patchy hair loss too this summer. At first it was only one patch on the side of his belly, then it really spread around to the point where it was embarrassing.

I followed the advice of Carolyn&John (which lacked specific brands/products). I looked up pro-biotics and chlorohexadine shampoo and just bought what was popular/highly rated on amazon.

Here’s exactly what I used:

Chlorhexidine Products
-Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
-Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Micro-Emulsion Spray

PharmAssure – Acidophilus Capsules (this is the probiotics)
Nature’s Bounty Odorels Fish Oil 1000mg (purified of Mercury PCBs and Dioxins)

I bathed my BT up to 3 times a week (also whenever dirty like after a dog run/day at the beach). I would spray him w/ Cholorhexidine spray once a day (a good 3-4 sprays around his whole body).

Then I would feed him the two supplements twice a day with meals.

It actually cleared up within 2 weeks completely in the middle of summer. The first week there was very noticeable results.

I added the fish oil for the fatty acids and omega 3 benefits.

I’m a doctor and understand the biochemistry/pathology behind this fungal infection. Its basically lack of absorption in the gut resulting in the fungal/bacterial lesions in the skin due to a bit of immunosuppression. Carolyn’s advice as scientifically sound.

The probiotics reboot the guts natural bacterial flora/fauna to normal, the fish oil provides nutrients specific for the rebuilding of skin layers (amongst other things like heart benefits), and the clorohexidine is basically a disinfectant/sanitizer that kills off the bacteria/fungus at the skin level.

Thanks again for posting your dogs skin infection and plight with pictures on your blog. It really helped me out and also helped me avoid going to an over zealous vet who might have put my puppy on long tern antibiotics that was not needed.

Hope this works for your guy as well.

– Lawrence

Thank you, Carolyn, John and Lawrence!

I did order a big ol’ bottle of green Chlorhexidine solution to make a spray but when it arrived, I wasn’t sure what % to use so I have held off on using this. The instructions offered by one Amazon customer was 2 tablespoons of chlorhexidine solution to 1 gallon of water, and I tried this but the result looked just like plain water. It was super diluted and gut instinct tells me I may be better off just ordering the bottled Duoxo Chlorhexidine spray.

At the same time, I am bathing Boogie once a week… Perhaps I need to bathe him more often. He is also getting Canine Immune System Support twice daily in his meals (The Honest Kitchen and Stella & Chewys) I should get some probiotics too.

Question on the probiotics: Are these the kind that humans take? How do you calculate how much to give a 26lb dog?

UPDATE: I received an email reply from Lawrence that this is the same kind of probiotics that humans take that you can buy from Rite Aid. You can’t overdose on it. There is also this very helpful footbath video:

August 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm 8 comments

First visit to our new neighborhood vet

The bath time “counter-conditioning with treats” strategy doesn’t work on Boogie. When he hears the sound of water running, he is already in cowering-under-the-nearest-table position (even if I am running a bath for ME). When he is in the bathroom, he won’t eat. Even after his bath, when he is freshly showered and I have rubbed him down with the towel, he turns his nose away from any stinky food in my hand. Or he takes the treat and spits it out, reorienting towards the closed door. “For f’s sake, open this door”.

I open the door, he shoots out of there, does a BT500* around my living room, and gleefully flings toys in the air. Only now will he come running for treats.(*BT500 = Boston Terrier version of zoomies)

On Friday, we went to a new vet clinic in my neighborhood. I haven’t decided yet if I will permanently switch vets because I am very happy with our current vet Dr. R… The only problem with Dr. R is that he is always so fully booked… it is so hard to get an appointment.

The appeal of the new place is that they are bigger, have more technology and staff, are almost walking distance from my home (a huge plus!), and the Dr. is really lovely and comes highly recommended. They also have a very progressive attitude at this place: the consultation forms use “your friend” instead of “your pet”, and there are no metal examination tables in the rooms! The exam rooms are decorated with warm cozy colors – as if you were in someone’s home. And there being no tables, the vets get down onto the floor to examine the animals.

Unfortunately, in Boogie’s case, being confronted with a stranger seated on the floor, in a room (in which there is no escape) is no less disturbing than having to stand on an elevated cold metal surface. At least in a traditional vet exam room, he knows what’s coming. He has been through the metal table routine many times, and he always stands there LEANING his body into me when Dr. R checks his mouth, ears, butt etc.

On the checkered floor of the new fandangled exam room, it was much harder for anyone to hold onto Boogie. When Dr. F called him, he sniffed her, took a treat, then backed away. And then he crawled under my chair and stayed there. It didn’t help that there had been an off-leash (resident) dog in the waiting room so Boogie was already agitated on arrival and all he wanted to do was GET AWAY FROM THIS PLACE. The only way he could have anything examined by Dr. F was if I picked him up and held him on my lap the entire time ….

Dr. F was super gentle and did not want to pressure him to be near her, so in the end, I didn’t feel that Boogie had a thorough enough of a check-up. :/

She said Boogie looked good though… everything looked fine except for a minor ear infection.

So now we have some new drops for Boogie’s ear infection and two new shampoos (Virbac: Ketochlor & Cortisoothe) for Boogie’s skin issues. I don’t know if these products are better than the ones we get from Dr. R…  hopefully they are because they’re way more expensive. We’ll wait and see. Fingers crossed.

Have you ever changed vets for your scaredy/reactive dog? What do you look for in a vet?

June 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm 10 comments

More Cephalexin.

Home from another long afternoon at the vet where we spent more time trapped in the waiting room than doing anything else.

It was weirdly stressful today. There were some seriously anxious senior dogs (shaking, panting, drooling) in that tiny waiting room,  a cat in a crate that wouldn’t stop meowing, and the Dog Whisperer Show on TV – that famous 1st season  “flooding” episode with the drooling dog led across slippery floors. And I was getting a glazed-eye look from the woman across from me when I tried to talk to her about BAT … She said her dog has anxiety issues and would bite visitors when their backs were turned.

Boogie, on the other hand, had no anxiety. He was simply very very bored. He had already (very sweetly and politely) introduced himself to every human, dog and cat in the room and nobody was interested in playing with him. He sat by the door and stared at me with big hopeful eyes and a pouty face.

In the end, we came home with more Cephalexin antibiotics. Staph infection again. Second time this year.

I asked Dr. R about atopic dermatitis, atopica cyclosporine (see previous blog post), should Boogie get a bi-weekly vaccination,  should he get allergy-tested, how can we nip this problem in the bud?

Dr. R  asked me about our previous experience of Staph: Did the antibiotics work? Did I see any changes? What percentage improvement did I see?

I told him I saw a significant improvement (about 80-90%) when Boogie was on antibiotics. His skin cleared up and he stopped itching. When he finished the meds, 2 weeks later, the itchies returned.  Dr. R deduced that if the antibiotics worked, then this proves the problem to be primarily Staph, not allergies, and so he was reluctant to settle for the very expensive Atopica medication, which is specifically for atopic dermatitis and does not treat the recurring Staph problem.

I am to bring Boogs back in 2 weeks to check if the Cephalexin is working. If it works, ie, no more itching and skin improves, then this confirms the Staph problem. If Boogie continues to itch, then we may have an allergy or dermatology problem, and I may want to make an appointment with a Skin Specialist in Studio City. I am also to change Boogie’s diet… from now on, only ONE protein.*What am I going to do with the 2-month supply of mixed-protein dog food in my kitchen?

The thing I like about our vet is that he will only administer hardcore expensive vaccinations/medications as a last resort, when we know for sure what exactly we are treating. Even though it’s frustrating, not knowing for sure what is going on…

November 23, 2011 at 12:23 am 5 comments

Atopica Cyclosporine capsules: Has anyone used this?

It’s happening again. Boogie’s itchiness is getting worse in spite of more frequent bathing & skin conditioning and am seeing signs of those crusty white patches that suggest another Staph infection 😦 ( See also  this old photo)

Has anyone heard of or used Atopica Cyclosporine with their dogs? A friend’s dog was taking these anti-inflammatory meds for another issue and his itchiness disappeared.


I am going to talk to our vet about this treatment… I may even consider Allergy Testing… anything but:

1. more antibiotics. These only work when Boogie is on them. The itchiness returns when he finishes the pills.

2. Steroid meds (like prednisone etc). The side effects of increased hunger, thirst and frequent need to pee are horrible.

If you know anything about the Atopica treatment, please share!

*UPDATE: Off to the vet tomorrow…

November 13, 2011 at 8:25 pm 13 comments

Trying out a couple of new doggie products

1. Freshpet VITAL dog food.

This is the same company that makes those Deli Fresh and Vital rolls that I have been using as training treats. (Thanks to Sarah for the recommendation!) I picked up this bag of Vital Complete Meal at my local pet store, from the fridge where they keep the other Freshpet bologna-type rolls.

At first I was a little concerned that there are so many different proteins in this food … seems like overkill to me… but we’ll see how Boogie does.  I like that this massive bag is only $10 (cheap compared to other  brands, and this stuff is fresh!) and being kibble-sized, they also work as high value treats.

2. Virbac Epi-Soothe Creme Rinse Conditioner

Poor Boogie’s skin is so itchy, dry and flaky.  Our vet recommended Virbac Etiderm doggie shampoo which is what I have bathing Boogie with once a week, but we have seen no improvements. The several weeks that Boogie was on antibiotics for staph, he stopped itching and his skin cleared up. A week after he finished the antibiotics, the itchies came back. There are now dry patches on his back legs, dandruffy bits on his coat, and bald spots on his butt. And his little nub of a tail is completely hairless from all that chewing and scooting on the rug.

My friends (parents of Popeye and Rosie) recommended this Virbac Epi-Soothe Conditioner. I am going to rinse and condition the Boogs twice a week (no shampoo) and hope for the best.

October 29, 2011 at 6:50 am 6 comments

Summer allergies, staph again :(

It’s that time of the year – skin allergies, relentless itchiness, infections, bleh.  Last week, we came home from the vet with another stash of medications.

Triamcinolone Acetonide
Gentocin Otic

Once again, Boogie has been diagnosed with a staph infection 😦  Bald crusty patches on his skin and red pimples on his belly. Dr. R. doesn’t know why unlike most dogs, Boogie is so predisposed to this staph – which seems to always develop in the summer season along with the skin allergies. I am not sure what to do. One option is to have Boogie allergy-tested… an expensive process which doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.  I also happen to know that all the dogs on my street are experiencing similar problems. The allergens are in the grass and the air.

As Dr. R said with a shrug –  Even if I spend a small fortune on allergy testing, Boogie will most probably end up taking the same treatment anyway.

The Triamcinolone (which is a steroid medication) makes Boogie so hungry. Which is great for Clicker Training games but not so good for every other time of the day. Poor ravenous little dog. Day and night, I see him restlessly scrounging around for food, licking and re-licking my floors where treats were dropped hours ago. On our walks, he inhales crap off the sidewalk. He wants to go for walks ALL THE TIME… also because he is drinking more water and needs to pee a gallon every 2 hours.  I really really hate steroid meds!

The good part is that the itching has stopped. His skin is healing up and thank goodness, we’re moving into Fall.

September 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Another Itchy Skin post

"Yo, squirrel!"

Hair Loss & Crusty Dry Skin – What is it? is possibly one of the most visited posts on Boogie’s Blog,  and our vet had diagnosed this recurring problem as an allergy-related  staph infection.

Recently I came across an article that confirms and sheds more light on the problem:  The Killer App for Canine Itching and Skin Infections

In fact, this reads EXACTLY like what Boogie suffers from.  Every summer, something in the air sets off an itchy skin reaction with crusty sores and hair loss, and poor Boogie has to take cortisone shots and excessive quantities of oral antibiotics to get some relief.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the antibiotics once relied on to clear up both human and animal infections are becoming increasingly less effective against “superbugs” like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP, formerly known as MRSI — same bug, new acronym), which makes dogs miserable but almost never causes problems for people, and its well-known human counterpart, MRSA. The more frequently antibiotics are prescribed for infections, including canine skin infections, the more bacteria develop resistance to those drugs.

According to the article, the solution = MORE BATHS.

Dogs with atopic dermatitis whose bacterial infections are under control should be bathed once or twice a week, but for dogs with resistant staph skin infections, Fadok recommends daily bathing. Dog owners should use shampoos containing chlorhexidine, an antiseptic, followed by rinses and leave-on solutions with specific fatty acids thought to restore the skin’s barrier function.

I looked up the ingredients of Boogie’s shampoo & leave-on conditionerno chlorhexidine…

In any case,  the weather is warming up and Boogie’s itchies have started.  I will be giving him more frequent baths. Fingers crossed.

March 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm 8 comments

Questions for Pet People: What do you use?

If there exists something better — more effective & healthier–  than what I am using, I’d love to know about it! What products would you use and recommend? Please leave comments!

1. What doggie shampoo do you use for skin allergies, itchies etc.? [Using Microtek]

2. What topical product do you use for itchy paws? Keeping in mind that it will be licked off/ingested. [Using Microtek Spray]

3. What spray product do you use to get rid of fleas in rugs, dog beds, sofas etc.? [Using De Flea]

4. What do you recommend for flea bites on HUMANS? I know when there are fleas in my apartment because I always get bitten.  This week has been hell. I get a really horrendous allergic reaction to flea bites… the bites swell up red, itch like crazy, and I feel like I am going to die because I start to itch everywhere. Unlike other insect bites, flea bites on me last and itch forever even when I apply hydrocortisone cream, tea tree oil, Aloe Vera, what have you. They itch for MONTHS even after all that’s left is a faint scar. I am not kidding. When I get new bites, the old ones itch again. It’s hell. Is there an equivalent of Comfortis for humans to prevent flea bites?


I found an excellent solution for my flea bite problem. Thanks to Letitia for the Lavender Oil recommendation .  I mix a few drops of Lavender essential oil in a bottle of Jojoba Oil (from Trader Joe’s) and I moisturize my entire body with this EVERYDAY.  No flea bites! I know this stuff works because one day I forgot to apply this mix and I got bitten. I also add some vitamin E oil with the jojoba and lavender for healing old flea bite scars. Smells much better than the typical store-bought insect repellent.

October 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm 5 comments

Itchy skin remedy: MICROTEK

It has been so stinking hot here in L.A. , Boogie has been itchy and rashy, and I am extremely grateful to Lauren,  who recommended this product to me via flickr.

I went ahead and ordered the Microtek Pet Shampoo and Pet Spray from a couple of weeks ago, and as much as Boogie HATES this stuff (it has a very strong scent), I think it is working. His patchy dry skin has cleared up, his fur is fuller and softer and he isn’t scratching as much as he usually does.

He still has a red and rashy belly with scabby sores but that’s my fault for letting him drag himself on the grass. He looks so cute when he does it!!!

July 15, 2010 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

Another Summer. :(

This happens every summer when the weather warms up. Boogie’s itchiness gets out of control and back to the vet we go, for skin rashes, bald spots, ear infections. Bleh. There isn’t really anything that we can do except “tough things out” because the allergens or pesticides – whatever they are – are in the air, on the grass, everywhere… (Interestingly, some neighbors told me last night that after they relocated, their doggies’ allergies cleared up! I am now convinced that it’s the crap they put on the grass around here).

Dr. Reina was hesitant to give Boogie another cortisone shot because even though this stuff alleviates the itchiness for a couple of weeks, ultimately, it intensifies the problem.

I balked when I saw how many pills he has to take each day for the next few weeks.

Cephalexin antibiotics twice a day (for Staph); Hydroxine pills twice-three times a day (for skin infections); Derm pills once a day (for skin); and Panalog drops three times a day (for his ear infections). And I am to clean his ears every day until the crusty, bloody pus stuff clears up. Boogie is going to freakin’ LOVE that. He hides in his crate or under the coffee table whenever he sees me with the ear wash bottle.

Photo taken at the vet. Boogie is blinking at me with his poutiest face. “Can we go home now, please?”

May 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm 5 comments

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