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Hot spots between toes


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We've just finished the round of anti biotics, and everything is looking pretty good. Still some dry, hairless, flaky skin in areas but overall much better. There hasn't been any further spreading of it, and if anything it does appear that the hair is slowly starting to fill back in. Main improvements have come in the last couple days. 


Not 100% where the improvement has come from though as we have moved her away from grains. She has been receiving a daily dose of cetirizine (zyrtec), 500mg cephalexine morning and night, plus neocort once to twice a day applied to skin.


I'd also been holding off on her flea and tick treatment (nexgard), given some negative reviews of afoxolaner which could have also put strain on her immune if allergies are the issue. Some reading showed that it can also be used for effective treatment of mites/mange though and given we are in the peak of tick season, and that she hasn't had negative reactions to this drug in the past we went ahead and dosed. This has somewhat aligned with the improvement but also overlaps with the completion of the antibiotic course.


Guess we'll continue to do what we've been doing and see how things progress. 

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It appears I spoke too soon.


This morning they were looking a bit red, and throughout the day she's been feeling the need to lick and created a sore between 2 toes again already. Only thing that has changed to routine is that she finished the round of antibiotics.


This is well frustrating

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Will be getting to the vet on Tuesday. Have been tied up with work at the moment. Keeping her in her cone of shame when she can't be supervised. Things have settled a bit again, but I'd say she'll still needs another round of antibiotics. I'm going to ask for a repeat script for those, and also see if we can try her on a round of oral steroids.


I'm not sure if the cetirizine has been working as well as it could so tempted to also try her on another anti histamine after she finishes the steroids.


I'll also be looking for a referral to an animal dermatologist. They come up here from Brisbane 4 times a year, so will need to then arrange with them when she can be tested, and make sure all drugs are stopped in the time frames required for allergy testing.


Has anyone gone down this route? How did it work out for you? I'd rather invest coin towards a long term solution rather than continuing to go back to the vet for steroids/antibiotics every other week.

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Outcome as expected, tape test positive for bacterial infection.


The vet was having computer issues so they'll email the referral through to me.


21 day supply of cephalexine (500mg twice daily)

Prednisolone 20mg daily (10mg morning and night) for 5 days and then tapering off.

Continue foot washing every 2nd day with maleseb (leaving on for 10mins).


Very strong suggestion by the vet to consider a trial diet for food allergies. They will be emailing through the info for that as well. Specialist is up early Feb, so given the time frames for use of medication I'll hold off this round and try to get her lined up for the next visit (approx. 3 months time). Will allow time to get the flare up under control, get off the medications, and implement a diet change possibly. I suspect it is an environmental allergy though.


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We have a cat with a sensitive stomach, and now a dog with sensitive skin. We must be sensitive owners..


I'm sure we'll get this under control. On the bright side even with all this going on the dog is in good spirits.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The struggle is real.. poor little girl is still itching.


We have moved her over to Black Hawk Fish and Potato now. Been on just that for around 2 weeks now with no other treats (other than some egg on her food, which is also in the food as well). Almost as soon as she finished her last round she was back to itching and back to the vets. Went to the one closest which I shouldn't have.. not happy with the service really. They prescribed apoquel for 2 weeks and to come back again; further more they didn't know anything about specialists/animal dermatologist. 


I've opted not to dose daily with apoquel based on a) the cost and b) the side effects I've read.


Using betadine to treat any spots on her feet, which are looking alright-ish.. and washing in medicated shampoo every other day, 10min soaking.  But it really is her whole body that itches. She has itch reactions when you give her a scratch and has been scratching frequently too. Need to get past this season to see if we can find relief and if it is environmental or diet related.  



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Just a comment, no real help but we've had great results with Apoquel. :)  Really good. Expensive but if your vet will write a script you can get it online much cheaper.


As well as poultry free diets for dogs with food allergies. Read the bag carefully but I resorted to home made because chicken seemed to be in everything. Roo went straight through! But lamb or fish was fine. 

Z/D prescription diet did nothing and was a waste of money. Had to be thrown out. 





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Guest crazydoglady99

Have you heard of Nutriscan? It's a canine (and feline I think) saliva test for food intolerances.


It might save a lot of trial and error in the long term.


Failing that, the book "nutrigenomics" by Dr Jean Dodds has lots of info on allergies/feeding etc etc.


All the best with it!


Edit for spelling!

Edited by crazydoglady99
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Have been involved with dogs over the last 40 years (boarding kennels, training and my own).... Have often encountered dogs with this problem and was told by a vet in the 80's how to treat it.... not always 100% but it would never do any harm.... However I will explain and you are free to try.


The skin is inflamed usually by grasses.... hence why it particularly affects between the toes first. ...especially at certain times of year when the grasses are growing.... this is aggravated by the dog licking/chewing the affected areas.. can often send up a bit of a chain reaction thru many parts of the body particularly in between the legs, under the throat etc.


When you go to vets they seem to want to prescribe creams or tablets, which do seem to help... for a time.... and when you stop the treatment the condition returns - expensive and frustrating and vets don't seem to offer any other treatments except to do skin samples to try to work out what the dog is allergic to. The big problem is that the dogs immune system is compromised and the tablets and creams continue to degrade the immune system. They work for a time but are often just masking the issue and not actually solving the problem.


The objective is to make the dog comfortable, prevent the dog licking/chewing, and let the system repairs its self.


This is done two ways.... I have successfully treated hundreds of dogs with this manner over the years... have even had vets admit (reluctantly) that this is valid.


1st - diet - raw is best as you will get a better balance of gut bacteria (which the tablets are compromising) thus will start to help the skin improve from the inside out.... remove the dry food which has too many salts etc..... add plain greek yoghurt (costs $8/kilo at Aldi) which will also help to feed the gut bacteria to create a better balance. - within about three weeks you should see a much better coat coming thru...


2nd - reduce the itchy skin... buy some metholated spirits (bottle costs perhaps $5).... have a small bowl and dip the feet into the undiluted metho and then you can use some cotton wool and dap metho onto any other hot spots on the body... The metho will dry out the skin and reduce/stop the dog itching... no bandages as the objective is to let it air out and dry up.... don't worry if the skin is hot/rash/'pimply the metho will not hurt the dog and is not tasty so often the dog doesn't want to lick it anyway. You can do this in the morning and again in the evening. Perhaps repeat the next day and by the third day you should start seeing a big improvement in the feet and the dog will loose interest in the licking...


Once the feet at more stable then after a few weeks you should see the diet starting to help the skin... just keep an eye on the feet as it might flair up again as the grass is growing... then a quick dip into the metho to stop the cycle again....


Best of luck - you are welcome to ring me if you wish to discuss



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Thanks Alpha Bet. What you have wrote is what I believe too. 99% certain the reaction is environmental vs food related. I agree that the raw diet is probably best, but haven't started down that route yet. Am feeding a better quality kibble, supplementing with fish oil, raw fish, canned fish, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar. Have ceased all drugs except for the occasional anti-histamine when she is itching badly.


Have been using a surgical hand wash for foot soaking every second day (Chlorhexidine), and using topical betadine between to treat any remaining inflamed areas. I like the idea of metho, for the reasons you've listed. Might be a bit harsh in the long term though?


She's due for her annual vaccinations, but have opted to try and get the feet under control vs smashing the immune system with more work. Feel the same re worming and tick control.. hard to weigh up what is best for the short term vs the long term immune system. 

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The metho doesn't need to be used for long... just when you see an outbreak - perhaps for 1-2 days and you break the cycle before it has a chance to get full blown.


I wouldn't be having any vaccination at this point as her immune system is already overloaded... After all Vaccinations don't need to be done annual... three yearly has been approved by the AVA.... ref: Dr J Dodds... and also another reference is an article "Annual vaccinations are they necessary"  by Dr. Bruce Same on www.vetsallnatural.com.au

Also avoid worming etc... until the skin is back to normal.... 

One thing I will say... personally, don't really believe there is a better quality kibble.... they all have additives.... instead consider the option of the Vets all natural complete mix instead... he also has one for skin sensitivity....

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Would you recommend using the metho a bit more often initially until the outbreak is under control? At the moment all 4 paws have some irritation and hairloss, mostly contained to the underside back from the pad spanning up the leg, and only a small patch of broken skin on one front paw where she has chewed the other night; appears to be healing already.


My thoughts copy yours re the vaccinations, worming, flea and tick etc. Being in FNQ in the peak of tick season I had to make a choice to dose her though, albeit I already stretch her monthly doses out to quarterly and do daily checks, more thoroughly particularly if we've been in the scrub.


Do you have any recommended resources for raw diet?



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There are a number of specialist veterinary hospitals in QLD, thought perhaps not in FNQ (have not checked). May I suggest finding a dermatologist and asking your vet whether they can do a vet-vet phone consult - this is common in areas where specialists aren’t available. Even in Sydney my vets have called up specialists for advice with preliminary work then referred on for anything they couldn’t do. Alternatively you may find a vet in your area who has a special interest in dermatology (had undertaken further education in the field, but not a derm).

Edited by Papillon Kisses
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24 minutes ago, Papillon Kisses said:

There are a number of specialist veterinary hospitals in QLD, thought perhaps not in FNQ (have not checked). May I suggest finding a dermatologist and asking your vet whether they can do a vet-vet phone consult - this is common in areas where specialists aren’t available. Even in Sydney my vets have called up specialists for advice with preliminary work then referred on for anything they couldn’t do. Alternatively you may find a vet in your area who has a special interest in dermatology (had undertaken further education in the field, but not a derm).

There is one located in Brisbane that comes up here 4 times a year for consults. My preferred vet was well aware and made suggestions re this route. Seemed more concerned in saving us money and getting a positive outcome vs us coming back every other week for more drugs.


I'd be interested in having allergen testing done if it could confirm what she is allergic to, but I'm not sure it's that simple, and from what I have heard its a long drawn out process of elimination before you even get to that point. I need to contact them to confirm that though. I have a real issue with spending coin at a vets to be told something I already know, and then left to put in the hard work myself anyway. Where possible I'd rather take a methodical approach and do some trial and error work myself.


At this stage I'll be seeing out the 6 weeks on this particular dry to rule out beef, lamb, and poultry (eggs excluded) as sources of food allergy. If no decrease in itching is seen (which I haven't seen yet nearly half way in) then I'll start adding raw back into her diet and supplement with the dry. I should start adding rice in as well.


That will mean I've tried grain free, and also isolated out common proteins. I could try and isolate egg through some home cooked meals, but really I feel that is it largely an environmental reaction.


I've got some metho and will use it on her feet, I've used it on myself in many cases to sterilise/dry out wounds; I know it works.. and if I can keep the skin inflammation at bay then that is 80% of the problem. The rest I can work towards isolating what the allergen is and then reducing exposure where possible.



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Just want to say thanks Alpha Bet. The method indeed works a charm to stop any bacterial growth and drying out the skin. Have seen a reduction in broken and inflamed skin very quickly. She doesn't appear to be chewing at her feed any longer, however is still pretty itchy all over from what I can see. Energy levels are up as usual and she doesn't seem to phased. Still on the semi exclusion diet, fish potato and egg.


Have also introduced some turmeric and coconut oil into her diet along with the omega 3 supplements. Funny dog doesn't turn her nose up at anything. Can throw a couple fish oil caps in her dinner, not even hidden and she scoffs em down.


Couple of weeks time I'll start looking at adding more raw meat and offal back into her diet.

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The turmeric needs to be heated to be effective KobiD

here is a recipe and where to get good turmeric from (my lot just  love it...dogs as well as humans)


Turmeric/Golden paste Info
You buy the turmeric here:
Ruth Walsh
Country Park Animal Herbs (Qld)
61 Tunbridge Drive
Phone/Fax: 07 55964387
postage is $8.55 for up to 20kg.

This is the Golden Paste recipe I used
How to make Golden Paste:
1⁄2 cup turmeric powder
1 cup spring water (+ 1⁄2 extra if necessary)
1.5 tsp ground black pepper
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1. Mix water (1 cup) with turmeric powder in a pan and slowly heat it up and stir for 6-10
minutes until you get a thick paste (add the additional 1⁄2 cup water if it is too thick).
2. Add black pepper and oil and continue stirring until all the ingredients are fully mixed in
3. Allow the paste to cool. Store in the refrigerator in a jar for up to 1-2 weeks.
This recipe was developed by Doug English, a veterinarian who has utilized the ancient healing
spice in all manner of animals ranging from dogs to cats to the most exotic types like alpacas and
even crocodiles
Why add Black Pepper? It is beneficial to take black pepper with turmeric because it helps the
body absorb turmeric.
A 1992 report in Clinical Pharmacokinetics on black pepper explained why some studies did not
show the same benefits of turmeric as the others did. The human body has a tough time utilizing
curcumin effectively. However just a small amount of black pepper boosted bioavailability of
curcumin by up to 2000%, the study shows.

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Why does it need to be heated? I have read about the golden past recipe but didn't understand why it needs the heat? to assist in break down?


I added turmeric powder, black pepper, cinnamon into a jar with coconut oil. Mixed well and popped it in the fridge. I just scrape some out into her dinner dish, pour on boiling water, mix and then add food. Should last much more than 2 weeks one would think as well.


Also bought 750g bag of quality turmeric powder from the health store. Not just the grocery shop variety.

Edited by KobiD
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