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Dog extreme skin issues

Published on: July 03, 2023 • By: Avocadofry · In Forum: Dogs
July 03, 2023 at 01:06pm
Hello! My dog Bruce is a mix of Boxer and German Shepard. He is about 8 years old now. He has had a skin condition for as long as I can remember where he itches constantly and his skin turns black and sometimes red. We have brought him to 8 different vets and nobody has been able to give a proper diagnosis. He is now extremely skinny and scratching himself more than ever. He itches so much that he cries at times. He has patches of hair missing and is starting to scratch his ears, eyes and around the mouth as well. He usually scratches between his legs (front and back) the most, where his hair is completely gone. I have no idea what it could be and I am looking for either a diagnosis or some kind of treatment that could help soothe him. It pains me to see how he's become now...
Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
July 03, 2023 at 04:03pm
Hello - I wonder how many times you have been to each vet and what your expectations of them have been?  The thing with skin disease, is that even if you tried 100 vets, each one is very unlikely to diagnose and cure such a skin disease as you describe in a single consultation.  Furthermore, they are unlikely to provide a long-lasting cure at all, because most skin diseases are chronic - that is, life-long, low-level diseases that need to be managed / kept on top of, rather than cured.  Think along the lines of severe allergy in humans.   Most vets who havent met you before will try the easy treatments, that are commonly successful, first - and if you don't return, are likely to get the impression that the dog improved and needed no further help, or conclude that you went elsewhere.  Some dogs however have interesting or complicated skin diseases that need to be 'worked up' - ie tests need to be done, or at least treatments given and the results evaluated so that the treatments can maybe be tailored and changed.  To treat a long-term skin condition succesfully, it is necessary to build up a relationship with your vet and work together - and I wonder whether that might not have been happening.  It sounds. however, as though this case is potentially complicated and putting your dogs' wealfare at risk, so it may be a good idea to go back to the vet who you felt was the best communicator, and ask the following questions:  1) what might have caused this problem - and how to get to the bottom of it and 2) what treatments to start with and 3) what to do if no improvement is seen.   In fact, always go away from a vets consultation understanding a) why theyre doing what they're doing b) what they're expecting to happen and c) when they need to see you if this does, and does not, happen. Skin disease is indeed superficial, but unfortunately easy fixes are rare.
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