Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Hello - It sounds as though you need to find the cause of the itching. Steroids are sometimes used as a repeated short-term anti-itching treatment (increasingly less these days, as more is becoming understood about long-term side effects), but if the trigger for the itching is still there, then when the steroids wear off, the itching will continue. Fleas, for example, cause itching in dogs - they respond to steroids because steroids reduce itching, but if the fleas are still there when the steroids wear off, the dog will continue to scratch. Some dogs have allergies to fleas, so a brief encounter with a flea belonging to someone else in the outdoors can be enough to cause a problem. However, it doesn't have to be fleas - dogs can have allergies to no end of things, from pollens in the air to household products - so sometimes it can be hard to get to the bottom of the route cause of an allergy. Where allergies are thought to be the cause, there may also be non-steroidal treatments available. Beside allergies, pain including abdominal pain (e.g. pancreatitis / arthritis), mites, ambient dryness etc. are all worth considering. If the hair-loss (rather than itching) becomes the most obvious feature, there may be a separate list of differentials (possible causes) for that.