May issue

May issue
May issue

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ditch the itch


I would be pleased to have your opinion with regards to my cross Cairn approx. 9.1/2 years old. She was found on a very busy motoway here in Spain and we have had her now for 8 years. Obviously we do not know how she faired prior to this.

She suffers from itchy skin, but only in the summer when it is very hot here. she can get quite a few sores, loss of hair etc. The vet prescribes Atopica 50 mg. this we give her in the beginning for the hot weather, and she has Omega 3 all year round. Usually around July she has to have a cortisone injection which last approx. 6 weeks when the itching will start again, through the last 4 months of the year she will probably have 3 cortisone injections, which we know is not very good for her, but it makes her more comfortable.

It is very frustrating that we cannot seem to do much to help her. I have tried all the itching sprays without a lot of success.

I would like to here your views. She only has fresh turkey, mixed with Royal Canin Dermocomfort meal. daily with a few treats in between which cannot be the cause of her itching as she only itches during hot weather.

I look forward to your comments.


Carole Hall, by email


  1. You say you have used sprays before - but have you bathed your dog with special skin shampoo? There are some excellent ones on the market, and do the job well if you keep on top of its usage. Does she like water? In hot weather, paddling pools can be a saviour for ALL hot dogs. As well as keeping your dog cool, it will also soothe her hot, itchy, irritating skin. She could have a lot of fun in it too!

  2. I second Earl Lover's recommendation about special shampoos. Coatex, EpiSoothe and SeboMild are all good dog shampoos which would help cool and moisturise the skin.

    I don't know if you keep her clipped - if not, it might be her skin gets too humid if she has a thick coat. With one of my dogs who has a thick coat, using a coat stripping comb like a furminator to remove the dead hair once a week makes her a lot more comfortable.

    It's also important to keep on top of flea and worm treatments, as even if you do not see any fleas it might be that just one bite is enough to start your dog itching and hurting herself. I'm not sure what is available in Spain but it might be worth looking into something like the Comfortis tablet or Seresto flea collar.

    Have you spoken to your vet about giving steroid tablets instead? You might find that by giving a tablet every other day you can stop the scratching whilst still giving a lower dose of steroids than in the injection. Your dog would probably need a tablet every other day throughout the hot period to stop her itching, but by giving it every other day you give her immune system and adrenal glands a bit more opportunity to function normally.

    I'd like to add- yes, the cortisone injections can have side effects and alter how some of her systems function, but don't be too anxious that 'they are not good for her' - they are allowing her to have a good quality of life and be happy. Without them she would probably be miserable, with red-raw painful skin and a constant itch. My dog is on life-long steroids (one tablet every other day) for chronic bronchitis, but it means he is comfortable and not coughing all night long, so it does a good job and is the right thing for him!