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Skin Allergies in Female Cairn and Treatment


gd4
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Hello,

I always benefit from the advice and information shared by the seasoned folks on this board. My female Cairn terrier, who is 7 years old recently began pulling her hair out on her rump. What started as one or two spots quickly grew larger and she eventually developed black pigmentation in several areas of hair loss due to the irritation. I took her to the vet last Saturday and she performed several skin scrapes to determine if mites were present. None were found. She was put on prednisone for five days, and then to taper off beginning today to every other day for five days. An antibiotic was also given for 10 days or more. We have a follow-up visit in three weeks. I was very reluctant to put her on meds but felt we did not have an option. The cause for her flare up was not discovered. I am not sure why this happened; however, she was on weekend therapy of simplicef (antibiotic) for a long time, then we took her off about six months ago, when she seemed to be doing much better (as our new vet suggested that it was not good to keep her on the antibiotic for long periods due to resistance issues). For the last six or more months, she has taken a Fosters and Smith bone supplement mix for her ACL injury, and did take Rimadyl for a while on varied small doses. She was doing much better so we have not administered Rimadyl for a month or longer. She is eating the same food which is Solid Gold (Hydrefluken (?) dry) with a small amount of Wellness wet mixed in. She also gets a spoonful of safflower oil daily. The only thing that I can possibly think of is that she likes to go in the pool. She jumps in and swims very briefly and jumps out and rubs all over the deck, grass, chairs! She did this last year but maybe it didn't create issues or reactions because I still had her on the Simplicef, don't know? I asked the vet and she said that she could still go in the pool. We were also told to bathe her every 7 days for now, first with a diluted mix of Dawn detergent (to tackle the greasy hair) and then a Bio medicated shampoo that is to be constantly massaged in her skin for 10 minutes.

I am truly concerned. It has been 5 days and she is not scratching or pulling excessively that I can tell, but she does look terrible with her hair loss and irritation. I can tell that she is not her normal self. Possibly, the antibiotics and prednisone is making her feel tired. I am incredibly sad and hope this will improve. She is a beautiful dog and such a joy to be around. Any advice or suggestions, stories, I truly appreciate. Many thanks for listening (reading). :crybaby: Gina

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Sorry to hear that your girl is having issues. What's her name, by the way?

Others on the board have more experience with skin allergies than I do, but I had one question: You referred to washing her "greasy" hair. Is her hair normally like this or is the greasiness from a topical ointment? Under normal circumstances it would be very unusual for a Cairn to have greasy hair. I'd also think that Dawn detergent would be horrible for a Cairn's coat and skin - seems much too harsh, especially for a breed that normally doesn't need to be bathed unless it's absolutely necessary. Brushing and stripping is generally enough to keep their coats odor-free and in good condition.

Just my thoughts.

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Trinity (like the girl from the Matrix who climbed walls, lol) is not using any type of topical ointments. The vet actually suggested that we bathe her like this to treat this specific issue. We had her groomed on Saturday after her vet visit and they bathed her the same. I know it sounds awful to me, as well. Her hair gets "greasy" when she has this problem on top of her back. And, there are little crusty pimples/bumps that you can feel. I am just so worried about her. Thank you!

Edited by gd4
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One of the first things I always ask when I Cairn owner posts about skin issues is 'how are you grooming her'?

I know that dead coat can trap bacteria in the hair folical and stripping it helps open the hair folical. and undercoat needing to be stripped casues itchy dogs.

Edited by Tracy A.
Tracy, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins
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Hi Tracy,

We are grooming her the same way that we have since pup. We take her and our male pup to the groomers and I believe that they clip her (not strip). I do know that the stripping method is better but difficult for us to find someone to do. I do have a special metal tool/comb that I run across her that is supposed to help mimic similar process, though.

Thanks!

Gina

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I can only speak from previous experience on my Westie. She had skin issues as you describe - loss of hair - blackened skin beneath and a faint yeasty odor. After many visits to a vet and trying out different food to determine if this may be what is causing this issue, we came up against a brick wall. Finally, I took the bull by the horns and found a dermatologist vet in another state. They immediately took a blood test and sent it off. A few days later, the results came back to find she was allergic to the environment. We were given medicated shampoo which we were to use every two days (to rid the yeast) - medication for her ears and eyes (as they were affected with the yeast as well) - and various other medication to be given to her orally. It was a very long haul - over two years - trying to get it under control. It would clear up for a while then break out again. I don't mean to alarm you, as your situation could be completed different. I would suggest you call your vet and see if they can do blood work to determine what she may be allergic to. Should they not have this capability, find a dermatologist. Once the problem is determined, you can then get her the treatment she needs for whatever is ailing her. I have a girlfriend with a Westie who also has this problem and she has gone the homeopathy route and finds that to be a true work of art in her dogs case. Either road you choose to take, the first step is finding out what is causing the problem. Good luck with whatever you choose.

  • Like 1

Husband and dog missing ...25 cents reward for dog

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Yes, indeed. This situation sounds quite similar to your Westie's issue. I will definitely be mindful. I so hope it clears,if not, there will be a dermatologist visit in the near future for us! Thank you.

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Sorry to hear that Trinity is suffering from skin problems. Pindrop gave great advice on seeing a dermatologist. I think blood work will help determine what Trinity is allergic to as well as give you assistance on how to treat her. Good Luck!

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I agree with the idea of seeing a dermatologist. Nothing against your vet or groomer but some vets (and many groomers) don't have a lot of experience with Cairns. That's why groomers will tell you that it's fine to have a Cairn clipped over and over again when, in fact, it makes their coats soft and less weatherproof and can lead to skin problems. Clipping doesn't get rid of the dead coat; it only makes it shorter. Only stripping will remove the dead coat and it's not that difficult if you have the right tools and a little patience. There is a lot of information on this forum covering the subject.

But back to vets: I've had many different vets over the past (too many :whistle: ) years and I've found that not all of them have the same range of knowledge and experience. Some vets may never see a Cairn for years; hence, they aren't as familiar with diseases/problems common to the breed as they may be with, for example, Labs or German Shepherds. A good vet will admit this and will confer with colleagues, do his/her own research or refer you to a specialist. The treatment your vet advised may be perfectly OK but if you feel that Trinity is miserable and the cause of the problem is still undetermined, I'd take her to a dermatologist.

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Sure hope you get an idea of what's going on with Trinity! Hair loss & skin reactions can be so tricky sometimes. My Pom had some kind of allergy to grass in spring/early summer that only affected 1 leg. It started when she was about 8: she lived in the same house for 13 years, walked in the same grass the whole time. The vet always prescibed an antihistamine & cortisone cream that never worked. The only thing that she responded to was an organic tea tree shampoo. But the little bumps & "greasiness" you describe sounds suspiciously like eczema. May seem off-subject & odd but I had what turned out to be atopic eczema for years that would start in Sept. & last till spring. Different spot each year & severity varied. It looked like small bumps, which would "weep", itch & spread. Ugh. Finally went to a dermatologist who told me it was a fall pollen allergy. He told me that some had respiratory reactions, some had dermal. He knew what it was just by looking at it. He recommended very mild cleanser's & mild moisturizers. I've never had another problem. I know that dogs can develop the same kind of eczema so maybe the vet could tell you if that's a possibility. If it is, Trinity would feel miserable because it burns like crazy. Like pindrop says- a vet dermatologist visit would be the answer if the problem doesn't go away quickly. Keep us updated on how your poor little girl is doing!

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Don't know if you are supplementing food but a good omega 3 (fish Oil) really helps.

cairn terriers leave pawprints on our lives
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Again, thank you both for your feedback. Eczema certainly comes to mind. Also, Trini does not like anything fishy so fish oil is out...but, we are using safflower oil instead on her food daily which appeared to be helping her coat prior to this incident. It is tough to get the fish oil down her, lol! I could try the treats that I purchased with the same ingredients. Gina

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Again, thank you both for your feedback. Eczema certainly comes to mind. Also, Trini does not like anything fishy so fish oil is out...but, we are using safflower oil instead on her food daily which appeared to be helping her coat prior to this incident. It is tough to get the fish oil down her, lol! I could try the treats that I purchased with the same ingredients. Gina

If you get the gel caps, just stuff the pill in a 1.5" pieice of turkey hotdog, you'll get it down her...

Tracy, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins
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I have a Cairn and a Lab with allergies, and I highly recommend having Trinity evaluated by a veterinary dermatologist. Our dermatologist helped a lot. Both of my dogs were prescribed (at least) weekly baths with medicated shampoo, Fish Oil, and Atopica (an immune-supressant drug). The Atopica was remarkably effective, but is very expensive and there is no generic available. We continued the Atopica on a tapered dose for almost two years. My Lab had previously been treated with allergy shots for one year and they were totally uneffective for her. Currently, both dogs are off all medication and (knock wood) they are doing well. Hope you can get some answers for Trinity soon!

By the way, love the name Trinity! :)

Edited by BetsyNoodle
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Fudgie is just now starting to go through this. In the last two days the red itchy bumps have appeared. The past few years it had always started in late spring. I'm glad its a little later this year. She is on Atopica and has been for a few years. Guess I will give it to her every two days instead of three for awhile. It has helped a lot. We went through all of the allergy testing and found out that she is allergic to flea saliva among other things. Did the shots for about two years and they did not help her any. That is when we started the Atopica. It hasn't completely fixed the problem but has made a huge difference.

I personally think chiggers play into it too. But I sure don't know how to get rid of them! Hard to take a Cairn on a walk and not let them run and wiggle in the grass!

Good luck to you and your baby in finding relief!

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Thanks to all who continue to respond and share your stories. I really appreciate the tips! Trinity is almost finished with her prednisone (ends 7/16) is now down to every other day dosage. The antibiotic will be taken for a while longer. She seems to be doing better but I did notice some slight reaction for what I believe to be the meds (appetite increase, drinking more water). I gave her the medicated bath shampoo with the pre-treatment of Dawn in diluted in warm water (as suggested by Vet); however, I did not like the results that it produced. It seems to me that it strips ALL of the natural oils and made her itchy for a while later. Maybe, I will skip the Dawn and just use the medicated bath shampoo next time. I was told to do this every 7 days...until the vet visit on 7/23. She has hair growing back in the hot spots. And, the black appears to be fading...I sure hope she will not react again once the meds stop ... thank you all!

Gina

Edited by gd4
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  • 2 weeks later...

You must go to the vet to have a check but I suggest you buy oatmeal soap and use it when you're going to bathe your dog. Oatmeal soap is great in regenerating loss hair and lessening allergies.

Money will buy a fine cairn terrier dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.

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Hello all,

Thanks so much for your continued support. Just checking in with an update. It has now been 3 weeks. She finished her regimen of prednisone and antibiotics. Her hair is growing back and for now, she has stopped itching. After her vet check-up yesterday, we were told to continue with the medicated baths weekly and keep her on a dose of Benadryl twice daily (1/2 pill, 25 mg) until fall. She also gets safflower oil in her food. I am keeping my fingers crossed! Gina

Edited by gd4
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  • 7 years later...

Medicated shampoo a few times a week,helps for yeast bloom and itching. We use Dechra Miconahex + Triz Shampoo bought from Amazon. more expensive when bought from vet. also Dermazole which we bought from Vet. Works great! as far a greasy back,our angus has always had a greasy back. Somehow I think hormones cause this. good luck.

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On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2011 at 12:22 PM, gd4 said:

The only thing that I can possibly think of is that she likes to go in the pool. She jumps in and swims very briefly and jumps out and rubs all over the deck, grass, chairs! She did this last year but maybe it didn't create issues or reactions because I still had her on the Simplicef, don't know? I asked the vet and she said that she could still go in the pool. 

Sorry to hear about the dog's skin issues, and I know how it troubles you.  I have no real advice, except to say I m surprised the vet says she can continue to go in the pool.  Is the pool chlorinated?

I have been a swimmer most of my life -- the ocean, lakes, pools.  This past Summer, however, I developed an allergy to chlorine.  I thought I was nuts, at first, when I started itching, and then a rash developed, and then welts and bumps.  It was miserable.  After it was diagnosed, I found I could use a homemade wax-based lotion, prior to swimming, or rub Vaseline on my skin prior to swimming.  It keeps the chlorine from my skin.

I wonder if you could find something to provide such a barrier for your Cairn.  Or, keep her out of the pool for awhile, just to see if it, too, helps in addition to everything you are doing.

My first Cairn developed an issue with yeast, and once he was bathed in a prescription shampoo from the vet, several times, ate grain-free kibble and treats, it improved significantly, and with time, he never developed it again. If he even began to smell 'funky,' which was the first thing I had noticed, I could spray him with a solution of original, gold Listerine and water, and it helped, too.  That tip came from a Cairn group.

I hope it improves. It does sound like you are tackling the problem from every angle.  I would, still, keep her out of the pool if you can.

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