Posted by: Lea | 2004/11/17

Eczema in dogs?

Dear CyberVet,

I have two JR's terriers - one male, one female. The female is almost a year and a half old, while the male is 10 months old.

The female is constantly biting and licking her paws. I understand that Jack Russells have a thing about clean paws, but her licking and biting is obsessive. She also "bites" her chest and legs - I almost looks as if she is "plucking" out the hairs. She now has bald patches on her chest. She sometimes also gets a red rash on her stomach and chest. Lately she also has a red rash around her anus which she also licks. The grass in our yard is short and the dogs don't have any ticks or fleas. The both get Pedigree pellets every day.

We have tried several things - prenine cream, Dermotab tablets, injections - nothing helps! The male doesn't have this problem at all, even though they have the same father.

I understand that the Dermotabs have cortisone in and that it's not a good idea to keep giving it to her every day. Can you please give me some advice? It breaks my heart to see her spending every waking moment licking and scratching.

Kind regards,


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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Lea
I am not a vet, but have found that a lot of these sorts of skin problems are psychosomatic, in other words related to anxiety. Is she a very highly strung dog?
Sometimes the scratching is reinforced by the owner paying attention to it, even if it is negative attention, so ignore it as much as possible. Try to distract her rather, by throwing her a chewy toy or interrupting the behaviour with a noise like her bowl rattling, but don't say anything or look at her.
I have also found that yoghurt or whey powder is very effective in curing this kind of thing. Give her a little plain yoghurt in her food every day and/or mix it with water and put it on the spots that are itchy once a day. The lactobacillus is a prebiotic that seems to balance out the body's good bacteria.
It may be worth trying her on a veterinary diet as some dogs are allergic to some kinds of dog food - ask your vet to recommend a good one for skin problems.
Daily firm but gentle brushing with a rubber mitt will also help to reduce anxiety and condition the skin. Make sure all her needs are met and that you are interacting with her correctly - if unsure get a behaviourist in to help.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: blaze | 2004/11/18

I have a pavement special small breed that was allergic to everything (sand, grass, hair etc etc). After spending thousands on vet bills, what I have found has worked for me is a cream call "Skin Calm" which is available at all chemists, I dont allow the dogs any tin food (I cook their food) and every night I give her omega 3 tablets (the human type). From having a dog that was covered in eczema, and really unhealthy looking, I have managed to keep the allergies at bay now for three years, and go through one tube of skin calm a year - especially this time of the year. Keep in mind however that Omega 3 is not an instant cure, and took me about 6 months of perserverance before I noticed a major difference.
While I was struggling to gain control of the situation I bought some newborn baby socks, put the cream on her feet, and then put the socks on - they only stayed on for about 20 minutes, but it was enough time for the cream to be absorbed.

Good luck - Hope you find something that works for your dogs

Reply to blaze
Posted by: Acineth | 2004/11/18

I've heard that people who put their dogs on the BARF (bones and raw food) diet solve this problem. Do a search on the net for details - it is a lot of work. You could also try changing the food you give her- its possible she is allergic to something in the brand she is currently on.

Reply to Acineth

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