DEAR DR.FOX: Our dog is a rescue from a county shelter. We got him when he was 7 months old, and he has just turned 3 years old. He is a wonderful pet but is very anxious. We believe him to be a combination of dachshund, beagle and other breeds. He is short-haired and 52 pounds.
He has had a constant rash under his front arms and in his groin. This would get very red -- like a severe irritation. He has also had this on the tops of his paws and around his paw pads.
We have a fine vet who has been very attentive to him and his needs. We are using the Cytopoint injections every two months, and a Neo-Predef powder 15g once a day in the evenings. These have worked well on the underarms and groin. Because he would lick it off, we have not used the powder on his paws.
I have two questions: Are the Cytopoint injections safe to use long-term, and is the Neo-Predef powder safe to use once a day long-term?
His paws and around his paw pads concern me all the time. I simply do not know what to do to help those areas. We want him to be well and healthy, and we don’t want him to have any side effects from the use of current medicines. -- B.M., Tampa, Florida
DEAR B.M.: Skin problems are common in dogs and can have multiple causes. Some are related to endocrine and immune system disorders and call for a veterinary dermatologist's or other specialist's determination. Brachycephalic dogs like pugs and French bulldogs with skin folds around their faces and elsewhere are especially prone to chronic skin diseases.
Your dog must be very thoroughly skin-tested (scraping and culture) for parasitic “red” mange or a fungal or bacterial infection. Another possibility to look into after your vet rules these out is a food allergy. For starters, I would transition your dog onto the home-prepared diet posted on my website (drfoxonehealth.com). Alternatively, add a few drops of fish oil or one canned sardine (in water) daily to your dog's regular food, plus 1 teaspoon of Bragg's Nutritional Yeast Flakes and a good-quality probiotic that your veterinarian should supply -- or get one for humans and give daily with food.
Supplementing cautiously with zinc, under veterinary supervision, may be down the line, but do avoid drugs that suppress symptoms but do not eradicate causes, like Cytopoint and Apoquel, especially long-term. These can have iatrogenic consequences, especially suppression of the immune system. The Zoetis Neo-Predef powder cocktail of antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic will not help if your dog has mange or just one flea and is allergic to flea bites. You must get rid of the fleas! For details, check my website.
There could be an inhaled or contact allergy in outdoor vegetation and indoor materials -- even a wool blanket or especially dust mites. So put on a protective coat outdoors and keep out of long grasses; and indoors, put clean cotton sheets where the dog lies (detergent- and fragrance-free). A spritz of eucalyptus lemon to repel insects outdoors may be indicated, and in some instances like yours, oral antihistamines can help. In severe cases with scratching self-mutilation, sedation and restraining cone collars are called for. Since so many waters are polluted, if your dog goes into a lake or stream, hose him off when you get home and dry well.
ANTIBIOTIC USE IN FARMED ANIMALS -- CONTINUING PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE
Annual sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials in the U.S. for use in food animals declined in 2016 and 2017 before leveling off, according to an FDA report, and 65.3% of medically important antibiotics sold in 2019 were for animal use, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy. Meanwhile, the use of antimicrobials in the E.U. agriculture sector has declined by 43% between 2011 and 2020, according to the European Medicines Agency, and prophylactic use of antibiotics in livestock will be banned next year. (Full story: Wired, 12/14/2021.) It's high time for America to follow suit and not put profits before public health and bioethics!
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)