Pruritis ( itching) can be due a to a number of reasons :
infection from bacterial, fungal, parasites
OR allergic to parasite saliva (FAD) , contact, plants , inhalant pollens or food ( beef etc)
OR a combination of many of the above ie allergy with 2nd bacterial infection!
Considering this, it is often not possible to identify the cause at the initial consultation.
1. The plan initially is to assess the severity of itching, gathering a background of history +/- some initially tests, and to ideally start a step by step approach to narrow down the possible causes.
a) Rule out fleas/parasites with reg flea tx.
b) Start antibiotics to rule out contributing bacterial infection.
c) Use Malaseb shampoo twice weekly to alleviate itching by removing scale and help treat infection of bacteria and yeasts.
d) If food allergy is suspected, by ear infections and minimal body rashes , then a hypoallergenic diet may be started.
e) consider any plants that may irritating esp ‘rash that itches’ on feet and legs. Wandering dew is a common one. These are often a certain time of year rather than year-round.
f) other lesions ie hairloss, may warrant additional blood tests eg hormonal hypothyroidism.
2. Revisit to assess response to antibiotics.
a) If dog is still itchy then an allergy to food or plant is suspected. If no obvious lesions then Start a 3month trial of hypoallergenic food.
b) consider isolating the animal from certain areas where plant may be – ie avoid bush and stay on streets when walking.
c) keep up flea tx.
d) consider use of Apoquel , or steriods but warning these may prevent being able to procede to intra -dermal allergy tests or biopsy for 4-6 weeks post steriods.