The Story of Itchy Mac

Mac has been a big challenge to his owners and to our vet Janet.

Mac is a 12 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier type who came from a rescue centre with skin problems. He scratched constantly and, as you can see from the picture, his skin was covered in raw inflamed lumps. He was miserable.

To investigate skin problems, especially if they are chronic, there needs to be a logical approach” says our dermatology vet Janet.

 

The first thing to consider is always parasites.

Parasite control is crucial in skin problems and it is important to remember there are now many new parasite treatments available. We took samples of coat brushings, hair plucks and skin scrapes from Mac for analysis, but there were no parasites seen in his case.

 

The second thing to look for is infection – Zits itch!

Mac was very itchy and was rubbing, scratching, licking and chewing, which was damaging his skin and allowing bacteria to multiply. His constant licking was creating moist, soggy bits, allowing yeast infection to flourish and in turn creating more itch.

 

Treatment for infection

There are many good shampoos to treat surface bacteria and yeasts, but for chronic skin problems antibiotics are also needed for 4-8 weeks.

Mac needed lots of baths and lots of antibiotics, but he was starting to improve. To get to this stage takes weeks and owners often start to lose faith.

Mac was getting back to more normal skin, but he was itching again. There was something else underlying the skin problems, so the next thing we looked at was allergies. Although allergies are common, diagnosis involves ruling out everything else first.

 

Treatment for allergy

There are various treatments for allergies, including anti-inflammatories, medicines that modify the immune system and new medicines that control the itch at the nerve endings.

 

At the bottom of all Mac’s itchy skin problem was an allergy and although his skin condition has not been cured, it is now under control enough that he is comfortable and happy.

Mac is certainly a lucky dog to have an owner who is prepared to put in a lot of time and effort - just look at the difference!