My year-old Scottish Deerhound, Rawley, turned out to be a dog with allergies -- only my second dog so afflicted, ever. We've been struggling hard trying to deal with them.
And as regular readers will remember, two or three years ago my Borzoi, Kryie, had a severe drug resistant staph infection -- or series of infections -- that never resolved until we got her on thyroid supplementation. (Interestingly she never did test below normal on her thyroid panels, but that's a subject for another day.)
So when I saw a session on managing chronic resistant skin infections with special reference to dogs with atopic dermatitis (the form of allergy Rawley has), I couldn't stay away.
Board-certified veterinary dermatologist Dr. Valerie A. Fadok took us on a fast overview of the general topic of resistant skin infections in dogs, dug down into the various drug options in these resistant cases, and then presented her recommendation: ditch the drugs and bathe the dog.
I'm not quite sure what made me happier, being at a session where the recommendation was low-cost and low-tech rather than a Newer! Better! Costlier! product of Big Pharma, or being at a session where the pet owner was being given complete control of the therapy.
Dr. Fadok's presentation was part of a series sponsored by Pfizer (also one of our sponsors here at Pet Connection), and she did mention that she was a fan of the Pfizer injectable antibiotic Convenia -- just not, she said, for resistant staph infections, which are almost always resistant to this class of drugs (the cephalosporins).
In addition to her recommendation to bathe dogs daily to treat skin infections and reduce symptoms of atopy, including itching, she went over a number of shampoos, rinses and sprays she'd seen good results with -- both veterinary and over-the-counter products. These included:
Duoxo (her biggest thumbs-up)
Vetericyn VF spray
A number of chlorhexidine-based shampoos were also highly recommended -- I'll pull a complete list from the session CD when I get to a real computer.I can tell you they covered all price points.
Other important recommendations were to wash daily or, if that's truly impossible, to use one of the more effective topical products on the whole body every day that a bath is not given.
Leave the shampoo on for 10 minutes, and shampoo the dog from head to toe every time, using a sponge to get the area around the eyes.
It's pretty intensive, but it's cheap, almost any dog owner can do it, it stops contributing to the emergence of resistant staph, it's very safe, and it actually works better than the more expensive and riskier pharmaceutical alternatives.
I'm going to start daily baths with Rawley the minute I get home, and I'll keep you posted on how it goes!
One more note: She also talked about the use of desensitization for allergies, something else we're doing with Rawley. But, she said, not all dogs with chronic skin infections and itching have allergies. Some of them are sensitive to staph itself. I've heard about this before, and am going to be checking around to see what, if any, research has been done on the topic.
Now, time for lunch and then I'll be checking out some disgusting ear infection sessions -- my favorite!