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Thread: Rusty Has Skin Condition :(

  1. #1

    Default Rusty Has Skin Condition :(

    Hi there everyone,

    you might remember the cute pics I posted when I got my two rescue pups a few weeks back.

    Here they are back then - Rusty is on the left.

    Rusty has been on antihistamines for a couple of weeks now, as he had a few itchy spots under his armpits and on his tummy. I also have some antibacterial cream with lignocaine to apply.

    The vet has done two skin scrapings - once each time we have been to get a check up. The second visit, last Thursday, he also prescribed antibiotics and bathing Rusty in Pyohex.

    With the weather being so rotten, I only did a full bath today with the Pyohex. Antihistamines and antibiotics being given. I've been giving him antihistamines during the day, as the nightly dose has not been lasting him and he has been getting worse. He has been scratching his tummy along grass and after the Pyohex bath this afternoon, he came up in big hives all over his stomach and chest, some of them containing pus. He is losing hair on his legs, elbows, knees and ears. He is really miserable unless the antihistamine is working.

    We're off to the vet in half an hour - again!

    The vet also said no dry food (even though he's been getting the same biscuits he had before we had him (SD). He said lamb and chicken wings, which we have done since last Thursday, but it hasn't helped so far. (vet though it might be dry food or a preservative in the roo I feed them - my beef mince has no preservative and is HG).

    I am feeling pretty sorry for the poor bugger - his sister has no such trouble and I feel overwhelmed with trying to identify what he is reacting to. His tummy looks absolutely awful.

    To make matters more stressful, I am running out of money for vet bills - as a recent single parent, every dollar counts. I have already been lucky enough to pay the bills in installments, but how long will this go on?

    My latest thought is to put him in a tight fitting cotton baby t-shirt or short legged jumpsuit, in case it is a contact allergy with grass.

    Does anyone have any advice to offer? Or a stiff drink..... (the poor blinking pup could do with something to help him sleep, too).



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Near Newcastle, NSW


    I had a very allergic dog. I talked to my vet a lot about this.

    From what I was allergies are not all that common in is more likely it is a contact/atopic allergy if it is his tummy...armpits...chest. It could be anything. My Sumo was allergic to agapanthus and they are not even on the plants to look out for.

    Hydrangeas...wandering dew...buffalo grass etc etc. Have a look on the net for a list of plant that can give allergic reactions in a dog and go out and investigate your yard.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Im sure you've talked to your vet about this, but there are 5 'forms' of allergies. Bacterial, flea, food, contact and inhalent.
    You would know if he has fleas, so you can rule that out.
    Food allergies develop in a dog, usually to a food they have eated for a long time, IMO I would rule that out.
    Bacteria allergies(staphylococcus aureus, you might know it 'golden staph'). The bacteria is only harmful if it enters the body as in, during an operation, so maybe he has been desexed recently? This one is possible.
    Contavt allergies are the least common as far as I know and is obtained by direct, well, contact. Certain materials and stuff like that. Also possible.
    Inhalent allergies are the most common, pollen, mold, etc. Also possible.

    All this is, is the theory of my vet nurse work, I don't have any 'hands on' experience with it like Dorte(Clea), I just thought it might help you out a bit.
    Education not Legislation

  4. #4


    Thanks guys,

    last night the vet gave Rusty an injection which brought down the worst of the hives, thank goodness. More skin scrapings, which again show nothing. He is still chewing and itching, despite the vet saying don't give him his antihistamine tablet as the injection will last for 24 hours.

    He has asked us to come in this morning to give Rusty an ivermectin injection and then they have to keep him over a few hours for observation in case he has a reaction to the ivermectin shot.

    I am running up an account, in order to pay for this - which I don't mind at all, if he is going to get better, but I hope they don't get jack of the arrangment, or I'll have to give him back to them (they are the ones who originally rescued him and the other puppies and treated them. All the puppies had mange/scabies and fleas and ticks and everything like that, but they are supposed to be negative for all that and the other four pups are still okay. ) Maybe I just have the senstive petal of the litter, lol.

    Thanks for the info re types of allergies. I agree that it seems umlikely to be food allergy. I reckon it's a contact allergy, maybe to grass, dust or something like that.

    Could be any number of things in the yard - I don't have any of the obvious ones, but will definately look up online and reassess.

    Thanks again for the advice.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Near Newcastle, NSW


    I sincerely hope they find out what is is devastating watching your dog breaking out in hives all the time...itching and scratching themselves to blood

  6. #6


    Thanks Cleasanta,

    it IS frustrating to watch a dog make a mess of itself through scratching.

    Rusty had an ivermectin injection under veterinary observation yesterday.

    He still seemed pretty itchy, so I gave him an antihistamine last night and another this morning.

    I stayed up researching online last night and this is the conclusion I came to.

    I think he has sarcoptic mange and is having a severe allergic reaction to the toxins from the mites. Even though he has been treated with Advocate, only he and his sister have, since I already had seperate products I was using for worming and heartworm for the other three dogs and I don't treat routinely for fleas in winter and we aren't in tick territory or going to any during winter.

    I read that sarcoptic mange mites (canine scabies) can survive off the host for 2-6 days in a warm house and 22 days in cool, moist conditions. Therefore, it is possible that he was being reinfected via either his bedding, other dogs' bedding or the other dogs themselves. Because dogs with a healthy immune system can be asymptomatic with a low number of these mites, they can be enough to transfer the mites back to a more susceptible dog. Rusty has given himself a secondary bacterial skin infection (he is on oral and topical antibiotics for this), therefore increasing his immune reaction and skin irritation. Another clue is that a couple of weeks ago, our dane x got what the vet thought was allergic dermatitis between the toes of one foot. It was intensely itchy and required bandaging and antibiotic treatment for a secondary bacterial skin infection...... some mange mites affect only the dogs' feet........

    The pattern for sarcoptic mange fits his and so do the nature of the red pustules, which then get pus in them. The other, different lumps and skin trauma are the secondary bacterial infection from scratching. The pattern for demodectic mange is different and sarcoptic mange is the one that is more likely to become obvious and cause intense itching that increases with re-exposure. Because all the pups had a huge infestation at birth (it's transferred from the mother) and when rescued, they were correctly diagnosed and showed positive skin scrapings. But according to several sources, only 20% of skin scrapings show mites in sarcoptic mange and in the absence of this but with the key symtoms, treatment should proceed as though the diagnosis was positive. Also, due to the false negatives with skin scrapings, sarcoptic mange is often misdiagnosed as a contact allergy. Because the common treatment for this is antihistamines, the symptoms disappear, but return even worse when the antihistamine treatment is withdrawn, which is exactly what happened to Rusty.

    Treatment should continue for a minimum of four weeks to outlast the mite life cycle.

    Some dips can be succesful but highly toxic and used with care and ivermectin injections and oral dosage can be fatal to the herding breeds, collies and shetland sheepdogs at the standard dosage rate.

    So........ I have looked up what kills the mites in the environment (permethrin, hot water and bleach,household flea treatments, Benzarid) and treated everything, all the crate bedding, lounge covers, car seats, etc. I have given all five dogs the suitable dose of Advocate.

    Sarcoptic mange in dogs is zoonotic, but tends to be self-limiting in humans and goes when the dogs are treated. Cats can also get it, but as all the chemical treatments listed for dogs are risky and/or dangerous to cats, I think I'll have to hope that the mites didn't really like him.

    A healthy diet and good immune system are main long-term preventatives for canine scabies. Specifically, Omega-3's for skin health. They will all be getting fish oil now.

    That's what my theory is - I don't think it is a contact allergy or a reaction to dry food or preservatives, although I have stopped the roo meat as it has a preservative in it.

    Also, canine scabies can be found in any area where lots of dogs gather, such as dog parks and although it is most likely to be spread via direct contact with an infested dog, it can be picked up from the environment where an infested animal has been. It is also carried and spread by foxes.

    Stay tuned to see if my theory and plan work. Rusty has another injection of ivermectin next week and I'll be interested to hear what the vet thinks.

    Thankfully, because they are the people I got Rusty from, they are not charging me heaps for the treatment and I can pay it a bit at a time. The advocate alone cost me over $100 for five dogs today. Maybe I should look into pet insurance?



  7. #7


    That was a good read Chisa.
    It is hard to pin point allergies.
    Anyway don't know if you have tried calendula tea? It may help with the itching and sooth the skin.

  8. #8


    do you mean sarcoptic mange or demodex mites... having recently experienced both with rescues... sarcoptic is treated with an external squeeze of liquid (can't remember the name of it now) on the neck once a week for a month... and demodex is the one that can heal on its own if the dog has localised not generalised... the ivermection orally is used to treat demodex, but I was giving it daily for 12 weeks.... both dogs recovered pretty quickly... hope your pup recovers quickly too...

  9. #9


    Thx Molly for the suggestion of Calendula.

    Kimbastaff - Yes, it's Sarcoptic. Demodex has a different pattern of distribution and as you say, it is more likely to resolve on it's own, whereas Sarcoptic is often characterised by intense itching, with the reaction worsening with repeated exposure to the mites and associated toxins. This is compounded by secondary bacterial infections and skin trauma.

    The only topical treatment I am aware of for Sarcoptic and Demodex that is a liquid is Advocate, which does worms, heartworms and fleas/ticks. It is applied on the back of the neck. Pretty potent and smells vile. I continued using that for the pups when I got them, as that was what they were already on. It's a monthly dose. I only used Advocate for the pups and carried on with my usual products for the other dogs. I've now treated the other dogs with it as well. I think treating the bedding after I realised the mite can survive in the environment is important - I think this plus the mites getting onto the other dogs allowed a re-infestation with Rusty. As you say, oral Ivermectin is usually the treatment of choice for Sarcoptic and Demodex, but can be given via injection under direct veterinary care in some breeds and that is what we are going for with Rusty. Ivermectin treatments need to be done over a period of weeks. These mites are so insidious - we bred and raised guinea pigs for many years - they have their own type of sarcoptic mite and we learned the hard way that some animals could be carriers but asymptomatic and needed to be kept seperate. We also treated them with oral ivermectin - in our experience, it's the only thing that works on this sort of mite. It's creepy to think they are actually part of the arachnid family and horrible that they wreak havoc on the host's body - they actual burrow lines of long tunnels under the skin as they travel around looking for more nourishment, ughh!

    Thankfully, Rusty is doing well - still continuing with the oral antihistamines and antibiotics as he has residual itchiness and secondary bacterial skin infection, but he is a lot more comfortable and his skin is actually calming down and looking normal again - yay!

    Thanks for the support and suggestions guys, it really helps,


  10. #10


    Hi all,

    thought I'd add an update on Rusty the itchy one.

    Having thoroughly explored the treatment for mange mites (sarcoptic), Rusty has gone backwards and we now have to look for other possibilities which might be causing his severe itching and hair loss.

    Believe it or not, the vet actually came to my place yesterday to check out our yard, as he is a dab hand at plant i.d.

    He reckons there are plenty of 'harmless' plants in our backyard that could have triggered an initial reaction in Rusty and then his body has gone into overdrive. Because the puppies were so malnourished and full of parasites and wounds when the vet rescued them (they were dumped in the bush with their Mum at birth), Rusty may have some immunity to catch up on. His immune system obviously took the worst knock out of the five pups. ( I have his sister - she is fine, as are the other three pups who have found their forever homes too).

    Sooo..... the latest plan is that he will have to go back on anitbiotics, special baths and oral corticosteroids. He had his first prednisone tab last night and had a whole night free of itching.

    I'll be cutting back as much vegetation as I can and fencing off anything that the vet thought was a problem - he identified a low bottlebrush, spiky twigs on the mint and the 'fur' on some other weeds and plants in the garden. No obvious stuff like wandering dew, paspallum, etc.

    Corticosteroids are not great for dogs to be on, especially at a young age, so hopefully it won't be a longterm thing and Rusty's immune system will get stronger with time. The vet has already warned me that some of the side effects are increased hunger, so not to feed him more, as dogs can get quite overweight on them. It apparently can shorten the dog's overall lifespan when taken longterm.

    He is getting fish and garlic oil and probiotic yoghurt in his food, for his immune system and I am now going to add tissue salts for his skin and use calendula cream topically. I'll also look into safe herbs he can have added to his food, to help his skin and immune system.

    The vet and vet nurse have been amazingly generous with their time and patient with me paying, as my finances aren't great right now. They won't hear of me giving Rusty up, they are convinced that he won't find a better home than with me and the kids (and other four mutts).

    As I type, he is snoozing on the opposite lounge, not a care in the world. Fingers crossed we will get the itching sorted.


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