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Thread: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

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    Default Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    We seem to have gotten Buttercup's allergies largely under control by changing her food but since the cold, dry winter rolled in she seems to have dry itchy skin. It's not red or raw but when I rub her itchy parts (face, hindquarter, back) to keep her from scratching, I notice fine flakes of skin fall.

    This got me wondering about whether any effective, natural ingredient-based doggie skin lotions exist. Ran across this compelling article that suggests repairing the skin barrier immune function in dogs with atopic dermatitis can effectively prevent and even sometimes treat yeast and bacterial skin infections.

    The article suggests using frequent chlorhexidine-based baths to remove bacteria, yeast, and allergens like pollen & mold followed by leave-on lipid/fatty acid solutions to repair the skin barrier. Similar approach works for humans with atopic dermatitis. Does anyone have any experience using this approach or these kinds of products?

    Anecdotally, after reading the article I plopped Buttercup in the tub and gave her a good rinse, wet washcloth rub-down, and another thorough rinse & rub with just warm water. She wasn't stinky or oily so I opted not to use her medicated wash. Since the bath she no longer seems itchy at all.

    I copied the article below in case the link doesn't work long-term. The article notes that the approach is labor-intensive, but it seems most of us here already devote quite a bit of time to caring for our bullies and we've got our bath process down pat so that the longest part is waiting for her medicated wash to sit for 10-minutes.



    ***

    The 'killer app' for canine itching and skin infections

    By Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate

    Published 4:00 am, Thursday, January 20, 2011



    The latest medical breakthrough for dogs with chronic skin allergies and infections is low-cost, safe and effective. It may even help solve one of the biggest health crises facing not just our pets but people, too, the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. What is this miracle of modern veterinary medicine? A bath.

    If you have a dog with itching, infected or irritated skin, you're not alone. Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation's largest pet health insurance provider, reports that skin conditions are the top three reasons dog owners head for the veterinarian's office.

    Treatment of chronic skin problems in dogs, especially itching, has never been easy, involving allergy desensitization shots, dangerous immune-suppressing steroids and powerful antibiotic and anti-fungal medications.
    But even with aggressive treatments like these, many dogs' symptoms can only be partially controlled.

    As if that wasn't bad enough, the antibiotics once relied on to clear up both human and animal infections are becoming increasingly less effective against "superbugs" like
    methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius
    (MRSP, formerly known as MRSI -- same bug, new acronym), which makes dogs miserable but almost never causes problems for people, and its well-known human counterpart, MRSA. The more frequently antibiotics are prescribed for infections, including canine skin infections, the more bacteria develop resistance to those drugs.



    This causes problems not just for dogs, but for all species including people, as those genes for drug resistance are passed from one bacterium to another and become widespread.

    Hang on, you might say. My dog doesn't have skin infections. He has allergies that make him itch all the time. Why should I care about bacteria, resistant or not?

    Although a dog can have a bacterial skin infection without having allergies, the reverse is not true. It turns out that dogs with skin allergies -- a condition called "atopic dermatitis" -- have a weakness in their skin's immune function, known as a "barrier defect."

    In normal dogs, the skin's barrier keeps water inside the body and substances like bacteria, yeast and pollens out. In dogs with a barrier defect, those substances "leak" into the deeper layers of the skin. Because the body perceives them as invaders, the immune system revs itself up to destroy them, bringing local inflammation to the area as part of the immune response.

    That inflammation causes the itching, redness and irritation we know as an allergic reaction. Most dogs react to the discomfort by chewing and scratching their skin, which further damages the barrier, allowing more bacteria and yeast to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, triggering more irritation, itching and inflammation.

    It gets worse: Dogs can eventually become allergic to the bacteria and yeast themselves, triggering an escalating cycle of infection, itching, chewing and licking that leaves the dogs hairless and in pain, and the owners broke from constant, often fruitless, visits to the veterinarian.

    Those skin infections have always been treated with antibiotics, and until a few years ago, that approach helped break the cycle by relieving pain, irritation, and infection, and even reducing itching by eliminating bacteria that were causing an allergic reaction in the dog. But today, more and more canine skin infections are caused by resistant strains of staph, against which the antibiotics that used to control them are powerless.

    The difficulty of treating dogs with skin disease in an age of drug-resistant infections drew more than 200 veterinarians to hear Dr. Valerie A. Fadok, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist speaking at this week's North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla.

    In a series of lectures, Fadok tackled the topics of canine atopic dermatitis, drug-resistant staph infections, and the dawning hope that therapies targeted at repairing the defective skin barrier might hold answers to these hard-to-treat conditions.

    Unlike many of the new developments typically announced at both human and veterinary medical conferences, Fadok's good news was a treatment that costs very little. These tough cases, she says, respond well to frequent bathing and the use of between-bath topical rinses and "leave-on" solutions that are thought to repair a dog's skin barrier

    "When we look at samples taken from a dog's skin under a microscope, we see all kinds of things," she said. "That includes molds, pollens, and bacteria."

    Frequent bathing washes these substances away, which in turn reduces the infection and allergic reactions, as well as the chewing and licking that can make the problem worse.

    Following up the baths with rinses and "leave-on" solutions containing ingredients designed to restore the skin's natural defenses can accelerate the healing process and, if continued, reduce or eliminate itching and future infections in dogs with atopic dermatitis.
    Dogs with atopic dermatitis whose bacterial infections are under control should be bathed once or twice a week, but for dogs with resistant staph skin infections, Fadok recommends daily bathing. Dog owners should use shampoos containing chlorhexidine, an antiseptic, followed by rinses and leave-on solutions with specific fatty acids thought to restore the skin's barrier function.

    In her Houston dermatology practice, Fadok used this treatment on 12 dogs with drug resistant staph infections. After four weeks, the animals were cured of their skin infections, without the use of antibiotics.

    "It's labor-intensive for the owners, and not all of them can do it," she said. "But it works."

    It's also better for the dog than drugs that not only have serious side effects but often don't even work anymore, she added.

    Want another reason to choose suds over drugs? Bathing your dog instead of giving him antibiotics for his allergies and skin infections can not only reduce the spread of more drug-resistant bacteria, it may also help already-resistant bacteria lose that resistance.

    If that's a little hard to understand, think about it this way: Bacteria acquire genes that help them resist antibiotics in order to keep themselves from dying when under attack from those bacteria. If the attack ends, the bacteria may gradually lose the bit of genetic material that protects them from that antibiotic. This can only happen, however, if you're not giving antibiotics to that dog.

    Many pet owners believe that bathing will dry out a dog's skin if he has atopy and/or resistant skin infections, making itching and infections worse.

    "That's a widespread misconception, and I wish it wasn't still out there," said board-certified veterinary dermatologist Dr. John Plant. "We know that bathing removes allergens and infectious agents (bacteria, yeast), and helps restore epidermal function in (atopic) humans. Can it do the same in dogs? It's a bit unclear, but I've observed it helps a lot with my atopic patients. Some can even be controlled that way alone."

    More research is needed, but what we know now suggests rinses and leave-on solutions do help restore the skin's barrier function in dogs.

    "Electron microscopy shows that the barrier looks better after they're used, even if we're not sure of the clinical benefit of long-term therapy," Plant said.

    That's not to say that bathing and rinsing will fix everything. Dogs may still need antibiotics for some infections, and anti-fungal drugs, too, are sometimes necessary.

    The most severely affected dogs may even continue to need drugs that suppress the immune system and put them at risk of serious side effects.

    But if you're one of the many unlucky dog owners struggling with skin allergies and infections in your pet, it may be time to give your dog a bath.

    Just be aware that one size does not fit all dogs when it comes to the products you use. Some contain different types of antiseptic, while others use various forms of fatty acids, or lipids. Some are sold only through veterinarians, and some are available over-the-counter. Since the issue of drug resistance is so critical, and the suffering of dogs with atopic dermatitis can be so severe, be sure to work with a veterinarian or, if possible, a veterinary dermatologist, when selecting the right product for your dog's individual needs.
    Last edited by minibull; 11-20-2014 at 07:38 PM. Reason: formatting

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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    good info.... you can also use fish or coconut oil in her food to help with the dry skin.
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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    good info.... you can also use fish or coconut oil in her food to help with the dry skin.
    We just started using coconut oil yesterday and she loves it! I am also going to get fish oil since its fatty acid composition differs from that of coconut oil. I pray she's not allergic to it (she was apparently allergic to salmon in kibble). But my goodness her skin is so dry it seems it won't be enough. How much coconut oil do you give? Buttercup is only 35 lbs so it seems her weight won't tolerate as many extra calories as the regular-sized bullies.

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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by minibull View Post
    We just started using coconut oil yesterday and she loves it! I am also going to get fish oil since its fatty acid composition differs from that of coconut oil. I pray she's not allergic to it (she was apparently allergic to salmon in kibble). But my goodness her skin is so dry it seems it won't be enough. How much coconut oil do you give? Buttercup is only 35 lbs so it seems her weight won't tolerate as many extra calories as the regular-sized bullies.
    Banks was allergic to salmon in kibble too, but was fine with fish pills so you may be fine... just watch for a reaction (pink face, itchy paws)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
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    e.

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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    Banks was allergic to salmon in kibble too, but was fine with fish pills so you may be fine... just watch for a reaction (pink face, itchy paws)
    We will try it and hope for the best. Usually they are allergic to proteins so theoretically the oil should be fine...right? Not sure if I should wait a month to see how the coconut oil affects her before starting a fish oil given her history of allergies.

    Update from my first post: Buttercup exhibited no signs of itchiness for about 4 hours after her rinse but then the itchiness returned with a terrible vengeance! Benadryl didn't seem to help much so I, feeling rather desperate, rubbed a tiny bit of coconut oil on her itchy parts. No more signs of itch for the rest of the night but this afternoon she was itchy again. Rubbed some more coconut oil on and right now she appears comfortable. Her skin isn't the least bit red or irritated-looking so I still think dry skin is the issue. Winter took all the humidity away from us!

    So I guess just rinsing allergens away is not enough if I don't do something to help keep her skin from drying out. The funny thing is a few days ago we noticed how thick and shiny her coat is compared to when her allergies were flared up. I really thought we were done with itchy-scratchies!

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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    have you tried Claratin or Zyrtec instead of benedryl?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
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    e.

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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    have you tried Claratin or Zyrtec instead of benedryl?
    Have not tried these but that's a great idea to try if Benadryl consistently does not work. Thanks! Benadryl helped very well when her allergies were flared up. She's been comfortable since I put a litle coconut oil on her skin and cleaned her tail pocket today so I'm crossing my fingers that she just needs some moisture. Until yesterday she hasn't needed Benadryl or other itch relief since we changed her food so I hope we can address the root cause of her itchiness and just keep the antihistamines as a backup!

    We're giving her coconut oil with each meal and finally gave in to adding a bunch of water to her kibble as she wasn't drinking anywhere near the minimum daily recommendation for her weight, even after squirt bottle supplementation. Our Lixit bottle is coming in the mail Monday so maybe that will increase her voluntary water consumption. I know kibble is better for her teeth, but she really never chewed it so I guess I need to get her used to regular toothbrushing! Right now she thinks the toothbrush is a chew toy.

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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by minibull View Post
    Have not tried these but that's a great idea to try if Benadryl consistently does not work. Thanks! Benadryl helped very well when her allergies were flared up. She's been comfortable since I put a litle coconut oil on her skin and cleaned her tail pocket today so I'm crossing my fingers that she just needs some moisture. Until yesterday she hasn't needed Benadryl or other itch relief since we changed her food so I hope we can address the root cause of her itchiness and just keep the antihistamines as a backup!

    We're giving her coconut oil with each meal and finally gave in to adding a bunch of water to her kibble as she wasn't drinking anywhere near the minimum daily recommendation for her weight, even after squirt bottle supplementation. Our Lixit bottle is coming in the mail Monday so maybe that will increase her voluntary water consumption. I know kibble is better for her teeth, but she really never chewed it so I guess I need to get her used to regular toothbrushing! Right now she thinks the toothbrush is a chew toy.
    get her some antlers to help with keeping the teeth clean too... that is what I did with banks as she was not a chewer either ... everything was just inhaled.

    here is a cute video of what Banks thought of the tooth brush (bad momma)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2-...9M_dffxRtgIJSg
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    There is a part of your heart not alive until a bulldog has entered your lif
    e.

    Nitschke (2004-2011) and Banks (2005-2014) -- My angels
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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    get her some antlers to help with keeping the teeth clean too... that is what I did with banks as she was not a chewer either ... everything was just inhaled.

    here is a cute video of what Banks thought of the tooth brush (bad momma)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2-...9M_dffxRtgIJSg
    I will get some antlers, thank you! Wasn't sure if they were ok for bulldogs as so many other treats and toys seem off-limits and I forgot to look it up later! She will love them if her response to the toothbrush is any indication.

    The video of Banks is heart-meltingly adorable. If I didn't know she is gone I would still want to scoop her up and give her a giant snuggle hug. I can only imagine how much you must miss your precious girl. She reminds me so much of Buttercup both in looks and behavior (except Buttercup wedges her butt under the bed as Papa won't let her up on our bed ). Her hiding behind the pillows for safety is priceless!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by minibull View Post
    I will get some antlers, thank you! Wasn't sure if they were ok for bulldogs as so many other treats and toys seem off-limits and I forgot to look it up later! She will love them if her response to the toothbrush is any indication.

    The video of Banks is heart-meltingly adorable. If I didn't know she is gone I would still want to scoop her up and give her a giant snuggle hug. I can only imagine how much you must miss your precious girl. She reminds me so much of Buttercup both in looks and behavior (except Buttercup wedges her butt under the bed as Papa won't let her up on our bed ). Her hiding behind the pillows for safety is priceless!
    solid antlers are best, expensive but well worth every penny as they last a long time. I do not use the split antlers, they are cheaper, but I am more comfortable with the solid.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    There is a part of your heart not alive until a bulldog has entered your lif
    e.

    Nitschke (2004-2011) and Banks (2005-2014) -- My angels
    Thank you for all the love, fun and teachings




  11. #11
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    Default Re: Help skin allergies and infections with "Leave-on" solutions to repair a dog's skin barrier?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    solid antlers are best, expensive but well worth every penny as they last a long time. I do not use the split antlers, they are cheaper, but I am more comfortable with the solid.
    Thanks for clarifying. I am not the least bit familiar with antlers and their subtypes! When I was a kid my former stepdad pretty much just let our dogs coast. They got cheap food from Costco, Milkbones from Costco, and people food from me. Neither ever had any acute illness, but I feel guilty now that we didn't care for them more lovingly. I loved them dearly and treated their flea problems, but as a teenager before the internet age I didn't know I could have been doing more. What a different world we've entered with Buttercup -- we give her the best of everything to the best of our abilities, although sometimes it feels like it isn't enough.

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