Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yellow Labrador Retriever with very itchy paws

This e-mail was sent into the All About Labradors blog from Charles (USA). His yellow Labrador Retriever has a problem with her paws being very itchy.

Readers E-mail - Charles Writes:


We have a Yellow Lab she is about 5 years old, over the last couple of years between her pads on her feet the area turns reddish and itches her like crazy. Initially it would only last a few months and swap from one paw to the other, now for about 10 months it has been in one paw and showing no signs of going away. We have taken her to our vet and he has put her on over the counter allergy medications, she has been on prednizone, and just recently gotten a shot of a steroid.

None of these have helped her and my daughter and I are just so worried that she may develop other problems from all the licking she is doing to her foot.

Have you heard of this before and is there something out there that may help her?

Thank you,

All About Labradors Answer:

This is the reply e-mail I sent to Charles, along with the answers to my questions in red that Charles had sent back to me.

Hello Charles,

Yes I have heard of the problem you describe and yes I can advise you on some things that may help, but I need you to answer a couple of things for me.

Continue Reading...

Has the vet told you what is causing the allergic reaction. Did they say it's Atopic dermatitis? No

What kind (names) of the over the counter allergy medications has she taken? Benidryl ( 2 25mg pills 3 times daily)

What other steroid shot did she get? Depomedrol

Any kind of home treatments done by you (Ex: antimicrobial shampoos)? No

Does she lick her paw all the time, or only certain times, such as after walks, after cleaning of house, etc... She pretty much licks her paw all the time, not more noticible after any particular event or walk.

What kind of food does she eat (ingredients)? Her primary dog food is _______ I will have to get it later I just tossed the bag. But we buy the same all the time primarily yellow bag blue band pedigree? I believe.

Any other medical problems with her? None

What is her name? Her official name is Kitty Eleanor Roosevelt, we call her Kitty

P.S. With all the email questions I receive, I always ask a favor of the person writing. If you have any photos of your Lab, that you could email me, I would love to post them to All About Labradors and Labrador Retriever Pictures blog.

After receiving the answers to the above questions I sent Charles this e-mail :

Hello Charles,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Labrador Retrievers that lick their feet all the time may have allergies, as your veterinarian believes and had prescribed medication for.

Allergies to airborne particles (Inhalant allergies) such as pollen or house dust and to certain foods (Food allergies) can often causes itchy paws. Contact allergies, when Kitty comes into contact with something she is sensitive to, can also cause her itchy paws.

The problem is figuring out what the allergen is. Skin and blood test can be done by your veterinarian, as well as setting up a special diet "hypoallergenic diet", for a possible food allergy.

Some important things you can do for Kitty:

Bathing and conditioning is an important part of the treatment for her, as allergens do get absorbed through her skin.

A nice cool bath can be helpful, since the water will help assist in relieving the itching. You can add a little colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) to the bathwater, which will help soothe the foot or your veterinarian, can prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Make sure you rinse Kitty's foot thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

You can just soak her foot for five minutes, four times a day, in cool water. Add a sprinkle of Epsom salts to the water as it will also help soothe the foot. A compress applied the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

Hypoallergenic shampoo - is soothing and can provide temporary relief to inflamed skin.

Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoos and cream rinses - these products pull inflammatory toxins out of the skin, along with colloidal oatmeal sprays and lotions, which can be purchased at your local pet stores.

Witch hazel has a cooling effect on the skin which will be soothing for her paw.

Aloe Vera gel (my personal favorite) - if possible, obtain 100% Aloe Vera gel from a health food store, not the mixture, as the mixture is not as effective as the pure aloe. The pure aloe gel from the aloe plant contains enzymes which will help with the inflammation, and help in the healing process. The thing I like is that the pure Aloe Vera gel is not harmful for pets who want to lick it off.

Supplementation with Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids may also help.

There is a chance that Kitty may be having an allergic reaction to something in her food. Inhalant allergies are much more common than that of food allergies. Because Kitty has not responded to antihistamines or the steroid treatment, the possibility is greater that she might have a food allergy.

Some of the most common offenders in dogs are: beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn, and soy. Charles, take a look at Kitty's dog food label, and you will probably see some of these listed.

What is done for food allergies is a special diet (hypoallergenic diet) - a changing of his food to something he hasn't eaten before, which is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food) can be done to help to determine if this is the cause.

If you do decide to try changing Kitty's food Charles, remember:

No other treats should be given during the food trial. Only exception is if they are based on the same food sources as the test diet

No unnecessary medications are to begiven.

No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones) should be given.

Here are two websites where you can purchase food for the food allergies diet (I am NOT affiliated with either of these websites).

If you do try changing her food Charles, I would recommend you go with the duck formula to start.

Please keep me informed of Kitty's condition and if you try anything that I've mentioned above. I hope this will be of some help to you and Kitty. If you don't understand anything or have other questions, please e-mail me.

Take care of yourself and Kitty,


Want to see some wonderful photos of Kitty, then click on: Kitty Eleanor Roosevelt - "Kitty" 07/19/07

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