Sunday, September 09, 2007

Black Labrador Retriever losing hair around right eye - part II

This is the second part of a two part e-mail question in regards to a black Labrador Retriever named Wrigley who has a problem with hair loss around his right eye.

To read part one of this question, click: Black Labrador Retriever losing hair around right eye - part I

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Kathy,

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

Thanks for the response to my questions, and for the wonderful photo of Wrigley. Also, thank you for being patience in awaiting a reply.

Hair loss in our Labrador Retrievers is sometimes attributed to a condition called Demodectic mange (demodex). This condition is caused by mites which are tiny parasites that are present in low numbers on healthy animals, including people. Most of the time, these mites never cause problems for our Labrador Retrievers, but in certain conditions such as an impaired immune system, high stress and/or malnutrition these mites reproduce rapidly.

Demodectic mange has three forms:

Localized - one or more small, round, red, and sometimes occasionally itchy area of hair loss, often occurring around the eyes, mouth and forelegs.

Generalized - this form often involves large areas of the body.

Demodectic Pododermatitis - basically, demodectic mange is confined to the paws.

The localized form is usually treated with ointments and other topical medications. In some cases, it can resolve on its own. For more severe case and generalized mange, treatments can include medicated cleansing shampoos, dips, sprays, and antibiotics. Ivermectin, a drug that is used for prevention of heartworms, has been used in the treatment of demodectic mange with success, and it is less expensive to use than many of the other treatments you can get.

Here is a short PDF e-book on Demodectic Mange that explains this in full, and much better than I can. http://www.mem610.com/docs/Demodectic%20Mange.pdf

As it is impossible to self-diagnosis mange, the best advice I can offer is to take your dog to your veterinarian.
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Your veterinarian will do a skin scraping where Wrigley’s hair loss is and then examine it under a microscope to determine if mange is the problem.

Another possibility is Ringworm, which is a fungal disease, not a worm. It can look very similar to a number of other skin conditions including allergic conditions and mange. It will appear as a red, rough area of skin with broken hairs and hair loss, and can have little to no itching.

Treatments can include: topical shampoos, anti fungal creams, dips, and oral anti fungal medications.

Allergies can also being playing a part in Wrigley’s condition. Signs of dog allergies can vary:

Skin allergies - persistent itching of the skin, skin color change.

Inhalant allergies – sneezing and coughing.

Food Allergies -vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Can also have scratching and itching.

Flea allergy dermatitis – allergic reaction to saliva of fleas.

Skin or blood tests, by your veterinarian can help determine the allergens causing problems with Wrigley.

Some other helpful things you can do for Wrigley’s paw.

A nice cool bath can be helpful, since the water will 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 Wrigley’s foot thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

You can just soak his foot for five to ten 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.

Another method that you can try is Aloe Vera applied to the paw. Make sure its 100% Aloe Vera (from a health store) not the mixture. This will not hurt Wrigley if he is to lick it off.

Tea Tree oil, which you can obtain in a health food store is an antibacterial and anti fungal agent that can also be used. I have recently found some information on using tea tree oil on our dogs, stating cautions when using it. http://www.teatreeoilhome.com/pets.htm

** Since responding to this e-mail and finding this information, we have stopped recommending the use of tea tree oil **

Supplementation with essential fatty acids can help with all listed conditions above, along with making sure Wrigley is fed a high quality dog food.

I also have some other home remedies that can be tried for the mange or ringworm if Wrigley does have one of these conditions.

Hope this is of some help for you and Wrigley. If you don't understand something or have questions on anything else in regards to Wrigley, don't hesitate to e-mail me. Please keep me informed with Wrigley’s condition and what, if anything the veterinarian tells you. Talk to you soon.

Take care of yourself and Wrigley,

Fay

Reader's E-mail Kathy's Response:

Fay,

Thanks so much for emailing me back. We had decided to take Wrigley to the vet last Wed., as he was having a birthday party for himself over the weekend with a couple of canine guests. I wanted to make sure he was not contagious.

The vet said EVERYTHING you just shared! Wow!! He gave him a shot of something and gave us an antibiotic ($150.00) for 15 capsules. He is taking them well, and some ointment to put around the eye. Overall, he is progressing slowly.

We have washed all his bedding, and vacuumed everything thoroughly. You say the mites are always there and there could have been an immune system problem. Our vet said the same thing, but what causes that? He does eat regularly, and hasn't appeared sick. Is this something that he will have chronically? Is there anything we can do to help prevent it or build his immune system?

I truly appreciate your kindness and time. You are 'bookmarked' with our family!

Thanks again,

Kathy

PS We see the vet again on the 18th. Hopefully no second dose of pills will be necessary. I can't handle the expense!

All About Labradors Blog Response:

I know I wrote another letter thanking Kathy for her kind words and some other information, but I can't seem to find it. I can't believe the high costs of the veterinarian.

To see a photo of Wrigley, click: Wrigley 9/09/07

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