Saturday, August 16, 2008

Black Labrador Retriever always has Skin Problems - part II

Subject: Black Labrador Retriever always has Skin Problems - part II

From: John

Labrador Retriever Name: Charles ( Chucky )

To read the first part of this e-mail visit: Black Labrador Retriever always has Skin Problems - part I

Reader's E-mail - John's Response to my questions:

Chucky never had fleas, at least none that I nor the Vet noticed. But he started him on K9 Advantix, also Simplicef as an antibiotic and Hydroxyzine for the itching.

My Vet did a skin scraping, D.T.M. culture, and a dermatological evaluation.

We got him as a puppy, around 9 weeks old, and yes he always had a problem with his skin.

The sores came around two weeks ago, and are clearing up very well. He is still taking Meds.

The Hydroxyzine helped but he mainly itches his neck area under his ears, back legs and back.

Yes, he some times chews and licks his front paws.

I regularly clean his ears because of build up.

No, his odor is not strong. We bring him inside some times, he is pretty clean.

Yes, circular patches and hairloss, they clear up and come back. He is free of them right now.

I feed him Hills Science Diet large breed adult. No table scraps, As treats Dentleys Rawhide twists.

Other than his skin, he is perfect.


All About Labradors Answer:

Continue Reading...

Hi John,

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

Thank you for the wonderful photo of Chucky, and for the response to the questions I asked.

Skin infections are some of the most frequently treated problems by veterinarians. Bacterial skin infections, which is what Simplicef (cefpodoxime proxetil) is being used for, can cause sores to appear on your Labrador Retriever. Excessive shedding, patchy loss of hair, and scaling can also develop as a result of bacterial skin infections.

In most cases skin infections are secondary to another problem (allergies, parasitic infections, hormonal abnormalities), so it is important to determine an underlying cause to keep infections from reappearing.

Besides the antibiotics Chucky is taking, topical therapy can include the use of shampoos containing Benzoyl Peroxide (Pyoben®, Oxydex® shampoo). Shampoos containing Chlorhexidine can also be used.

You stated that Chucky gets circular patches and hair loss, which could be a symptom of ringworm, a skin disease caused by a fungus. Did you get the results of the ringworm test? Other symptoms to go along with the circular patches and hair loss can include scaly skin in the center of the lesion. A small inflamed elevation of the skin, filled with pus (pustules) may also be present in the lesion. These lesions do not always form a ring and can disappear as time goes on and then appear on other locations of the skin.

Treatment can include:

Griseofulvin (an antifungal drug), topical antifungal medications, bathes using antifungal shampoos, lime sulfur dips and a possibility of shaving your Labrador's hair.

As far as Chucky's chewing and licking of the paws, it may be a sign of allergies.

Allergies to airborne particles (Inhalant allergies) such as pollen or house dust and to certain foods (food allergies) can often cause itchy paws. Contact allergies, when Chucky comes into contact with something he is sensitive to, can also cause 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 of the most common offenders in dogs are: beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn, and soy. If you take a look at your dog food bag label, 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 Chucky's food John, 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 be given.

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

If you do decide to do a food trial and need help in recommending dog foods, let me know.

With allergies, bathing and conditioning is also an important part of the treatment, 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 to soothe, or your veterinarian, can prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Make sure you rinse thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

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.

I recommend supplementation with the essential fatty acids to all Labrador Retriever owners, as they are necessary for the development of healthy skin and coats.

For Chucky's ears:

One of the best products I've used with success for gunk in my Labrador ears is called a blue power wash (actually I have seen it called many other things, as it has been on the Internet for ages).

"Blue Power Ear Treatment"


16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess. Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears
Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I like to use witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, but you can use it either way.

There is also a commercial version of this solution available.

K9 Ear Solution

If Chucky does get middle ear infections, I was also told about a vitamin E based ear infection tonic used by one of the readers of this blog, who stated this tonic worked wonders for their Labrador Retriever's ears. I had never heard about it before, but they swear by it. To learn more visit:

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

Take care of yourself and Chucky,



Merck Veterinarian Manual

Ackerman, L.: Guide To Skin and Haircoat Problems in Dogs. Alpine Publishing, 1994: 7-19.

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Unknown August 04, 2011 11:31 AM  

Thank you for this! We seem to be having the same exact issues with our American Black Lab right now too. We've been putting off taking her to the vet though because it's so darn expensive! Hers seems to worsen after she's had table food... which is difficult to avoid because our 1 year-old son likes to sneak her "treats" from his plate at the dinner table. I will look into hypoallergenic food, & I guess we'll have to keep her in her kennel during our meal time. :(

rebirthsandiego October 20, 2011 6:53 PM  

Sounds like your dogs need to be tested for, alopecia areata or Alopecia X.. if you've had this problem since a young age and it's not ringworm? Do some research on it and see if your symptoms match. They sound pretty close to me.. good luck!

Anonymous,  November 22, 2011 11:40 PM  

Thank you for all the information. My boyfriend has a black lab with horrible skin problems, hair loss and swollen areas on his hind paws.Oh and let's not mention the odor. I changed his food 2 months ago to a limited ingredient, grain free food (venison and potato), added vitamin supplements and weekly baths. He is doing much better but he still has swollen hairless patches on the top of both hind paws that I can't clear up no matter what I do. He won't let me touch the areas to apply any topical solution. Any ideas?

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