Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Itchy skin

Question from Karen in Newark:
Our dog Gunner is 11 and having skin issues. He has chewed off most of the fur on his paws and is constantly scratching all over his poor body. We have been giving him benedryl for over a month and it is not getting any better. We are assuming it is alergies but the cost to take of of that through the vet is astronomical. He also has been getting sick lately. We have not changed his food or anything. Is there anything else that we can do to make him more comfortable? Thank you for your time.

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
There is a lot of information you did not provide. Without knowing whether Gunner has a previous history of allergies and what you exactly mean by “getting sick lately,” it is impossible for me to know if his itchiness is merely due to an allergy. While allergies can lead to excessive biting and scratching, there are other possible underlying causes for Gunner’s itchiness. Parasitic skin disease (scabies and demodex) needs to be ruled out by a veterinarian. Gunner could also be suffering from a bacterial and/or yeast infection.

If the Benedryl is not helping and Gunner is having other health issues, you need to take him to your veterinarian. Be honest with your vet about your cost concerns and ask for an estimate before tests and medications are billed. In today’s economy, this is a very reasonable request. Waiting too long before seeing your vet can lead to a worsening of Gunner’s condition and might make the solution more costly and difficult.

Posted January 26, 2011

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