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Old 10-02-2012, 11:43 AM   #16
Magpie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralpeg View Post
I agree with others. It sounds like a hot spot. My goldens have always had hot spot issues. Mine had flareups when the seasons changed. It seemed to be pollen related.

It is not unusual for a dog to be lethargic after taking those meds. Just let her sleep. She's probably exhausted after dealing with the itching. My vet gave me a spray to put on my dogs tail and other hot spots. It's a local anesthetic. Once the pollen let up, the hot spots normally cleared up. I also put my dogs on special dog food for allergies.

OP, what kind of dog is she? Some breeds are very prone to hot spots.
She's a cocker spaniel/poodle cross.

Here, I just snapped a picture of her:

This is not her normal expression. Nor is she ever quite this flat. Usually she's very responsive to things going on around her. On the plus side though, she's not whining, the way she was in the days before we took her to see the vet. (She became very obviously uncomfortable last weekend, running from one spot to the other and trying to climb on top of things and crying a fair bit - today she's just a lump.)
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:50 AM   #17
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She's cute!
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie View Post
Slowly, over the course of a year, my dog licked all the hair off the underside of her tail. We thought at first it was just a bad habit, but she got more and more and more persistent about it, the harder we tried to make her stop.

We sprayed her tail with Bitrex. She licked it off. We put ointment on it. She licked it off. We tried hot spot spray - she thought that was especially yummy. We bought a cone. It was too short - the dog's a contortionist. We bought larger cones. She couldn't sleep. She started scooting, trying to rub her tail on any rough surface, including concrete. I crocheted her a full body suit! She chewed through the thick cotton tail and made it bleed. So finally, we took her to the vet.
Am I reading this right that you waited a year to take her to a vet for this?

Generally a short course of steroids solves the problem as it decreases the inflammation (and resulting pain and discomfort) involved.

What may have started out as a physical problem could have become a "compulsion" where it went on so long. Of course one would have anxiety if an itch or discomfort is driving them crazy and they can't get to it or make it stop! Think of how we would feel in the same situation!

Quote:
The vet scratched her head, looked puzzled, and said, "I've never seen anything like this before! It looks like each individual hair follicle is involved." Checked over the dog, couldn't find any other trouble spots, and said, "It's just her tail. Hmm." So she decided to throw antibiotics at it for two weeks, plus a medicated ointment, plus antihistamines to quell the itching.
No steroid? Hot spot 101 = steroid. She must have had a secondary infection from the scratching and biting if given antibiotics. I take it her anal glands were ok?

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We dosed the dog this morning... and she doesn't need the cone any more. Which is wonderful! But now she's passed out on the couch, semi-comatose. She's not even biting her nails, which is her favourite pastime. I have to call her name three times to get her to respond to me (but then she came over and licked my hand before going back to lie down). And she's sleeping with her eyes open, which looks freaky.
This is too much antihistamine for her. It should be enough to help stop the itch but not so much as to make her pass out or become unresponsive. You may have to cut back the dose.

It may or may not be food related. Personally, my bet would be more an allergen that the underside of her tail was coming in contact with. Re-look at her environment to see if there's anything that could be causing this to happen. Hopefully the medication she was given will help. If not, when she wakes up you might be back to square one.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:00 PM   #19
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My sisters cat has allergies. She kept getting a bald spot every now and then on her back. Also she gets into sneezing fits. We didn't know why! The vet gave her some allergy medication that my sister gives her now whenever she starts sneezing a ton, or getting a bald area!
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:35 PM   #20
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Both of mine used to itch terribly, then I got fed up with the vets saying it isn't the food. I switched there food without corn. They still struggle with some allergy's but as long as I give them a benadryl they are fine. They no longer itch and there skin is clearer than it has ever been. I would start with the food.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:44 PM   #21
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Try changing the dog food. I used to feed my dog Purina One, and she ate it without a problem but there were several issues that went away after I stopped feeding her. I went a premium brand Merrick. The UTIs, the tail biting, excessive pooping, all stopped, even her coat got softer and prettier.

Between the transition, I boiled rice in chicken broth and added a bag of frozen mixed veggies at the end.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pea-n-Me View Post
Am I reading this right that you waited a year to take her to a vet for this?
It started very slowly - just as a bald spot on the bottom the tail. At first I thought it might be natural and I never noticed. Maybe it was just an extension of the hairless part of her butt? The skin looked normal. I forgot to mention it to the vet at her yearly.

Then she started worrying more at it, and at the beginning of summer (three months ago?) I realized it was looking raw and irritated. And the bald patch had spread up the sides of her tail and to the tip. (It's a docked tail, so it's short.)

Since she was a lifelong chewer of paws and tail, we figured it was just neurosis. We tried various approaches to "break the habit" (listed in my OP - exercise, ointment, hot spot treatment, cone, etc...). Her hair started to grow back when we physically prevented her from reaching her tail, but her anxiety increased.

We booked an appointment with the vet the very day she chewed hard enough to make it bleed. They got us in on the following Monday, so she had a bit of a miserable weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pea-n-Me View Post
Generally a short course of steroids solves the problem as it decreases the inflammation (and resulting pain and discomfort) involved.

What may have started out as a physical problem could have become a "compulsion" where it went on so long. Of course one would have anxiety if an itch or discomfort is driving them crazy and they can't get to it or make it stop! Think of how we would feel in the same situation!


No steroid? Hot spot 101 = steroid. She must have had a secondary infection from the scratching and biting if given antibiotics. I take it her anal glands were ok?
Her anal glands were perfect - there was only a bit in one, and the vet expressed it so she "wouldn't have an excuse". She said it came out very easily.

She almost certainly does have a secondary infection of some sort - there's one spot that's scabby and has swelled - that's the bit that she made bleed. The vet checked her lips, her rear, her paws, very closely and concluded that she doesn't think the dog has an autoimmune issue/allergies. The tail is the only point of problem, and I recall her saying something about defined borders... The skin was normal in other places she'd been chewing. Plus the vet was very taken with the appearance of the hair follicles and the fact that the bits of hair that were growing back in weren't apparently "normal".

She said she thought we'd have to treat it from "the inside out, instead of top down", which is when she prescribed the antibiotics. But there's also a medicated ointment - so I suppose we're hitting both ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pea-n-Me View Post
This is too much antihistamine for her. It should be enough to help stop the itch but not so much as to make her pass out or become unresponsive. You may have to cut back the dose.
I was thinking of giving her a half dose this evening - although she's perking up a bit now that we're 6 hours into the 12 hour dose.

I wouldn't say she was unconscious - just slow to respond and lethargic. And very different from her normal self.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pea-n-Me View Post
It may or may not be food related. Personally, my bet would be more an allergen that the underside of her tail was coming in contact with. Re-look at her environment to see if there's anything that could be causing this to happen. Hopefully the medication she was given will help. If not, when she wakes up you might be back to square one.
I got her to follow me into the kitchen a few minutes ago, and she chewed on her paws for a moment, then just lay down and watched me cook with her head on the floor and her eyes tracking me. No attempts on her tail at all. Not once today! I'm going to take her out for a short walk in a bit, and see how she does.

I can't imagine what allergen there'd be that her tail would come into contact with, but not the rest of her...?

Thank you, I really appreciate your very thorough and informative feedback! :
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #23
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Maybe try brewers yeast in your dogs food. I had a dog a long time ago that chewed himself raw. At the time I found this stuff at a farm supply store, I think it was called Itch Ex, but again it was a long time ago so might it not be around any more.

All that was in it was just brewers yeast and other vitamins and minerals in powder form. I only needed to mix a little into his food everyday, I think only about a teaspoon. Within a week he wasn't scratching and biting, and his coat came back in beautiful.

Maybe you can find something like it, I liked it because it was all natural too.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by crazyme5kids View Post
Maybe try brewers yeast in your dogs food. I had a dog a long time ago that chewed himself raw. At the time I found this stuff at a farm supply store, I think it was called Itch Ex, but again it was a long time ago so might it not be around any more.

All that was in it was just brewers yeast and other vitamins and minerals in powder form. I only needed to mix a little into his food everyday, I think only about a teaspoon. Within a week he wasn't scratching and biting, and his coat came back in beautiful.

Maybe you can find something like it, I liked it because it was all natural too.
I like this idea! Sounds simple and easy, which is always a bonus.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:03 PM   #25
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Our dog did this as well, he also chewed on his paws and he had separation anxiety. We switched his high priced food to another high priced food and it worked. He stopped chewing and sucking on his paws and stopped chewing on his tail as well. With him it was mostly paws but he would throw the tail in there sometimes. Good luck, I think you should maybe consider a food change and perhaps cut the dosage of meds the dr gave her. It definitely sounds like she's getting too much if it made her lethargic like that.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:35 PM   #26
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Food Allergy (try different foods, week per each), Environmental Allergy (allergy test like humans get), or Parasites (since only affecting the tail region, ivermectin will usually treat this). Very best of luck that you find the cause soon. I feel so very bad for pups that suffer from chronic itching.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:37 PM   #27
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I will second both the food suggestion and the worms suggestion. Tapeworms will cause tail "issues" for affected dogs. Ivermectin or regular heartgard does NOT kill tapes. You need something like Iverhart max which kills them all.

Best of luck. The pic kind of made me chuckle because knowing some Cockers, that is NOT a normal pose. They are usually pretty animated. Poor sweetie!

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Old 10-06-2012, 07:14 PM   #28
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I think it sounds like allergies, too. I agree with another poster - try a grain-free food. I would also try something other than lamb. My sister has a Cavalier King Charles and the only dog food she can eat is a limited ingredient with salmon.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:39 PM   #29
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our dog did this also and had a big bald area on her tail...I googled rat tail in dogs and found articles on Thryoid...and voila ..she had it...she is on levathyroxin and within three or four months her tail was almost back to normal...we had to go thru a shedding point and then regrown hair...they kept on saying she had allergies and did the predisone thing and everything else...just ask for the blood test...it is a little pricey but worth it..just in case it is that..
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