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Dog Hair and Skin

Q. I have a 2 year old chocolate lab. She is losing her hair on her belly and back legs.

She also is chewing a bald spot on her back toward her butt. What is the cause? Thank you

A. The skin is the largest organ in the body and itching is the most common symptom regardless of the cause.

Chewing on skin can cause significant discomfort and infection so I highly recommend that you have a veterinarian examine your dog. Allergies to flea bites or inhaled allergens are the most common causes for the symptoms you described.

Be sure to follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding flea prevention or control for all the animals in your household and the house itself.

Q. My Lhasa is 6 years old and has arthritis and seems to have developed many allergies such as ears, eyes and the vaginal area.

She's had steroids once and antibiotics several times in the past year, but the little slit in her pee place is always red and sore looking. I've tried every thing even Vagisil for woman. I keep it clean and clipped.

Do you have any suggestions that I could do to help her. I have her on Wysong Dog food now trying to keep the allergies at bay.

A. Skin allergies are very common in all breeds. And Lhasa's seem to have particular difficulty with a yeast called Malesezzia in the skin.

Have your veterinarian examine a skin smear or scrape for yeast. If it is present, a drug called Ketoconazole may be helpful along with anti-fungal shampoos.

Usually an allergy to a food or more often and environmental allergen is the culprit. The cortisone brings relief but hampers the immune system's fight against the yeast.

Consider a referral to veterinary dermatologist to really get the problem evaluated. Your veterinarian can refer you to a regular specialist or even a university if necessary.

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