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31 Mar 2004

Dog's Skin Allergy

Hi Doc

Our 5 year old jack russell crossbreed(white, long haired) has suffered for over 3 years with a very debilitating skin allergy. He is neutered and only responds to cortisone injections, which the vet was reluctant to give him, as he said it will lead to obesity. He suggested a change in food, which we did, however even the most expensive dogfood has made no difference. We thought it was a seasonal thing, but he has it for over a year now on a continuous basis. We have tried homeopathic remedies, including tea tree products, and Eco- Scratch, neither of which had any effect. The vet also prescribed a special anti-excema lotion but this did not help either. Is there any other treatment which might help, or should we ask the vet to give him another cortisone injection? ( He hasn't had one for about 9 months).
Answer 5,167 views

01 Jan 0001

The fact that he responds to cortisone injections may suggest that he is allergic to fleas, or his environment (dust, pollen, grass, etc). Food allergy may respond to cortisone, but very often does not. However, many dogs with environmental allergy will also have food allergy.
If he has any form of infection, whatsoever (bacteria or yeast) it must be treated, or the itch will remain, this is very very important.
I agree that the cortisone injections are not a healthy way of managing its long-term, however short acting cortisone tablets (prednisolone) can be used very effectively, long-term, if the correct guidelines are followed and the lowest possible dose with the longest possible intervals between doses, (say, using it every second for every third day) these used. That way, the patient can be made comfortable, and cortisone can have limited side-effects, and can be used long-term. Cortisone WHEN USED CORRECTLY, is not the evil that it is often made out to be.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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