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Lab itchy, pulling out leg hair.. what to do?

April 22nd, 2006, 10:00 PM
Chloe is a 16 month old black lab and for the past two spring/ summers, she's had little areas (about the size of a lonnie) where she will nip/ lick/ scratch at. She usually pulls out all her hair in that area.. no red bumps or nothing but her skin in that area looks a bit dry.

This year, I started noticing her doing the same but this time, to both the inner hide legs. She has pulled out a lot of the hair now. She is also scratching herself a bit more than usual.

I've taken her to the vet on two occasions this year. Both times, the vets have confirmed that it is not mites. She was put on anti-biotics which have decreased the scratching a bit.

I've done a lot of searches on the net and on this site. I'm thankful that it's not as severe as some of the pictures/ descriptions I've read about from others but I'm trying to help her out. I've bathed her with medicated shampoo from the vet and at Petsmart with oatmeal to ease the itch (that helped a bit). I've put the flea drops in her on a monthly basis. I'm all out of ideas.. I just want to help her with the itch.

Oh.. I've noticed that this behaviour usually stems from when she goes out for a swim in the creek (which I try to avoid) or in the lake. I've read about some dogs developing "swimmer's itch" and think that maybe that's the case. Is there anything I can do to help her with the itch? I've read about using calamine lotion (not too keen on it though cuz Chloe will lick at it). Benadryl (not too keen on due to potential side effects). Will Oatmeal help?

Anyone got any ideas or a similar experience? Any sugggestions would be appreciated.. I hate seeing her itch at herself. Thanks! (sorry for the long post)

April 23rd, 2006, 12:25 AM
Depending on where you live, it could be environmental allergies. This time of year in Canada is mostly tree pollens... What can help is when the itching starts, head to the vet for a cortisone shot (about $30-50 plus consult, depending on where you live- I pay $26 for the shot...) and if it's an allergy, about 2 weeks after the shot, the itching should be quite reduced.

My Jemma has horrible ragweed allergies (Aug-Oct), so in early August, we get a shot and it usually lasts till the end of ragweed season.

If you're in Canada, you can see what pollens are affecting your area at the weather network's website. Here:

April 23rd, 2006, 12:45 AM
Since it is seasonal it is likely an allergy to some kind of grass or weed, or an inhalant allergy IF you don't want to be using meds, you should try some kind of bootie as a way of preventing lick granulomas from forming which is a common problem in labs

the pollen reports may even help with isolating what she may be allergic to if you don't find that booties alone are helping

April 23rd, 2006, 10:27 AM
Thanks everyone for your advice!

I live around the Scarborough area and well, since the weather has gotten better, my husband and I have been taking Chloe to the dog park more and for hikes on hiking trails. I thought it might be allergies and took her to a vet. (Unfortunately, my usual vet was fully booked up and I wanted to get some medical attention asap). The vet never suggested it although, she did confirm that it wasn't mites - won't be going back to that one again.

I've been resorting to taking Chloe on walks around the neighbourhood and have found that her itching/ scratching/ licking was significantly reduced! I figured either the oatmeal bath or lack of park exposure has helped.

Anyhow, I'm gonna continue this and monitor her progress. If she gets worse, I'll take her to the vet for a shot. Thanks again!

April 23rd, 2006, 10:58 AM
I agree it sounds like an allergy of some sort.

You can get several kinds of creams to help her with this. One I absolutely love and highly recomend is something called Nu-Stock for dogs; available over the counter at most pet stores. Your vet could possibly order it or I can email a website where you can purchase it. The stuff smells pretty bad and you have to keep your dog from licking the area once the cream is applied but it works really well for just about every skin disorder/discomfort.

April 23rd, 2006, 07:40 PM
I have a Chloe also that had some big problems with skin infections. She would develop skin infections after swimming. She is a golden retriever and lost all the feathering on her stomach and part of her tail. Antibiotics would clear up the problem temporarily but as soon as she swam again the infections would start. She would not only be itchy but would develop red bumps and rashes all over her body. They would appear and disappear.
My vet thought it was something like swimmer's itch which is basically a parasite that comes from water fowl. One vet tech suggested blow drying her after swimming because the heat would kill off some of the parasites. I was told to avoid using oatmeal soaps. She was always given prednisone (sp) with her antibiotics and this helped with the itching.
A few years ago I decided to do a food change. After researching I decided to try Solid Gold, Wolf King. A few months later I read about Seameal which is also a product of Solid Gold. It is an immune booster. In the last 1 1/2 she has only had one small infection and no hot spots.