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Golden with itchy abdomen.

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden retriever
Age: 5-8 years
Hello
My dog Henri has been constantly licking and chewing his underside inside of legs and stomach,he is driving us all mad poor dog !! he does not have a rash or spots,he does have a red tinge to his skin and some hair has gone from white to light brown,the vet says it is not fleas maybe excema but not sure,we wash him with a coal tar shampoo regularly which seems to help for a short while,also use tea tree oil,could it be his dog biscuits which I did change this year?the only other change to his life is a rescued dog-we have had her this year and she is a bit feisty at times,but he does get on well with her.could it be stress? as he is very laid back but gets jealous of her at times.
Any advice would be appreciated as it is a worry and so uncomfortable for him,its difficult to put any creams on as he will just lick them off,he has not had this problem before.
Thank you
Barbara


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Henri is having problems with his skin. It sounds very frustrating for you!

Skin issues are often difficult to figure out. While I can't say for sure what is going on without seeing your dog, I'll give you some of my thoughts.

First of all, if Henri is licking this much then there has to be a medical reason for it.

The most common reason for a Golden Retriever to have an itchy abdomen is infection. However, usually we will see some scabs, pustules (like little pimples), or flaky areas.

The next most common reason is indeed fleas. I have had many cases where I could not see fleas, but eventually we figured out that fleas were the problem. Some dogs are so allergic to fleas that even one flea will set them off. They are often extremely hard to find. Sometimes we find flea dirt but not always. If this were my case, the first thing I would do is a prescription strength flea product.

Another possibility is a yeast infection. However, this usually causes very red, thickened, smelly skin.

Allergies can cause a dog to itch but usually the itchy areas will be the feet, ears and sometimes anus.

One other thing that can cause itchiness is sarcoptic mange which is a skin mite. This usually causes itchiness behind the elbows, hocks and edges of the ear.

So, nothing really fits your dog's situation exactly. When I have a case like this when we don't really know what is going on, then I usually give owners a couple of options on how to proceed. The first option would be to treat with a good flea product such as Revolution, Frontline, or Advantage. If this is due to fleas then the symptoms should clear up within a few days or maybe a week. If so, then I would repeat the flea treatment one and two months later.

The second option would be to be more aggressive and cover all of our bases. So, I would treat with a flea product, antibiotics, and some steroids which will help with the itch and will work if there are allergies. Then, after a few weeks of antibiotics I would stop them. And then, depending on how Henri is doing I would likely slowly wean off of the steroids.

If none of these things were working then I would probably suggest taking a biopsy of the skin to look for really unusual causes.

With all this being said, I would urge you to treat for fleas.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.