Two female dogs with itchy
skin disease - dog treats?
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case done: May 25, 2009
Date: 29 July, 2011
Be Kind To Pets
|Friday, July 29,
2011. Half a year had flown by! I am still practising but I
sometimes still do the routine cases of spay and neuter at 9.30 am
and handle the complex difficult cases such as the Silkie with the
big backside perineal hernias as written in:
Perineal hernias in a Silkie
Terrier repair pictures. Update on a Boston Terrier's perineal
I narrate two recent interesting skin disease cases I chanced upon
as they seem to be associated with dog treats.
Yesterday, July 28, 2011, Dr Vanessa left at 6.30 pm as she had
asthma the day before. Actually she had informed Min that she would
be back 3 days later. I quickly informed her clients to postpone her
appointments as I don't want them to be upset when they come.
Veterinary medicine at Toa Payoh Vets is much personalised and since
she handles most of the day cases, most of my clients get used to
consulting her since I seem to have "retired." Succession plan is
taking place as I am over 60 years old and must leave space for the
younger ones to bear the responsibility and learn from practising. I
do intervene in my associate vets' cases when I need to.
One of her clients was looking for her today and she suddenly
appeared after 11.00 am and so I passed the male cat couple whose
daughter wanted her to neuter him. I was manning the reception
counter while my assistant Mr Min went for dinner.
Suddenly, an old client with a 4-year-old Maltese X came in for
vaccination. She was abandoned and was adopted by this man in his
40s as the 4th owner. The man reminded me that I had diagnosed some
urination problem. "It is called submissive urination," I said. "She
would empty her bladder when any person approaches her. Is she
better now? Confidence build up will lessen her problem. Bring her
out more often."
The busy printer owner said: "I only bring her out to pee and poop
once a day. Then it is back to the apartment. She definitely has
better control of her bladder. When she sees other dogs when we go
out, she will bark loudly."
"Does she pee?"
"No, but she will run away after barking."
"You ran out of Hills' ZD diet and so I went to the pet shop to buy
Hills' Skin Sensitive Diet since they can't sell Hills' ZD diet. My
dog now no longer itches. Hills' brand is very good. Anyway, the ZD
produces a very sticky dog poo and so it is not good for me. This
Sensitive Diet produces well formed stools that do not stick to the
floor as you can see!"
The dog pooped 2 lumps. I used a toilet roll tissue to pick up the
two stools instead of ordering my assistant who had just come back
"It is not any Hills' brand that resolve your dog's skin itchiness
problems," I reviewed his dog medical records. I spayed the dog in
June 2011 and prescribed Hills' ZD diet twice. He switched to the
Hills' Sensitive Skin diet since I ran out.
Very little scratching except for some black ear wax. One of two
scabs in the belly and chest sternum. He as very happy as his dog
had this skin problem of itchiness and hair loss for over two years
before spaying. She had received treatment for ringworm and had her
To the owner, the dog no longer itches and he does not need to cook
home-cooked food for the dog, an inconvenience. Just feed this
In my experience, spaying sometimes do resolve the skin itchiness.
As to why, I don't know but it has been reported by some vets and I
had a small number of dogs recovering. However, this dog also is no
more given the dog treats unlike last time. It is possible that she
could be allergic to dog treats in the first place. Eliminating dog
treats resolved the problem. Spaying to remove hormonal imbalance.
Nobody knows scientifically why this dog has no more skin itchiness
On the previous day, that is, Wednesday, July 27, 2011, I went to
the Surgery at 8 pm to do a surprise check. It is a heavy
responsibility being the licensee and founder, but such audits need
to be done as the Toa Payoh Vets practice I founded is still a
rebellious teenager and needs my personal attention.
Around 50 vet practices have sprung up in Singapore in 2011 and the
old practices can be complacent and go bankrupt if poorly managed.
Success is not a given in any business or medical practice just
because the practice is established as competition becomes more
intensive. Success depends much on the vets or doctors but the
management of the practice (quality of veterinary services,
over-ordering and unnecessary use of products by associate vets,
clinical outcomes by vets, economics, human resources, strategic
planning, amongst others) is extremely important
Dr Jason Teo was to be on duty at night. An adult daughter and her
mother with a spayed female Maltese came in. They had consulted me 3
weeks earlier about itchiness in this dog's ears, elbows, armpits,
groins, paws. Just scratching and scratching and I had asked for a
review 3 weeks later. They don't mind consulting Dr Teo too as they
had seen him earlier.
"Well, the dog started scratching 3 days ago, when your medication
was finished," the daughter said. "So we come in for a review." As
Dr Teo had not arrived, I checked the medical records. I examined
this dog. Eyelids rubbed red. Ear pinnae flamingly reddish pink.
Four paws itchy and licked. Elbow front show reddish bloodied
streaks due to licking. Groins reddish. Armpits were OK for the time
being. These were signs of allergies which had been present for the
last two years. What is the cause?
Dr Teo arrived soon and I asked him to come in to collaborate on
this case and to do a proper recording. He would be opening his own
practice and it is good that he does so since he has been with me as
an associate vet for at least 4 years.
"Do you give dog treats?" I asked the mother and daughter who
expected more anti-itch medication, drugs and shampoos.
"Yes, I just bought a big bag of treats."
"No treats. Just switch over to Hills' D/D diet for 2-3 months," I
said. "Not even one treat."
"My dog can't survive without any treat," the mother said. "What do
I do with my big bag of treats?"
"After 3 months of feeding Hills' D/D diet and if the dog does not
itch anymore, you can give the treats," I said. "If the dog starts
being itching again, then you know it is due to the treats. Give 90%
of the old dog food and treats for the first 3 days, then slowly
change to 100% of D/D in 14 days," I advised.
As to whether the owners will comply, it is hard to say. This
Maltese is definitely a case of generalised allergy. It was no
longer generalised ringworm as in the past. Ringworm is also a very
itchy skin disease for most dogs.
As to the exact cause, it is hard to say unless the vet knows all
about the dog's lifestyle and environment. For starters, I advise an
anti-allergic dog food and if this works, there will be much
happiness and convenience as well as money saving for the owners.
These two cases are examples of allergies with one cause being the
various brands of dog treats being given. Prescription diet for dry
dog food allergy may be one way to elimination of the cause. Spaying
may help too.
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tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326
Be Kind To Pets