Around the beginning of November, I noticed that Chuy was getting an ear infection. Since I already had medication from the last infection, I started treating it and it began to clear up. This began to spread to his paws, face, mouth, eyes, and some of his fur. For the next month and a half, we dealt with multiple diagnoses and different treatment options. Chuy was ultimately diagnosed with Pododermatitis and this is our journey on how to cure and what to do if this happens to your dog.
After a few days of an ear infection, we noticed that Chuy had some scaly skin at the corners of his mouth. The same stuff was starting to appear around his eyes too. He was licking his paws obsessively and they were red and inflamed.
After seeing his mouth and eyes like that, I got really concerned and made a vet appointment. You can see how swollen his eye was in this photo from all the irritation and scratching. We had to put a cone on him the night before his appointment because the thin skin around his eye was bleeding from him scratching with his nails.
They did a full exam including an ear swab. The swab confirmed that he had a yeast infection in his ears and that yeast is probably what was around his face and paws. He scratches his ears with his feet and then rubs his face with his paws. It only made sense that it was spreading to all of those areas. I also noticed that he had some skin bumps around his neck area that were raised and scabby.
At this point, I was wanting to treat everything topically to see if we could clear it up before going down the route of medications and possible vaccines. The vet recommended putting him on a RX called Apoquel and giving him a vaccine called Cytopoint. I’m not a fan of shoving medications into a dog if they aren’t necessary. Keep in mind that both of these medications do not treat the root cause – they only stop the itching.
So, we left that night with the following regimen:
- Cleanse his ears with a non-medicated rinse twice per day.
- Put RX Remicin ear ointment in his ears twice per day after cleaning them.
- Hexachlor-K RX Wipes for his paws/mouth area.
- Hexachlor-K RX shampoo for his entire body twice per week.
- Put on Hills Sensitive Skin RX Diet to rule out any food allergies.
After religiously following the treatment plan, he appeared to be improving. Everything was starting to scab as if it was clearing up.
Then a few days later it looked like everything was getting worse and the scabs were turning into raised lesions.
We went to a follow up a week later and they said his ears were clear and we could stop that part of the routine. They said to keep treating everything else. They told us that we should really pursue the Cytopoint vaccine and the Apoquel medication. That still wasn’t sitting well with me based on everything I had researched.
I had a feeling this was more of just a yeast infection and that there was bacterial infection in the mix. Point blank – his face was getting worse and NOT improving.
It was the day after Thanksgiving and I could no longer watch Chuy in so much misery. I was done. I needed a 2nd opinion and took him to our backup vet – which is now our full-time vet. That’s a post for another day…
At this point, Chuy’s ears looked infected all over again and his face looked ten times worse. He was scratching less but his eyes were red and swollen from all of the irritation. He could barely open his eye all the way.
His paws were red and crusty. He barely had any fur left in the corners of his mouth and around his eyes. Other than that, his health was fine but he had this miserable and pitiful look all the time b/c he was miserable from the infection. He still managed to look happy when I took this pic while waiting for the vet. That’s Chuy for you!
Since it was a holiday, we saw the emergency vet who immediately looked at him and said that it was a bacterial skin infection called Pododermatitis. There are so many ways that your dog can get this that it’s hard to say exactly what’s causing it. That is the frustrating part of all of this!
According to PetMD, “Bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections can cause this skin inflammation to develop. Other potential causes for it can include cancer, trauma, poor grooming, decreased levels of thyroid hormones, increased levels of steroids present, and irritants from the environment.”
That said, the vet recommended putting Chuy on an oral antibiotic called Cefpodoxime and ear drops called Mometamax. She stated that if this didn’t clear things up in 3 weeks, we would need to do a skin biopsy with culture to rule out anything more serious. That had me a little nervous so I was hopeful that this treatment plan would work. We were also instructed to give Chuy Benadryl twice per day to help with any itchiness so he could rest and be comfortable.
TIP – I put all of Chuy’s health notes in this little notebook so I can take it along to vet appointments. Otherwise, I won’t remember anything. I also like to jot down everything they tell me!
This seems to be one of those diseases that gets worse before it gets better. The very next day you can see how much everything is starting to scab up which is is what it will do before it clears.
This was the final week of his antibiotic. You can see most of it is clear but not 100%.
He just finished the medication a week ago and it’s now been a full month since his last vet appointment. He looks better than he has in a LONG time. His fur is shiny and smooth. His face is totally cleared up and most of the fur has grown back! The vet said he may or may not grow back that fur so I’m happy and relieved that he did. He seems happy and finally out of the misery of this skin infection.
Skin infections in dogs are frustrating because it’s really hard to know exactly what the root cause is. We have noticed that Chuy gets seasonal ear infection and they usually spread to his face – but NEVER to this degree. It usually clears up on its own in a few days. I hope that sharing this may help you if your dog is going through a battle with Dermatitis or Pododermatitis. This is our personal journey but I always recommend seeing your vet for a specific diagnosis.
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