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Recurring Staph Infections


Guest RMarie
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Guest RMarie

James is back on antibiotics for yet another staph infection. He was on last on meds for staph in March, which we blamed on a possum bite from February, I think it was. James was put on a 2 week dose of Simplicef (an easy-on-the-stomach version of Cephalexin), along with Rx benzoyl peroxide shampoo. Despite bathing him last weekend and checking his skin, we found new crusty lesions Friday evening in the same place as before. I took him to the vet yesterday and received a 3 week dose of Simplicef (we still have some shampoo left from before).

 

The treating vet was different from our normal vet. She was looking over James' chart and noticed the cycle we have going on: staph, diarrhea/inflamed gut, staph, diarrhea/inflamed gut (most recently, in April, he was back on sulfasalazine for seemingly unexplainable diarrhea...we chalked it up to the Simplicef in March killing off his good gut bacteria). She brought up the possibility of a food allergy. From reading prior threads, I KNOW people on here HATE when people jump to the conclusion of a food allergy. Personally, I am leaning towards a thyroid issue. BUT, for argument sake, has anyone experienced recurring staph infections that turned out to be caused by an underlying food allergy? Is it more likely a thyroid problem?

 

We have a follow-up appointment with our normal vet a few weeks from now to check James' status. I'd really like to get to the bottom of what is causing his problems and I'd appreciate any helpful feedback from others who may have experienced similar problems with their dogs, no matter what the underlying cause.

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It's more likely to be neither. Most likely is, he hasn't been on the antibiotics long enough or at the right dose, to solve the skin problem.

 

 

ETA: I'm assuming those lesions were cultured? Because if not, you can disregard my prior statement. In that case the problem could be fungus, mites, etc. -- which antibiotics wouldn't treat.

Edited by Batmom

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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My girl arrived (picked up by the pound as a stray) with a bad rash on her front left leg. We did antibiotics (Simplecef) and prednisone, then again, then antibiotics alone (Cephalexin, doxycycline). Her thyroid was fine and so were all her lab results. Skin scrapings never showed anything more than bacteria on the surface of her skin--from licking the rash.

 

Finally went to a veterinary dermatologist. The dermatologist did punch biopsies (local anesthetic, single stitch in each one, and we were out of his office in 30 minutes) in three places on her leg and culturing the results found bacteria at the surface, but a fungal infection below the surface. We could have treated with antibiotics until the cows came home, and it never would have cleared up. Once we had the results, we did another round of Cephalexin and started on ketoconazole for the fungal infection. She was on the ketoconazole for two or three months, I think. It immediately was effective (less itching within the first week), but she stayed on it until additional checks showed no signs of the fungal infection.

 

We fought this ineffectively for 12 months with antibiotics (and creams or sprays); from biopsy to "all clear" took about 4 months. She's been fine now for 5 months. Why did I wait so long?

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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Guest RMarie

Thanks, Batmom and KF_in_Georgia. James came off the track last year with skin problems. We were told it was a bacterial infection. He came to us in August either still on meds for his skin or for diarrhea, can't remember which one. Ever since then, he hasn't been off meds for more than 2 months it seems like. With how crusty his skin was in March, I thought it was fungal. The vet didn't scrape, but diagnosed staph after finding pus-filled lesions in his groin. The 2 weeks of Simplicef seemed to get rid of it. I was concerned the dose was too short, since the infection seemed pretty bad, so part of me wasn't surprised it came back. I'll definitely make sure to talk about fungus with the vet later this month. He's such a sweetheart. I hate that he's constantly on meds.

 

Suppose it's fungal...what does that mean for the couch, his primary resting place. Is the couch infected? Do I burn it (joking...sort of)?

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I would definitely want a scrape and a culture. If it is ringworm or similar, antibiotics won't deal with the underlying problem. I have a friend who has been dealing with ringworm for months bought in by a cat from a rescue.

It may be almost unnoticeable on some dogs but any that have an underlying immune problem or are stressed will often get reoccurring staph infections.

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Silver's fungal infection was under the surface. It never showed on skin scrapings, and it never spread to me, the other dog, or even anywhere else on her body. She was here with that infection for more than a year, and she was on all the dog beds (and sleeping with me). I'd say, get a skin scraping for James, and if it doesn't show a fungal infection, you don't have to worry about the couch. You'll still need samples cultured to see what's under the surface, but I think if the fungal stuff isn't on the surface of his skin, it can't get to your furniture.

 

(Meanwhile, find an inexpensive furniture cover--or an old comforter at Goodwill--that you can toss over the sofa. You don't have to mention "fungal" in front of friends as you pull the cover off in front of company. You can say the cover is there to grab hair as James sheds. --And it'll do that, too.)

 

6508155739_dc558e13fe.jpg

Silver, in the bad old days...

Edited by KF_in_Georgia

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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Can you get a referral to see a derm vet? Sometimes you end up running your wheels trying different treatments and in the long run most often you are only treating the symptoms and not resolving the original disease.

In my boys case his skin issues are kept at bay with frequent bathing with Ketachlor shampoo-his underlying disease is environmental allergies. Lucky for me I can spot his flairs and get him in the tub before its full blown. Thankfully, he's a wonderful boy to bathe--actually, tonight is his tubby time :-)

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Guest RMarie

We actually already keep 2 large blankets on the couch to catch James' hair so that won't be an issue.

 

The rash looks nasty, KF_in_Georgia. Sorry you had to endure that. I can't even show you a picture of James' problem. If you look at him, you can't see anything wrong with him. You have to pet him to feel the problem. There is an area of skin on top of his back that feels hard, like a turtle shell. If you pull hard enough, the skin (and fur) will pull off revealing raw skin. We haven't done that this time (the skin seems a bit more secure right now), but last time he had several bald spots on his back from us removing the crusty skin. DH and I are about to give him a bath, so we'll see if any skin/hair loss occurs. If so, I'll try to get a pic and post it.

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Guest RMarie

Well, the bath did not cause any skin loss. I'm not sure what will happen to his scaly skin this time. Last time, we (and the vet) pulled it all off. It grew back good as new. I wonder if it will slough off gradually on its own.

 

I appreciate the conversation about a fungal infection, but part of me still feels like it's more than just a skin problem. I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it's just a coincidence that he also cycles through loose stool. If it's not one (loose stool), it's the other (skin). I don't want anything to be seriously wrong with him, but I also don't want to focus on just treating his skin if there's an underlying systemic issue triggering it all.

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The problem with these things is the huge variety of causes. First dog I had with recurring/chronic infections had Cushing's disease. Next dog appeared to have a weakened or dysfunctional immune system. Her skin infection was related to demodex. Soleil had issues related to a wheat allergy. What you are describing sounds much like the Cushing's dog.

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Cycling through loose stool would most likely be worms, such as hookworms.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I'll preface this by saying that I know James and Rachel personally, so I have a little more information than what is written in the first post. From what Rachel described, I'm leaning toward a GI problem. The vet recognized the rashes immediately as a staph infection. Dogs carry staph on their bodies often (nearly 20% of the time), so for him to keep getting recurring infections, his immune system must be compromised... which, very likely, is attributed to him not absorbing needed nutrients from having repeated rounds of diarrhea. He's had a history of GI upset from a lot of different things (multiple brands of kibble, training treats, hot dogs etc). Once, it was so bad that he lost a good amount of weight. After being on sulfasalazine for awhile, he bounced back and gained weight (I don't think that would've happened if parasites were the issue). Plus, Rachel has him on Heartgard Plus every month, which would cover hooks. It's been an ongoing cycle for James of diarrhea and staph infections, so to me, this sounds like a food allergy, collitis, or IBD.

 

If this were my dog, I think I would start with allergy testing and a skin scraping. I might also try prescription food.

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You really want to verify that it's staph, not something else, and culture to determine which staph it is. You really can't tell by looking. You can guess, but guesses aren't always right. Most often, skin infections have nothing to do with diet or allergy except secondary to other irritation -- itchy spots that the dog scratches and that then become infected. Except for those secondary types of infections, most also don't recur -- there's more often a single, original infection that is never cured. That's not to say other things can't happen. Just, you really want to explore those horses before you start looking for zebras, KWIM?

 

Heartgard Plus will keep a dog from *getting* hooks under casual-exposure circumstances. It doesn't have a strong enough dose, and it isn't given often enough, to cure a significant hookworm infestation.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Most often, skin infections have nothing to do with diet or allergy except secondary to other irritation -- itchy spots that the dog scratches and that then become infected. Except for those secondary types of infections, most also don't recur -- there's more often a single, original infection that is never cured. That's not to say other things can't happen. Just, you really want to explore those horses before you start looking for zebras, KWIM?

 

I do agree with this, except that the pustules are on the top of his back.

 

And I guess my point is that it's probably not a coincidence that he keeps going back and forth between staph infections and diarrhea. Just when the diarrhea clears up, the skin infection comes back, and vice versa. I agree though, that a stool sample is probably a good idea just to cover all the bases. Rachel, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the last one came back negative, right?

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Many dogs get loose stool from taking antibiotics. There are a bunch of ways to address that -- different antibiotic, bulking product (Metamucil, endosorb) .... For my own dogs, I don't worry about it unless there's unusual frequency or urgency; apparent discomfort; or it doesn't improve within 4-5 days after stopping the med.

 

I do notice that the dog was never on antibiotics for the time usually needed to cure a significant skin infection. You want at least 4 weeks. In practice, I've more often seen 6-8 weeks.

 

So, the pattern to me looks like: Dog gets antibiotics, gets antibiotic-associated diarrhea, is taken off antibiotics too soon, skin infection isn't cured so comes back, dog goes back on antibiotics, gets antibiotic-associated diarrhea, is taken off antibiotics too soon, skin infection isn't cured so comes back ......

 

YMMV. But, at this point, I'd redo the fecal and get those lesions cultured. If antibiotics *are* a problem for this dog, you certainly want to make sure you're giving the meds that will solve the problem. And make sure the vet tells the lab that the dog doesn't get on terribly well with the antibiotic they've used so far.

 

If some other condition is contributing to his problem, that's moot right now. Solving other issues won't cure an existing fungal or bacterial infection. You'll need meds for that.

Edited by Batmom

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Hi there. Sorry James is feeling so poorly. Sorry, don't know anything about possum bites - but my Indy (the subject of my email below) DID bite the tail off a skunk and went several rounds with a squirrel that he eventually killed - so he was on antibiotics as well.

 

Anyway, this may NOT be his issue but I will just share as you never know who you might help ...

 

In 2001, I adopted my first greyhound -- a 3-1/2 yr old brindle male. At the time of adoption, Indy had a yeast infection in his ear as well as hook worms - which I continued to treat. During the first year post adoption, Indy suffered a few rounds of worms (hook, round, tape) and giardia as well as significant skin issues, hair loss. Admittedly, I was a novice owner - so I tried different foods, etc. Seems like we went to the vet weekly. Finally, his general vet referred us to a doggy dermatologist.

 

First visit with dermatologist was $1000+ (skin testing, scrapings, etc). Long story but we got sucked into the vicious cycle of elimination diet, antibiotics, antihistamines, allergy shots, creams, steroidal ointments -- everything except oral steroids. I probably spent over $10,000 within a few years. I don't know for sure as I will NEVER total the specialist's bills. (BTW, the vet had NO problem taking full $$$ advantage of the situation.)

 

That being said -- eventually the dermatologist ran out of treatment options. Indy was still constantly itching, scratching, licking to the point where the dermatologist recommended the canine equivalent of a body (neoprene-like) suit. Huh? My dog was extremely ill, had constant staph infections on his outer thighs, butt and groin area. Major hair loss - was virtually bald except for his back and head. Had difficulty with bowel movements. Was grumpy and irritable. And the vet wants me to dress him in a body suit of sorts????

 

In the interim, I had consulted with two other vets. Asked them to run thyroid panels. Was told they were "normal." Dermatologist also ran a thyroid panel and stated it was "normal." Out of sheer frustration and at a total loss as to how to help my boy, I returned to Indy's general vet and asked her to run yet ANOTHER thyroid panel. Results came back "borderline" normal. Meaning if the range was 0 - 20; Indy was at 0. (sorry, I cannot recall the specifics (T3, T4) right now without reviewing Indy's records.). The panel was sent to Michigan State University.

 

Since NOTHING else was working, I asked his general vet if we could start Indy on thyroid meds. A trial basis for six weeks. She was okay with that.

 

Within one month, I could see an overall improvement in Indy's health. In time, his recovery was almost miraculous and I was able to discontinue all allergy treatment. His fur grew back and the staph infections disappeared. His disposition improved. Bowel movements regulated. Indy was well. Never had another skin or allergy issue. Indy lived to 12+ yr old. I truly believe I would have lost him at a much earlier age had we not resolved the thyroid issue. My point is -- what is "normal" for one dog may not be "normal" for another.

 

Oh, during the allergy treatment years, I did serve Indy a diet for "sensitive" skin, stomach, etc.

 

I don't know if this is your pup's problem - but I would never want any owner to have to endure what Indy and I went through. Many here will poo-poo thyroid treatment but until you've had pup who has suffered with crazy, nebulous, non-specific, bizarre issues that ultimately prove to be thyroid related (and I'm on thyroid meds as well) -- well, don't assume it is as gospel. Be your pup's advocate.

 

Good luck to you and James and I am hopeful you can help him to feel better. Hugs.

Edited by IndyandHollyluv
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Guest RMarie

Thanks for the feedback everyone. About getting his poops tested, every single time James has had diarrhea/loose stool that did not immediately respond to a "reset" diet of chicken and rice that caused us to go to the vet, we took a poop sample. All samples to date have come back negative. Now, I know that does not mean he isn't infected with some sort of parasite, but I really don't think it's a parasite or worms causing his problems.

 

I recognize the fact that his gut may not respond well to the antibiotics for his skin. That's what we've chalked this most recent bout of diarrhea to: the antibiotics from March having killed off his good gut bacteria. However, my biggest issue with this theory is that James has been on a probiotic for months now. Granted, it was a human probiotic because our first vet said it was fine (if it's ok for people, it's ok for dogs). Our current vet did not like that idea and said he was missing canine bacteria, so we started Fortiflora (which initially caused liquid poo, but after a few days his poop was good). James seems to handle Simplicef fine while he's actually taking it. The poop problems don't usually crop up until weeks after he's finished with the antibiotic. If his gut doesn't like the antibiotic, is it normal for such a delayed reaction?

 

As far as the possum bite goes, we blamed that on James' staph infection in March because well, he WAS bit by a possum, which could have caused an infection, and we really didn't know what else to blame it on (thanks to Turtleman, I learned that possums carry lots of bacteria in their mouthes). It wasn't an immediate reaction, though. The first signs we saw were what we thought were "hot spots" in his groin. We tried limiting his access to his groin by putting shorts on him. That seemed to help that area as he couldn't lick it...little did we know his back was starting to become crusty. We were shocked when we found it. The infection was bad enough that the skin literally fell off with the slightest pull on his fur. We initially thought it was a wound from hitting his back off his crate entrance. But, when it started spreading, we knew it was something else. The vet wasn't sure at first what it was, but when she examined his groin and found pustules, she diagnosed staph. Yes, I recognize that she didn't do a scraping and can't be 100% certain that it was staph, but I'm going to trust her until I'm given a good reason not to.

 

Despite these constant problems, James exhibits no signs of not feeling well. Even when the poor guy is pooping liquid, he never seems to feel bad. Finding the right food has been a challenge. When we got him, he was on Rx low-residue crap. He was down almost 10lbs from his racing weight (69lbs). We eventually gave up on the low-residue food and started him on Nature's Domain salmon/sweet potato, thinking it would help his skin. He was ok on that food for a couple of months, then his body gradually rejected it. He started having loose poops, dandruff, and TERRIBLE farts. Enter a hotdog in obedience class that caused never-ending diarrhea, James went on sulfasalazine. We took that opportunity to switch to Iams green bag. He did ok on that, but was pooping a lot, so we mixed in Nutro Natural Choice Venison/Brown Rice (sensitive skin, stomach stuff). He was doing great on that, for several months, until his poops started degrading, again. That's when there were rumors of problems with Nutro, so I switched the Nutro for Natural Balance Venison. He had great poops for about a week, then diarrhea. So, now he's on nothing but green bag. He's doing fine. But, I fear that he's going to degrade, as history would indicate. I really hope not. I have NO idea what we'll do if green bag fails us. Would an allergy to food cause more immediate reactions? Is the slow degradation of poop normal for a food allergy? (Note: I did a very gradual food introduction each time, slower than most people say is necessary.)

 

Wow, I just wrote a ton. Thanks to anyone still reading this. I don't want to make this into a bigger deal than it is. But, I also don't want to rest on my laurels assuming James will just get over it. I'm sick of going to the vet. I want to figure out what, if anything, is responsible for all of this. I really don't think it's an allergy or parasite. Thyroid is an option (yes, IndyandHollyluv, people on here to poo poo on that theory), so I may inquire with the vet about testing his thyroid. But, what do I know? Not much, so that's why I really appreciate hearing everyone's experiences.

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The diarrhea does sound unrelated. If he did OK on the IAMS except for quantity, it might be worth returning to that (green bag or red bag, which IIRC has a bit less fat). I wouldn't expect a human probiotic to be useful.

 

There are food allergies and food intolerances. Often similar results but different mechanism in the dog. Allergies and intolerances can both develop over time but it doesn't happen often that you get into a serial process like you're seeing, especially when the dog seems to feel well! The cycle *sounds* most like worms. Most dogs tolerate Panacur well, so a couple courses of that might be a good start. No change? Then I would probably retreat to chicken and rice, add a calcium and vitamin supplement, and let his gut rest for a couple months. Then sloooooooooooooooowly introduce other foods.

 

The skin infection *sounds* like staph ... but ... you just never know until you test. I think the usual process for most vets is similar to UTI -- first time around, assume it's the most common thing and treat for that. If that doesn't work, do the culture.

 

I hope you can get to the bottom of things. Been in a similar spot or three and know it's no fun.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I'm still recommending a referral to a veterinary dermatologist. If James's skin problem is triggered by an allergy, the dermatologist can find out. If it's caused by a fungal infection or mites in addition to the staph/bacterial infection, the dermatologist can find out. And if the problem is simply a resistant bacterial problem, a cultured sample will help determine the most effective antibiotic to use. If James's skin problems can be gotten under control, you might be able to find out what digestion problems he has when he isn't on-and-off antibiotics. (Perhaps the Simplecef is keeping digestive problems under control for a while, but when the Simplecef stops, his intestinal problems come back. That would explain why he's not having diarrhea until the meds are over with--and that would mean that it's not a rolling allergy to different foods.)

 

For nearly a year, my vet and I tried diagnosing by treatment: we'll try x in case it's problem y; if x clears things up, we'll know she had y. Meanwhile, Silver's leg itched constantly, and she was muzzled nearly 24 hours a day for months to keep her from chewing her leg raw. Change her food to no chicken; change her food to no fish. Try antihistamines. Try behavioral meds in case the chewing is OCD (she had separation anxiety already, so the behavioral meds were helpful for that, even if they didn't make her stop chewing her leg.) Find a novel protein. (I'd had her less than a year. Lord knows what she was eating before she got here, so how do you identify a novel protein?) Try manuka honey. Try fish oil capsules. Give her oatmeal instead of rice. Try sweet potatoes. Try ivermec in case it's parasites. (This one seemed to help--for a month or so.) Test for Alabama rot. Test for ringworm. This was closest to the problem, except that her infection was below the skin, so the usual blacklight or skin scrapings weren't helpful. Skin scrapings always showed bacteria, but then she was always biting and licking the leg...and depositing more bacteria on the surface of the leg. Try Gentocin spray. Try Bactine. Spray her leg with something so she won't chew. Put aloe on the leg to ease the irritation. Wash the leg frequently with medicated shampoo. Don't wash the leg too often because you'll dry out the skin. Silver learned to scratch the front leg with the nails on her back leg; I was down to trying to wrap the back foot to keep those toenails out of the mess or find something firm I could put on the front leg so she couldn't scratch it. All of these experiments took time, and you tried not to do two things at once so you could see which treatment was successful. None of them were, and she was remarkably patient with most of it; she tolerated everything but the muzzle, which she constantly slammed into me and Sam.

 

The dermatologist recommended a biopsy and I said I wanted to do it immediately. So the biopsy (three samples) happened on the first visit. Within a week, the dermatologist called to recommend Cephalexin based on the lab's examination of one sample. I wasn't impressed. We'd given her Cephalexin before with no effect. But I started her on that and waited. It was about two weeks after the biopsy that the vet called back and said the cultured samples had shown a fungal infection as well as the bacterial. He prescribed Ketoconazole and said to keep with the Cephalexin because the cultures said that was the best bet in antibiotics. I was skeptical since the leg was still itching--and since we'd done Cephalexin before. But soon after we started the Ketoconazole (within the first week, I think), you could see the improvement. We finished off the Cephalexin and stayed on the Ketoconazole for a while to make sure we'd nailed the fungal infection.

 

I don't know that a veterinary dermatologist will be able to nail James's problem as successfully as Silver's doctor fixed hers. And lord knows a veterinary dermatologist and biopsies don't come cheap. But aside from the priceless cure of Silver's problem--I think we'd already spent more on antibiotics, meds, sprays, diets, skin scrapings, vet visits, and other things in the year I had her than the dermatologist cost us. And we finally had a diagnosis--instead of a guess--and we had a successful treatment, which meant we could stop spending money on all the vet visits and meds and diet stuff.

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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  • 2 months later...

Hey RMarie, I know it's been a few months since this post was active, but I'm wondering how James is doing with his skin crusties and what the final diagnosis was? We're having similar issues with our Cecil. At first I thought bug bites because he's almost hairless on his underside, then noticed the pus, so ordered some Malaseb shampoo because I'm thinking staph. I just found a big crusty on his back and all his hair pulled off with it. Doubt that was caused by a bug bite. He's got a vet appointment on Monday, but it sounds very similar to James's skin issues. He's always had a sensitive tummy and I've been a little adventurous with his treats lately because his GI issues have been so good for so long and still are. I wonder if that's what caused the skin issue? The last thing we want to do is give him an antibiotic since his tummy has been so stable, but... Anyway, lots of similarities and just wondered how you and James ended up.

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Guest Marsroving

Did they culture the staph? Could he have an antibiotic resistant strain like m.r.s.a? If it keeps coming back as soon as the antibiotics are ceased I would be concerned that its the wrong type of med.

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