View Full Version : To euthanize or not?

06-03-2006, 07:33 PM
Well, poor Peanut isn't doing as good as we had hoped. :(

He was most definately starving to death as in just over two weeks he's put on so much weight that even shaved you can no longer see his hip bones or ribs. We are so pleased with his weight. He walks, runs, plays, barks, jumps, chews--your typical 12 week old puppy "stuff".

But, his skin condition doesn't seem to stay improved. The vet and animal control both agree that he's got a MAJOR case of hot spots. Skin tests didn't show any bacterial growth or mites, nothing along those lines. So we put him on a spray for the hot spots, 2 squirts every 2 hours for a few days, and the spots went away. 2 days later, they came back. So we shaved the coat off and went with a cortisone cream for a couple days. And a day later they came back. So we tried anitibiotics for a week, along with alternating between spray and cream. They went away. And then came back. Through all this we've tried allergy meds, fish oil and some other vitamins and herbs in hopes they'd help. But they don't.

He's so miserable!!! Always scratching himself. I've been told that sometimes they can be born with an imbalance that causes these skin conditions and that there is nothing than can be done.

So now we've come down to do we euthanize him or not? Our fear is that he's going to need constant treatment for this. Which means he's going to have be a house dog 24/7 (not a big thing in this area). The owner is going to have to keep him shaved, at least for most of the year (it's HOT down here March through Nov). They are going to have to keep him on creams, oils, sprays and oral medications every day. And the allergy meds, which seem to help the most, knock him out and make him very sleepy. Lowering the dosage, as we've tried, doesn't help him be comfortable. Not to mention, it means he can't get wet at all--no baths, no swimming, no lakes, no creeks, no ponds, no sprinklers. NO water. We're afraid, even if he does find a home with his condition, if the owner fails to give him a treatment even once or forgets and lets him get wet, poor Peanut is going to suffer. We don't want him to suffer.

My animal control friend tells me almost every day that it's time, time to bring him in and have him put down. I know she's right. I just keep hoping "this" will do it. Whatever new treatment we try today is going to be the one that solves this problem. I know they can't all be saved. I just had such high hopes for this little guy, he's such a sweetheart.

So what do you think? Do you think it's time? If weeks of various treatments don't cure the problem completely, would you put it to sleep?

06-03-2006, 08:05 PM
Personally I would keep trying for a little longer. What kind of hot spot spray are you using. My company makes a hot spot spray is why I ask. I would analyze what kind of food he's on to see if maybe hes allergic to it. And I'd get a second opinion from a new vet.

06-04-2006, 06:28 AM
I would keep trying, my sisters dog went through something similar, it was a long road but she did clear up given time. Heres a great site that may help you look into other hotspot problems you haven't thought of, http://www.ivis.org/ , it doesn't cost anything to join up, just put in in the redgistration that your a vet student. There are a lot of great articals in there and just recently one was added about hot spots and other dermilogical problems. Give it a try it might be something so obvious that its just been over looked and you might find it in there.

06-04-2006, 09:31 AM
sometimes its the very simple things that provide an answer. my poor dalmatian had all this terrible rough skin come up in her arm pits and her belly and nothing seemed to help.

i cleared it up with baby lotion! her fur is growing back now and her skin is still discoloured but no more itchy flaky skin to drive her wild.

06-04-2006, 09:53 AM
That's what I'm afriad of........we're going to go ahead and put him down and then it'll hit someone on what else we could have tried. Then I'll be so angry with myself. We've tried a spray called Betegan, which smells like rubbing alcohol. Another spray, I don't remember the name of, seemed to make him itch more and sneeze and put snot in his eyes. I stopped that spray and it was clear it two days. We tried otc cortisone cream and allergy meds. We also tried a cream called Nustock, which had a 99% guarantee to "fix" the problem. AC brought over two creams that were supposed to be for hot spots but I don't know what they were called, she brought them in a clear plastic dish (basically gave me a sample of what they use there). We've also shaved him, which seems to help with the itching.....until the hair begins to grow back that is.

I've got a picture of the last time we stopped the meds, after recommended day amount of treatment. They aren't great pics, but you can see the sores. His other "arm" is a match to this one. His hind end cleared up great the first time around. Then it came back and I shaved him, did the creams, and it's been good since. But his arms, neck and arm pits doesn't seem to want to clear up at all.

I took this pic 4 days into meds.


06-04-2006, 11:56 AM
poor little lamb. i know its heart breaking esp after everything he has been through already.

something that has made me wonder, has a flea allergy or flea treatment allergy been ruled out??

another thing i suffer from excema and at its worse i have been split and bleeding form head to toe with varients in between, there is a cream used widely in nursing homes which i had been given and so was my daughter for her psoriosis.

i will do some digging to remember what it was but there is also a solution called e45 and that is a cream and a bath oil which is also very good. when using the e45 bath solution he will need a non slip mat as the bottom of the bath is turned into a skid pan.

06-04-2006, 04:32 PM
He does not have fleas and we have not used a flea treatment of any kind on him; so I'm comfortable ruling out any flea treatment as being the problem. As I said early, all bacterial and/or mite growth on his skin has also been ruled out.

Thanks for the info on the bath treatment but I, unfortunetly, must rule that out as well. Water makes it worse for him....even if he is immediately dried after getting wet (we've tried warm and cool blow drying on him). Being in cool air conditioning doesn't help and neither does being in warm or even the heat outside temperatures. But water is a definate no-no as he just gets in even more pain. Even on any oral or cream treatments, if he gets even the slightest bit damp we must start completely over. I have even gone so far as to bathe him in different temperature waters--even using bottled water. Water is a major no-no so any treatment that requires getting him wet has to be ruled out. Pouring water on him creates the same reaction pouring pure rubbing alcohol on an open wound would for me.

I'm at a loss. It seems like everything we try just makes it worse. They are definately hot spots...not mites, excema, mange or anything like that. These are head to toe hot spots. They will most likely go away come fall. But no doubt will return the following spring. It's so heartbreaking. He has been through so much hell already. At least, if he does die, it's not because he starved to death. See how chubby he is??? I'm so happy about that. But the skin thing is just........tireing.

06-04-2006, 08:43 PM
'Hot spots' are only oozing sores caused by either fleas, mange (which I believe it is as it is the only problem that is worsened by getting wet - PLEASE take him to another vet and ask him to look for sarcoptic mites) or bacterial infections.

Here's how it goes - NO MATTER WHAT causes the itching once they scratch and open up the skin the open wounds become infected - YES THEY DO and YES he has bacterial infection. I can't imagine what kind of vet told you he doesn't but first of all it is obvious in the picture and secondly it is impossible that it wouldn't be infected.

Whatever mange treatment you use you must also put him on cephalexin (an antibiotic for skin infections). The infections also cause his skin to itch so unless you treat that too even if you clear up the primary cause he will still continue to scratch.

I cannot believe that a vet told you he has no infection NOR can I believe they told you he didn't have mange. Poor little thing - he needs a real and caring vet and he will be just fine.

06-05-2006, 01:40 AM
Hot spots can (and are usually) caused by moisture on the surface of the skin. That is why it is recommended to shave the hair away from the spot--so the air can get to the spot and evaporate the moisture. It is not only caused by fleas or mange.

The darkened areas on his body, from the picture last week, is scar tissue from previously untreated hot spots--I'd say most likely the reason he was dropped off in a wooded lot and left to starve to death. There is little to nothing that can be done for this. What we are trying to do is stop new hot spots from forming.

Sarcoptic mites have been ruled out because 1) they didn't show up on ANY of the previous skin scrapings (not a fail safe I know), 2) 99% of the time, sarcoptic mites "attack" the ears first and Peanut's head is the ONLY part of his body that does not have any type of skin affliction on it. His ears are in perfect shape, with no scar tissue to show that there may have even been a problem on his ears at one point in time. He is only guestimated to be 10 to 12 weeks old so the amount of time he would have needed to fully heal in this area was not available and 3) the corticosteroid DOES improve the condition. Sarcoptic mites reproduce much faster with cortisone creams so the condition worsens on it. As I said, his improves.

We are absolutely positive these are hot spots--and we see so many cases of hot spots around here. But AC worries that if we do get this cleared up once and for all and get him in a home, who's to say it's not going to happen again next summer. Can we be positive that it won't? And, if it does, can we feel aboslutely comfortable and be absolutely positive he will receive the treatment he needs and not be put back out on the street to starve to death.........again? We cannot tell the adopter that "this" treatment worked because the treatment that worked the first time did not work the second time. So who's to say the treatment that works the third time will work, no doubt, the fourth time? In roughly 3 weeks time, with skin scrapings and various treatments we have racked up near $500. Will an adopter be willing to go these lengths next summer, and every summer following, if need be? The problem is--we don't know.

Anyway. He just finished his second 1 week antibiotic, anthihistimine, and corticosteroid treatment. It was suggested we try a different antibiotic, continue it and the allergy meds and corticosteriod for 2 weeks straight this time.

Anyone ever heard of DermaCaps? It's supposed to be a popular Omega Fatty Acid supplement that claims to help with repeated hot spots and other skin afflictions. I thought about giving it a try this time.

06-05-2006, 03:23 AM
Here's a simple explanation of sarcoptic mange - if you will notice the mites are found only FIFTY percent of the time and if you also notice they don't always appear on the ears.

Notice too that when diagnosis is difficult vets SHOULD treat for it and if the treatment works then the problem has been solved - no sense in not treating for it - the treatment is much cheaper than the tests your vet is having you do.


06-16-2006, 06:17 PM
If you don't mind my asking, what type of food does he eat? A food allergy will show in severe skin problems quite often. Some dogs are allergic to corn or wheat, both of which are ingredients used in some 'vet' foods such as Medi Cal and Science Diet. Maybe it could be his diet?? poor boy :(

06-16-2006, 09:09 PM
Actually, he is doing a lot better right now. I surrendered all of my puppies to a local rescue group who is quite well known in the area. They have a high success rate for adoptions.

So his last set of antibiotics and creams did really, REALLY well. His skin was still pretty flaky but no more sores. The Rescue group I sent him to said their vet said it was a heat rash and ringworm. Whatever. It was not ringworm but if they want to treat him for it, that's cool. So he's being treated now for it and being neutered and then he's off to his home!!!