Dealing with your pet’s constant itchiness

Filed under Pharmacy Blog

There can be many causes for your dog's persistent itchiness

One of the most puzzling and frustrating conditions that we as pet owners may face is a dog that keeps scratching. This scratching often keeps both pet and owner awake at night staring into the darkness in frustration. Besides the inconvenience and discomfort, continuous scratching in one area can damage your pet’s skin and lead to a possible infection. The most immediate thought that often enters the mind, among the many possible causes, is that your dog could have something crawling on the skin. This leads to possibly over-medicating the pet with topical or oral flea medications and the subsequent loss of confidence in the product’s ability to protect against infestation when your pet continues to scratch.

The reality is that itchy skin can simply be caused by the skin becoming too dry.  Although the itchiness could be the result of fleas or other parasites, it can also be caused by a variety of other factors that may have nothing to do with fleas. Read More »

Your pet’s skin and coat provide clues to overall health

Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Fatty acid supplements can help your dog's skin and coat

It seems like a big concern for many people today is keeping the skin looking and feeling young.  Aging gracefully has been for the most part replaced with the concept that aging is a disease that can be prevented. Everywhere we look we see words such as anti-oxidants, free radicals, lasers, surgeries, essential fatty acids, and other drugs or methods designed at keeping us feeling and looking younger for longer than ever before. When we’re young we wish to be older, when old we wish to be young, when wealthy we see the beauty in the simplicity of not having much, and when we’re struggling with finances we believe that money can solve all our problems. Probably the best way to avoid the trap of always looking for that something “else” to make everything better, is to begin appreciating what we do have and to live in the present.  There is something beautiful about a person who appreciates who they are, what they have, does not regret the past, and is not afraid of the future. Read More »

Dealing with your dog’s dry, itchy skin

Filed under Pharmacy Blog

dry itchy skin in dogs can have several causes

The phrase “having thick skin” to describe someone who can take a lot of abuse and still be forgiving or even somewhat happy must not have been coined by a person who knows anything about dogs. A dog’s skin only contains one layer compared to a human’s skin that has three different layers. Yet, with only that one layer, most dogs can keep a positive attitude as they withstand quite a bit of abuse, neglect, mistreatment and more. The fact that a dog will generally accept an apology from his or her owner no matter who the owner is or what they have done certainly makes me want to re-evaluate that saying.

Because dog skin is a single layer, it is extremely sensitive to a variety of conditions. Some of these can be treated and the condition relieved or cured, while other conditions are caused by something that cannot be cured but only managed. In those cases, managing the condition day-by-day or week-by-week does sometimes allow the dog to be as symptom-free and as comfortable as possible. Read More »

Fungal Infection of the Skin in Dogs and Cats

Filed under Pharmacy Blog

A fungal infection may cause itchiness

My blog editor and close friend Abby recently moved with her two cats “Daisy” and “Harley.” By the first evening her cats seemed perfectly adjusted to the new home and appeared very happy. When I moved with my cats last year however, it took them about one full week to get comfortable and another full week to look happy. What was the difference between our two moves? I wondered. Read More »

The Use of Fatty Acids in Dogs and Cats

Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Fatty acids help maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat

When we mention the word fat these days, it seems to have an immediate negative connotation. We immediately imagine overweight, unhealthy, possibly the source of many of today’s illnesses and health struggles. The fact is that fats provide the most concentrated source of energy; if that energy is not used up it may be stored in the body for possible future use. That stored form of “energy” we recognize as someone “being fat.” Fats contain more than twice the amount of energy as proteins or carbohydrates so obviously ingesting that much energy and remaining sedentary is not a good way to stay thin. Dogs and cats love to run around, chase things, and explore. When we turn our pets into “couch potatoes” and increase the fat intake, we risk causing them health problems. Fats cannot be eliminated completely from the diet however because they are required for a variety of important reasons. Read More »

Causes And Treatments For Your Pet’s Dry Itchy Skin

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog


One of the most common dermatological complaints seen in the veterinary clinic is the presentation of itchy pets with dry, flaky skin. There can be many causes of this common scenario, including inhalant/contact allergies to molds, grasses, trees, pollens, dust mites, etc.  Flea bite allergies and food allergies may also play a role in other itchy pets. Parasites, including ringworm and mange mites are also occasionally seen in the veterinary clinic. Hormonal problems including thyroid and adrenal gland problems may also result in coat changes and sometimes itchy skin. Pets with chronic metabolic diseases may present with dry itchy skin as well. Read More »

Mange in Pets: Demodectic vs. Sarcoptic

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
With demodectic mange, lesions may or may not be itchy.

There are two common types of mange seen in companion animals. The most frequent type of mange diagnosed is demodectic mange. These mites are found normally in hair follicles on a pet’s skin in low numbers. However, because of genetic deficiencies in younger pets or immunosuppressive diseases in older pets, these mites may multiply on the skin leading to clinical disease.

Symptoms of demodex include patchy areas of hair loss, crusting or scaliness commonly found on the head, neck and legs. In localized demodex, lesions are usually confined to only a few areas; however, in generalized demodex the entire body may become affected. With demodectic mange, lesions may or may not be itchy. It is important to note that demodex is not contagious to other animals or people. Read More »

Help! How do I stop this Shedding?

Filed under Pharmacy Blog

Some dogs seem to shed year-round.

I am almost certain that the families that claim financial matters as the leading cause of stress in their relationships have not had to deal with a dog that sheds as much as my “Duke.” It makes perfect sense to me that a dog with a heavy coat would shed some of it after the cold winter going into a hot summer.  This would be a great example of something that makes me think of the term “function anatomy” if it’s not for the fact that my dog “Duke” sheds all the time. Read More »

Alopecia X in Dogs

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog

Alopecia X is more common in certain breeds such as toy and miniature poodles.

A very interesting skin condition seen in the veterinary clinics is known by veterinary dermatologists as Alopecia X. This hair follicle and cycle abnormality is more prominent in certain breeds such as toy and miniature poodles. Some veterinarians have referred to this syndrome as hair cycle arrest. This syndrome can affect dogs of either sex, regardless of neuter or age status. There have been reported cases in dogs as young as one year of age, as well as dogs as old as age 10-12.

The typical clinical presentation is the symmetrical, gradual loss of hair over the trunk and lower end of the body, often affecting the back of the thighs. It seems that in most cases, the hair loss does not involve the head and front limbs as much as the lower end of the body. There is often a secondary thickening or development of hyper-pigmentation of the skin over time. Most of the dogs that develop this syndrome are not systemically ill, and it is not known why the hair cycle goes into this arrested state. While the diagnosis can be suspected based on clinical appearance, skin biopsy to differentiate it from other coat disorders is probably the most definitive test.

While I have seen some veterinarians use hormones such as melatonin in treating affected dogs, there are really no currently proven effective treatments at this time.  As a holistic veterinarian I have found that, if animal guardians place their pets on a more evolutionary appropriate raw meat based diet, as well as work with a holistic veterinarian on using nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies over time, that improvement may occur slowly. Even if not successful, such an approach will most likely improve the overall health of the animal.

To learn more about classical homeopathic approaches to this and other diseases that conventional medicine has little to offer, see the websites as well as my own website

Miliary Dermatitis in Cats

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog

Miliary dermatitis is a common skin condition in cats.

Miliary dermatitis is a very common skin presentation seen in cats at the veterinary clinic. It manifests most typically as a scabby inflammation of the skin which actually feels like millet seeds as one runs the hand through the hair coat. The small crusts and scabs may appear anywhere on the cat’s body, but most commonly is seen around the head and neck.

Miliary dermatitis is most commonly seen secondary to either inhalant/contact allergies, flea bite allergies or food allergies in cats. Unless these potential underlying causes are addressed the condition will recur. Treatment of a flare-up of miliary dermatitis may involve corticosteroids, antihistamines and sometimes antibiotics for accompanying skin infections.

Omega 3 fatty acids such as Be Well or The Missing Link also may help when added to the food long term.   Holistic veterinarians will often change the diet of affected pets to an all natural novel protein diet, and/or in some cases to a raw meat based diet, as well as use herbal and homeopathic remedies to strengthen the immune system.  Prognosis for recovery is excellent, as long as the above underlying causes are addressed.