Treating Summer Dog Skin Itch

by Jeanette Hawkins
(Tacoma, WA )

I have a Jack Russell that constantly itches in the summer time. We have taken him to the vet and they say he doesn't have fleas. They prescribed a medicated shampoo for him which does seem to do the trick.

He scratches himself and bites himself to the point where he now has raw skin spots .. Is there anything out there to help my poor baby??

Vet Suggestion for Treating Dog Skin Itch

Hello Jeanette,

If your dog were my patient, I would be suspicious that seasonal allergies were to blame for his itchiness. To diagnose this condition and rule out many of the other diseases that can cause similar symptoms, I would need to perform a full physical exam, a skin scraping to eliminate mange mites as a potential cause, skin cytology to look for bacterial and yeast infections, and a fungal culture for ringworm.

The results of the fungal culture can take several weeks to come in, so in the meantime I would likely put him on a highly effective parasiticide like Revolution to deal with some of the parasites that can be hard to diagnose and treat anything else that we might have found (e.g., a skin infection).

If all these test came back negative and/or the problems that were found were effectively treated and your dog was still itchy only during the summer months, a tentative diagnosis of seasonal allergies could be made. Common culprits are pollen and mold. At this point you would have the option of pursuing allergy testing followed by a series of desensitizing allergy shots or symptomatic treatment with frequent baths, topical products like Dermoscent or Duoxo Seborrhea Spot-On to increase the barrier properties of the skin, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, prednisone therapy, and/or medications that suppress the immune system like cyclosporine (Atopica).

Your veterinarian is in the best position to help you decide which diagnostic and treatment path is most appropriate based on the details of your dog’s case.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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