Skin infection makes a sad doggy

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

June 5th, 2012



It’s been awhile since my last Tuesday update about Mitch, the wonder golden retriever puppy. This photo is of him basking in the warm sun on the cottage deck about a month ago.

Mitch really is a wonder: now nine months old, he is almost as calm and well-behaved as our last golden retriever, Taylor, was at 10 years. Well, except for the Cottage Life magazine he destroyed…was there something about the last issue he didn’t like? Or perhaps when dogs chew on something it’s a sign they do like it! On Sunday, while we were at a barbecue, Mitch pulled out the insole of one of my canvas shoes and shredded it. The shoe, strangely enough, is fine. I guess there’s still a bit of puppy left in our curly guy, after all. Yes, Mitch has still got his golden curls. If it weren’t for his smooth retriever face, you’d think he was a red golden doodle.

In any case, Mitch was not himself after his last visit to the cottage. He returned with small red bumps all over his soft belly and groin, which he licked and chewed until the whole area was seriously infected. An antibiotic and antihistamine have finally, nearly a week later, calmed the area (and the dog). Since he started to feel better, our boy has been remarkably cheerful, even while wearing a plastic cone around his head to keep him from licking the infected skin. Last night, as I watched him throw his ball up in the air, I was convinced he planned to use the cone as a catcher’s mitt.

We have a few theories about the reason for his skin problems. We wonder, for example, if he had been swimming in the swampy pond behind the cottage. Or perhaps his itchy skin was caused by an allergy to wading through juniper bushes—which would be a big problem at our place! Our friend John, who owns Mitch’s BFF Joey, thinks Mitch may have had a severe reaction to black flies.

Meanwhile, DH calls me the dog whisperer when it comes to administering the medication. It’s not so hard, really. The secret is to hide it in bits of bread liberally slathered with butter. What’s not to like?


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May. 28, 2013

10:05 am

Our dogs do get blackfly bites on their bellies - and I could easily see that progressing to a nasty rash and secondary infection if they continued to lick at and worry it. I have found it very handy to keep a can of aerosol Solarcaine (the first-aid spray, with local anaesthetic in it) at the cottage. At the first sign of excessive licking, I give their bellies a spray (and at bedtime, if I know they have bites), and generally the unpleasant feel of a 'frozen' tongue deters the licking (and no doubt gives itch relief as well). Some of our dogs as they aged, developed very thick fur on their bellies, and we found it kept them a lot more comfortable if we trimmed their undersides so that the belly area dried off more readily, and had better air circulation. Just a couple tips we've found helpful - hope you do too! Mitch is a seasoned cottager by now!

Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Jun. 8, 2012

10:00 am

That's interesting, but not great news for a retriever with a lifetime of cottage swimming ahead of him! I really appreciate the tip, and I’ll ask our vet for the correct Benedryl dose for Mitch’s weight. Good luck with your lab.

Jun. 8, 2012

9:00 am

Hmm. My lab gets a rash, too, whenever she goes swimming in the lake. Turns out to be a resident doggy staph infection, says the vet. I have to dry her well, and dose her with Benedryl after her swims, and sometimes antibiotics when it gets bad. Poor doggy.

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