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Allergic rash

Our 2 year old Vizsla apparently has contact allergies (weeds, grasses, etc.) because while hunting in the field he breaks out in a rash which sometimes festers, other times just scabs and peels. However, he is also losing hair on his abdomen, chest, and tops of his feet which does not regenerate. We've tried bathing him after hunting episodes, steroids, antihistamines, change in diet, and topical applications (hydrocortisone, aloe with lidocaine, etc.). We would appreciate any thoughts you might have on what to do next.

As you have seen theses cases are extremely frustrating and often difficult to diagnose. When I am faced with a truly difficult skin case I do what all good general practitioners do and "pass the buck"! Actually I refer them to a skin specialist that comes to the Albuquerque area every month. I think the most important thing to do in these cases is to establish a definite diagnosis so you know how to treat the dog. Once the specialist rules out food allergies (still a possibility even if you change diets as many foods of different brand names share ingredients like corn, wheat, beef etc.) , parasites, yeast, bacterial infections, hypersensitivity etc., he does allergy testing much like they do in people. He will inject a variety of allergens common to your area in your dogs skin and see which, and to what extent, your dog is allergic. That way the specialist and your vet can develop an effective treatment plan. Good luck, your regular veterinarian will know the best place to refer your dog and I bet will be happy to "turf" this one to a specialist.

Dr. Mike

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