Ask the Veterinarian/paw chewing


Dr Gotthelf:

I have a 3 yr old coton de tulear that frequently chews/licks its feet most of the year around .  We have been told by a vet that this may be an allergic reaction to an airborne allergen. We have switched foods a few times, but this does not seem to be helping.

Is there an effective and safe topical treatment for this issue?


Most topical medications are not effective unless there is some type of infection in between the toes.  Then you can use an antibacterial or an antifungal spray.  For allergies, systemic medications work the best along with frequent bathing.  There are steroids, Atopica, and a new drug called Apoquel available to help relieve the itching.  Of course, your vet can always send off a blood test that will tell you what the dog might be allergic to and then you can remove that allergen if possible or treat with desensitization shots to minimize the skin reaction to the allergen.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf


Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats


I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

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