Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Question: Constant licking of feet and rubbing of face?

Dear Dr. Schaeberle,

I have a three-year-old Yorkshire terrier who constantly licks her feet and rubs her face. What is the cause?




The vast majority of dogs with excessive feet licking and/or scratching in general have allergies. Although food can to be a component, usually the offending agents are airborne. This can include pollens, house dust, grass and even human dandruff can cause allergies in dogs. Unfortunately, just as with people, airborne allergies can be tough to eliminate from the environment and in many cases treatment is needed.

Anti-histamines like Benadryl can be used in dogs but do not work as well as a corticosteroid such as Prednisone to control the signs. Prednisone is usually maintained in an every other day dosing to help control symptoms. Since most allergies are seasonal, I feel it is an excellent and safe drug to use. Cats can develop allergies too! Allergies in cats are similar to dogs, usually involving the paws, legs and belly. When a cat owner brings their pet in for an appointment for possible allergies, I mostly see facial rubbing in cats as a symptom. Food allergies are considered and adjustments may need to be made.

If you suspect your pet may have allergies, it is best to have a veterinarian check your pet’s condition. Other skin issues can mimic allergy symptoms and a veterinarian can help design a treatment option that is best for your pet. Your veterinarian can also identify and treat any secondary skin infections (such as bacteria or yeast) that you dog may have as a result of his/her allergies.

In York County, only 3 hospitals are certified by the American Animal Hospital Association: Shiloh Veterinary Hospital in Dover, Shiloh Veterinary Hospital East and Patton Veterinary Hospital in Red Lion. AAHA has approximately 3,000 hospitals that voluntarily participate in the evaluation program. Outside consultants from AAHA perform rigorous inspections to ensure we comply with the 900 different standards for service and facilities. Learn more at our website, http://www.myshilohvet.com/

Email your questions to the webmaster@myshilohvet.com

Thomas Schaeberle, V.M.D.

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