If there is one thing that is ubiquitous in this field, it is dogs with itchy skin. While many vets shudder at the ever present itchy dog, I kind of like it. Lucky for me, since dermatology represents something like one third of all the cases we see. I don’t think it’s boring. I think it’s interesting. That being said, it’s not always the most complicated case on the docket. We’re not talking House, here. There are one or two scripts that play out over and over like clockwork starting every spring. The story arc is as steady and predictable as a poorly written sitcom.
What does this episode bring?
FLEAS: Another Dr. Barbie Presentation (cue laugh track)
Hi Mister Jones! We haven’t seen you for a couple months. How are things going with Betsy?
Well doc, it’s the strangest thing. Yesterday she was fine, and today she woke up and had no hair.
Overnight, you say? OK, let’s take a look. Is she on flea control?
No, but she doesn’t need it. We don’t have fleas. (cue laugh track)
OK Mr. Jones…I’m seeing a lot of scabs here, and actually, oh! Look at that. There are quite a few fleas on her as well.
That’s not possible. She must have gotten them in your waiting room. I’m telling you, those bald patches showed up overnight.
These scabs are looking pretty chronic, to be honest. You might not have noticed them until today, but I bet she has had them for a while. All that black stuff is what we call flea dirt. I actually see a few tapeworm segments as well, which indicates that she has ingested fleas while she is grooming herself. So we should get you an antibiotic for that skin infection, a dewormer, and some Advantage*.
Can you just tell me what you’d give to her? Maybe write it all down for me? I have some leftover antibiotics from my other dog that died last year, I get dewormer at the feed store and I get Hartz at Costco. So I don’t need anything from you.
…..Or maybe you have some old expired stuff you could just give me? (cue laugh track)
(Mr Jones looks at camera and says witty catchphrase, gives a thumbs up):
I take it from your expression that’s a no.
(cue laugh track)