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Old 06-02-2012, 01:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Skin/Cyst/? Problems

Hello All-

I am new here and found this site while researching my Dobes skin problem. I'm hoping someone here can help, as my vet has not been much help and I'm worried. Without being too long-winded, I'm going to try to be as thorough as possible.
My dobe is a 3 year old, spayed, black and tan female. Within the last 3 months has developed these "cysts" right below her skin. They are round with some density, as I would describe them as small (pea size) to medium (Golf ball size) masses. They protrude from her skin, but only about half way. Like half of the cyst is above skin and half below. When I first discovered them, I thought they were absesses from teeth punctures from her and her sister (mastif/shepard mix) playing. I've experienced absesses with my cats. On some of them, the hair has fallen off. They don't seem to bother her. I don't see her licking them at all. I press on them or pinch them and she does not even flinch. So, no pain or itching. Also, no puss or fluid of any kind. I've even tried squeezing them to see if they would pop. Nothing. They are pretty solid. To the touch, they feel like pressing on an orange.
So, I took her to my vet. They did two needle biopsies. The biopsies revealed inflammation with a small amount of bacteria. I asked my vet if they could be from little bite marks from the dogs playing and nipping (absesses). She did not think so as there are no visable puncture wounds. So, with no idea what was causing the spots, they put her on antibiotics- Clindamycin - for 14 days. They shrank a little but still there. So, next comes a round of prednisone for 15 days, stepping down. Did nothing. The prednisone just ended on this past Tuesday. She is now covered with these "cysts". They are worse than ever.
I called the vet and she said we would need to do a complete biopsy of one of them. That's fine, but I am not very financially sound right now as I just got back to work full time and the first rounds of exams and treatment put me back $400.00. I'm NOT wanting to make this about money, because it's not. I will have the biopsy done as I will do anything I need to do for her. Here's my issue: I don't think my vet is capable of a good diagnosis. Dobes are different. My last Dobe was a red and she got hot spots and I didn't follow my vet's advice and did it my way and the spots healed.
As for food, I feed her Nutro Natural choice lamb and rice, puppy, large breed. I just switched her from Eukanuba two weeks ago. I cannot remember how long I had been feeding her Eukanuba, but not long. Prior to that, I was feeding her Purina ProPlan as recommended by her breeder. I still feed her puppy formula because her sister is a year old, and her sister being a mastif/shepard mix. The vet said puppy formula would not hurt Barkley. I do split a can of wet dog food between the two dogs each night. I do this because I add probiotics (PB8), ground flaxseed and yucca. And for the puppy, a fiber additive as she has problems with her anal glands not expressing themselves. The wet food is whatever is on sale at the time. I know that is probably bad. I don't give much creedance to what kind of wet food because it is such a small percentage of their daily diet and i just need enough of it to mask the supplements.
The ONLY thing I can think of that coincides with the onset of these cysts is her heartworm and flea and tick meds. I had to change them because Novartis put a hold on production of the meds (Sentinel) I was giving her. So, I in Feb or March, I started both dogs on Iverheart and Pet Armour. I was actually somewhat pleased with the change because both meds give them way more protection then Sentinel, which is what i was giving before. Both dogs got their vaccines last November, so no reason to think it's a reaction to vaccines.
My gut tells me it's either the new flea/tick/heartworm meds or, allergies. But I really don't think it's an allergy to chicken as she has been eating chix breast meat her whole life. I had a 22 year old cat that I had to be fed chix breast, so of course, Barks got some chix as well.
I said this post would not be long. Sorry. I just wanted to be as thorough as possible. If anyone can think of anything, I would be so appreciative. If I'm doing something wrong, please tell me. I'm not easily offended. If you think I should switch foods again, I will. Supplements? Obviously, I'm open to those. Benadryl? Did that when she had her ears clipped to stop the itching from her sutures.
Thanks in advance!!

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Old 06-02-2012, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did you have her thyroid checked?

Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs

Hair loss
Excessive hair shedding
Poor hair growth
Dry or lusterless haircoat
Excessive scaling
Recurring skin infections

source: Thyroid Hormone Deficiency in Dogs | petMD
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I really think you'd be best off if you suck it up and have one of these dealies biopsied and a culture and sensitivity test run so that whatever bacteria are involved can be specifically identified (along with determining which antibiotic will be most effective).

I am concerned with your vet's lack of concern. If it was me, I think I would be finding a clinic staffed with board-certified specialists in a variety of fields (including dermatology), or a university veterinary teaching hospital. It will be more expensive, but less expensive than screwing around for months and having a bunch of people NOT figure it out for you.

Please report back when you have discovered what you're dealing with...
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmctaq View Post
I really think you'd be best off if you suck it up and have one of these dealies biopsied and a culture and sensitivity test run so that whatever bacteria are involved can be specifically identified (along with determining which antibiotic will be most effective).

I am concerned with your vet's lack of concern. If it was me, I think I would be finding a clinic staffed with board-certified specialists in a variety of fields (including dermatology), or a university veterinary teaching hospital. It will be more expensive, but less expensive than screwing around for months and having a bunch of people NOT figure it out for you.

Please report back when you have discovered what you're dealing with...
I agree with everything you said. And my vet's lack of concern bugs me too. When the antibiotics were done, I called and left a message for my vet to call me as the antibiotics were not working. She did not return my call for 4 days. Even after I left a second message. This vet was recommended to me by a friend and this was my first experience with her. I've lived in Columbus for 5 years now and cannot find a vet that I like, let alone, one that has experience working with Dobes. I had planned on scheduling an appointment with a new vet or taking her to Ohio State University veterinary school's clinic. I just wanted to check here to see if anyone might have experience with this problem, so when I do take her to a vet, I might be able to give them some suggestions from people who do know about Dobes. I would consider the folks on this site to be more knowledgeable about Dobes than most vets...sans the medical degree, of course.
Thank you for your response. And if anyone on here knows of a good Dobe vet in Columbus, Ohio...or heck, a good Dobe vet anywhere in Ohio, please share.
Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam&macksmom View Post
Did you have her thyroid checked?

Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs

Hair loss
Excessive hair shedding
Poor hair growth
Dry or lusterless haircoat
Excessive scaling
Recurring skin infections

source: Thyroid Hormone Deficiency in Dogs | petMD
I have not had her thyroid checked. As a matter of fact, no blood tests of any kind have been run. I have seen Dobes with thyroid issues, and I don't think that is her problem. Her coat is beautiful except for these bumps. She has no symptoms of a thyroid problem except hair loss, but only on 2 or 3 of the bumps. But, I'm sure I will find out soon.

I also just thought of something. I may try to message someone on facebook to see if she has a vet here in Cbus she likes. The she that I am referring to is the owner of Fifi, a Dobe that won best in breed at Westminster. She lives in Dublin, which is about 5 miles from here. Certainly, she must be picky about her vet. I know she takes her dobes to a vet in Atlanta to have their ears cropped, but maybe she has a vet here she likes.

Thanks for your feedback!
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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First I think you need to have one of them completly biopsied. They can slice and dice it. They can try and determine what kind of bacteria it is.
Dogs and cats can have a reaction to vaccines even months after being vaccinated which causes the immune syatem to go haywire and can cause allergies. This is another on going subject about over vaccinating our pets. Also what they are also adding to these vaccines to super stimulate the immune system.
I would be pissed if a Vet took 4 days to call me back. I would do some searching for another one.
As for food you are on the road to better food. I would get a better canned food also. You can try changing to beef. Maybe a totally different brand.
Don't know about the Flea and Heartworm meds causing the cysts.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My dog developed something similar from the stress of multiple vaccines, diet changes, and issues with his tick & flea medicine. I did not treat it with medicine although the vet said we could give him an antibiotic shot. My vet thought that it was related to IBS (inflammatory bowel disease). She stated that dogs with IBS sometimes get bad ear or skin infections. (My dog has experienced digestive issues since he was a puppy.) After I changed his tick & flea medicine I noticed big improvements. I think you get a biopsy done and keep his diet consistent. I suspect that frequent dietary and tick & flea ointment changes can place undue stress on the immune system for some dogs and skins disruptions can occur.
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