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Hi,

I have an 11 y/O female doberman. Ever since about 5 she has had this debilitating itch on her paws. She will lick her back paws until they are raw and bloody and she can no longer walk on them.

I have tried everything I can think of over the years and the only thing that works is prednisolone 5mg and leaving the cone on her head all the time. I only take it off briefly when I am right next to her or when she is outside. When she is mildly distracted she doesn't lick.

I take her for a 30 min walk / jog every day, she sleeps inside and gets plenty of love.

I have tried everything. I also got allergy testing and it came back as negative. Diet wise Ive tried feeding her nothing but tuna and polenta, only human food, various different brands of wet and dry Dog food, grain free and with grain.

Medication wise Ive tried steroids, apoquel, Zoloft, valium, antihistamines, CBD oil and a few others.

I keep a small bandage on her feet all the time as it seems to make her lick less.

Every few years I look into this problem to see if there are any new solutions. I can't believe that we can do a heart transplant or cure aids but we can't stop an itch in a dog.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone can give any advice on what has worked for their dog?

Thanks
 

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Hairy Dog, RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
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Dobermans can develop obsessive behaviors fairly commonly, and one of those is licking their feet, legs or elsewhere, sometimes enough to cause sores (lick granulomas) which are very difficult to heal. It is a self-comforting thing plus a vicious cycle. They lick because they're bored, or they itch, or just because—it makes them feel better so they lick some more. If they have developed a sore place, they lick it, which only makes it worse, so they keep licking.

Likely what you're dealing with is an itch that starts the whole thing off, but the licking she does to make it feel better has also developed into obsessive behavior, which will keep going even if the itch is mostly gone.

I know one thing that is somewhat new is cold laser treatment, if she actually has sores developing. It seems to promote healing, and reduces the itch enough that you can sometimes break the licking habit. Apoquel is a medication we tried with a lot of success, but it looks like you've been down that road before.

Try searching here for lick granulomas; you may see some ideas which will help you. Even if she hasn't gotten to point of causing actually open sores, the battle to stop them from licking is the same one.

Here's a place to start.


Skin problems and itch in dogs are one of the more difficult things to work with; it's hard to figure out what is causing the problem, and then it's difficult to stop the behaviors which go along with it. Best of luck.
 

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Big Lil pup
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Hi e32. I know this might seem way too simple, but does your girl frequently walk on grass? Over the years, I have known several dogs whose severely itchy feet was caused by grass or something on the grass. We had a Dobe who loved to roll in grass. If he got away with it, he immediately became very itchy and would constantly lick and scratch himself until he was bathed or hosed off. The fix? Absolutely no contact with any grass. No grass... No itch.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 

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Have you seen a specialist with her? It certainly does sound like an environmental allergen. How rough...sounds like she is pretty miserable.

I know lots of dogs who have had allergy relief with Cytopoint injections.

4 x 4 might be onto something with trying to prevent contact with whatever the unknown allergen is. I had a friend who had a Doberman who wore a K9 Topsuit to keep allergens off of her: Lycra Bodysuit - Dog Allergy Solutions - K9 Top Coat. I wonder if that, plus some boots, would help keep contact down?

I had a boy with lick granuloma, like Mel mentioned. To keep him from licking, we used a comfortable basket muzzle. He wore it most of the time while we were healing up the lick sores. He could drink in it with no problem, but he couldn't lick the sores through it. It was way more comfortable than the cone.
 

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Big Lil pup
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Yes! A muzzle ^^^^!

Decades ago, we had a male Dobe, whose Pica affliction was so intense that he had to wear a muzzle whenever he was not under our direct control. He wore it frequently for several years until he grew out of this obsession.

First of all... Proper muzzling is not cruel. Even without the sophisticated and specialized muzzles of today, our boy became endured to a simple 1970's wire basket type muzzle in no time. He treated it no differently than he did his collar or leash. He could drink, but chewing was impossible as was serious licking. In fact, it hung on the wall right by his leash. When I left the apartment, I would tell him: "Bring me your muzz". He would grab it, bring it to me and stand still while I put it on.

So yeah... As MC suggested, a muzzle might be a cheap and convenient was to mitigate this behavior. At least until you can figure out the cause.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 

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Muzzle is a great idea.
As this will allow the foot to have no covering other than fresh air to enhance the healing.
Also I might mention a great astringent is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.
Helps keep things clean and smelling fresh while maintaining a natural ph balance to the skin.
 

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Our last girl had this problem until she passed.We had the open sores tested and they came back + for two types of infection something like strep and mersa but can't remember for certain,two diff types of pills for each of the infection and costly-in the end they healed only to be licked open again no matter what we did. I will try to attach pic's of what it looked like. One pic shows large toe,had to be removed because of cancer,then the sore started after recovery and the photo of the sore is when it first appeared,it got much larger. I still say it had something to do with surgery but never did heal.
 

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Super Moderator
Hairy Dog, RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
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I bet the surgery (or the initial feelings associated with the cancer) is what started off the licking, and then, dobes being what they are, it's turned into a full-blown obsessional sort of thing.
 
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