My dog smells very bad – it has become unbearable!

Dubai Cocker Spaniel owner complains, 'My dog smells very bad, and it's getting unbearable!' Dr. B writes chronic skin irritation cause, treatment steroid, antibiotics, in Ask Dr. B, Center-Sinai Animal Hospital free onilne pet care advice column.

Dear Dr. Baum —

My dog smells very bad and it has become unbearable. His name is Scott. He’s 13 years old, a Cocker Spaniel. He  He lives indoors in air conditioned comfort all day. His skin condition has worsened and I notice scabs on his shin bone in his front legs, and his fur seems to be peeling off with the skin layer, and is wet and smelly. The scabs on the shin bone are rough and dry. His fur has fallen off in this area.

I have taken him to the Government vet and also to a private vet when he was younger. I have tried vitamin supplements and various shampoos recommended by the vet. He is regularly vaccinated and de-wormed.

His condition has deteriorated over the past couple of months and the stench has become unbearable.

Please help.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dear Ashaan–

The smell is secondary to the oil production resulting from the chronic irritation to the skin. This type of skin problem is especially common in spaniels. Ear infections are common with this too. Shampooing reduces the odor for about one day — but it returns because the underlying inflammation of the skin hasn’t been addressed.

Most cases will respond to a combination of Prednisone injection followed by oral antibiotics and prednisone. As the skin improves the dose of Prednisone can be tapered, although in many cases, this medication may need to be continued at a lower level.

Good luck!
Dr. Baum

NOTE: See also How can I avoid acting rashly — My Cocker Spaniel has a rash!


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