Maddie Licks Her Vulva and Scratches Way Too Much

by tessa


As if one dog in the house was not enough fun, recently we added a second.

Meet Maddie.

As a rescue from the Orange County Animal Shelter (aka Death Row), she was in beat up condition when I rescued her. Not that she was injured per se – she had just had a rough life to that point.

Since she was a rescue of course there is no way to plan for any of the health concerns that might be plaguing her. After all the shelter simply guesses her age, does a cursory health examine and then either adopts her out or kills her.

For the first 3 months of her time in our house Maddie was as normal as most rescue dogs could hope to be.

Tired, scared and simply getting used to her new surroundings.

At about that three month mark she began to get skin rashes.

And then she began to scratch.

And then she began to lick her vulva.

Multiple trips to the vet have yielded the following insights:

1. Through a couple of courses of antibiotics the rash has gone away – and mostly stayed away. As a result it does not appear that her scratching was being caused by a single incident skin ailment, such as a run in with a pack of hungry fleas or contact with a plant like poison oak.

2. After an unsuccessful course of steroids I determined that a bitchy, thirsty, constantly peeing dog (who was still learning house training) was not the right solution.

3. The food she is eating is top of the line. She and her partner in crime, Oliver, only eat Evo or Merrick. Recently they have also added Homemade Doggy Dinners to the mix. This recent addition has had no effect either way regarding her scratching and licking.

4. She gets shampooed once per week with either earthbath Tea Tree Oil & Aloe Vera or earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe. These baths seem to calm down the scratching and licking for a day or two but not more.

5. She is on a 25mg dose of Benadryl per day. Maddie is a, how do I say it, nasally dog. She sounds like she needs to clear her throat and cough up a phlegm ball. It seems that this treatment is helping – if only on the margins.

Our most recent trip to the vet ended with her suggesting that Maddie had allergies of varying varieties. And, like humans, those allergies can manifest themselves in a host of ways.

Scratchy throat, watery eyes, runny nose, skin itches, ear itches and eye itches can all be signs of allergies in people.

All of these and itchy vulva, ear irritation, skin irritation and more are signs of allergies in dogs.

The worst part about her scratching and licking, for both of us, is the fact that for some reason it is worse at night and Maddie sleeps on our bed. That means that at least once per night I wake up to the sound of a dog aggressively licking her vulva and scratching herself. Needless to say it irritates me and it is making her miserable to.

Hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of her skin allergy issues soon. I need the sleep and I’m not sure her poor vulva can take anymore of the licking!

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