Mojo's Toes

Mojo is a 4.5 yr old brindle boy that I adopted 6 mos ago. Mojo is an absolute joy. He was owner surrendered to rescue because of a toddler in the home.

When he came into rescue, he had a hot spot on his foot and a red belly. I was told it was caused by stress from the toddler and home situation. The hot spot and red belly cleared up during the 4 months he was in the rescue foster home. By the time I adoped Mojo in November, he was clear of all hot spots. However, in February/March, he developed an itchy red angry rash in his armpits. (This was also the time the oak pollen counts went through the roof.) The vet prescribed Apoquel and an antibiotic, and it all cleared up quickly. As soon as I stopped the Apoquel, he started licking his left rear foot again. (Armpits and belly remain clear.) Apoquel helps, but I don't want to use it long term because it is not good for immune system. I wash his feet every time he comes in from outside and have used CannaBalm, Vetericyn spray and various hot spot relief liquids. Nothing seems to help.

Mojo eats Earthborn Holistic Meadowfeast (Lamb), gets long walks daily and is in otherwise excellent health. I am retired and am home all day - just the two of us - no stress. I wash his feet every time he comes in the house and soak his feet in Epsom Salts or Baking Soda in the evening.

If anyone can offer any insight/information on how to help Mojo, I would be very grateful.

Could be the Lamb..... I would try changing to a different meat source. Also you might want to get a referral from your Vet to a Specialist

Thanks Tanza. He was eating the same food (lamb) at the rescue/foster home when he cleared up there - that's why I never changed it. I will switch to salmon or catfish to see if that helps.

@pawla said in Mojo's Toes:

Thanks Tanza. He was eating the same food (lamb) at the rescue/foster home when he cleared up there - that's why I never changed it. I will switch to salmon or catfish to see if that helps.

My Kristii (who passed 6yrs ago at age 15+) had terrible corn allergies... Was not a problem when she was a baby, but the older she got the worse it got...at age 3yrs, we knew it was a horrible issue.

When was the last rabies vaccine ?
My two Avongaras both developed itchy rashes on there feet,legs three days after there rabies vaccine. There is a connection no matter what the vet says.
Look up the rabies challenge fund and read what it says.
They will be getting exemptions from now on.
These reactions can be seen many months and sometimes years after the vaccination.

Hi Pawla,
While there's no harm in changing his food, I've found Earthborn in general to be a great product. Since Meadow Feast is grain free, maybe try him on a an Earthborn product that isn't grain free:--the pea/bean/lentil flour often used in grain-free dog food can be problematic for immune issues. If your budget allows, why not try him on a commercial raw diet? Turkey is an anti-inflammatory meat, and usually a more reasonably-priced choice. Try to at least stop him from licking his foot after meals during this experiment--easier said than done, I know!--since the bacterial load in his mouth might ramp up slightly after eating. In general, licking will cause infection--it may be that the rash started as an allergy then became an infection from licking, so maybe try a soft collar. I taught my BRaT boy "Leave it" because he was a nervous licker, and it actually worked, but you might need a soft collar. I've jury-rigged them from a 3-4" wide piece of stiff-ish upholstery foam held in place by the dog's collar--it stops them from bending their neck enough to lick, but is still comfortable.

That said, basenji skin rashes usually start from environmental issues. Dust/mold/mildew from central heat or air; Cleaning products used on bedding & rugs or heavily scented products spray products, off-gassing from new rugs or carpets; Even residue from baking soda or other carpet cleaners can cause a rash if not sufficiently vacuumed. Toilet bowl or shower cleaners may not be overtly toxic, but the VOC's and chemical compounds definitely weaken the immune system over time if the dog drinks from the toilet or shower. Outdoors, look at what surfaces he's walking on/through--a dog I walked at the SPCA got a rash between his toes from tough brush; Herbicides or pollen in grass could be an issue. Do you have Foxtails in your area, or did they exist near his former home? Check with your BRaT coordinator, since that could be causing his foot irritation. Maybe walk him in a set of rubber sole dog socks like Sport PAWks or Grippers to see if that helps--my b's prefer them to boots.

Finally, it may also be that stress from his previous situation eroded his immune system, which may need help getting rebooted. Raw diet will definitely help with that, and probiotics are vital: I give stressed fosters organic goat Kefir to increase their gut flora, it's like yogurt on steroids.
Organic cow milk kefir is often sold in grocery stores if you can't find a health food store that sells goat kefir. Probiotics from the vet (made by Purina) made one foster sicker, which is why I now use Kefir. It--and human grade Omega 3 supplements--are my go-to "meds" for inflammation and allergies.

Reducing cleaners etc mentioned above will also help, if you use a lot of them--I switched to homemade vinegar or lemon based spray cleaners and baking soda scrubs years ago (foster dogs teach me so much!) and haven't gone back. If you have grandkids, it's healthier for them, too.

Sorry for the epic post--I've been in your shoes and know how upsetting it is, so I wanted to share my experience. Feel free to contact me if you have questions, and thank you so much for adopting a BRaT ❤

last edited by YodelMa

Thank you to all who have replied - especially YodelMa for the epic (and very comprehensive) post. I don't use harsh cleaners and we are in Central Florida where Oak pollen is high (my biggest suspected allergen). Mojo will wear a sock (for preventing licking at home) and I bought Pawz (rubber booties) for walks. His was given a 1 year rabies vaccination last September (Camp Basenji/Pam). I will get titres from now on. I bought Zignature (Salmon) and started to switch him over yesterday - now I wish I had waited to see YodelMa's advice. For now, I'll give it time and see if the switch to Salmon helps. I don't want to throw too much at him at once.

Questions: How long should I wait to see improvement? Was Salmon the right choice?

Raw diets have yet to be proven to be superior for, well, anything. Allergic reactions are usually protein related. Switching to a new one is a good move. There is also alligator meat. Rabbit, etc. The good news is that if the Apoquel works, you have a way to help while you decrease allergens. Unlike other drugs, you can use apoquel long term.

Apoquel is not a steroid, antihistamine, or an immunosuppressive drug in the sense that cyclosporine is. It is designed to specifically block the pathways causing itch and inflammation with much less impact on general immune system function.Mar 29, 2014<<

I have known dogs who genuinely suffered and nothing much helped except keeping them on it. I'm not a big supporter of allergy testing, but it's still a best first step. Using the results, you can go through elimination diets much easier. the soaks help, but remember the allergic reaction is from the inside out.

https://www.vetinfo.com/home-remedies-for-dog-skin-problems.html>>

I hope you find out the culprits in your dogs diet and environment and can get relief.

Thanks Debra. I'll consider a Nutriscan test (same folks as Hemopet) if things get any worse. For now, we seem to be moving in a positive direction - toes seem less angry red and hair is growing back since he started wearing a rubber boot (almost like a balloon!) whenever he is outside. It's only been a few days, but the boot, the soaks and a change in food seem to be working. I need to be patient and give it some time to be certain.

Any other b I've ever had would never have tolerated booties and foot soaks! Mojo is such a great guy.

You do seem to be doing everything right. Not much more to offer other than to extend condolences. Hotspots can be infuriatingly difficult to address and you can't control everything in the environment. You just can't.

Agree that changing the food is a good idea. There isn't a huge downside and it might help. Also agree with Debra that allergy testing is a good idea. One of our dogs turned out to be allergic to cotton. My wife stopped snuggling her when wearing her cotton nightgown and that helped.

We have also had good luck with Caldesene baby powder but I don't know if that is 100% safe. It has zinc. It's used on babies so it's obviously not toxic, but babies aren't expected to lick and inject it. Maybe someone else has had experience with it.

Thanks DonC. The paw is looking pretty good, but he'll still lick it if I don't put Vicks on it. The problem is the Vicks causes dirt to stick to it like a magnet (and it leaves marks on the sheets...). His paws get washed off every time he comes inside. It would be ineresting to see if Caldesene powder would help. I would wipe the area with Bitter Apple before applying the powder to keep him from licking at it.

I have never owned a dog that didn't think bitter apple was a great basting sauce. You can try mixing lavender oil with another oil (ie not straight) as many dogs hate it.

"You can try mixing lavender oil with another oil (ie not straight) as many dogs hate it."

Great! I'll try that. Thanks!

Good news. After finishing a 14 day course of antibiotics, using antifungal/antibacterial wipes, and a switch in food, Mojo's toes are almost back to normal.
Fingers (and toes) crossed that whatever he had doesn't come back.
(The comment about dogs thinking bitter apple is a great basting sauce was cute. )
0_1529958934647_Mojo's toes 21 Jun 2018 sm.jpg

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