Hi everyone. I'm new here and am hoping someone can help me identify what may be going on with my dog. He has these terrible, smelly rashes all over his body, and I have absolutely no idea what they are or what is potentially causing them.
I'll start by saying that my family has taken our dog, Chipper, a 13-year old Sheltie, to the vet numerous times over the past few months. When the rashes first appeared and started flaring up, they were only present around his butt and hip area (and he was scratching himself all the time - something we took note of right away), and the vet, upon close inspection, discovered that our dog had fleas. He must have gotten them from our backyard somehow (we live in suburban New Jersey, and at this stage in his life, he spends the bulk of his time indoors, except when he needs to use the bathroom). Once we took care of the fleas, he stopped consistently scratching himself, and we thought he was getting better.
About a week or so later, I noticed that the rashes were suddenly all over his body - they were on his chest, his legs, his stomach, his neck... Nearly everywhere. He wasn't scratching them much, however, and because he has quite a bit of fur, I had to inspect his body to see them all. We took him back to the vet immediately, and they didn't quite know what was wrong, or how he had gotten the rashes. We got lucky with the fleas, but now he was flea-free, and the vet couldn't explain the rashes.
They took blood-work, checked his thyroid, and prescribed him a steroid and topical spray to use directly on the rashes. (You'll have to forgive me, because I unfortunately didn't keep a record of all the steroids he was on.) We went through the steroids and the spray, but to no avail. The rashes near his butt/hips looked healed, but new rashes were cropping up all over his body.
When we went to the vet the first time, he shaved Chipper's butt/hip area to clean out the rashes, and so I decided to shave the areas where there were new rashes (which also better helped me track them), and we cleaned them off with anti-bacterial soap (as the doctor did, and advised us to do if things got worse). We took him back to the vet.
As it turns out, he was perfectly healthy - nothing wrong with his thyroid, and the blood-work came back clear. The vet decided to try treating the rashes more aggressively, and so Chipper started taking 2 different steroids, and we stopped using the topical spray on him. We were also advised to give him baths with Dawn dish soap, which we did.
After his first bath, we noticed that the rashes still smelled quite bad, and we also noticed that he was getting more and more rashes - and I knew they were new, because they were appearing on the parts of his body where I hadn't shaved off the hair. We took him back to the vet again, and they took a cotton swab sample of the rashes to send to a lab.
My dad spoke to the vet about the results the following week (I called the vet afterwards, but my call wasn't returned), but he couldn't recall if the doctor gave a name to what the rashes were or anything like that. The doctor's solution was to treat our dog with a pill called Chloramphenicol. The doctor emphasized the fact that we had to administer it to Chipper by wearing a glove, because the pill can have adverse reactions to human bone marrow, and it wasn't safe to touch without protection. He gave us a 30-day supply - the dosage was 500mg every 12 hours. This is currently where we are.
It's been about 2 weeks since we started giving Chipper these pills, and if I'm being honest, I don't see much of a difference in his condition. In fact, I found new rashes on his body just yesterday - which prompted me to seek any help that I could find. He's also been trying to scratch both sides of his body more often than usual, which is concerning.
We'll be taking him back to the vet this week, but I'm at the end of my rope, and I'm not sure what to do. I just gave him another bath 2 days ago, and the very next day, the rashes smelled and looked just as bad.
Does anyone know what could be going on? I know Chipper is a senior now, but besides going outdoors to use the bathroom, or walking around the block, he's never around other dogs. I just don't know how to help him.
I've attached a few photos of my dog's rashes - they were taken after his second most recent bath. Thank you in advance for any insight.