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My pup oscar, about 5 1/2 months now, has been itching and biting himself. He’s got bald spots all over his legs, armpits, and backside. I’ve taken him to the vet multiple times, they’ve given me medication for fleas, mites, allergies, and special skin shampoos, but nothing is working. He’s been scabbing up behind his ears, and we’ve noticed his lip and leg bleeding (presumably from all the itching). He’s been gnawing on his bits so much it’s seemingly bruising him. The skin on his penis is turning black, and there’s a bump under the skin around the tip. He’s also lost 2 teeth recently (I’m assuming his baby teeth), but I couldn’t be sure with everything else going on. My vet recommended apoquel for the itching, but I read that it’s not good for dogs 12months and under. I’m really worried, because this has been going on a few months now and I can’t seem to figure it out.

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Good article on Hypothyroidism in dogs

He's young, but it almost sounds like a hypothyroid condition. It can mimic allergy, but the key here is black skin. Will take a full thyroid panel to find out, not just a T4 carrier.
Here is a good quick online article about dogs and Hypothyroidism:


Excerpts: (Go to article to read more)

While hypothyroidism in dogs doesn’t always easily present itself with a standard set of symptoms, here are some to watch out for.

Skin Problems

Guinness’s issues started with an itchy back paw. Over time, it progressed into itching all over his body. He lost the hair on his paws, abdomen, sides, and neck. He had severe dandruff and thick, elephant-like darkened skin where there was no hair. He also had a strong, foul odor to his skin.


If you have an energetic dog that suddenly starts to slow down for no apparent reason, you may want to check his thyroid. Always a ball of energy, Guinness started to take shorter walks and at his lowest, didn’t even want to get up when called.

Weight Gain

This one is a good example of how there really is no standard hypothyroidism pattern because Guinness has always been very lean. But many other hypothyroid dogs may start gaining weight without any food increases.

Cold Sensitivity

Guinness is a strapping 110-pound double-coated force to be reckoned with. Not the kind of dog you’d expect to see shivering at the age of three. It was a mystery that wasn’t resolved until he was diagnosed and I learned from my research that cold intolerance is a sign of hypothyroidism.

Tragic Face

This symptom came at Guinness’s worst, right before we got his thyroid checked. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: his face’s skin started changing so that he looked perpetually sad.

Behavior Issues

According to Dodds’ blog, there’s a connection between abnormal behavior and thyroid dysfunction in dogs. Some examples are unprovoked aggression, sudden seizures in adulthood, disorientation, moodiness, erratic temperament, depression, fearfulness and phobias, anxiety, compulsiveness, and irritability. Fortunately, Guinness avoided most of these, except for maybe the anxiety.

Remember, there is no set of symptoms that will automatically confirm a thyroid issue, so paying attention to your dog’s behavior and following up with some testing is key—especially since the classic clinical signs of hypothyroidism like weight gain, tiredness, and aversion to cold don’t occur until at least 70 percent of a dog’s thyroid gland has been damaged or destroyed by the disease. When it comes to initial testing, she recommends a complete thyroid antibody profile and not relying on a typical wellness panel because it is insufficient and often is misleading.

Guinness is finally on the mend with the help of thyroid supplementation as well as holistic support like homeopathy. His hair is starting to grow back, his skin feels more like skin again, he no longer looks sad, the itching is slowly decreasing, and his energy level is back.
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