My 7 months old Golden Retriever hybrid keeps scratching herself. I already applied fleas and ticks material, and she definitely doesn't have either.

Any ideas?

  • How often ? Can it be anxiety related ? – Cedric H. Jan 19 '14 at 9:06
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    This is a question is best diagnosed by a vet – James Jenkins Jan 19 '14 at 10:50
  • I don't think it's anxiety related, it happens alot and not in specific circumstances, at home, during her walks, etc. A vet also saw her, as part of a different procedure, and she said she didn't see anything on the skin, or fleas. I didn't take her to the vet specifically for this problem yet, was looking for some advise of possible causes before that. – tbkn23 Jan 19 '14 at 10:56
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    @JamesJenkins is correct. This could be a variety of issues, including skin irritations. Please take your puppy to the vet. – jeremy Jan 20 '14 at 2:56

There are a few possible causes, but a fairly straightforward possibility is Atopic Dermatitis. It's a chronic, non-contagious, skin irritation caused by hypersensitivity to pollens, molds, dust mites, and other allergens. So, basically, an allergy. This problem is more prevalent in dogs than cats, though not exactly common in either case. In the United States, the golden retriever has a predilection for this issue.

Physically, which bears out based on the exam you mentioned, there isn't necessarily a lot of evidence. Lesions can be none at all, to broken hairs, to much more obvious. The onset is usually relatively mild, but can get worse with age. Signs of this issue include itching, scratching, rubbing, and licking.

So... given that there's not a lot of physical evidence, your means to confirmation is allergy tests. These are available and treatments, should this be a positive match, can range from removal of allergen, to modified diets, to several drug regimens as needed.

In any event, as has been mentioned, you should get her into a vet to have this checked. Ideally, you want to see if you can find a vet that specializes in animal dermatology. Even if the issue isn't an allergy, a vet with solid experience in that area is probably going to have a better chance of diagnosing this issue over a more general practitioner.

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    I can't believe you're diagnosing a dog like this, John. The best suggestion would be to take this in case in to a DVM. Questions this health-invested should be closed. – jeremy Jan 20 '14 at 4:44
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    @Jeremy - I'm not diagnosing and I am recommending a visit to a vet that specializes. Still, the symptoms and prior examinations match up. I did spend the effort to look in a veterinary manual, believe it or not, and the number of possibilities are not actually that large for this behaviour. – John Cavan Jan 20 '14 at 5:11
  • Thanks @JohnCavan. I do of course understand that medical issues should be diagnosed by vets, and would not think of giving any kind of medical treatment without seeing one. – tbkn23 Jan 20 '14 at 15:55

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