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Welcome to our new series from the Wonderful Dr. Barry Baum, Chief of Staff at Center-Sinai Animal Hospital in Los Angeles.  If you have a question for our virtuoso vet, he'd love to see it.  And he will answer all that he can.  Just use the form that follows below, beneath the column. Please note: If you feel the condition of your pet is critical, Dr. Baum suggests you contact your local vet ASAP!

For previous questions and answers, see the buttons under this week's article.



Photo 2004 Ina Hillebrandt

Dr. Baum, Hi --

We have a dog who is about 4 years old and has started losing the hair on her belly and underside of her legs. She is itching like crazy. We thought it might be the cedar shavings in her doghouse and got rid of these a few days ago. Any advice? Thank you very much.

Gainesville, GA

Dear Stephanie:

At first glance it would seem that the problem you wrote about would be related to an allergic reaction, based upon the pattern of hair loss and pruritis (itching) you described.  Whether the problem has anything to do with the shavings would depend on the cause and effect relationship between the onset of the skin problems and the introduction of the shavings. 

History is always important in determining the likely causes for a problem.  Has the problem occurred before?  How long has the problem been present, and is it getting worse?  Are there other pets or people in the house that are affected?  Are fleas or ticks present?  Have there been any other changes in appetite, water consumption or weight?

If the problem occurred recently and for the first time, I would consider any changes that have recently occurred -- for instance, a change in bedding to the infamous cedar shavings, or perhaps you recently changed to a new diet.  If you can identify the offending change, simply reverse it and see what happens.  If there isn't a rapid improvement you should seek the attention of your local veterinarian.

Next week:    When is it OK to let a kitten explore the outdoors?

To find out what others have asked, click our Critter Query archives button:

Do you have a question for our Virtuoso Vet?  Just use the form below. Dr. Baum will answer as many of your questions as possible.  For Your Pet's Health: Please contact your local vet if you feel your pet is having an emergency to insure getting attention in time to meet his/her needs.

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If you are lucky enough to live in Los Angeles when you need a really good vet, you can call
 to set up an appointment with Dr. Baum or another of the highly skilled staff at
Center-Sinai Veterinary Hospital.  The number is 310-559-3770.

Check out the new site! Your questions and answers appear there, with a link on our site, too, plus more pet care information and special features! Just close the window after visiting, or hit your browser's back button to return to InasPawprints.


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Animation Website and Photo 2003 Ina Hillebrandt. Last updated: April 2012. All rights reserved.