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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Will Selenium Sulfide lotion help my dog’s itching and hair loss?

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Q.I have a nine-year-old black Lab who has been having problems with hair loss and itching for over a year. Some of the hair loss was attributed to a thyroid condition and she is on medication for that. However, it has been touch and go; the hair loss is now back and the itching has been fairly constant. I have been to two vets (three if you count the thyroid doctor). Nobody seems to be able to get to the bottom of this problem. The groomer swears it is mange, but none of my other dogs have it, and she has been scraped at least two times and undergone two treatments with Mitoban. She has undergone allergy testing and is receiving shots for known allergens. She is currently on skin vitamins and herbs as recommended by the holistic vet.

When I read about selenium sulfide prescription lotion in your response to a previous letter about a similar case (Oct-Nov 2005), I felt a ray of hope. My vets have not heard of it – where can I get it and are there any side effects? I feel my dog’s immune system is compromised either from the on-going problem or the treatments meant to cure it. She gets ear infections and skin infections and just finished more antibiotics. The doctor wants to give her cortisone shots which I resist because she seems so medicated.

 

A.The mange that responds to selenium sulfide does cause itching, and is contagious but not typically localized. The mange that typically causes hair loss around the eyes, demodex, usually does not cause itching (unless it is secondary), is not contagious and does not respond to this lotion. Selenium sulfide is easily obtainable by prescription through most pharmacies. The only rare side effect I’ve seen is for it to be slightly irritating and to temporarily turn white fur pinkish orange. My guess is that your dog has allergies.