I'm hoping somebody can give me some advice.
I've had an ongoing problem with the feet on my kelpie bitch. It started about eighteen months ago and basically takes the form of her licking her feet so enthusiastically between two individual toes on three particular feet that she's removed the hair between them and they're red raw.
The first time it happened was during late winter 2016. I'd recently bought a bottle of Gentian Violet spray as I'd read such good things about it on here so decided to try that which started to clear it up. Both kelpies were getting more on-road walking than usual at the time as Noggin was recovering from an RTA and I noticed that, because Scout always stepped off the pavement onto the road to wee, the camber of the road caused the wee to trickle in the direction of those three feet. Putting two and two together I presumed this was the cause, though I neglected to consider she was focusing on the space between two particular toes on each of the three feet. The toes got better but never completely healed.
Fast forward to last winter and they became worse again. This time I took her to the vets where I received the usual "probably an allergy: try our highly expensive dog food" answer. I said this was unlikely as she'd had the same BARF diet for ten years with no previous problems. They then did their usual 'treat the symptom' and gave me antibiotics and painkillers and hibiscrub. I also bought a "comfycone" to reduce her ability to lick her feet. Again the feet improved temporarily but not completely.
I took her back again last month and was given the same advice (and treatment) and also told that because she's quite a "sensitive" bitch it was probably hormone related and then when it reoccurred (which he assured me it would) the alternative was a tablet every day for the rest of her life to basically calm her down and make her less edgy. I hasten to add that if I'm making her sound neurotic this is not the case, she's simply more "bitchy" than the very laid back attitude of Noggin.
However, during my annual Devon holiday I visited Noggin's breeder and discussed the problem with her. I also added that I'd since remembered that the time it first happened was roughly the same time that Old Rusty was put to sleep and wondered if it was her reaction to this event. She was firmly of the opinion that the problem was physical not mental and that, as dogs are unable to say, "My feet hurt", licking an area is their usual way of letting us know they're in pain...like most kelpies she's particularly stoic. She suggested something along the lines of Joint Aid.
I've since been trimming back the nails on those toes as some research on the internet indicated that overlong nails can cause this too (something I've never need to contemplate before as kelpie nails rarely get to that stage).
She seems temporarily better, to the extent where I'm leaving off the comfy collar for longer periods until I notice her having a sly lick/chew. Does anybody have any other advice to throw into the mix and/or is there anything I could use on her feet to dissuade the licking. I'm thinking along the lines of the stuff you paint on kids thumbs to stop them sucking them? Somebody suggested manuka honey but my vet sensibly pointed out she'd find that appealing!
Thanks in advance.
Edited by Neal, 25 August 2017 - 07:10 am.