Hey there Myalin!
Alright -- I've read everything you have to say, done all the research
I can do, talked to all the people I need to talk to, and finally have
what I consider to be an answer that complies with your request for a
veterinarian or other professional who can help Amos.
First, a summary of where we stand:
You are dealing with two issues here ------
One is the physical illness or infection that Amos is suffering from.
That is, the physical cause behind the initial itch or pain that makes
him chew and rub himself raw and the resulting infection that sets in
after he begins bothering the itchy site which further exacerbates his
The initial physical cause could be anything: mites, allergies, food
sensitivities, fleas, hormonal imbalances, ingestion of nutritional
supplements not meant for dogs, genetic disorder, shampoo sensitivity,
or autoimmune disease. So far we don't have a definitive answer.
The key here is to identify the physical cause and to apply the right
treatment. But, as you've pointed out, sometimes the treatment works
for a time, then the symptoms reappear. So, either no one has
diagnosed the physical cause correctly, or something else is coming
Secondly, you are dealing with a possible behavioral aspect to Amos's
problem which may trigger the onset of his physical symptoms. This
could be stress, boredom, fear, or any combinations of things.
The key to treating a dog's behavioral problems is the same as when
treating a human child's behavioral problem everyone has to be
educated and involved. That is, you can't just change the dog's
behavior; you have to take into account your own (and your husband's)
dynamic with him. For this to work, you need to enlist the help of a
canine behavioral specialist someone who understands dog behavior
and can help you to help Amos.
You can do this Myalin. And so can Amos. You just need the right
So, let's start with some words of wisdom compiled from talking to a
couple of veterinarians who have experience with the medical aspects
of what Amos is dealing with
They tell me that there is a whole raft of things that could cause the
skin eruptions and itch that Amos is suffering from (most of which I
listed in the first paragraph above). But, no matter what it is, the
cause IS diagnosable using standard allopathic veterinary procedures:
skin biopsy, blood work, allergy tests, and such. Nothing just
"happens" to a dog. It just may be that the cause is one of the less
common itch-related things, and maybe the correct tests haven't been
I understand that your preference is to look at alternative routes for
understanding this, but honestly Myalin, you can't get around actual
testing. Something physical is happening here and you have to find out
what it is for Amos's sake. There may be psychogenic aspects to
Amos's problem as well, but until ALL of the physical causes have been
identified or eliminated, you can't even begin to address the
Now, what my veterinarian friends recommend is that you abandon your
search for the cure through local veterinarians who may have limited
resources, and instead go with a multi-pronged approach that is only
available through larger hospitals and the best large hospitals of
all are the Veterinary teaching hospitals associated with the big
These are the large hospitals that many veterinarians refer patients
to if they themselves can't get to the route of an animal's problem.
Teaching hospitals have state of the art technology, are up to date on
all the recent research, can provide experts in every aspect of
veterinary care, and most of all are staffed by enthusiastic doctors
who truly care for animals and enjoy the challenge of being faced with
an unusual case.
Myalin, I have been in several of these hospitals, and they are
wonderful! The people are incredibly dedicated. For example, I have a
friend whose cocker spaniel inexplicably lost 100% or her fur. Amber,
the dog, was happy, perky, and in otherwise good health, but entirely
bald. They took her to vet after vet who could find neither cause nor
cure. Finally they took her to a veterinary teaching hospital and
after a few weeks of tests she was diagnosed with some rare problem (I
don't recall what) that the local veterinarians had never even heard
of. The hospital kept her for nearly a month before she was
pronounced cured. When they released her, some of the technicians
actually cried to see her go. Three years later the family still gets
Christmas cards from the staff -- addressed to Amber of course.
So, these are not cold unfriendly places. They are wonderful
enthusiastic caring places. As I said, they have all of the
specialists necessary, and nowadays all include behavioral specialists
as part of their regular staff. They finally understand that medicine
is more than just pills and xrays. To heal a whole animal you have to
address what's going on in their minds as well as their bodies. A
holistic approach is necessary.
Myalin, I really think this should be your route with Amos.
Of the 26 Veterinary Teaching Hospitals in the US, the two that are
nearest to you are listed below. Take a look at them and maybe give
each one a call to see what they can offer you. Even if they are a bit
of a drive, if you can get an appointment and possible check Amos in
for a good workup, it would be worth your while to travel there.
Like you, I'm worried about Amos. He needs some relief and he needs
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA VETERINARY TEACHING SCHOOL ATHENS, GA
This large teaching hospital includes specialties in the following
areas that may pertain to Amos's problem:
Pain Management Consultation
Consultation on Nutritional Problems
They also have two behavioral specialists on hand:
Terry Marie Curtis.
Weekdays - 8am to 6pm
Saturdays - 8am to noon
Small Animal: (706) 542-2895
Small Animal: (800) 542-929
UGA VETERINARY TEACHING HOSPITAL
UGA VETERINARY TEACHING HOSPITAL CLINICAL SERVICES DIRECTORY [see
TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
Unfortunately, this teaching hospital has virtually no web presence.
Their site is rudimentary and geared towards students rather than
clients. It offers no practical information to clients about the
hospital at all. Even finding this little bit of information was a
frustrating endeavor. [You don't even want to know what I gave them on
their website feedback form!]
TUSKEGEE VETERINARY TEACHING HOSPITAL
TUSKEGEE SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
However, if you are interested in speaking with someone there and
setting up an appointment , here is their phone directory listing:
Tuskegee University - Small Animal Clinic
Tuskegee, AL 36083
Also note that Tuskegee has a specialized program in the study of
human and animal relationships. It is run by an award-winning
veterinarian and a clinical psychologist. I would suggest contacting
Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine Center for the Study
of Human-Animal Interdependent Relationships
SPECIALIZED RESOURCES FOR ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
These folks seem to have a unique focus that addresses the interaction
between humans and their pets. It may be a good idea to contact them
and get a referral to someone in your area.
The American Association of Human Bond Veterinarians*
*site is still under construction, so the directory is not available.
However, one of their directors is in Alabama. You could probably
email her for a list of members.
Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Myalin, I wish you and Amos and Mike the best. I truly hope I've been
able to help you with the information I've presented here. I've
addressed your basic question, which essentially was, "who can help
Amos?" the best way I possibly could.
Again I reiterate, you can't address his behavioral problems without
first eliminating any and every physical source. Sadly, I know too
many horror stories (the details of which I won't burden you with
here) of dogs who nearly died of physical problems because their
owners thought the dogs were just "acting out." These poor dogs
suffered terribly before finally being brought to a medical clinic for
Thank you so much for coming here for help. This has been an
interesting project to say the least! I close with the words I have
always given my family when we've had to deal with ailing pets:
"Always do right by the dog."
Take care Myalin and give my best to your husband