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Q: my dog's mangy coat ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: my dog's mangy coat
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: rose41p-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Jul 2004 23:44 PDT
Expires: 13 Aug 2004 23:44 PDT
Question ID: 374331
I just rescued a mangy looking male, 4 month old, male labradore
retriever. His coat and skin looked moth eaten, hair loss, mostly on
legs, face, feet and some areas on his back and seemed to be in great
distress from itching. The previous ownwers stated they fed him a low
quality dog food and that he slept on air conditioning insulation. His
littermate had the same skin conditions. They both looked like typical
demodex or sarcoptes mange patients. The vet did numerous scrapings at
several sites which gave us no answers.This dog also had fleas and
ticks which he has now been treated for. I also started him on a fatty
acid supplement and a product called "missing link" and of course a 
proper puppy diet and treated him with "revolution" for sarcoptes to
be on the safe side. My question is about the air conditioning
insulation and if it could have caused such a severe problem with his
skin.I have only had him for several days and he does seem to be a bit
better, not so itchy, but I am very curious about the insulation.
Subject: Re: my dog's mangy coat
Answered By: mother911-ga on 15 Jul 2004 01:16 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Rose41p-ga,

I love dogs, and can't imagine how difficult it must be to watch this
puppy suffer like this. I dragged up information on the two most
common types of insulation. The first is more common for air
conditioner ductwork, as well as noise reduction and gap filling. I
believe it is most likely the type of insulation the dog was sleeping
on. It is very difficult to say what effect insulation would have on
an animal's skin. It would depend mainly on what the insulation was
made of.

For instance, standard wall insulation (the pink stuff in your walls)
is made of spun fiberglass. This type of insulation is used commonly
to insulate as well as reduce noise. It is made from sand and
limestone and other natural items which are heated and forced through
jets to form thin hair like threads.

"Fiberglass can cause itching due to mechanical irritation from the fibers."
American Lung Association

"Taking a cold shower after working with insulation helps remove tiny
fibers that make their way to your skin. Don't take a hot shower.
Doing so opens the pores of your skin and allows the pesky fibers more
opportunity to make you uncomfortable."
Ask Gundaker
Google search terms: fiberglass insulation skin reaction

Rock or Slag wool is another type of insulation which doesn't cause
skin irritation. It looks more like dryer lint, and even has a
somewhat dusty appearance when handled. Rock wool and Slag wool are
made a similar heating and jetting process, but replacing the sand and
limestone is basalt and diabase for rock wool, and iron ore blast
furnace slag in slag wool.
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
Google search terms: rock wool skin irritation

I did find information about dog skin conditions based on feeding habits.

"Dogs can have these types of problems due to food allergies or poor
nutrition. You did not mention what you are feeding the dog. Do not
feed him a cheap dry dog food. Most of these consist of corn husk for
filler which just passes through and does nothing to give the dog the
nutrition it needs. I suggest you start feeding this dog raw organ
meat, beef, poultry or whatever. Liver and heart come to mind. Also
raw free range eggs and raw milk if they are available. A good quality
dog food usually costs a minimum of $1.00 a pound (Biljac or Eagle
Pack are high quality). Many of the organ meats can be purchased for

There are several home remedy solutions on this website forum as well.
Keeping in mind these are not veterinarians, but owners and pet

"My old cocker spaniel itched a lot due to naturally dry skin. It was
always worse during the summer, and I finally had to start bathing her
in a tub that had had a cooled pan of oatmeal (about 6 servings) added
to the warm water and mixed in."

Homesteading today forums
Google search terms: dog irritated skin

Based on the differing results from different insulations types, I
wouldn't want to immediately point to the insulation as a cause. I can
tell you as a dog owner that a dog with an itch will rip its skin raw
to get to the source. I had a lovely bull terrier mix who if given a
fleabite would remove the hair surrounding the bite and had to be held
to keep from ripping at it. The vet gave us a lotion to put on the
dog, which basically gave off a bad taste to reduce irritating the
affected area since dogs will continue to scratch even when the itch
is gone, based on the new irritation from scratching.

I have installed and rolled around in and have been covered in
fiberglass insulation, it is extremely annoying. It will create a
violent itching sensation. Perhaps we can add a few items together and
see where the irritation and subsequent mange like rash comes from.
The poor diet, matched with insulation itch gives the dog reason to
scratch violently at dry itchy skin which becomes a red surface wound
like mange.

Please feel free to request clarification before rating this answer.

Hope this helps, and best of luck with your new best friend,

Request for Answer Clarification by rose41p-ga on 15 Jul 2004 09:16 PDT
Thanks so much for helping! Is fiberglass insulation ever used as air
conditioning insulation?

Clarification of Answer by mother911-ga on 15 Jul 2004 13:10 PDT
Hi Rose41p-ga,

I should have been more clear in my opening paragraph about the
fiberglass insulation being used for Air Conditioners. They wrap the
duct work itself in fiberglass insulation, as well as stuff gaps in
wall spaces where duct work and air conditioner units are placed to
reduce drafts.

Here is an example of professional grade Air Conditioner insulation:
Pacor inc. Insulation Specialists
Google search terms: air conditioner fiberglass insulation

This type of fiberglass insulation would cause skin irritation which
would become unbearable in an adult human who understands why they are
itching, I can't imagine sleeping on it every night.

As you can see here, reccomends a great deal of safety
clothing while dealing with fiberglass. The Do It Yourself Network,2037,DIY_13895_2274819,00.html

According to the center for disease control, fiberglass also has some
more long term skin irritation issues,

"1. What symptoms can you get if you work around fiberglass?

Skin and eye contact: In addition to itching, fiberglass can cause
skin irritation, redness, and swelling. Some people get ?fiberglass
warts,? a type of skin inflammation. The fibers can also irritate your
eyes and even cause serious eye injury if you don?t get proper
Center for Disease Control

I hope this is the information you were seeking, please feel free to
continue to request clarifications until your question is completely

rose41p-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
She did a great job! I tried to find info on different types of
insulation, but couldnt get the answers I needed.

Subject: Re: my dog's mangy coat
From: stressedmum-ga on 15 Jul 2004 04:48 PDT
It really sounds as if the poor thing is being irritated by the
fiberglass (fibreglass) insulation which is like tiny little splinters
of glass being embedded into the skin. That itching is unbearable
(have you ever handled fibreglass insulating batts with your bare
hands? Don't!) so your poor lab will have been scratching itself
senseless, hence the loss of fur and condition.

If this was my pup, I'd go back to the vet and ask for a medicated,
moisturising wash (soap free if possible to avoid any further
irritation or loss of natural skin oils) as well as a lotion to
encourage the natural skin oils which should help expel the fibreglass
and avert any infections. The sooner his new skin grows, the less he
should be tormented by the itching.

It sounds as if he's improving generally and thank goodness that
you're now in his life taking care of him. Very best wishes.
Subject: Re: my dog's mangy coat
From: mother911-ga on 15 Jul 2004 17:55 PDT
Thanks so much Smack, I'm so glad I could be of assistance. Small
correction...barely worth noting, I'm a he. The nickname confuses a
lot of people.


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