Great Tip for Westie Skin Problems

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Alex- (4/19/00 to- 4/29/13)

Alexey, Alexey,- BEST DOG in the- galaxy!
Barked: Wed May 1, '13 7:43am PST 
Our Westie, Alex (sadly passed away this week), had itchy skin issues with rashes since a young puppy. We all know that West Highland Terriers are notorious for having itchy skin and rashes! Over the years he's visited numerous veterinarians. Just like alot of you have experienced, Alex was given antibiotics, anti-mite medications, cortisone creams, and even an immunosuppressant (cyclosporine). None of those worked...still, they kept giving it to him. Changing his diet didn't work either.

A few years back, my wife decided to try some Nizoral shampoo, which contains ketoconazole (an antifungal) After a few treatments his "itchies" and skin rash disappeared and the patches of course went away. From then on, every time he got his "itchies" we turned to the Nizoral shampoo. The Nizoral shampoo is available over-the-counter, but is pretty pricey. It's about $15 for a small bottle.

Instead, you can purchase ketoconazole tablets from eBay and compound yourself your own shampoo. I compound myself a 2% strength instead of Nizoral's 1% strength. Last month, Alex got his itchies again. 2 treatments, and was totally gone wink

If you need detailed instructions, feel free to contact.

Edited by author Wed May 1, '13 7:46am PST


I own zero, but- I'm seldom- dissatisfied
Barked: Mon May 13, '13 6:45pm PST 
Hi all,

I have an update for the post I put in here earlier when I said that evening primrose oil had done the trick. Dougal is still on evening primrose oil, but it is noteworthy that he also went on a homemade diet (instead of processed, dried kibbles) at the time when we got his skin issues under control.

Since then there came a time when we were unable to make his food ourselves, so we picked out a specialized kibbled food for sensitive skins. He continued on evening primrose oil, but in no time his skin issues returned. One of our other dogs also developed a rash while on the same food.

We returned them to our homemade food, and the problems have again been relieved.

Conclusion: The most important component in maintaining our dogs' skin health is a natural healthy diet made by us. What they eat should not include processed foods with chemical content and whatever else might be thrown in without declaration.

The Bossy Westie
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 12:16am PST 
Hi Dougal,
what kind healthy natural diet you talk about? Can you give me examples. Thanks!

Member Since
Barked: Tue Sep 17, '13 3:04pm PST 
We have a lovely little Westie boy, 3.5 years and were plagued by skin problems that showed up last winter for the first time. He lost half his coat, was itching every where and skin turned from pink to black in about 6 short weeks. We have had 100% success and fully restored him to his cheeky, healthy self with a beautiful coat;
- started bathing in oatmeal shampoo, followed by 50% vinegar rinse weekly for 2 months - now about once per month for maintenance
- changed his diet (was a raw food doggie); he now eats a cooked diet of half ground turkey/half baked yam, mixed with a little carrot now and then for a treat. I cook 1lb ground turkey in a large tablespoon of coconut oil, with a heaping tablespoon of Turmeric (the spice that gives curry it's colour) a POWERFUL antioxidant/anti-inflammatory immune builder, and stir in two capsules of B6/B12 per lb of turkey. This cooked mix last for approx 3 days/6 meals for a 21lb dog. I then add a Vitamin D (500mg) and a doggy vitamin (cheapest at Walmart in their pet section) to his breakfast each day. He also gets a healthy tsp of either Olive Oil, Omega 3 (squeezed out of a vitamin cap) or Primrose. I alternate so he's getting a rich mix of oils.
- SLATHERED his itchy, discoloured, broken out areas with pure organic coconut oil (the kind you cook with). His skin turned from black back to pink almost overnight. It was shocking. This stuff is magic and CHEAP. We now "touch him up" with a coconut oil belly rub every now and then for maintenance and have had no more skin breakouts or itchy skin.
- I understood from everyone I spoke with that the main problem is a weak immune system for this breed, so the above is all focused on restoring immunities to optimum health. Good luck!

Edited by author Tue Sep 17, '13 3:18pm PST


I own zero, but- I'm seldom- dissatisfied
Barked: Wed Sep 18, '13 6:43pm PST 
In response to some inquiries about success with getting Dougal's skin and ear troubles under control, I'll post this update about how we're treating it.

Skin: Dougal's nine years old now. When he was only about one year old, he did get what appeared to be the ailment detailed here: http://www.westiemed.org/health/malassezia/ However, that was fixed with the application of neem oil and regular bathing, and never recurred. A couple of years back, eczema appeared mainly along his back, neck and tail, and also between his toes and pads. That has been almost entirely eliminated by putting him on a homemade, natural diet, and completely cutting out the processed food from the store. His food comprises mainly ground meat, rice, and vegetables. There are other components. I can give a complete recipe if you ask via private message.

I am now able to say with confidence that this diet is the key to clearing the eczema on Dougal's body. There was a period recently when we did not have the time to prepare his food, so we bought him a good-quality kibbled food for sensitive skin. The eczema recurred, but was fixed again as soon as he went back on his homemade food. I conclude that keeping him off processed food entirely is the solution.

He does also have a piece of cooked pork leg with the bone once a week to clean his teeth, and his treats are small dried whole fish that are sold in bags at the pet store.

He still gets a little eczema between his toes and pads, but that is kept under control by occasionally applying a little tea tree oil mixed with petroleum jelly (Vaseline).

He is also bathed at least once a week with Cooper's Best animal shampoo mixed with tea tree oil and olive oil. 200ml of shampoo, 700 ml of water, 20ml or tea tree oil, 5ml of olive oil. We scrub his paws with a soft-bristled brush.

Ears: He was always prone to infections and itching. The discharge got worse around the same time as the eczema started. All the vet's treatments have failed to fix it. I now keep it under control by cleaning thoroughly 1-2 times a week with Nolvasan Otic solution. It takes 3-4 applications/massaging of both ears (and wiping with twists of tissue) per cleaning session to remove all the discharge. I then finish by drying thoroughly with a cotton bud. All this needs to be done very gently and carefully so that you do not damage your dog's ear or make him sore.

He was on one or two other treatments/supplements that I mentioned in earlier posts, but we have now discontinued those and not seen any negative results.

These actions have worked for Dougal, but I must stress that it's important to be sure what's ailing your dog if you are to offer the right remedies. Take him/her to a reputable veterinarian for diagnosis.

Member Since
Barked: Tue Oct 29, '13 3:40pm PST 
Hello Westie owners. My Wife and I have two beautiful Westies both of whom had bad skin rashes on their paws, under their mouths, under arms and around the base of the tail. 6 months ago Molly was diagnosed with kidney failure and was not given very long to live. She went right off her food (good quality complete) but we were advised that it is vital that she eats something;anything. My Wife decided to start cooking food for them and now makes up a chicken cassarol once a week; we freeze it and get out regularly. Molly loves this and eats it all as does our other Westie. Now comes the interesting bit. Not only is Molly doing very well (six months now) but all the skin problems have completely gone in both dogs - no more staining or itching at all. Our Vet is amazed and cannot understand it as we previously tried steroids and all manner of special shampoos such as Maliseb but nothing worked. The results have been amazing and we have two much more content Dogs with no skin problems at all So there we are! If you do decide to cook your own dog food I would strongly suggest that youtake great care to include all the following:- Fresh whole chicken, brown rice,quinoa,a good selection of fresh vegetables, olive oil, evening primrose oil,lentils and oily fish such as pink salmon or mackeral. You can also supplement the food with a small amount of bought in food;I would only suggest Lilly`s (available from Waitrose) and nothing else. It is more expensive than buying in food but they are worth it! You may find the website for Lilly`s Dog Food helpfull for more information and a cookery book for dogs. Lastly I would like to say that home cooked food has transformed the lives of our two little dogs. Good luck

Member Since
Barked: Wed Jan 15, '14 2:29am PST 
Hi everyone, I'm new here and have just gotten a 10 week old westie cross. My vet told me about their skin issues and as soon as I noticed him scratching a few days ago (he's been bathed several times and deflead) I decided to put him on a wheat free diet. My cat had asthma and I found out that a grain free diet helped her loads, so I'm trying this for Tommy. Has anyone else found success with this?

I'd rather have- a squirrel
Barked: Wed Jan 22, '14 9:57am PST 
My two year old Westie was exhibiting signs of such a skin allergy, biting off the fur on her front legs and rear paws in obvious discomfort. I took her to the Vet, who informed me that Westies' skin is notoriously vulnerable and it could be for a variety of reasons, but since Phoebe's exhibited in the fall season only, it's probably something she's walking through.

We walk every day in Grant Park in Chicago. Nice squirrel population there to bark at, and not taking her out is not an option (if you know Westies, you know why laugh out loud

I did notice little signs the Park District put out warning that the grass has been treated with chemicals.

So I did two things:

1) Feeding Phoebe the "Westie Diet", see http://www.westierescueca.com/diet.htm
2) Washing her legs and paws with "Episoothe Shampoo" after walks and her whole body once a week.

Problem solved.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 17, '14 8:01pm PST 
Coconut oil is also good. Use just a little bit and rub it into your Westie's coat and shampoo an hour later.

Member Since
Barked: Tue Mar 25, '14 1:13pm PST 
I bought a good mincer and have fed my Westie Milly raw food since I got her at 12 weeks old and she has never had a problem and she is three years old now.
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