Updated: June 21, 2017

If you gathered a room full of pet parents and asked how many of their fur babies have had skin issues, especially itching, I guarantee almost every single hand would go up.  Itching is common place in our pets, but it’s when that itch becomes excessive that you have a problem on your hands.

Canine atopic dermatitis is one of the leading causes of itching, and is caused by allergens in the environment, food or medication.  If your pup is diagnosed with this, your veterinarian may recommend corticosteroids, antihistamines or topical ointments.  Almost always, this is never a long term solution.  It behooves pet parents to get to the root cause of the allergy, however, testing for this can be pricey.

In our own lives, Angelo was first diagnosed with alopecia (hair loss), but then it quickly became apparent he had issues with dermatitis.  We were given three different things to battle it.  An antihistamine, a commercial dog food for allergies and animax ointment to put on the itchy areas.

Did any of them work?  Nope.  The antihistamine made Angelo constipated and too lethargic, we kept him on the commercial dog food diet for years (up until 2015) which seemed to make his itching worse and the animax ointment failed in every regard.

“We were prescribed this for a bacterial infection that caused my pet to scratch and bite himself incessantly. After 4 days use, we realized he was getting very hard of hearing, and after reading the package insert, we saw that hearing loss was a side effect. This is very distressing for our poor dog.” – A worried Pet Parent

For several years we were advised to keep on using the animax ointment, but were told to make sure that he doesn’t lick it (virtually impossible to prevent him from doing it) because it could cause diarrhea, excessive thirst and vomiting.  Not surprisingly, he did incur some of those issues.

What is Animax Ointment?

Animax oitnment is used to manage dermatologic disorders in dogs and cats.  It contains the following ingredients:

  • Nyastin: Is an anti-fungal used to combat yeast.  Negative effects include anorexia, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
  • Neomycin & Thiostrepton: Are antibiotics.  Negative effects include facial swelling, intestinal problems, diarrhea and damage to both the ears and kidneys.
  • Triamcinolone: Is a corticosteroid.  Negative effects include hives, difficult breathing, weight gain, increased thirst, increased urination, diabetes, suppressed immune system and cushings syndrome.

Together these ingredients can be used to treat skin and ear disorders caused by allergies, bacterial or yeast infections.  Your veterinarian might also prescribe Animax when your pup gets infected cysts between the toes.  However, synergistically these same ingredients can also cause deafness in your dog.

I haven’t been able to find studies of how many dogs go deaf by using Animax, but there are anecdotal accounts here, here, here and here.  Allegedly, the deafness is temporary.  Even if that is true, would you really want to subject your dog to that?  What if you were deaf temporarily from a medication that you took, how would that impact you?  Quite severely I’m sure.

In all fairness there appears to be quite a few dogs who have benefited from using Animax ointment, but the chance still remains that your fur baby could be adversely affected by it.

With that said whenever introducing a new pharmaceutical or supplement to your fur baby, always be vigilant and proactive in your research.

Natural Alternatives

  • Turmeric/Coconut Oil: Mixed together these two powerful ingredients can help quell inflammation, treat fungal infections and heal bacterial infections.  I normally take a few table spoons of coconut oil and a teaspoon of turmeric and slightly heat it up in a small pot.  You don’t want to burn it, just wait until it sizzles.  After it cools, take a cotton ball and dab it in the solution.  Then you can gently wipe the problem areas on your pup.  I like to do this 2-3 times a day.  A bit of a warning, turmeric is orange and if your pup is allowed on your furniture or bedding, you’ll have some stains.  On the bright side, you’ll have a pup with nice healthy skin!
  • Witch Hazel/Baby Oil or Green Tea: Regular cleaning of your pups ears can help in preventing ear infections.  Thus eliminating the need for pharmaceuticals and medical ointments.  Once a week cleaning is ideal.  A couple drops of witch hazel and a drop of baby oil on a cotton ball will suffice for cleaning your pups ears.  Or you can heat up some green tea, let it cool, then dab a cotton ball in it and gently clean your fur babies ears.

If you have any other methods you use to clean your dogs ears or battle dermatitis, please comment below and don’t forget to share!  🙂

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