A couple of weeks ago, we started to notice that our Weim was having what appeared to be some sort of allergic reaction. It started as a few bumps along the base of his neck down his back. We shrugged it off at the time and gave him some Benadryl, assuming he got stung by something or rubbed on the wrong kind of plant.
As the days went by, the bumps worsened, progressing down his sides until his entire back and sides were covered in little bumps that looked like hives. At this point we had no idea what it was and decided to continue giving him the Benadryl, along with a medicated “soothing” bath to try and calm it down. Fast forward a few more days, a lot of Benadryl, and a 3rd bath and we had a dog with more bumps that were now red!
Having been asking around the “Weim World” (i.e., breeders and fellow owners) we had come across a general consensus that it was likely we had a staph infection on our hands. The vet confirmed without hesitation what had been suggested to us – our little guy had acquired a staph infection on his skin, a VERY common occurrence this time of year in climates such as ours with high humidity and temperatures. With the hot and humid weather, we not have the perfect breeding grounds for the normal bacteria on their skin to go out of control.
The cure is quite simple, keep the dog comfortable with Benadryl and continued baths as necessary, and antibiotics (we were prescribed 500mg Cephalexin to be administered three times daily for 21 days). We’re happy to say that our guy is on the mend now, after a 4th bath, more Benadryl and 5 days of antibiotics he’s looking (and hopefully feeling) much better!
Staph Infection in a Nutshell
(any or all of the following)
- Bumpy fur or hives
- Red splotches
- Hair loss
- Dandruff-like flaking
- Heat and humidity
- Bug bites particularly flea bites
- De-flea the dog and environment
- Cephalexin (not any other kind of antibiotics!) 500 mg three times daily for 21 days
- At the same time as the Cephalexin treatment, give medicated baths every 4 days with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo, such as Pyoben. Bathe with cool water as necessary to calm the skin taking care to not scrub too hard as it can further irritate the skin. Be sure to gently massage the shampoo in and let it soak on the skin for 5-10 minutes.
- Antihistamines for comfort — Benadryl 25 mg capsule, up to 3 caps every 8-12 hours; or Chlor-Trimeton 4 mg capsule, up to 3 caps every 8-12 hours; or Claritin 10 mg tablet, up to 2 tabs every 24 hours. Make sure there are no decongestants in these!
- NO STEROIDS!
Ed Note: Please see Elena Smith Lamberson’s comments below for more treatment advice.
This can be an expensive problem since it must be treated both systemically and topically. Using generic can be helpful 😉
- Use a generic antihistamine. Diphenhydramine is the generic of Benadryl; Chlorpheniramine is the generic of Chlor-Trimeton; Loratadine is the generic of Claritin.
- Fish-Flex is Cephalexin labeled for fish aquariums but can be used off-label for dogs.
- Medicated shampoos such as Septiderm or Pyoben.
- Elena Smith Lamberson’s AKC Gazette article, “Preparing for Summer Skin Problems”
DISCLAIMER: We are not veterinarians and are only speaking from our personal experience and those of many Weimaraner people that have experienced this problem with their dogs. This article is for your information only. Any recommendations are to be used at your own risk.