Several springs ago, I started to notice that one of my Weims was having what appeared to be some sort of allergic reaction or skin infection. It started with a few bumps and hives all over her back.
I shrugged it off, assuming maybe she got stung by something or rubbed the wrong kind of plant.
As things progressed, the bumps worsened, and I noticed the raised welts were starting to get a little flakey. They were also starting to cover her entire back.
We had been having an unusually hot spring and after Benedryl didn’t help, the hives started to look irritated… Uh-oh, staph infection!
Staph infections are pretty common when the climate is hot and humid. Basically the perfect breeding grounds for normal bacteria on the skin to grow out of control!
Staph Infection in Weimaraners 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
I started my girl on the treatment protocol recommended by long-time Weimaraner breeders and experts, specifically following the treatment below and Elena Lamberson’s advice (in the comments).
- 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 shampoos. 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!
If your Weim has "summer crud," use a benzoyl peroxide shampoo in conjunction with Cephalexin. Bathe with cool water as necessary to calm the skin taking care to not scrub too hard. Gently massage and let it soak for 5-10 minutes.
If Treatment Doesn’t Work… What is the Underlying Cause?
This treatment worked beautifully for my Weim, but she is not normally an “allergic” dog.
If this treatment isn’t quite working for your Weim, you may want to try putting your Weimaraner on a novel protein source diet, or an elimination diet, to see if the cause may actually stem from a food allergy or sensitivity, leading to the staph infection.
Another culprit could be yeast (Yeast likes the same climate!) that starts somewhere else (ears and feet are common areas) and then causes a staph infection.
If you address the underlying cause, while treating your dog for staph, you should have the greatest success in defeating hives!
Resources for Treating Summer Crud/Staph Infections in Weimaraners
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.
- Benzoyl Peroxide Medicated shampoos.
[Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian and am only speaking from my 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.]
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I may have nailed it, last night at about one (1) AM I let our weim’ out for a piddle and caught her picking up and eating some Cat Crap. Of course I scolded her not to do that but she is very sneeky about it and to catch her I had to pay close attention. About an hour after that I heard her scratching wildly, only to discover that she was now covered in those damn hives. I gave her a five (5) milligram Prednisone and a benedril, by morning the hives or bumps were subsided. Boy, I sure hope this is the end to the mystery, especially after I found out that Veterinary Dermatology is an eight (8) billion dollar industry and without any real resolve offered other than to hold you up and rob you.
I appreciate the info about staph in Weims. That sure does sound like what’s plaguing our female right now. But the real reason I’m replying is to comment on Mindy’s dogs’ names. Our Weim is named Luce… Luce della Luna “Light of the Moon”. Her mother’s name was Luna, and I see you have a Luna, too, so that caught my eye. 🙂
I have a female weimaraner that will be 1 year august 30th. She is also named Luna gray. She broke out slowly. Then some hair loss and scratching. I looked on her belly and inside of her legs and she had so many welts. The vet put her on antibiotics and prednisone. This is the first day of treatment so I hope it goes away soon.
This is Weim #10 for me in over 35 years of owning and occasionally breeding them. I’ve never owned any other breed in my life.
I’ve had them 2 and 3 at a time and seen everything from Deomdec to torn ACL to Cancer and this seasonal skin condition comes up occasionally.
I tried everything thru the years and really the best overall treatment for immediate results is a shot of antibiotics at the vet along with1 gram of Cephalexin every day for 2 weeks plus a basic Prednisone regimen. It clears up within 24 hours and stays gone…
It’s best for the dog because it stops their discomfort immediately …and good for the owner because it cuts down on all the drama.
*Deomdec was supposed to read Demodec…(for Demodectic mange)
I wrote the original article “Summer Skin Crud” (actually there were 2 of these I believe) in the AKC Gazette for the WCA in the 80s, but this article missed the point of my article. To solve skin staph infections you must use an antibiotic (cephalexin or other beta lactamase resistant antibiotics) PLUS a benzoyl peroxide shampoo. They must be used together in order to kill staph in live skin and skin scales. If you use just the antibiotic, the infection will return because the organisms live in dead skin scales (no blood flow, thus they will not be killed with the antibiotic). Most drug stores and Walmart offer antibiotics like cephalexin free or very cheap. The staph killing shampoo can be found on various internet sites under medicated shampoos. Oxi dex, etc. Elena Smith Lamberson
Oops, …….to continue – try this for 3 weeks. The antibiotic every day (2X day) and the shampoo every 4 days. Shampoo dog and leave it on for at least 5 minutes. This will kill the staph and also cause the skin to flake – which you want to get rid of the infected skin scales. You can use a conditioner afterwards if you like.
Does anyone know if the staph is contagious to other dogs or humans? We think our 11month old Weim has this. Our other dog is 9, I don’t want her getting it and of course, I don’t want my humans getting it either.
It’s not contagious per se. Staph is on everyone’s skin (dogs and people) so when you have a dog with a staph infection it means that either the dog has an immune system issue, or in many cases the weather can create conditions where the staph propagates. Humidity is usually a big culprit.
What amazes me is that man uses animals for all types of medical testing to find out what works on humans.
We should be able to nail this down if the veterinary industry didn’t make 3 billion dollars a year treating skin issues in animals.
Now a days many veterinarians are wise to the fact that we love our animals and will do anything to help them. When I take my Weim to the vet I feel that he/she has been trained to treat or work on me phycologiclly first and then my Weim. Depending on what my reaction is will depend on the size of the bill.
Hi, my 5 month weim has had it for a month now. i first started with antibiotics that the vet prescribed (cephalexin) twice per day but she didn’t get any better. this was for the first 3 weeks. now i give her a bath with a benzoic shampoo very couple days and continue with the antibiotics but after a week i don’t see any results. After i give her a bath i do see the dry skin scales flake, should i remove them with a brush? is there any other recommendations for my pup? i also give her antiallergic to calm the itchiness
I have a new Wiem of just 4 months old and there are hives firstly and then the hair loss. I have gone through the above article and it seems to be helpful. Just wanted to ask is Termeric and Neem Shampoo good for him. I stay in India and the climate here is Humid mostly. Is there any way I can awoid its reoccurrence.
Hello! I tried this regimen with my weim (5 months old) and it worked out great! However, about 2 weeks following the completion of the antibiotic, it has come back and the bumps are even bigger! Have you experienced a re-occurrence? If so, this quickly following completion of meds?! Additionally, if there was a re-occurrence of the skin condition, did you request more antibiotics? I’m wondering with him being so young if his growing maybe outgrew the antibiotic dosage. Thoughts?! Thank you for this resource!
Did you do the shampooing per Elena’s comments above?
Not to a tee. We didn’t get rid of the flakes. Are we to use a comb? Additionally, do we need to get a new comb per use because of staph being on the comb?
I raise Jackrussel’s & what we call Jackahua’s (Teacup Chihuahua/Jackrussel) & Bulldogs my 6 month old male Jackahua has broke out in these blistering hives on his entire body losing 80 % of his hair this all started after a few different flea treatments but mainly a flea pill, dip & flea collar i have tried everything thinkable & was about to have him put to sleep not wanting to have him suffering anymore. But after reading these articles i am going to get the antibiotic & try again prayers please thank u
My Weimy is 9 years in November. She started sufferring with this rash red welts all over her hine legs and stomach. The scratching made me crazy, her eyes were also getting red so iff to the vet. She was put on Cefalon antibiotics, a $60 a month scratch pill, shampoo, catalic oil supplement for her food and i was told to get her on hypoallergenic food like science diet. $90 a bag. Wow! She cleared up but now its coming starting to come back. Cant afford $300 buck visits, $90 food. I guess i have to ask for a presciption for the free antibiotics and im glad to read about benedril. Will keep washing her weekly. But im told to find out what she exactly allergic too, a $200 allergy test. For now i found skin and stomach sensitivity Science diet $50 a bag. But her pussie eyes are returning today. Keeping her away from cat food(which she steels). Oy vey! Will try benedril next. Thanks for the comments.
Hi I have a 5 month old weim it has been over a month now that we have seen little bumps around neck and back now and he is loosing hair down his spine and always scratching
We have taken him to vet over 3x and they can’t seem to find what’s going on with him. I came across your page I e been going through so many websites and your seems the most accurate to what our weim is experiencing, do you happen to have more pictures or describe a little more. Thank you so much I’ve run into a wall and we just want our healthy weimy back.
They usually look like a lot of little bumps under the skin. Please be sure to read Elena’s comments about treating this both systemically and topically at the same time in order to get the best results.
Hi, just following up on this. Was there a solution? We are experiencing the same with ours, and the vets have narrowed it down to a food allergy. Now in the process of elimination diets.
In response to your question about the follow up – I have spent close to $4,000 in vet bills and ended up taking my Weim to a doggy dermatologist. She said my pup has folicalitis and put her on antibiotics (which she’s been taking since July everyday twice a day (a half pill with food). the antibiotics is called Linezolid 600 mill. And she gave us a trizchlor 4 shampoo and seborrhea mousse to use after she’s bathed. at the very same time I took her to this specialist, I changed her food from chicken to whitefish and sweet potato,. after 2 weeks her hair grew back, the welts and rashes went away, she stopped scratching and the thick crusty dandruff started to disappear as well as the smell. midway thru the bottle of meds she was and still is completely cured and healthy again.
I only used the special shampoo 3x so i believe that it was either change in her diet OR the meds that cured her. I don’t know which it is b.c like i said – we started her on the new diet the day she went to the specialist.
Try whitefish and sweet potato instead of turkey. also if that doesn’t help ask your vet about folliculitis.
I hope this message gets to Natalie who asked the question-bc i know how upsetting this situation is and to reach out for suggestions and not have anyone respond is very frustrating.
good luck!!! keep me posted.
Our 6 yr old Weimeraner, Riley, has been battling something like this all summer. The vet first diagnosed it as staph and prescribed antibiotics along with topical treatments using Douxo Chlorhexidine Mouse. After twenty one days there were almost no results. Next, the vet tested and said it was not staph but instead a fungal infection. Twenty one days of antifungal pills and antifungal shampoo and there are still no results. Now the vet wants to send us to a specialist for testing. I have pictures but I don’t see anywhere to post them. I would really like someone who has gone through this to see the pictures so we know if it is actually staph. We have spent well over $500 at the vet and are really starting to lose faith in his ability. It’s September now and I live in Minnesota, if it’s staph will the colder weather in the fall help get rid of it?
’d like to put out there my experience with my 21 month old…condition seems to be exacerbated by oral flea & tick meds…and now oral heart worm. Stopped the tick med and condition significantly improved…that was about 4 months ago. Following heart worm pill, within 5 days flared up again. Off to the vet today for another round of cephalexin, apoquel and bathing. Anyone have a similar experience?
This is our second summer that our 8 year old weim has gotten a staph infection on his head and ears.
We were back at the vet today with more tests and got them to prescribe the antibiotic suggested.
Hoping for some fast healing this year!!
Here’s hoping it clears up fast, poor guy!
Let us know how this protocol works out for him!
My Weim is 4 hrs old and did the same thing. She has been on antibiotics for 5 months and bathed in a special shampoo weekly. Blood test has not shown anything unusual. I’ve spent $800 in vet bills and we are only seeing slow improvement. Bumps from her head to tail on top of her back and sides going down under to her belly. She lost all her hair. She’s starting to grow some hair back but the bumps keep coming back. I’m at my wits end. About to go to another vet for second opinion. She doesn’t dig or scratch. I think I’m going to try the vinegar and water combo for topical use. Anyone else had any results with that? Thank ypu
hi rita, did you ever find a treatment? I am having no success. I couldn’t locate the Pyoben Shampoo anywhere so I bought another brand with the same ingredients. it made her skin condition worse. she started the cephalexin yesterday. I was hoping that by today she would have a bit of relief but it seems worse.
I tried apple cider vinegar and water when this first started and it seemed to hurt her skin and didn’t do anything. did it work for your pup?
hi, my Weim is having this same issue for the last 8 weeks. She is 3 years old and this is the first summer this has ever happened. She is covered in small red bumps all over her belly and she has scratched herself so much (on her sides, stomach, all 4 legs, all 4 paws and both ears) SO MUCH that she is loosing her hair, and has scabs everywhere. We have blood all over our furniture from her breaking open her scabs everyday and she sleeps in our bed so I am constantly washing sheets. We have brought her to the vet 3 times in 2 months and they have changed her meds from apoquel (which did nothing) to prednisone (which cleared her up until we started weening her off the meds-then her condition got worse). Now she’s on Cyclosporine (which was $700!!!!) and simplicef. (she’s on those 2 meds together and there is no change at all). she is constantly scratching and her hair looks singed. I think she looks like a pup you would see in a pound with the ratty fur and bald spots. I’m so upset about this. She in so much discomfort and constantly scratching-all night long. she never sleeps. I don’t know what to do. I suppose we can try the medicated shampoo you discussed and ask my vet about the cephalexin, but why don’t they know about this? and will this come back??
I just don’t understand why she has never had this before. what changed???
Hi Merri, I’m so sorry your Weim is going through this. Maybe you can try a different vet. A lot of vets just like to throw medication at you and sometimes that only causes temporary relief. Please see Elena’s comments below about the type of antibiotics and using them in conjunction with the shampoo. Best of luck to you!
thank you Anne. We have our follow up appt with the vet today and I have printed this article to take with me. I am hopeful yet that we can help her.
I am so happy that I found this page!
I brought my Weim to the vet last week and mentioned the successful treatment that so many of you have experienced through cephalexin and Pyoben. My vet says the antibiotics she is currently on are 100X stronger than cephalexin and if my pup is not responding to what she is on then she can’t help her anymore. she also has never heard of the Pyoben Shampoo. I have had no luck finding it on any websites. Amazon is sold out with no restocking dates. I am wondering if this Pyoben is discontinued bc I cannot locate it anywhere and the 1 website I was able to find it, it says you need to be a vetrinary with a license to purchase it. (although my Vet was no help when I asked her to do so).
can someone tell me if they have been able to find this shampoo anywhere? or is there a substitute that is just as good? I don’t want to just take my chance at buying something else. thanks
hi this reply is to Natalie who commented on this page but for some reason its not showing up????
In response to your question about the follow up – I have spent close to $4,000 in vet bills and ended up taking my Weim to a doggy dermatologist. She said my pup has folicalitis and put her on antibiotics (which she’s been taking since July everyday twice a day (a half pill with food). the antibiotics is called Linezolid 600 mill. And she gave us a trizchlor 4 shampoo and seborrhea mousse to use after she’s bathed. at the very same time I took her to this specialist, I changed her food from chicken to whitefish and sweet potato,. after 2 weeks on the medication AND the new food- her hair grew back, the welts and rashes all went away and she doesn’t scratch anymore, the thick heavy dandruff started to disappear and the smell went away.
She is now 100% healthy and cured!!!! the fill recovery happened before she was finished with her meds; although she is still taking the antiobiotics (bc the Dr gave her 1 refill for another 30 days) and I have only bathed her in the special shampoo 3x. which tells me it was either the food change that cured her-OR the meds.
I cannot be sure bc I started the new diet the same day she started the meds.
at any rate-I have never been happier that we kicked this illness and she is healthy again.
Hi all. Our 6 month old Vizsla and Weim Cross has seen the vet almost 5 times regarding the exact same hives. They are now saying it is most likely the cause of a food allergy, and he was put on Sweet Potatoe/Turkey only diet for about a month, in which the bumps went away and then came back. As of two weeks ago was given 100% rabbit food along with an antibiotic (Vanectyl) for the skin. The bumps went away, but a few days after the antibiotic ended some bumps are reappearing. It’s hard for us to pinpoint exactly what helped. The question is, is this a food allergy or a staph infection? I see that it states allergies as one of the causes… but I am assuming that is more environmental? It is extremely frustrating to deal with elimination diets as he is very limited on treats and not to mention its super expensive. Any guidance will help.
Hi Natalie, it certainly does sound frustrating! I am not a vet but would assume that it is a combination of both allergies and an infection. If he has improved with food change, it certainly sounds like that would still be something to explore/change to see what works. It can be less expensive and definitely easier to control if you cook for your dog, that will you can keep the ingredients very limited and you will know exactly what is in the food. Your vet may or may not agree.
Best of luck!