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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