scratching and irritating neck?

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dougan
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Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:05 am

scratching and irritating neck?

Post by dougan »

We noticed the other day that our brittany is scratching his neck a lot so we took a closer look and found that he has a bunch of scabs on his neck. When we take him out to run we fit him with an electric collar, and we had two cases in the last few weeks where we had to resort to a high intensity correction (once he was about to run in front of a car, and the second he was about to jump on the neighbor's little girl to play with her). We usually put the collar on pretty loose because we usually just use the beeping for correction, and rarely use the stimulation. I"m thinking that using high stimulation without direct skin contact caused some scabs to form. I can't think of something else I could have done in those situations, but I still feel pretty terrible about it now that I see the scabs.

Anyway, he has been scratching at it and this has caused new scabs to form and you can tell the skin is irritated. The irritation isn't too awful, no puss or anything like that. Once when hunting I put a vest on him and it irritated his armpits way worse and it cleared up after just a few days, but with him scratching at it this time, this isn't going away. I'm trying to figure out what to do about it. I'm thinking about getting him the cone of shame so he'll stop scratching it. However, I'm a little worried that putting that collar on him will irritate it more. Right now we are keeping all collars off him except for when he goes outside so it won't get irritated. I'm going to keep an eye on it and if it starts to get worse I'll take him to the vet, but right now I think it's just a matter of getting him to stop irritating it for a few days.

Does anyone have any advice?

Cindy
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Re: scratching and irritating neck?

Post by Cindy »

I haven't had this problem but my friend with 2 Brittanys (in WI) just emailed the other day and said she has been having an irritated neck issue with her newest dog. First she thought it was their IF collar so the IF dealer sent her plastic prongs to replace the metal ones (yup, somehow they still conduct electricity). She took the collar off whenever the dog was inside and it all cleared up. Now she's having the same problem with her e-collar. Have you gone on the manufacturers website to see if they make prongs from different materials? I read somewhere that they are usually made from nickel (I think) and some dogs are allergic to that.

I just googled this issue and found the following: http://www.retrievertraining.net/forums ... tritronics

I have used both the sock technique and the 24 hour Extended Wear Comfort Grid which I got at Gun Dog Supply. Here's the problem as I understand it. One, you could have one of those dogs who is allergic to the metal used. However, if that is the case, the dog will develop skin issues when dry as well as when wet. Two, wet skin is inherantly more sensitive. try it yourself if you need to: Put some a tiny bit of sand in a dry sock, then put your shoes on and go for a walk. Then try it with wet socks. Three: wet skin conducts more current than does dry skin. (if you REALLY want to test this put the collar on your calf and zap yourself. Then wet your skin and try it again.) I've used the extended wear adaptor with good results. However, its REALLY IMPORTANT to recalibrate your idea of what setting to use on your dog when he is wet and when he is using this adapter. The wet dog usually needs a lower setting of stim. this is also true with the extended wear adaptor. it spreads the signal out and most dogs require a lower setting. I have not tried the extended wear adaptor with the sock but I think it sounds worth a try . if the irritation is from physical abrasion, the sock will help a lot with or without the Comfort Grid But change out the sock for a dry one when you can. if the irritation is from electrical activity, the sock might not help much as it will hold water and might amplify the signal. I assume you are a nice guy and are not over zapping your dog in lieu of training, right? if you think you are having to zap too often in the field (might get a third party to judge that) , best to hit the training more than the hunting til you both get on the same page. But if its just the unactivated collar points causing your dog pain, give the extended wear adapter a try. It worked great on both shorthairs and labs at our house.
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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dougan
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Re: scratching and irritating neck?

Post by dougan »

Thanks Cindy.

My philosophy on the electric collar is to only use it on low settings unless emergency. My dogtra goes from 0 to 127 so the lower numbers are really light-- he's usually on around 30, which I've used on myself with and it's not painful at all. It's just enough for him to notice it-- i got to this number by trying 20, 21, 22 etc while he was relaxing and waiting to see when his ears perked up, which was at 30. The way I look at it, something very low like this is about the equivalent of a quick tug on the leash to remind him to "come" versus a painful punishment or negative reinforcement. These days I usually precede correction with a remote beep which he listens to most of the time. So he does get stim here and there but it's almost always at that setting which is the lowest he can feel. I don't use a higher setting for punishment (even if I wasn't concerned about the humane-ness, he doesn't respond well to negative reinforcement anyway). But there have been a handful of cases like the one I described in my first post where something really bad was about to happen and the 30 wasn't working so he got hit pretty hard to stop him in his tracks. I know this is probalby not too relevant, I just don't want people to think I'm a terrible person. :)

The concern about allergy is interesting. I'm thinking that may not be it though because he has been fine for awhile, and it hasn't seemed to get better since we stopped using the collar. It started shortly after those cases where he got shocked hard so my leading theory is that the stimulation itself started all this versus something else. I think now the main issue is probably him just scratching at it.

Cindy
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Re: scratching and irritating neck?

Post by Cindy »

I just heard back from my friend and this is what she did:

... loosened the collar, changed over to the plastic longer nodules, only kept a collar on her (including her regular collar) when she went outside and took them off when she was inside, and ultimately it was cleared up by a vet antibiotic spray. So far she’s smooth as a whistle. We’re also giving her 2 benedryl tabs 3x/day and her itching has gone considerably down. They said it would take about 2+ weeks to notice and I’m really starting to notice that she doesn’t itch as much anymore.
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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dougan
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Re: scratching and irritating neck?

Post by dougan »

Thanks cindy.

He's getting neutered next week so I'm really excited for the vet to see that and think i'm beating him up. At least I have an appointment already if I don't see any improvement by then. A little worried I put the cone on him and it irritates him more. They have those inflatable collars that you can use instead of a cone, I might go that route-- seems like there'd be less rubbing. Although if it's still rough at neuter time they might want me to wait until he's healed up more. At this point it does not seem infected but I could see it getting there.

adele
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Re: scratching and irritating neck?

Post by adele »

How's your boy's neck? I don't know about the cause but I have a pup who reacts to bug bites. He get's bitten and then gets a big sore. If he'd leave it alone it would go away in a couple of days but he scratches and bites at it making it worse. I have learned that just by putting a little polysporin (sp?) on it he leaves the boo-boo alone and then it can heal. I'm not sure why this works but I figure it may be that the polysporin relieves the sting and itch (I know that from personal experience with my boo-boos). It might also be because it dissolves the scab so the fur isn't all mucked up and then the area isn't always pulling at him. Maybe he just doesn't like the taste... I dunno... but the point is he leaves it alone so it can heal. You could try it?
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