Category Archives: Scottish Terrier health and safety

Keeping your Scottish Terrier healthy and safe.

Bridget the Scottish Terrier deals with health issues as ninth birthday approaches

The Scottie News team back in our lighter days
The Scottie News team back in our lighter days

Bridget, the Scottie who inspired the Scottish Terrier and Dog News, turns nine years old later this month. Apart from one or two bouts with allergies, she has always enjoyed robust good health. But, as of late, alas, that has changed. In the past two months, Bridget has faced a number of health problems.

It began with a cyst-like bump that’s a few years old but recently started growing. The vet doesn’t think it’s dangerous, but recommended nevertheless that it come off, and we’re going to get it done. Before she could go in for her surgery (just a local anesthetic), however, Bridget developed a sore front paw.

It flared up one afternoon and she couldn’t put any weight at all on it. I heard her crying during the night and nothing had improved by morning so off she went to the vet, rolling along like a Queen in a medically equipped grocery stroller.

The vet saw nothing more than the swollen left paw pads we had noticed. He trimmed back some of her paw fur and gave us an anti-inflammatory spray and told us to keep her quiet. He said if she wasn’t better in a few days, he’d do an X-ray.

Within 24 hours, Bridget was greatly improved. And within 48, she seemed almost completely better.

But that’s not all. On her cyst visit, the vet grabbed Bridget and put her on the scale where she weighed in at a whopping 29 lbs, more than four lbs heavier than her last weigh-in. She was ordered to go on a diet. For the next month, I monitored her food consumption carefully and cut back on meal portions and snacks. I was convinced she had dropped a pound or two.

Well, I was wrong. While she was at the clinic for her paw treatment, she was whisked on to the scale where it was noted she had, in fact, gained several ounces.

I protested. It couldn’t be. She was eating much less.

The vet suggested she might have thyroid problems and said he’d get back to me. For now, I’m still waiting.


Dog ear issues

Hi everyone,

Rita is having trouble with her Scottie Barney and his ears.

“I would like to ask a question regarding our Scottish Terrier (Barney) love of my/our life.!   Over the past year he has started scratching his ear so much  some times squealing as well,  we took him to the vet   he was sedated and his ear’s cleaned ( build up of wax & hair) and given tablets (steroids??)  however this is continuing to happen   vet is expensive  any suggestions!!!!!!”

Has anyone else had similar issues? Please add comments if you have any suggestions for Rita.


Pancreatitis in Dogs

Hello everyone,

Tracy has written the Scottish Terrier News about her Scottie, Talulah, who is suffering from pancreatitis.

“Hello. My beautiful 5 year old scottie, Talulah, has been diagnosed with pancreatitis. This has come as a complete shock as she has eaten a hypoallergenic diet for most of her life and never gets human food unless a rare treat. Can you tell me if this is common in Scotties and any advice for her nutritional needs would be most appreciated. Low fat food is now the order of the day but any advice for anything yummy would be welcome. Thanks Tracy”

Has anyone had any a similar issue as Tracy?  Please update the comments with any hints or tips for Tracy.


Scottie News Updates: Your tips for Abby’s paw

Hi everyone,

Abby’s paw is doing much better but I am still going to continue to soak it in epsom salts which seems to be helping.  We still cannot find what caused the problem.  There is no sign of an ingrown hair, mite, etc.  I appreciated all the advice and feedback from the Scottish Terrier News family.  I am going to be starting quite a few diet changes for Abby to help with her allergies.

Here are some comments that were received via email:

“Our female Scottie Lydia had one several years ago and we had it removed surgically with no ill effect.  Our vet in Maine recommended this action.  I did not understand that this could be from allergies, ingrown hair, mite, etc. until reading your note today.  She now has developed another one this winter.  We are waiting to return to Maine in May before determining next step, but I wanted to thank you for information.  Lydia lives with us in Belize 6 months of the year and I will certainly make sure she’s thoroughly checked for a mite of some sort or a foreign object.  She is 13 now and we will avoid surgery if at all possible.” Thank you. – Janet

“I had a Scottie, Meagan, who developed one of these on one foot caused by an ingrown hair.   The vet surgically removed it.  She never developed another thank goodness!”-  kvcoleman

We also received some terrific photos!

Here are Arthur, Bitterman and Dudley.  Don’t they look awesome!

The Jersey Boys
The Jersey Boys


Here is Allister.  He is a one year old wheaton Scottie.

Allister & Friend
Allister & Friend


Here is a stellar crew – Moxie, Duffy, and Mac.  These cuties can hold a pose much better than Abby and Bridget 🙂

Moxie, Duffy & Mac
Moxie, Duffy & Mac


Abby’s Paws: Toe Cysts on Dogs

I noticed that Abby was having trouble walking one day. She would trip over her one foot and when we got home she would lick the paw constantly.  I noticed some changes to her paw but it is a struggle to look at them as she is really sensitive.

I took her to vet and found that she has a interdigital furuncles which are basically cysts on her toes.  Right now I am soaking her foot 2-3 times a day in epsom salts.  We go back to the vet next week to see how they are.

Toe cysts can be caused by ingrown hair, a foreign object embedded in the toe, or a skin mite.  I am not sure what caused this but I know that allergies can also be a factor.

Have any of you had this issue with your Scottie?  If so, can you update the comments with your experience and what you recommend for Abby?



That Time of Year – Allergy Season

Well, it looks like spring is finally on its way for some of us.  I am happy to have warmer weather than the -25 degree Celsius temperatures we were experiencing.  However, I hope you will forgive me if I am not so thrilled to see the warmer weather.  Now that the snow has melted and the warmer temperatures are here, Abby’s allergies are starting up again.

We had our first warm day and I noticed her digging at her feet and I mean DIGGING.  She will rip her fur out if she gets a chance.  To help her feel better, I give her baking soda baths.  I fill up the tub with lukewarm water and add some baking soda.  She seems to like having the water around her and will sit and relax.  I fill the tub about 2-4 inches high so her stomach and legs are covered.  This does seem help relieve her itching.  I also use Hexadene shampoo which really helps as well.

Thankfully, Abby loves to have a bath. However, she will try to get in if you are running your own bathwater so you really have to keep an eye on her.

She is on Atopica which over the winter was reduced to 1 tablet every two days but now that spring is here will be increased to daily.  I have also tried an antihistamine but found that she would sit in the corner and pant so I took her off it.  I am going to try them again though.

Apple cider vinegar (with the mother) mixed 50/50 with water can also help relieve itching.  I mix this in a spray bottle and have it handy to spritz her when we come in from outside.

I also found that insect bites would really cause her to fret and itch more so than any other dog I have owned.  Last summer, to try to keep mosquitoes away, I would spritz her with Listerine.  This does seem to work.  I even spray my feet before heading out the door.

Check out other allergy solutions that other Scottie owners have used in the Allergy season plagues Scottish Terriers article.

Here’s hoping this year will be better for all our little allergy sufferers.


Dogs don’t need regular teeth cleaning, critics say

The Terrierman is on a rant, railing on against over-vaccination and the dangers of unnecessary doggie teeth-cleaning under general anaesthetic. It all makes sense to me.

Here’s the 20/20 report that set the Terrierman off:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Here’s Dr. Andrew Jones’ Veterinary Secrets website, which is mentioned in the video

If you’re not quite ready to get out your toothbrush and floss, check out the video below and read its back story here.

The flossing scene starts at about 3:30

Atopica for dogs: what side effects have you seen?

Abby the itchy Scottish Terrier
Poor Abby has been suffering from allergy-induced itchy skin problems that turned into an infection.

My neighbour and fellow Scottie person, Sandra, needs advice. Her lovely wheaten Scottish Terrier, Abby, is suffering terribly from skin allergies, itchiness and infection.

Another of our dog park comrades, who also had a terrier with severe itchy skin issues,  wholeheartedly recommended Atopica, said it changed his dog’s life, and there were no side effects. A little internet research shows, however, that others have indeed experienced side effects from Atopica.

What I’d like to know is whether there are any Scottie News readers out there with Atopica experience. If you’ve used it or know someone who has, please add a comment or email Many thanks.

Sandra also sent along this picture of her late, great Scottie, Angus (RIP).

Angus the Scottish Terrier
Look very closely and you can see the blacks of his eyes

Scottish Terrier Health Network

Scottie News would like to give a plug to the Scottish Terrier Health Network, source of much valuable information. Here’s part of an especially touching post:

On Saturday we all went to Clumber Park. You may have noticed a post with pictures. What I didn’t mention was that whilst passing by a young couple with a very large dog (Leonberger type) she very loudly muttered “ridiculous”. I very nearly stopped and challenged her. When she sees a human being, being pushed, carried, wheeled or helped, does she think “oh my, how sad” or think “I feel so sorry for them” or, “I trust there’s hope for that person” or would she automatically think without any understanding of why that human is in that condition loudly mutter “ridiculous”.

So, why do you think she should mutter “ridiculous” when walking past me with my scottie in a stroller. She knows nothing about why he’s having to be pushed. She’s brave enough to mutter “ridiculous” but not humane enough to ask why.

Read the entire story

Douxo products help itchy dogs: Reader testimonial

Douxo medicated pads can help itchy dogs
More than 90 amazon reviewers give these pads a rating between four and five stars

If you have a dog who suffers from itchiness, you know that it’s not just excruciating for the dog but for you as well. That’s why I took note when a reader made a long comment a month ago that recommended Douxo products. I’m reproducing it here and I’ve added links to the Amazon products mentioned by Laurie. Otherwise it’s exactly how she wrote it.

Douxo products were a godsend for our Scottie Duncan, who came into rescue with terrible, untreated skin issues that had progressed to blackened elephant skin on his legs. He was miserable–always biting at himself, open sores: the worst case of untreated allergies his veterinary allergist said she had ever seen.

She began Duncan on allergen shots after a Rast (skin prick) test: don’t let anyone talk you into the blood test, which does not work for most (any?) dogs. The injections definitely did help Duncan; eventually he had one shot a month.

The Douxo products in conjunction with the shots, though, pushed his healing to a new level. We used the pads (available at Douxo Chlorhexidine 3% PS Pads) for small areas and ears, and also the DOUXO Seborrhea Spot-on (available in a large and pricey box at Amazon, but in a smaller, more affordable box of 5 at, in combination with various medicated shampoos.

I did not think the other Douxo products (shampoo, spray, etc.) worked well for Duncan. These two products we used help the skin rebuild its protective layer, which makes the skin less susceptible to bacteria, yeast, and fungus. Duncan also eventually got cold laser treatments once his allergies were under control, to help heal his terribly damaged skin. It eventually became totally smooth (no more huge wrinkles), white, and in most places most of his hair grew back, too.

The best thing: he no longer scratched and bit at himself, and we didn’t have to use either prednisone or Atopica/cyclosporine, both of which carry significant health risks (prednisone can lead to Cushing’s, which is not unusual in Scotties anyway; Atopica/cyclosporine is an immune suppressant, which is how it works to stop allergies, but this also can leave your Scottie more susceptible to many cancers).

I hope this helps someone! I’ve had four different Scots with allergies. We do use a holistic vet for light allergy problems–currently one of our Scots has mild seasonal allergies, and she gets a glycerite elixir of Passion Flower, Linden, and Nettles. Dried Nettle Leaf (NOT root, which is for a whole different condition!) in powder form (the “cut and sifted” is not fine enough–get the powder) really helps for itchies (works better in my estimation than antihistamines and with no bad side effects). Nettles are also generally very nutritional and our Scots happily eat the powder sprinkled on/mixed into their food. Buy organic in bulk for best product at the best price: you can usually find Frontier Nettle Leaf Powder Organic on; you can also get it on Frontier Herb’s own website. An eighth to a quarter teaspoon twice a day should help with itchies. I’ve used it for years (have had 8 Scotties in my life) with no ill effects.

Hope this info helps someone–Scotties are the best!