West Highland White Skin Problems

I have a West Highland Terrier who has a skin problem that flares up every few weeks. Scaly patches appear on his back which then become flaky.His whole skin seems very sensitive when this occurs. I have visited the vet on several occasions. He gives a steroid injection which helps the problem for a short while but then it erupts again. It is not a flea allegy problem as I treat him with Frontline every few weeks. Has anyone with this breed of dog had a similar problem please?
22:24 Tue 08th Nov 2005
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I have a friend who had a Westie for 15 years and unfortunately skin complaints is a problem with the breed. It's a shame because they are so lovable and the best of the terriers in my opinion. I've never come across a nasty one and they are so friendly. Truly, lovely dogs.
Ask your vet to prescribe Atopica - it will clear up the problem without resorting to steroids, which are known to be pretty nasty.
hi i too have a lovely westie, although he does have a temper on him some times Drusilla! he is three now and has only recently started developing these same skin prooblems, everybody warned me about them (just hoped he'd never get them). but he has. the vet says it is something to do with the scent glands. we we're given a course of antibiotics which seem to be clearing them up. i'll keep you posted if i find out anything more. good luck.
We have just been to the vets today with our soft coated wheaten terrier who has had terrible skin problems which make him scratch until he bleeds. We think the problem may be his food. Anything which is too high in protein, especially beef protein can cause a kind of eczema in some dogs. This can be a very common problem, in fact my last dog had exactly the same thing. We have been advised to change his food to either Chappie (which loads of vets swear by apparently) or a low allergy kibble, we are trying James Wellbeloved hypoallergenic dry food. Beef is a big no no in dogs with skin problems so check the ingredients out especially in treats as beef hide and gelatine is often used as a binding agent. Lamb is the best or duck according to our vet. Hope this helps! X
Question Author
Many thanks to everyone out there with a Westie who is trying to help.
yep my 8 yr westie is the same, her paws were bold along with scaley skin, hyperallergenic dog food was the answer to mine. pets at home do there own make of dried food (big sack) of it which is very good and �15.00 cheaper than named brands it will take 6 weeks to get the toxins from old food out there system do results are not instant but bare with it , her coat is great, no constant vets fees. you can also feed chicken, carrotts, bananas, as treats

also if they are really itchy and making there saw patches worse, you can give them half a piriton tablet, as in (human) ones, it takes the edge off the itching, horrible to see them suffer, and use polytar shampoo that you get from the chemist its 4 skin conditions in people that is also safe to use on dogs

good luck

Forgot to mention in my previous posting that the vet also recommended oil of evening primrose, just the ordinary human stuff in capsules. This is really good for keeping the skin and coat healthy. Our wheaten terrier weighs about 20kg and we give him 1000mg per day (two of the 500mg capsules) so maybe 500mg would be ok for your westie. We are using piriton also which really helps.
Good luck and I hope your little fella feels better soon!
corsab noonoo
Hi, We have a Westie who is 11 yrs old and has sufferred as you describe for most of her life. We were recommended ExmaRid Lotion available from pet shops and this is highly effective although the condition does reoccur. Still cheaper than a visit to the vet. The problem seems to be worsening with age however and she now worries itchy spots until she gets a raw patch of skin and the Lotion is not then recommended. We treat those with tea tree cream and have begun drizzling ExmaRid Formula onto her food, But it is a never ending battle. We have always used James Wellbeloved kibble and avaid beef and gluten as much as possible. The vet pronouced recently that she was not as bad as some which is small comfort. It sounds as if the Lotion could well help your Westie but I don't think there is an all time cure for the problem. Peter & Hazel
Question Author
Many thanks for everyone's help. I have certainly been given a few things to look into and hope I can get to the bottom of the problem.
hi. i also have a westie that suffers from really bad skin problems. a breeder friend of mine also has 2 westies and a setter with the same problem, she recommended to me that i sould give my dog 2 piriton allergy tablets a day and boil and liquidise spinich and pour some on their dinner. it was also recommended that the dog doesnt have wet food. just a dry complete food. chappie or james wellbeloved has been recommended to me.
hope this helps. let me know if you want more information. vicki x
Despite following the recommended prevention advice my Westie has had outbreaks of scaly skin and redness along his spine from time to time which has responded, at least partially, to steroid ointment. Now he is 5 and the condition has broken out again, more widespread than before. This time the vet prescribed steroid tablets which I was reluctant to use, but felt I should at least try. They were not effective and I returned. To my delight the vet said he too was uncomfortable prescribing anything other than a very low dose of steroid and that he would like to refer the dog to a homeopathetic vet. I am waiting to hear the recommendations that come from this and I will keep you posted.
Yes both my westies mum and daughter have got the same problem in the same wayy it flares up every few weeks,it is costing me a fortune in vet bills, i don't believe there is a cure, if you find out about one i would be very grateful if you would let me know.
Yes i have the same problem with my two westies Mollie the mum and Millie her daughter it happens to them just the same every few weeks, it is getting a very exspenive thing now with the visits to the vet, i really don't know the answer.
I have a Westie called Danny .She is 10 and only now has she developed a skin complaint that she has scratched and bitten so that it is horrid !
I really dont like to take her to the vets unless very necessary .
I decided to try Lavender together with Frankinsense and tee tree oils .
I filled a little brown medicine bottle with dropper (from chemist) with almond carrier oil to 3/4 full. Then put 5 drops each of the oils mentioned into carrier oil .Shake it up and massage gently onto skin 2-3 times a day.
Danny loves it and having just massaged her ...she is comfortable and asleep in her basket :-) seems to sooth and give her comfort .
It has almost gone now ...yay !!
Good Luck
We have a 6 year old Westie at the moment who is very bad and started another course of steroids this morning. I am wondering if anyone has been able to have an allergy test done on their dog? Our vet said it was not possible???????
Please ? someone somewhere must know of a cure for this terrible thing that our lovley Westies get

I have a westie, she is four now but only once has her skin flared up, took her to the vets and they were reluctant to give her steroids, but told me to use cod liver oil tablets with evening primrose oil capsules which i use every day, and also a piriton tablet every day, and touch wood she has never had a flare up again. Where I take her to cut her hair cut every 3 months the lady says that she is the only westie out of 10 she cuts that has no skin complaint, so I must be doing something right, also she is now on dry dog food. Hope this helps.
I've just ordered some generic Piriton pills and evening primrose oil to try the last treatment reported as successful here, by pringle01.
Our westie's nearly eight now, and didn't really get this skin problem till a year or so ago. That's about when it started.
He gets bathed regularly with a shampoo containing olive oil, tea tree oil, and cedar wood oil, plus he already gets a daily dose of cod liver oil. He also recently developed swelling of the anal scent gland, and bilious vomiting syndrome.
The vet recommended he be neutered, and I finally caved in and betrayed my little friend by permitting that to be done. It fixed only the scent gland problem.
I seem to have solved his stomach problem by adjusting his diet to wet food only, and I mix that up myself. A recipe or two can be supplied on request. Plus he gets a very small daily dose of the generic gastric acid reducer famotidine, but I may cut that out soon to test whether the adjusted diet alone is enough.
Now I'll work on the skin issue as described, and update here when I know the results.
I should mention that the bathing seems to help keep the skin problem under control, but there's plenty of room for improvement.
Meanwhile, he does not scratch and nibble at himself or appear to be suffering with it.
Later then,

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