My Boxer X has round, red welts on her skin which seem to blister. Sometimes she's alright and other times she suddenly bursts out in them. Have you any suggestions that would help her? She is six years old and this has only started a few months ago when we moved to new house. - Andrea W
It sounds like Urticaria, which is an allergic reaction that occurs on the skin causing the type of welts and blisters you describe. Sometimes people call it nettle rash even if the rash isn't caused by nettle. The cause can be any sort of chemical - from a chemical product of some sort, from an insect bite or sting or from an allergic reaction to a plant. It can even be caused by an injection from the vet.
From what you say in your letter, it sounds very likely that there is something in your Boxer's new environment that is causing the urticaria whenever she is exposed to it. You didn't say which part of the body it occurs on, but that can often give a clue to the cause. For instance if she is getting it on her feet and muzzle, you would think of grasses or plants such as Wandering Jew. If it's around her neck it could be from a flea collar and if it was around the site of an injection then it would be likely to be the injection.
There are a number of homoeopathics that could be helpful, although you would only want to use one at a time, not a mixture. Here are some suggestions for you:
Apis 200C - could be given initially if there is marked swelling and heat, before the blisters form.
Rhus tox 30C - could be given when there are blisters, redness and a lot of itching.
Urticaria 30C - could be given if it seems to be a plant that is causing the reaction.
Also if you discover which plant it might be, then a homoeopathic of that plant can be given to counteract the allergic reaction, eg. Wandering Jew 30C can be given if it is caused by the Wandering Jew plant.
Herbally, Tea-Tree oil is very effective for clearing up the blisters that have burst and it also can prevent any infection setting in, in the affected area. It often relieves the itching to some extent too. Depending where it is on the body, you may need to dilute the oil in some water for tender or sensitive areas. However, Tea-Tree shouldn't be used when you are using homoeopathics, as it can stop the homoeopathic from working effectively.
Sometimes it can be useful to give the dog an internal treatment of herbs as well. This would be if she didn't respond sufficiently to the homoeopathic. The sort of herbs used would be immune, anti-inflammatory, skin and possibly liver herbs.
I hope that that gives you an idea of the sorts of things that are available for such a problem. - Pat Hunter
Pat Hunter N.D. D.M.H. RC Hom NZAMH, K9 Perspective's Medical Herbalist and Homoeopath, is in practice at Pat’s Healing Centre in Waipu, New Zealand and via her website. She treats dogs all over the world.