Monday, April 11, 2011

Ask the Vet, with Dr. Pat:
Facial Fold Skin Irritations

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
(c) Carrie Boyko
Facial Folds Need Regular Cleaning

Dear Dr. Pat, My English Bulldog has deep wrinkles on his face. Jasper has had yeast or fungus infections a couple times in these areas. It is hard to care for this skin and getting it completely dry is really hard too. I don't want to have a groomer do it.

Our friend has a Sharpei with the same problems. We both hope you can suggest some special techniques to help keep Jasper and my friend's dog from getting infections. I don't think this blog has an 'Ask the Groomer' column do they? Maybe that would be a good idea.

Sincerely, Monica

Thanks for writing about Jasper, Monica! It made me so happy to be reminded of our English Bulldog Heathcliff.  While he looked a lot more like Winston Churchill than the tall, dark and handsome hero of Wuthering Heights’ fame, we loved our Heathcliff as passionately as Catherine loved hers.

But, now to the facial folds…

In a recent post I said that, warm, dark, moist places provide a perfect environment for fungi to grow…that applies to yeasts and bacteria as well. Obviously the face of an English Bulldog or the body of a Sharpei is a favorite summertime resort for these creatures of the dark. So how can we get these unwelcome one-celled tourists to pack up their bags and leave?  Keep cleaning out their hotel rooms!

Frequent cleaning will makes those skin folds less attractive to unsavory creatures and more attractive to us.  If you love the wrinkles on dogs, you might as well learn to love cleaning them.  How often depends on the dog, the climate, and the activities, of course, but this is a time when more is probably better – they can be difficult to treat without oral drugs once yeast and bacteria start raising families. The average wrinkle could use cleaning a couple of times a week, but daily is not too often for wrinkles that easily get red and gooey.

The main idea is to clean inside the wrinkles with a dampened soft cloth and then dry well with a soft cloth.   Here are some cleaning solutions that yeasts don’t like:

  • Mild vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 9 parts water)
  • Green tea (just like you’d drink it, only cool) 
  • Witch Hazel (Not for use close to the eyes!) 
  • Lavender wash (1 cup boiled water, ¼ tsp sea salt, 10 drops lavender tincture. Keep in fridge and make a fresh batch every 5 days or so.)

You’ll want to experiment with several to see what works best for your dog. 

I wonder how Prime Minister Churchill cleaned his facial folds…

Hope this information helps!

Dr. Pat

Have a question for Dr. Pat? You can reach us at LetsAdoptaDogPark@gmail.comFor a personal consultation about your pet's needs, visit Holistic Veterinary Services.

Dr. Pat's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian

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Lizzi said...

Dr. Pat is so helpful! It's so wonderful to have her. Thanks for the info!

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