Case of hyperpigmentation in a Westie

Request by Alexa Rae Munroe on Nov 19, 2020

Total alopecia, localized mainly under the dog and on the legs
West Highland White Terrier – Female – 9 years old
The groomer specifies there is no specific smell, no irritation and no lesions on the skin at this moment.

General observations

Westies are predisposed to certain skin diseases such as Malassezia dermatitis, generalized demodicosis, atopy, food hypersensitivity or even primary seborrhea, among others.
In the case at hand, the vet was unable to make an accurate diagnosis. As for the DAATA method to apply this has little impact since the grooming will be based on the symptoms to be managed.

Symptoms to manage here and factors to consider:

Symptoms to manage here and factors to consider:
• Skin that has thickened and become pigmented (hyperpigmentation, sometimes called elephant skin).
• Alopecia, a consequence of hyperpigmentation.
• No smell, no irritation, no specific lesion.
• The bitch is 9 years old: we will therefore consider her as an old dog to determine the working temperatures.

Recommended DAATA grooming protocol:

Recommended DAATA grooming protocol:
Here the skin is completely bare, so access to care is easier. The skin needs constant hydration and conditioning. It is therefore recommended to groom the dog at least once a week and to apply a moisturizer every day while massaging the skin in order to facilitate the absorption of water and oil by the skin and to promote vascularity.

Complete grooming:

1. Place the dog in the bath directly (no prior brushing), use 32 to 35 ° C water for the bath. Wet the dog abundantly and especially the bare skin. Once the hair is completely saturated with water, stay a few minutes on the parts where the alopecia is most noticeable.
2. Do not hesitate to massage the dog for the duration of the bath.
3. Apply a mild shampoo if possible, containing an emollient oil such as tucuma for example.
a. Depending how deep you want to soften the skin here are a few oils to consider
i. Superficial treatment: jojoba, argan, Calophyllum, rosehip, sweet almond, borage, evening primrose
ii. Working on vascularization: sunflower
b. It would be interesting to work on both axes meaning adding sunflower oil and another oil so they can work together, softening the skin while working on vascularization.
c. These oils can also be used during the conditioning phase.
4. Thoroughly massage areas of alopecia while shampooing. Be sure to respect the dilution rate of the shampoo to avoid any damage to the skin and promote shampoos as natural as possible. On the bare parts, you may prefer a solid soap to clean the skin (unless it is dry) based on an emollient oil. If the skin is dry, grate a few shavings of soap into a separate bowl of water and mix to make a dilution that will be less aggressive on dry skin. Be careful, oily skin can also be dry.
5. Rinse thoroughly and insist on the areas with alopecia. Alopecia areas will not need a second shampoo (if a second shampoo is needed on hairy areas, do not re-shampoo the alopecia areas).
6. Once the dog has been meticulously cleaned, prepare a bath (for immersion of the dog) in a small basin at 30 to 32 ° for dry skin or 32 to 35 ° for normal skin. If possible, use distilled or demineralized water. Massage the dog in the water for 5 to 10 minutes (in this particular situation up to 15 minutes is possible but not more).
7. Take the dog out of the bath and rinse her with water at a temperature between 32.2°C and 35°C.
8. Condition the whole dog with conditioner (dose according to the hairy parts and not the alopecia parts).
9. A last Rinse with apple cider vinegar greatly diluted in water should be considered here (just a dash in several litres of water).
10. Dry the dog if possible, without an appliance (towel and ambient air only). If the use of a blow dryer or blaster is necessary, protect the areas with alopecia. Avoid rubbing the towels, just dap.
11. Once the dog is dry, apply the moisturizer and massage the areas with alopecia. The moisturizer can be applied every day, every 2 days, or every three days depending on the skin's needs. Prefer a moisturizing and emollient cream at the same time: you can do it your self simply using oils and butters. Shea butter is a perfect base to mix with another oil and a bit of organic honey.
12. Repeat the bath once a week for now.
13. Do not hesitate to add a small knob of coconut oil to the daily ration as well as a few drops of salmon oil.

Other grooming if certain problems appear

In case of the presence of irritation
If the areas in alopecia show painless irritation, lower the working temperatures:
The bath will be done at 29 ° C to 32 ° C for as it is an elderly dog without specific pathology.
Avoid shampooing the irritated areas (use only water without pressure) except using a medical shampoo prescribed by the veterinarian for the irritation (to be used only on the irritated area).
Drying should be done as a priority in ambient air or with an absorbent towel (without rubbing the irritated areas).
If the alopecia areas present painful irritation or inflammation:
Perhaps recommend a visit to the vet before grooming.
The bath will be done from 29 ° C to 32 ° C for an elderly dog.
Do not apply any conventional cosmetics to the inflamed or painful areas (if the veterinarian has prescribed a medical shampoo for the inflamed or painful areas, apply this shampoo only to the affected areas).
Drying should be done as a priority in ambient air or with an absorbent towel (without rubbing the irritated areas).

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