Irritation of the skin, sometimes combined with hair loss, skin lesions, and pruritus is an extremely common condition in dogs. If pruritus is caused by infection (e.g. bacterial dermatitis, fungal disease, fleas), specific diagnosis and treatment are needed to solve the problem. Sometimes, however, diagnosis is challenging. Here trial and error protocols must be initiated. If an allergy is the suspected reason for pruritus and inflammation of the skin, it usually requires life-long allergy management and regular flare-ups should be expected.
The following acupoints have shown to alleviate pruritus symptoms when used in conjunction with adequate allergy management (if needed). For patients suffering from mild allergy flare-ups, regular acupressure treatment can be sufficient to manage the symptoms.
- LI 11 – just below the elbow joint, cranial to an easily palpable bony prominence.
- LI 04 – between the 1st (dewclaw) & 2nd finger.
- GV 14 – on the midline in front of the first (easily palpable) 1st thoracic vertebra.
- BL 18 – 1,5 cun away from the midline in the 7th intercostal space (when you start couting from the last rib it is the 6th).
- SP 06 – 3 cun proximal to hock joint, on the caudal aspect of the tibia (bone).
- GB 31 – in a muscle groove just caudal to the femur, 7 cun proximal to the knee.
- Most important points for pruritus: LI 04 & LI 11.
- Try to prevent further scratching to avoid secondary infection (distraction or buster collar if needed).
- Do not bathe your dog too often as this interferes with the natural skin barrier.
- Ask your vet for dietary advice. Do not underestimate the effect of omega-3-fatty acids in chronic skin problems.