In all cases where skin trouble is accompanied by a strong and most unpleasant smell, mange (either follicular, or, more commonly, sarcoptic), may be suspected. The latter is easier to cure than many forms of eczema, but it is absolutely needful to keep the patient smothered in a dressing of sweet oil and sulphur, than which there is nothing better, for several days, then to wash and dress again; and such cases are not suitable for home treatment, although no veterinary surgeon should be permitted to apply strong dressings like paraffin, mercurial ointment, oratar (otherwise creosote) to delicate toys. Mercurial dressings, in all cases, are rank poison, the absorption of the drug into the system having fatal effects for the future.

Follicular mange, in which the insect causing the trouble burrows deep, is a horrible disease, about the worst a dog can have, and here skilled veterinary assistance cannot be dispensed with. But it is safe for the amateur, in all cases of commencing skin trouble, where there is no smell and the bare patches do not spread rapidly, to use the phenyl lotion or sulphur or Kanofelin ointment, according to the state of the skin, and to begin the more important internal treatment by a complete change of diet.

A very dry or confined diet, certain meals, as oatmeal or Indian corn meals, either in biscuits or otherwise; too little food; more rarely too much; absence of meat from the dietary, or too little of it; as before, but very rarely too much - these are all incentives to skin trouble, while heredity has much to say to a tendency thereto.

A dog which has not been having much meat, but has been chiefly fed on dog biscuit, may, on the appearance of skin irritation, be given plenty of good, underdone meat - roast mutton, sheep's head, and bullock's heart, all being very suitable. In no case of skin disease should either oatmeal or Indian corn be given; and sea air should be avoided, as it is always aggravating to skin troubles. Tripe is nourishing and very digestible, and fresh fish suits most of the invalids very well. Together with the entire change of diet - the hours for meals need not, of course, be altered - a course of iron and cod liver oil is always well worth trying. Personally, I pin my faith to the following method, which I have known most successful in difficult cases, and which, as I can say of the other remedies advised in this little book, can do no harm. Powerful drugs are often a source of danger in inexperienced hands, and a good many of the medicines one sees advised are, so to speak, extremely speculative, Get, then, a bottle of cod liver oil and malt, and 1 oz. - or more, if you please - of saccharated carbonate of iron. In your pet's dinner mix, at first, well covered over with cut-up meat of extra daintiness, a scant half-teaspoonful of the solution with a dust of the iron, which is a sweet powder.

Nearly all dogs will take this without any trouble, and soon get very fond of the oil, even if they object to it at first; but they must not see the dose introduced into the meal. Let them think it an accident, or at any rate, in the natural way of things, and they are far less likely to object than if they see you making a parade of mixing and covering. The dose, given twice a day, in meat dinner and supper, should be gradually increased, until a dog of 6 lbs. is taking a full teaspoonful of the solution twice a day, with 3 grs. of iron to each dose; and patience will be needed, for, to do any good, this dosing must go on for at least a month. It may then be left off gradually, and resumed again if necessary. In obstinate cases of skin disease, arsenic is a most valuable remedy, and may with most effect be combined with the system of cod liver oil, malt extract, and saccharated carbonate of iron just described. Fowler's solution, which is generally recommended, should not be used, because it contains oil of lavender, which is very offensive to dogs, and sickens them; the British Pharmacopoeia solution should be the one used.

Of this the dose is from one drop twice a day, to be gradually increased up to four drops twice a day for toys; the best way is to get the B.P. solution from your chemist, mixed with such a quantity of distilled water as that there are four drops in each teaspoonful. This may be given with iron and without the cod liver oil, or with cod liver oil without the iron, or alone, in food - it is tasteless - but is far better given in combination with the two. Mr. Appleby, Argyle Street, Bath, puts up the iron and arsenic together in a very easily used form, known as the "Kanofelin Blood Mixture," This, my own formula, I generally advise to my readers whose dogs do not or cannot take cod liver oil; he also, inter alia, puts up the worm capsules to my prescription as mentioned for the use of toy dog owners; and it is sometimes an advantage to get your medicines ready made.

Arsenic is what is known as a cumulative drug; it produces no special effect until a good deal is stored up in the system. When enough has been given, the said system revolts, and now, when the dog's eyes begin to look watery, and the mucous membrane lining the mouth may be a little red, you have given enough, and must cease; for a time only if the disease is not subdued - in permanence if it be. One last word - arsenic is the dernier ressort, and should not be used until other means have failed, whereas some people fly to it when a much simpler treatment would have done all that was necessary.

Another skin complaint which, is much more common than is generally supposed, is ringworm. I have often seen this diagnosed as eczema, whereas it really is very easy to tell its true nature, as it has very marked characteristics.

It begins with tiny, round, bare spots, about as large as the head of a pin, which usually escape notice at first, but gradually spread round the edges, not always in a circular form, but sometimes as irregular patches, the skin appearing greyish, but not unhealthy. On looking closely it will be seen that the hairs have been broken off short, close to the skin, but are clearly visible, which is the chief feature of the disease and the infallible sign. Ringworm may be caught at any time, most frequently from a visit to some infested stable, but occasionally from chance contagion in the streets. Horses are subject to the same form of the complaint, and dogs generally catch it from them; it is sporadic, and the spores may, of course, fall about anywhere from an infected horse or another dog. It is extremely capricious in its inception; dogs in the same house may or may not catch it from one another, and sometimes a whole kennel will be infected, with the exception of one or two dogs apparently immune. There is, however, no excuse for allowing it to spread, as it is easy to cure.

Some of the strongest tincture of iodine available should be well soaked into the spot, and round the edges thereof, using a little ball of cotton wool tied on to the end of a tiny stick, or an aural sponge, and rubbing the iodine somewhat in with this. Two applications will generally kill the spores - the disease is a parasitic fungus - and should be made at an interval of a couple of days. For some time fresh spots are likely to appear, and should be touched up at once. The muzzle, legs, and chest are generally most affected. If left quite alone the complaint would disfigure the dog terribly, but would, after a time, die out of its own accord. I have not found that human subjects were infected with this disease from the dog. A little iodide of potassium ointment may be put on the patches once or twice, to hasten the complete cure, or they may be washed with the phenyl lotion, in which the proportion is 1 in 40. The hairs are weakened, and take some little time to grow properly again, but the disease is by no means a serious one, and it is not necessary to use any such stronger and dangerous remedies as carbolic acid, as sometimes suggested.

Erythema, a general redness and rash, most often seen over the inside of the thighs, and sometimes all over a dog's least hairy parts, is about the only skin disease - if we except the curious and rare condition, "hidebound" - from which dogs very occasionally suffer, that, in a common way, arises from over-feeding. It is best treated by change of diet, small nourishing meat meals, and the avoidance of any heating, farinaceous substances, milk, or greasy food of any kind. A small dose of sulphate of magnesia twice a week in food - as much as will lie, not heaped, on sixpence for a 6-lb. dog - is often all the medicine needful. Want of exercise is a frequent producer of skin disease. Dogs not sufficiently exercised, or kept much shut up in hot rooms, have inactive livers, whence all kinds of evils.

I have never seen but one case of "hide-bound" in a house-dog, and that not in a toy. The skin was thickened and hard. Although the complaint is an interesting one from its rarity, that same fortunate quality renders it unnecessary for me to enter into the question - a veterinary surgeon must undertake such a case.