The most annoying thing about the skin complaints which occasionally beset toy dogs is the difficulty to the amateur pi diagnosing them correctly. Even veterinary surgeons are sometimes hazy in this respect, and it is therefore well when a skin trouble refuses to yield to simple remedies, incapable of doing harm, to consult a man really experienced in toys, and not some uninterested, and even rather contemptuous, practitioner, who may even commit such a cruel barbarity as I have heard of, in the advising of sheep dip!

The most common form of skin disease in adult dogs is eczema, which for purposes of rough, or popular, classification, may be divided into two forms, wet and dry. Weeping eczema is decidedly uncommon, but is the only form of skin disease offering open sores and raw surfaces likely to affect comparatively well-cared-for toy dogs. In this, as in the dry, severer forms of eczema, it is useless to attempt cure by mere outward applications. The mischief is in the blood, and until the blood is put right the external symptoms will continue, unless, indeed, strong mercurial lotion or ointment be used, which may fatally drive the disease in, and by clearing up the skin and so depriving the body of the safety-valve of outward lesions,eventually kill the animal. Such a proceeding is occasionally resorted to by unscrupulous persons whose only desire is to sell their mangy or eczematous dogs, for the immediate effect of dressing with mercurial ointment is often almost miraculously good to the eye. Therefore, my advice to the amateur is, under no circumstances to purchase a dog which is known to have suffered from any severe form of skin disease.

Even if the complaint has not been doctored in the way described, and has been cured by honest methods, it may always break out again, for it is in the constitution. I must, of course, except cases in which contagious eczema has been given to the victim by some other dog, but in dealing with strangers, shops, or professional dealers, it is wisest to avoid a purchase where skin disease has existed..

Some breeds are very much more subject to skin trouble than others, and all long-haired dogs are apt to suffer from simple eczema and erythema, the latter especially when young; while distemper of a severe kind is often followed by a disease of the skin, closely resembling mange, for which it is often unfortunately mistaken. It should be simply treated with a mild antiseptic ointment, while the constitutional weakness is the focus for attention.

Puppies often teeth with a rash, called puppy-pox, which shows as general redness of the skin, generally on the bare parts of the body, under the forelegs, etc., and here and there groups of pustules, each of which contains a drop of thin pus. This is a complaint allied to chicken-pox in children, and by no means dangerous - in fact, a puppy which teethes with such a rash has generally the making of a strong and healthy dog. At the same time, whenever either this trouble, or bare patches about the legs and face, are seen on puppies, the teeth should be looked to, for it is probable they are in some way irritating the system.

The existence of too many worms in puppies generally accompanies skin trouble in the form of bare patches, which may be well rubbed daily with a sponge dipped in an extremely simple, safe, and useful lotion, which I can recommend to be given a trial in all forms of skin disease, as in no case can it do harm, while in many cases it will effect a cure so far as any outward application is capable of doing. It is known as the Kanofelin lotion, a preparation of phenyl, which is not irritating, or in any way poisonous or disagreeable to the nose, but has a taste which prevents dogs from licking it off; should they do so, however, it will not harm them. The lotion, after being applied and well rubbed in with the sponge to smooth, bare places, where the skin is not broken, should be wiped off with a towel or handkerchief, as it is not wise to leave the dog wet. It should be used twice a day, and where the skin is broken, very gently with a soft sponge, and, of course, no rubbing in.

Some dry and scaly skin eruptions, of which pityriasis is the most common, need different treatment. Where-ever bare places appearing on the toy dog look scurfy, and scales fall off, do not use any lotion, nor rub, but lightly dab on a little zinc ointment if the dog is not given to licking the parts; if he is, use a plain, rather thin, sulphur ointment: Sublimated sulphur, 1 oz.; vaseline, 4 ozs. This latter may also be used in cases where the Kanofelin lotion is useful, and then be well rubbed in; but the rule is no rubbing when scales or scurf are present. The Kanofelin ointment is harmless and useful in all cases. Applications can be much varied to suit cases, and where violent irritation is present, it is sometimes necessary to use a more complex preparation than those mentioned. The poisonous nature of some of the ingredients, included in the most efficacious of them, however, makes it very undesirable to use them otherwise than under the advice of a skilled surgeon. The following cream is a most useful application for use in cases where the skin is not broken, where great irritation and redness of the skin are present, and where the affected parts either cannot be reached by the patient, or the latter can be muzzled during treatment.

It is, however, poisonous, on account of the carbolic acid and lead it contains: Liquor plumbi diacet., 4 drs.; liquor carbonis detergens, 40 mns.; boracic acid powder, 1 oz.; new milk, to 4 ozs. Shake well before use, and apply frequently with a bit of sponge. Label: Poison.

In the treatment of medicated baths, usually composed of that most evil-smelling compound liver of sulphur and water - in professional language, "a sulphuretted potash solution" - I own I have little or no faith. A plain sulphur ointment is twice as efficacious, far easier to apply, and has no disagreeable smell; while, if well rubbed into the skin, as it and other skin ointments should be, and not left in the hair, it is not in any way unpleasant.