Pentoxifylline (PTX) is an anti-inflammatory drug used by veterinarians for dog skin problems. According to Texas A&M University veterinarian Christine A. Rees, the medication is especially useful for dogs with a genetic disease called familial canine dermatomyositis. This inflammatory disease affects the skin and muscle of breeds such as collies and sheepdogs.
Familial canine dermatomyositis (FCD) causes skin lesions such as scaling, and crusting sores on the face, ears, legs and tail. PTX heals the sores by increasing blood flow to the affected areas and reducing tissue inflammation.
A dog might have hair loss or skin sores after a rabies vaccination. Weeks or months after the vaccination, the dog has an allergic reaction called rabies-induced alopecia that is often effectively treated with PTX.
Dermatitis is itchy, inflamed ears or skin caused by infections, allergies, fleas and other irritants. PTX is used to relieve symptoms when the dog cannot take other common drugs such as steroids.
Possible side effects are vomiting and diarrhea. These problems usually stop when the medication is given with food. The dog rarely might erupt in skin hives or rashes as a reaction to PTX.
PTX is usually given as a tablet. Some veterinarians prefer using a time-release tablet that slowly releases the medication.