Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

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emmas_mom
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Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:40 am

Long post, sorry. I've searched the allergy threads on here, but given that they were from a while ago, I thought I'd post in case there are new experiences/new insights on this issue.
Maggie is a sheltie, around 8-10 years old. When I adopted her from a shelter last May, I knew she had some health challenges including thyroid, allergies, and joint. We've adjusted her thyroid meds after doing a five-point panel, we've resolved the joint issues with Recovery and CBD oil, but the skin issues that are supposedly from allergies continue to be a problem.
When she arrived at the shelter, her ears were so infected it looked like they were plugged with "peanut butter" (in the words of her worker!), both eyes were infected, her fur was a mess of mats, and her skin was covered with sores. They put her on the Hills hypoallergenic diet for the month she was there; my vet (holistic - conventional plus certified in chinese medicine and acupuncture) recommended a Canadian made food by Rayne's. The kangaroo one seemed to help, though she continued to get sores on her belly.
Raynes is $60 for a 3kg (6 lb) bag, so I tried to reduce costs by switching to Zignature kangaroo instead ($30 for a 3kg bag). I did two weeks of half and half, and then two weeks of just Zignature. The sores on her belly all but cleared up, but now her back is a MESS - losing her undercoat, large red bald patches under her guard hairs, and sores that pop up overnight. So back to the Raynes, I guess.
My vet doesn't believe allergy tests are helpful, and we know she does better on grain-free kangaroo than on any other proteins. It is also likely she has sensitivities or allergies to environmental things as she gets more flares after hikes in grasses than hikes on duff trails.
But I'm also thinking her problem may be a systemic yeast infection. So I'm looking at probiotics and what else? My vet has also mentioned apoquel (assuming it is all allergy related), but that is well over $100 per month. I'm already using the whole of my Old Age Pension for animal expenses for my two animals (I have a cat in kidney failure also), not counting vet bills - just food, meds and supplements and monthly grooming for Maggie - so it is a good thing I also have a private pension from work. Things are tight and money IS an issue, but so is my dog's wellbeing. Clearly homecooking with kangaroo is not an option. :tongue:
So, what has worked for you? What is your experience with apoquel or other meds? What have you used for yeast infections? What probiotics do you recommend? Have you done allergy tests and was it useful? Help!
Edited to add: I forgot to mention she is on benedryl - one a day, but I just increased it to two a day with some improvement to her back). And she isn't scratching a whole lot - maybe once or twice a day I catch her scratching or nibbling herself.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:01 am

I looked this up in my very old but still good copy of The Veterinarian's Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs.

One vet recommends probiotics and apple cider vinegar: the probiotics to restore proper bacterial balance in the intestines, and the ACV (1/4 to 1/2 tsp two times daily) to acidify the dog's body environment. Also, of course, eliminate yeast, sugar,and wheat from the diet, since those encourage yeast to grow.

A second vet recommends grapefruit-seed extract plus digestive enzymes: the dose for the GSE is one 100-mg capsule three times per day, and the digestive enzymes this vet recommends are Canine Digestive Enzymes from Dr. Goodpet. This vet also says that improvements are usually seen within two to three months, and that both supplements should be taken long-term, for 6 months to a year, if the problem is long-standing, which of course is what you are facing with Maggie.

The section in the book on Food Allergies is lengthy, and starts with Dr. Plechner's list of 'major food offenders':
beef and beef by-products
milk
yeast
corn and corn oil
pork
turkey
eggs
fish and fish oils
wheat and wheat by-products
soybeans
chicken
lamb *and* rice

Wowza. Everything my dogs eat is on there! Anyway, Plechner goes for 'limited antigen diets' and says to switch them every 4-6 months. He likes the nutritional supplement Power for Life, by Terra Oceana https://www.terraoceana.com/power-for-life/

I also have a copy of Dr. Strombeck's book but not the most current version; you might consult his website for more to confuse you -- er, inform you:
http://dogcathomeprepareddiet.com/index.htm
Last edited by connie on Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:44 am

Thanks Connie - I shall check out the links and the products a bit later today - off to pick up an 11 kg, $160 bag of Raynes Kangaroo for starters. As far as we know, Maggie is allergic to everything on that list, as well as either flax or lentils as those were the only two ingredients that differed (other than some differences in vitamins/minerals) between Zignature and Rayne's kangaroo food. Also tried her on alligator, but that caused a flare up. She can have rabbit or duck in small amounts - grain free treats, for example - but not as a main course. We were rotating her protein sources for kibble with a turkey-based Rayne's product, as my vet agrees with Plechner to switch (we did it every two weeks) in order to reduce the chance of Mags developing an allergy to the kangaroo. But that just caused flare ups of the sores on her belly, so now it is just kangaroo.
Thanks for the reminder about the apple cidar vinegar - I'd read that somewhere and forgotten. Personally I hate the taste but hopefully Mags won't care. Should that be 1/4-1/2 tsp? or 1/2 to 1 tsp? (you have both parameters as 1/2).
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:33 pm

Oops, fat-fingered that -- yes, the ACV is 1/4 to 1/2 tsp at a time, given twice daily. :) Fixed it, thanks.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby LisaT_II » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:08 pm

Allergies are tough. My GSD was even allergic to cotton.

I have used allergy testing in three dogs and I consider it extremely helpful, though it takes some interpretation. There is also a difference between allergen testing and the sensitivyity stuff that Dodds does. I probably have posted about that on here somewhere.

Also, having three allergy dogs, I have found nothing much in common with them in what they were allergic to, except that none of them could tolerate chicken or turkey. However I have had two dogs that have only been able to tolerate lean pork due to allergies, and those dogs couldn't handle grains or carbs well. I think allergy dogs in general will have trouble with many grains.

I think it's hard to do allergy trials with commercial food products and extract definitive statements because they are so complicated with not only their main ingredients but all the extras. Jazz here is very sensitive to certain probiotics and prebiotic even.

Jazz's dermatologist, for the moderate amount of yeast jazz has, recommended wiping down with a mix of vinegar and water. Some yeast just mostly lives on the skin and is not internal, and it seems like topicals would work for that issue.

I think a lot of skin stuff comes from an imbalance of nutritnets needed for that particular dog. Some dogs may require more zinc in the diet /particularly northern breeds), other dogs maybe things like biotin and other cofactor. Right now my girl is getting deficient in fatty acids due to some medical issues.

Good luck experimenting and I hope you find the right stuff than can help!
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby LisaT_II » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:10 pm

Pardon the typos, my phone works kinda funky with this site.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby JudyL » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:29 pm

I don't have any suggestions on drugs or food, but Lisa's post about using vinegar brought back to mind that using a vinegar/water rinse after bathing may help. It would sting if she had any broken skin from scratching or hot spots, but it may help soothe some of the itching temporarily. Perhaps your groomer would be willing to add that as a final rinse for Maggie.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby maxs_mommy » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:11 pm

We tried apoquel, it was $$$ and I didn't see much improvement personally. I'm also twitchy when it comes to messing with immunosupressants so there's that. Probiotics are what finally cleared the skin for us and I found a human one, with no "doggy fillers" was the best route though some will argue for a dog probiotic. In the beginning I just did human acidophilous tablets from the grocery. ACV and water for a rinse (1c/1gal) after the bath and I did ACV/water paw dips if Max got excessively wet or dirty to keep funky stuff from growing in his paw pads. I also like Zymox enzymatic with cortisone for ears a lot. So much so that I put it on an amazon dash button, but that's just me. We have done courses for cephalexin when his skin was really bad to clear up any staph but it was always married to other methods of control.

We did allergy saliva testing through hemopet several years ago and it mostly confirmed what we knew through food trials though there were some surprises. We did not do the rotate foods route, we found one that worked thankfully, and we stick with it. Could you homecook some proteins and go with a THK preference mix to find one that works without busting the bank on Kangaroo? Max can't do potatoes so this was out for us but I'm spit-balling here. I'm sorry you're having to go so far outside of the box for protein and I'm sorry Maggie is uncomfortable. We've been there and it sucks, I get it.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby Amanda » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:21 am

I don’t have a lot of experience in this department, but I have seen many dogs on apoquel at our boarding facility and many of them don’t seem to have as much relief as you would expect for an expensive drug. I also have difficulty feeling comfortable with the type of drug that it is and would hold off on it as a last resort, personally.

I’m sorry for you and Maggie dealing with this. Would an elimination diet to look for other proteins be possible? Maybe a protein more local to your area would be cheaper like moose, caribou, or elk?

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:24 am

Probiotics have been mentioned; I wonder if a digestive enzyme would also help. The best quality one I've found is Similase:
http://www.integrativepro.com/Products/Enzymes/Similase

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby LisaT_II » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:44 pm

Similase is one of my favorite digestive enzymes! I think definitely it would help, unless maybe if you have a high allergen food in the diet.

I don,t know if there is anything useful here, but she does have one blog entry where she talks about which probiotics promote histamine, and I think that's important if you are giving probiotics and are dealing with allergies. I did change jazz's probiotics based on some of this and it seemed to help: https://healinghistamine.com/blog/
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:14 pm

Thanks everyone. I started her on the addition of ACV to her food plus Aventix's Florentero probiotic and nutritional supplement my vet happens to like. Looking at the ingredients of the Florentero, I think there are better options out there though I really have to watch what is in them - the last human ones I bought for her I ended up using myself because of something I can't remember but which was some item that is dangerous for dogs! Duh! (Problem is, I have to remember to take a magnifying glass to the pharmacy because the fine print is soooo small!). :frown:
I found a few online, but they weren't available in Canada - another little hurdle to drive me crazy. I'll look up the digestive enzymes too. My groomer would certainly do the vinegar rinse if I asked, but right now Mag's skin is all broken. I have been swabbing it with some hot spot treatments and giving her extra benedryl so she isn't scratching much.

I may try apoquel for a month, but if I don't see significant improvement we'll forget that. Her skin is much worse now than when I brought her home from the shelter - she had belly sores then, but not these huge raw patches on her back under her guard hairs. In the last week it has become worse and worse (surely she's not allergic to ACV???). And everything comes and goes so suddenly - last night there were none on her belly, nor this morning, and this afternoon she is a mess of large red circles and peeling skin and sores all over her belly, inner thighs, and chest - plus the ones on her back. Spring is is full bloom here, so I'm guessing some environmental allergens. We do walk and hike a lot, which she loves, so I don't want to confine her to the house even if that helped.

I am going to check with the vet if there is an animal dermatologist on the island, but Dr. Google says there isn't - only on the mainland in the heart of Vancouver, where I don't ever drive.

I'd really like to have some proper allergy testing done - it would be so much simpler (and cheaper) if I knew for sure what proteins were really an issue. There's not too many kangaroos in my neck of the woods, and no novel proteins to try that would be readily available. I would love to switch her to raw, or even homemade (though I HATE cooking) if I knew there was a meat I could find and she could eat.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby maxs_mommy » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:43 pm

I hate to say it but I'd recommend a course of abx (cephalexin is my go-to for this) just to get the sores healed up. You don't want a raging staph infection to deal with too. It won't cure the cause but it will help the symptoms so you can work on the allergies and it's fairly cheap since these are old drugs generally. I've also heard some dogs have varying sensitivities to cooked (kibble/canned) and raw, maybe she can tolerate one but not the other? Poor girlie, open sores suck!
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:40 am

I actually suggested we try that last week in an email chat with my vet, but she wants to have another look at Maggie before writing the script. She's coming tomorrow, and i will push the issue. I really do think there is a systemic infection going on.
Shes also trained in Chinese medicine and acupuncture, so we'll discuss whether they might be helpful if conventional approaches fail. I've used both for my dogs and myself for other ailments. Anyone usex either for allergies and/or skin issues?
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:50 am

Oh, poor Maggie and poor you, that sounds just miserable. It sounds like a bad case of environmental allergies, at least!

Okay, to refresh my memory, and I'm sorry if this is the four thousandth time you're answered this, Jean, but my working hypothesis here is that it may not be a protein allergy necessarily, re the food, but an allergy to the form of the food:

Is Maggie eating kibble?
Have you ever home-cooked for her?
If yes, what did you cook and what results did you see?
If no, would you be willing to try home-cooking a very simple diet for a week?

I don't know enough to think that Maggie has food allergies, but I think she may be effectively allergic to kibble, and I have known quite a few dogs who simply cannot tolerate kibble at all, no matter the brand, the protein source, or anything else. I knew an OES and a GSD who were both miserable for a solid YEAR until their owners threw up their hands and threw out the kibble entirely. Raw isn't the necessary option; I would be curious if Maggie could tolerate something like what my Charlie Bear ate for the first month he was here.

Charlie came with several cans of Science Diet I/D and a note from his foster mom (a lovely woman, a good FB friend) that said if he ate anything other than the I/D he would have bloody diarrhea. Wow, what a choice: shit food, or bloody shit! I opted for neither. I never fed Charlie the I/D; I pan-seared patties of ground turkey for him, and topped each burger with a slice of baked sweet potato, and added a little bit of salmon oil. All was well, no bloody diarrhea ... I did this for about a month and then transitioned him to raw, and now he eats mostly Fromm grain-free kibble. Charlie doesn't have allergies, so his situation was different from Maggie's, but he had digestive issues that did clear up once he got on clean food. I wonder if the same might apply to Maggie. She certainly has environmental allergies, thst seems clear, but less clear to me is whether she also has food allergies.

Just guessing. You may already have tried non-kibble meals. If so, I'm curious to know the results.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:59 am

Connie, Maggie is eating Rayne's Kangaroo kibble, topped with some Rayne's kangaroo canned and lots of water. I haven't homecooked for her, though might try it for a bit - however, see my next paragraph re the vet visit today. Thanks for the description of how you moved Charlie from homecooked to raw - the one time I tried Maggie with raw alpaca (a meaty bone, not just the meat) she was horrified and wouldn't touch it! LOL

So....just had my mobile vet here, who I love. She spent an hour and a half with Mags, drew blood for the repeat thyroid test (we've had problems finding the right dosage, but I think we have it now), did a titre test for Parvo and distemper as Mags has not, to my knowledge, been vaccinated other than one initial shot at the shelter and there is currently a very bad parvo outbreak in places we hike on the island. Also, I have noticed a lump about 1" x 3/4" on Mag's spine - I thought it was just a cyst or lipoma but we aspirated in three places and each drew blood so we are sending it out for a cytology. As for the skin - the vet doesn't think it is a systemic yeast infection as Maggie doesn't smell yeasty, nor do her ears show yeast. We have agreed to try Apoquel for one month to see if the skin clears up and.....I'm so happy - my vet recommends I switch to raw! Like Connie said above, it may not be the proteins that are the problem but kibble in general and environmental allergies. The vet is a huge fan of raw, and gave me her supplier's name for the raw she feeds her own dogs. They carry a number of novel proteins too, like venison and rabbit, so I can still avoid beef, pork, lamb, chicken etc for now. I may have to try some homecooked rabbit or something first to ease her into raw, but I'm happy to try it. I'm going to give the Apoquel a week or two to work (the vet says I'll know in a few days if it is helping), then start moving her to raw. I would be delighted if she can have raw instead.

We forgot to do the geri panel which would normally be part of her annual and is due soon, but the vet says it can wait another six months as there was nothing of concern on her last one. She also suggested holding off on the dental as her teeth aren't terrible and we should improve her skin first if we can.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:03 pm

Wait -- her teeth aren't terrible?! :jawdrop: With all that she's got going on, AND she's a Sheltie, her teeth aren't terrible? That's amazing.

Okay, good, it sounds like a very productive visit, you have some things to try and some info. If I switched a dog like Maggie to raw, I would do it in stages, and I would home-cook for a while first. For a week or two I would do a really basic menu, and see how that goes over; if I see improvement and the dog tolerates it well, I'd investigate expanding that menu but still cooking for a while -- this is a senior dog, after all.

A friend of mine -- the one with the GSD that did just terribly on kibble -- used Essex Cottage Farms food for some time before she moved her boy to raw. She really liked the mixes; you add other things, they give you recipes to assemble, and their food is the base. They have a hypoallergenic mix that you might look at? (I don't even know if they ship to Canada, hoping that's not an issue.) http://www.efarms.cc/Products%20Page.htm

Just because Maggie's environmental allergies are so pronounced, I wonder if the food is in fact an allergen, or if it's just not well tolerated. It seems to me that if she can get on a food that agrees with her, you can start to rebuild her immune system to minimize the allergy outbreaks -- she'll probably always have allergies, but gut health is SO important in all matters of the immune system. Fingers and paws crossed for a food fix that paves the way to a healthier Maggie!

ETA: Essex Cottage Farms ships to Canada -- they're IN Canada! Woot!

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:21 pm

Well, I think her teeth are pretty grimey, but apparently it is just surface grime - at least what the vet can see. For her age, I guess that is pretty good. I remember poor Oliver had to get most of his teeth removed when I adopted him - but he was several years older than Maggie. :grin:

Thanks for that link, Connie - it's in Ontario, so I suspect shipping could be exorbitant, and depending how they ship I could still have to drive down to Victoria to pick it up (that happened to me once before). Their hypoallergenic formula requires a lot of cooking and puree-ing (and I don't have a blender or food processer), so I'm not likely to do it; that plus the challenge of finding a suitable protein to mix with it. But that link will be useful for me to suggest to others who want to give it a try (though, OMG, do they ever need a new web designer! :rofl: ).

I will likely either mix raw with some canned Kangaroo for the first while, or cook up some rabbit (if I can find a local source) or other novel meat to mix with the raw. Or maybe I could just cook some of the raw, or would that damage the supplements that are included and the ground bone etc? The kind the vet recommended is Primal rabbit, venison or pheasant - or possibly turkey and sardine, though she didn't do well on the Rayne turkey canned or kibble.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby maxs_mommy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:42 pm

Glad you have a plan. You could always just cook the raw for a bit until she's comfortable with it and then mix cooked and raw to transition fully to raw. It's good to know you have some other novel proteins to try too.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:26 am

I'll be interested to see how the diet changes go. FWIW, many dogs who test or display as 'allergic' to various kibbles turn out to tolerate the protein in those kibbles just fine when they are fed those proteins in a raw or cooked, non-kibble form. I would stay away from chicken and beef for Maggie, but if she could eat turkey, or pork, that would be super helpful! And how about canned pink salmon, which my crew gets once a week? That's already cooked, just add some sweet potato or green beans. And don't forget eggs!

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:54 am

My vet said the same thing - that many dogs who display as allergic to kibbles are fine on the same proteins raw. She did suggest I try the turkey, but said she is seeing more and more sensitivities to pork in this region so suggested staying away from beef, pork, chicken and lamb. I may try the canned salmon and sweet potato as a way to transition her, mixing it with raw, or topping the raw with it. Mags has a very hearty appetite at meal times, so it may have just been the raw alpaca bone, given in the back yard, that created her revulsion to raw - perhaps in a bowl at dinner she'll be fine with raw. We'll do it slowly though, and won't start for a couple of weeks so I have a chance to see if the Apoquel has any effect at all on her issues. If it does, and her skin stays good once she's on raw, I will phase her off the Apoquel so she is just on the raw. This is likely an 8-12 week process overall. I'll let you know how it works out.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby LisaT_II » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:20 am

I'll just add that food in kibble is not the same as food not in kibble, it's been compromised in many ways along the road to manufacturing, storing, etc.

Good luck with your plan, sounds like a new start.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby UpwardDog » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:06 pm

Poor Maggie and poor you.
I'm late to the party, but all I have to add is that it's recommended to try a novel protein and veg/starch to start and elimination diet, so if I was picking raw at this stage, I'd probably at least try 4-6 weeks on one that's likely to be novel and nutrient dense like venison or rabbit or something else red. With Sam I did elk and yam.
I did allergy testing on Will and it was EXPENSIVE and isn't all that accurate--or something. His came back positive for all the varieties of mould, potatoes, and some tree he probably couldn't have some in contact based on where he lived. I think I would lean toward seeing a dermatologist before I would do allergy testing again.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:06 am

I've had friends give very mixed reports on allergy testing, too, and as Heather noted, it's a pricey process. Add to that the fact that the dog might not be allergic to the particular food in all its forms, and allergy testing would not be something I'd spend money on. Really, I'd rather test the foods to my dog using applied kinesiology -- muscle testing. Did your vet suggest this, Jean? It's described in part of this article:
https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issue ... 983-1.html

In the many years since Sander's cancer and subsequent alternative treatments, I've had no reason to revise my belief that homeopathy is bunk -- why does it never CURE anything?! -- and flower essences are lovely but not really helpful to diseases or disorders; but I believe entirely in AK, because I've seen it work on people. Here's the way a practitioner I know used to present it to skeptics: She would ask a woman, let's say her name was Sally, to stand and extend her left arm out to shoulder height and hold her arm there as the AK person tried to push the arm down. It's pretty easy to resist that pressure. Then she had the woman say 'My name is Sally' -- which it was -- and the ability to resist the AK's downward push was quite strong, the arm remained outstretched. Finally she had the woman say 'my name is Jane' -- or any other name not her own -- and at that, the AK person was able to push down Sally's outstretched arm. The thing is that falsity creates muscle weakness/imbalance. Using a really simple technique like that, it's easy to demonstrate.

I have muscle-tested various substances to my dogs over the years, I can do it myself with the linked-fingers technique, but it's easier and less confusing if you have a surrogate to help do it. My vet does AK using a vet tech for a surrogate to check which arthritis supplement, for instance, will be best for a particular dog. I'd try Maggie on certain foods with AK and see what results you get.

Another option is NRT -- Nutrition Response Testing -- explained here by the vet at my clinic who does it:
https://www.luckypuppymag.com/how-nutri ... dogs-body/

This is a more lengthy process and not inexpensive, but the people I know who have done it for their dogs are quite happy with the results. It's something that might be a refinement, down the road, for Maggie, once you get the gross allergy problem under control.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:47 am

Heather, I figured I'd start with the rabbit, as that is something I can find at some butchers (albeit at an outrageous price) if ever the place the vet uses was out of it. Mags has had the occasional Zuke's rabbit min-treats with no noticeable problem. I may change my mind by the time I'm ready to start her on raw in a couple of weeks, as there is currently a highly contagious rabbit disease here hitting epidemic proportions, so local sources will disappear I expect.

Connie, the vet didn't mention AK, and I'm a bit skeptical about it - one of my own health providers used it on me and we both ended up laughing because I had no problem resisting when untruths were involved - even with my bad arm! I could probably call myself 'Trump' and she still wouldn't be able to push the arm down! :rofl: I'll read up on NRT - haven't heard of that before.

The jury is out on the Apoquel. I started it on Thursday evening, and the vet said I'd know if it was working within 2-3 days. By Sunday morning, her sores had pretty much cleared up with just faint pink and some scabbing left. Then I took her hiking Sunday afternoon, and when we got home she was covered with red sores on her belly and (less so) on her back again. We were on dirt trails, and she only spent a few minutes in short grasses and flowers for a photo op. The sores did fade by the next morning - ie, a bit more quickly than usual - but I think I learned two things: (a) there is, without a doubt, an environmental component to her allergies - most likely grasses or pollens, and (b) Apoquel won't be the magical cure I'd hoped for, though I will continue to use it until the one-month's prescription is used up, to see how things progress. I haven't noticed her scratching at all since she's been on it, so there's that.

I'll start transitioning her to raw at the first of the month.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:37 am

LOL! Well, the nice thing about AK is that it costs $00, so if it doesn't work, never mind! Don't go calling yourself 'trump', Jean, that probably invites bad juju. :stupid: Boy, is he ever coming unwound fast! A national nervous breakdown and we're all an enormous gaper's block.

It really sounds like Maggie's allergies are contact/environmental, and I think/hope that her reaction to food is a side effect of that, and not actual food allergies. If you can get a good diet going, that will actually help her immune system deal with the rest of it! I'm sorry she's going through this, and I have faith that you can fix it, although it certainly won't happen overnight. Looking forward to updates with good news.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby BarksaLot » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:47 pm

I'll jump into an old thread. Lady has been on Apoquel for over a year now. She is miserable if we run out. Her belly becomes beet red. Environmental testing said she was allergic to Bermuda smut - some kind of fungus? We have patches of Bermuda grass , which she will lay in. So We think she is allergic to grasses and weeds. And I know the sensitivity testing Hemopet does is questionable- that showed sensitivity to all but lamb. Also without Apoquel she looses hair - around her eyes, chest. On Apoquel her hair has grown out. Thick hair on her chest and neck ruff. She's a boarder collie lab mix, short haired, but long flank hair on her rear end. So funny looking for a short haired dog. When we adopted her from the pound she was an allergic mess with lost hair patches. She is also allergic to house dust which means a lot of vacuuming.

This is what we're feeding as a weekly diet: 5 lbs. ground lamb, 2 lbs goat cubes, mushrooms, celery, cauliflower, green beans, blueberries, 2 cans each black beans and garbanzo. Beans get ground in a food processor. No grains as she seems to be allergic, although we just picked up a package of food for dogs lamb meal which has brown rice, didn't have time to cook. So will see if she flares. She's allergic to potatoes too. The above foods are cooked, not raw. She does get supplemental foods from the garden, artichoke heart, which we grow. Raw apple is a favorite treat. Also she's quite the hunter. She has killed several squirrels - one I saw her kill, so since it was fresh I skinned the thing and let her eat it raw- gross factor, but she ate head, legs, all but feet and loved loved it. We have so many squirrels the population could stand a bit of culling, hate them burying nuts, then get trees all over. So there is a protein source. My dad one time tried bee be gun, but he couldn't stand killing it, so never did it again. I'm afraid the way things are now I'd be thrown in jail if I tried killing them, so Lady takes them out if she catches them.

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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:32 pm

Thanks for bringing me back to this thread, Barksalot. I would say that Maggie and Lady have similar experiences - environmental allergies for which Apoquel seems to work well.
So....this is eleven weeks after we started her on Apoquel, and I just refilled the prescription for another three months. We were able to cut the costs by ordering the largest dose of pills which I then cut into thirds for her (she gets a third of a pill once a day)- bringing the cost down to less than $30 per month.
The apoquel alone didn't clear up the back sores or the goopy eyes but did clear up the belly sores, so likely it is dealing with the environmental problems (where she lies or walks through grasses, on carpet, etc). The goopy eyes and the sores on the back continued, so we also switched her completely to raw (venison or rabbit or duck at first), and within a month of all raw, the eyes were completely clear and the back was much better. For the past month the back sores have completely disappeared, and the skin and fur looks and feels healthy. Two weeks ago, we also started adding in other less novel proteins (in blends with her novel proteins), with no adverse affects - Stella and Chewy's venison blend (contains lamb), and some locally made venison/salmon blend and locally made kangaroo/duck/pork blend. I don't like the quality of the locally made stuff (lots of duck skin clumps of fat, poorly ground gristle, a lot of stuff that looks like the scrapings off the butcher's floor) but the raw blocks are more affordable than the pre-packed commercial raw, so I'm currently looking for another source. I alternate it with Stella and Chewy's venison blend or with Primal venison, so I'm balancing out the quality a bit.
Oh she also got to try some emu and some ostrich and some quail I think it was - they are apparently coming on the raw dogfood market here soon from local suppliers. Expensive but she liked them, and no skin reactions. The dog eats better than I do! She's also displaying more energy and a more happy attitude to life. And no scratching or chewing at herself!
After she's been on raw a couple more months, we will try weaning her off the Apoquel and see if she remains sore-free.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Talk to me about skin/allergy problems

Postby connie » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:31 pm

That's great news. Also, I think she will likely tolerate less novel proteins if they are fed unprocessed (i.e., raw). Hoping that turns out to be the case, it would solve a lot!


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