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Golden Puppy Needs Help with Itchy Flaky Skin

nymph
March 15th, 2005, 08:20 PM
My 10 weeks old golden retriever & lab mix puppy Diego is often scratching his back, particularly the rump area where the body and tail meet. I've noticed since a few days back that the skin underneath the fur is flaky and the coat seems to be thinning out. What's strange to me is that that area is also getting darker in color, the rest of his body is fairly golden.

Last time at the vet, the doctor did mention that he has a litlle bit of "pigment" - darker color that is on his abdomen and assured us that it was nothing to be alarmed about. But today when I brushed that area, he seemed very uncomfortable and was squriming a lot.

Has anyone have any experience with this?

p.s. I live in Ottawa, Canada, our area is very dry now. My house humidity is slightly above 30%, that is with a humidifier running at all time, nothing I can do about that. Would some food supplement help to reduce the dandruff?

Karin
March 15th, 2005, 09:15 PM
Have the anal glands checked, if a pup cannot reach the spot, the nearest place will get gnawed. Also check for fleas. Fleas love to nest around the neck & rump areas because it's hard for the host to reach for a good scratch.

nymph
March 15th, 2005, 09:44 PM
No fleas, I'm sure of this. I inspect his coat pretty much everyday, and we are still in winter, even the earth is still frozen, so it's highly unlikely that Diego would get fleas.

Now the skin seems to be a little bit red around the problem area (rump), and hair is definitely thinning out. I'm not sure if this is an allergic reaction to food or something else. I feed him Nutro controlled growth puppy chow for large breed, mixed with Nutrience Junior (same brand we got from the Shelter).

I did some reading online: some suggest that it's normal for a puppy to have itchy flaky skin because their glands are not fully developed yet; others suggest allergies. improper nutrition and flea.

I am really worried. We are going to the vet next week for his 2nd shot, but I would like to hear some comments from golden owners. Would some fatty acid supplement help? How about a medicated shampoo and soothing conditioner?

Karin
March 15th, 2005, 10:01 PM
Since I am not a golden owner I will refrain from any further comments. Sorry for the intrusion.

Prin
March 15th, 2005, 10:08 PM
Are only golden retriever owners allowed to answer this one? Why do you mix the foods together? Is it because you are in the process of changing foods or another reason?

nymph
March 15th, 2005, 10:29 PM
Since I am not a golden owner I will refrain from any further comments. Sorry for the intrusion.

Uh, excuse me, did I offend you in anyway? **shaking my head in dismay**

For the record, all comments are welcome, particularly those from golden owners. As a new member, I feel like I have to constantly tread water in this forum. The vast majority of people are very nice here, but once in a while there are few who are just too quick to pass on judgement or too quick to jump to conclusions, that's really unfortunate.

Sorry I had to rant, like I said, I'm really worried about my little puppy, and I'm usually a quite nice and sensitive person, just not tonight.

nymph
March 15th, 2005, 10:34 PM
Are only golden retriever owners allowed to answer this one? Why do you mix the foods together? Is it because you are in the process of changing foods or another reason?

Yes that's why. Diego was on Nutrience Junior when he was at the shelter, so that's what we've been feeding him. He had diarrhea not too long ago, and we switched him to a prescription canned food for a few days, and later to Nutro large puppy chow.

I have also read somewhere and also in this forum that it is actually a good idea to mix/rotate the puppy chow since not a single brand would provide all nutrients needed, and that a healthy puppy should be able to adapt to change in diet with little problem.

Am I not supposed to do that?

Safyre
March 15th, 2005, 10:36 PM
I have the same question as Prin... why are you mixing food right now?
What age did you get him at? Was his skin always like this? What about the rest of his fur?
Rump area is usually fleas, I have to agree with the other responses. However, there are other parasites that can cause the same syptoms. She to see if the thinning fur... is it falling out, or does it look like it was broken off? Broken hair is usually caused by mites. Is he/she on any flea prevention treatment? Advantage? if not, that MAY help

Basically, this proble .. can be attributed to many things... if the dog is getting more sensitive, bring him/her to the vet again and get some crem.. and keep trying to limit what it could be.

Safyre
March 15th, 2005, 10:40 PM
You were on the thread as I was posting my response.. let me respond to your new post the best I can...

I have also read somewhere and also in this forum that it is actually a good idea to mix/rotate the puppy chow since not a single brand would provide all nutrients needed, and that a healthy puppy should be able to adapt to change in diet with little problem. Am I not supposed to do that?

its untrue that you need to mix dog foods to get all the nutrients that an animal needs.
There ARE some foods that are better for certain breeds than others. I myself, have a retreiver, not a golden, but a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling. The BEST food for this breed, is called Canusa.

If there are any Golden Breeders on this site, please respond with your thoughts on that topic. The Golden breeder I know, feeds Nutrience if I recall correctly.

nymph
March 15th, 2005, 10:43 PM
I've consulted the vet, and was told that they have flea prevention only from May to Oct every year. Diego is only 10 weeks old and we got him when he was 6 wks.

The rump area is darker than the rest of his body, but not that much. The fur there is not falling off, or broken off, just seems drier than the rest of the body. It's definitely thinner than other areas since I can see his skin without much difficulty and it's really flaky, only the rump area.

He's my first puppy, so I don't have a lot of experience.

Prin
March 15th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Yes that's why. Diego was on Nutrience Junior when he was at the shelter, so that's what we've been feeding him. He had diarrhea not too long ago, and we switched him to a prescription canned food for a few days, and later to Nutro large puppy chow.

I have also read somewhere and also in this forum that it is actually a good idea to mix/rotate the puppy chow since not a single brand would provide all nutrients needed, and that a healthy puppy should be able to adapt to change in diet with little problem.

Am I not supposed to do that?
Switching foods is not necessary as the food you give should be complete. THe diet should only be changed if there is something wrong with the current food. (ie if the dog has ichy skin, ear infections, or other signs of allergy, constant/frequent diarrhea due to poor digestibility of the food, or if your budget opens up and you can get a better food.)

Some dogs are more sensitive than others as far as switching foods. I have never heard of a dog switching easier as an adult because it was switched often as a pup. It just depends on the dog.

Since the puppy is super young, I might suspect parasites, as Safyre suggested. Has the vet seen the dog since the dog has become more sensitive in that area?

I wouldn't use any shampoo yet as that may make it worse (no matter howcareful you are at selecting shampoos, you never know if your dog will be allergic to it).

As for Karin's second response... your second post was worded such that it sounded like you were saying, "ya, ya Karin, I want to hear from golden retriever owners because your advice doesn't apply." It probably was not what you were trying to say, it was probably just the order that the sentences appeared. Trust me, not many golden owners will know skin itchiness like someone who worked as a vet tech.

Safyre
March 15th, 2005, 11:02 PM
Think your vet may be giving some bad info there, or maybe it's just the way it is worded I've consulted the vet, and was told that they have flea prevention only from May to Oct every year. Diego is only 10 weeks old and we got him when he was 6 wks.

That they have flea prevention only from May to Oct ...they meaning...? dogs? the vet?
Because parasites can happen any time of the year, mites can happen any time of the year. They are more typical to happen during May To Oct, especially in Ontario with the weather, but they can still happen during other months.
It is not a yar since I got my pup, she is 14 mnoths now, so I can remember what it feels like, believe me.
Skin irritations can be caused by food, by enviroment, by shampoos... many different things. Flaky Skin w/ thinning fur, is soo hard to diagnose, you basically have to jsut go down the list with the vet, eliminating until you find the source.
I eco Prin, has the dog seen the vet since becomming more sensitive in the area?

coppperbelle
March 16th, 2005, 08:35 AM
Golden owner here! :thumbs up

I don't think your puppy's problem is related to being part golden. I think it is more a puppy problem. It could be just very dry skin or perhaps something else that was mentioned in the previous posts.
AT this age I hesitate to add anything to their food that is not recommended by the vet.
His problem could be an allergic reaction to his new food. I am not familiar with the ingredients in the puppy formula but in the adult formula there is corn. My dogs experienced difficulty with this food for a few months and I finally switched them off "cold turkey". Their problems stopped immediatley.
If you are really concerned it might be a good idea to try to get to see the vet this week. If nothing else it will ease your mind.
As for fleas they can and do occur all year round. Years ago my two got fleas in early spring. It was still cool outside but the snow was gone. Their must have been a cat in my yard and he shared his fleas with my guys.

Good luck

By the way I found no offense to your post. Last week I too made a comment that even when I read back now find my comment very benign and not directed at anyone. I was attacked as if I was an animal hater. Don't be too upset, we all have bad days.

Little Angels
March 16th, 2005, 08:45 AM
Hi,

Sorry however all breeds of dogs can have this same problem. I see it as being one of two things. First is maybe fleas, i know you said that you check your pup regularly and you don't see any, however with a goldens coat they could easily escape you. Here is a little trick to try.

Take you pup and hold him up with his hind legs standing on either a white piece of paper of paper towel, them vigorously scratch him up and down starting where the tail meets is rump up to his next (not to hard though, as he is already irritated.) Scratch him until you count to 20, which should be enough scratches. Them remove the pup. Take a good luck at the paper, you will not see any fleas as they have run away by then. However you may see tiny black dots that look like dirt. If you see any dirt place a drop of water on it and wait. if the water dissolves the dirt into a liquid then you most definetly have fleas.

As for the anal gland, this must be check by a qualified person. Most good groomers can do this for you if you are unable to get to vet.

Let me know if any of this helped.

Thanks
Kim

nymph
March 16th, 2005, 09:45 AM
Karin, if you are here, I want to apologize to you. I did not mean to hear comments only from golden owners, and I do appreciate your feedback. Sorry I snapped last night. :sorry:

Prin: I'm switching Diego from Nutrience to Nutro because he had diarrhea, and 2 days after he was introduced to Nutro, the diarrhea stopped, although we are not completely sure if it was the food or the medication that cured his diarrhea. But he seems to be happy on Nutro and I'm just about to complete the switching (should be done by the end of this week). The flaky skin problem didn't start since the food switch, he's always had some flaky skin, but it has gotten worse, maybe it is the low humidity in my house (my humidifier was broken for a few days, and is now fixed), but what really concerned me is the darker color and hair being thinning out - this is new.

Safyre: Diego had 2 deworming tablets already, which according to our vet, is all he needs for the whole year, unless we want to put him on a flea prevention program, which is only needed from May to Oct in our area. We had bathed him only twice since he got home, and with Lambert Key puppy shampoo with aloe vera, I'm not sure if that's a good shampoo for golden puppies though.

coppperbelle: thank you for your kind support. I know that goldens have a notorious reputation on skin disorders, and he's my first puppy, so I think I just freaked out a little bit. We are going to the vet this Sunday, and I'll have him checked. Your comment just warmed me up from this chilly morning! :angel:

Little Angels: that's a great tip, I'll try that with Diego tonight.

Thanks again for everyone! :grouphug:

Safyre
March 16th, 2005, 11:42 AM
I think my point is getting lost somewhere... thats okay though
Flea prevention, also helps prevent against other parasites. Other parasites exsist all the time. If this problem is caused by, a mite, or other parasite, the "flea" treatment will help.
Its not just used for fleas. But, Fleas CAN happen any time of the year, yes, more suspectable during warmmer months.
I am in ontario, and my dog needs flea prevention from March untill November... it differs in area.
I don't suggest bathing your puppy. Best advise I got: Don't wash your dog, till he starts to smell like a dog. If you don't know whata dog smells like... you don't need to wash him yet! :p

maddoxies
March 16th, 2005, 12:17 PM
Nymph, I sent you a private message.

Lea
March 24th, 2005, 01:09 PM
Nymph,

I have a yellow lab / golden retriever mix. He has ALWAYS had itchy skin. I got him at 15 months of age, and that was 10 1/2 yrs ago. I have tried all kinds of things. Diet change, fish oil supplements, all kinds of stuff. The one thing I haven't done is to have allergy testing done, which is VERY expensive here. And what to do with the results? He might be allergic to grass, or dust. No way to prevent him from contact with those. The olny thing that ever really makes him feel better is a prednisone shot- which is a steroid, so we do that RARELY, it's not good for anyone.

I guess the point of my post should be to say if you find what helps let me know too!!! Good luck and please keep us updated.

mesaana
March 24th, 2005, 02:02 PM
Hi Lea, I just wanted to comment on your post. The only good reason to do the allergy testing is if you intend to do the desensitization shots. So we're talking long term commitment. And as far as I know, the vets don't do it at your dog's age, it's just not worth it. If an occasionnal corticosteroid shot works (or in pills, the side effects are easier to control since you can control the dose), then you should probably stick with that. Oh, and if you use the pills, some of them come with an antihistamine which sometimes allows you to give a lower dose of the corticosteroids so you have less of the side effects.

Lyne

Prin
March 24th, 2005, 08:29 PM
My yellow lab also was itchy (especially ear infections)-- we tried several foods and never regulated it. I wasn't in too much control then but my new baby girl is getting itchy too. I have her on solid gold Wolf king to eliminate the most common food allergies and if that doesn't work, we're going to get allergy tests. I can't live with another doggy scratching all the time without doing something about it. The cortisone shots last 2 months at most and are really not a long term solution.

Sometimes the allergy tests are good just to figure out what it is they are allergic to. It could end up being something you can eliminate.

In this case though, the doggy is very young and the location of the itch is what causes a few of us to suspect parasites and anal glands, although I think the doggy may be young for the glands to already be impacted.

By the way, I wasn't really offended by the "goldens only" stuff. I was joking...

nymph
March 29th, 2005, 10:46 AM
I guess the point of my post should be to say if you find what helps let me know too!!! Good luck and please keep us updated.

Hi Lea, we went to the vet and she did a thorough exam of his fur and found no fleas or ticks, but the skin was flaky so she gave Diego some DermCaps (fatty acid), one per day. Diego's been on it for only a week or so and oh boy the result is amazing! His fur, particularly the rump area, is much softer now with a lot less flakes. I have not changed his diet or his shampoo, so I can safely conclude that it was the DermCaps that made this happen. Also, the color of his fur is more even now as well. Before he went on DermCaps, his rump area was distinctively a darker yellow than his back, right now the color transition is much more smooth, although I'm not completely sure if it was only me or it was something else. :D

Anyway, we are going to continue to use the DermCaps, one per day, with meal. I used to cut the capsule open and pour the liquid over his food, but there was always a bit of waste. So one day I hid the whole capsule in his food, and he ate the whole capsule without any problem. He's actually looking for that capsule everyday now, must taste pretty good as well.

This is what Diego is on:
http://www.petmed.com/acatalog/dermcap.jpg

Good luck to you.

Lea
March 30th, 2005, 09:57 AM
AWESOME Nymph! Could you please tell me what's in the caps? I am in the states, and it seems as our products are much different. I have never even heard of a lot of the brands you guys discuss! I have him on fish oil caps, but haven't seen an improvement.

nymph
March 30th, 2005, 11:04 AM
This is what I found on 1800-Pet-Meds
http://www.1800petmeds.com/pdetail.asp?SK=10303&SP=&WT=&MG=&PT=

Derm Caps 10's For Petite & Miniature Breeds 60ct Bottle #10303

A concentrated fatty acid dietary supplement that promotes healthy skin and soft & shiny coats on dogs and cats. Formulated with a combination of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids such as Safflower Oil , Borage Seed Oil, Fish Oil And Vitamin E.

More Information

Brand Name
DermCaps 10 (DVM)

Active Ingredient(s)
Safflower oil, fish oil, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), borage seed oil

What is this product used for
DermCaps 10 is a small animal concentrated fatty acid dietary supplement for use in dogs and cats.

Availability
DermCaps 10 is a non-prescription (OTC) product.

How this product should be used
DermCaps 10 is intended for use by petite and miniature breeds. The usual dose is one capsule per 10 lbs of body weight per day. The capsule may be punctured and the liquid contents squeezed onto food if desired.

What are the side effects
There are no reported side effects.

What special precautions are there
This product is for animal use only.

In the event of overdose
Contact a veterinarian or veterinary emergency room.

How should I store this product
Store the container at room temperature. Keep out of the reach of children.

Lea
March 30th, 2005, 11:41 AM
Thanks so much! It can't hurt to try one more thing huh?!

meb999
March 30th, 2005, 12:42 PM
Glad the little guy is feeling better!! :thumbs up