August 23rd, 2010, 03:33 PM
My 12 yr. old dog (f-husky mix), Hopi, began losing her fur, skin was elephant-like, and very itchy (smelly, too) about 3 years ago. I thought it was due to swimming in my pool (she has hip dysplasia, too). After over one year of my former vet saying it was allergies a retired fill-in vet took one look at her and correctly diagnosed her with hypothyroidism - her blood history had indicated a low thyroid, but she had never exhibited symptoms before.
For a year now she gets .8 mg soloxine 2/day and her T3 and T4 levels are in the "therapeutic range". The problem is she is still scratchy and smelly. My new vet says its allergies, too. I've been trying limited ingredient food (Blue salmon and potato), have removed things (grass and wool rug) from my home, and am vacuuming everyday. Benedryl has not really helped and several courses of prednisone seems to be the only thing that gives her relief. I keep shampooing her with special shampoos containing Ketoconazole and Chlorhexidine Gluconate - they help somewhat, but I've been doing it for months and still have the problem. Though every vet has said the pool (chlorine) should help, it seems to make it worse so now I'm keeping her out of the pool and I think it helps a little - she still scratches some and is smelly under her neck. Her fur still hasn't come back completely on her sides, but is 90% better than it was. It seems to be a year round problem though worsening at times.
The strange thing is, she never had an allergy problem until her hypothyroidism which went untreated for over a year. Could the itching be due to something else besides allergies?
I'm getting ready to try Atopica, but would like to be sure its an allergy before spending the $$$. Could she have some type of skin bacteria/fungus that took hold which would call for some other type of medication that's not topical? I hate keeping her on prednisone, though I'm down to about 5 mg once or twice a week - sometimes I will need to give her 10 mg. Or in lieu of benedryl, could trying another antihistamine (hydroxyzine) be a line of course?
I'm very disappointed in the vets here in AZ having had bad (some very bad) experiences with several of them with many of my pets. I'm still not sure about my new vet who is recommending the Atopica. Money, of course, is an issue, so I hate spending a lot on things that don't work (like Adequan).
I read other posts about allergies and hypothyroidism, but none that had a dog with both. I'm hoping for some suggestions - thanks!
August 23rd, 2010, 04:13 PM
Our first dog had a few allergies along with his thyroid problem. Some of his bare patches never grew hair. He had the hardest time with allergies in spring and summer. Grass seemed to be the worst for him, and of course he loved laying on the grass.:rolleyes: He would get other hot spots throughout the year and we would treat those individually, keeping them clean and sometimes using topical anti itch powder like gold bond.
Sounds to me like you are bathing the dog far too much which will only make his skin worse. We never bathe our dogs, but for anyone who does, more than once a month and you're asking for skin trouble.
Feeding a fish diet can also make their skin bad.
August 23rd, 2010, 10:50 PM
I must be lucky because our dog with hypothyroidism is fine now he's on med's. He was on double the normal dose till clinical symptoms improved, then put back to one tablet a day. He has a beautiful long flowing coat now. I wonder if the dose rate for yours is high enough?
I have hypothyroidism myself and while one Dr tells me I'm on too much Thyroxine, another Dr said no I'm not. Fortunately I attended a seminar about thyroid complaints and the professor/lecturer explained that you need to be on the dose that makes you feel best, even it if it is at the top or slightly over the top of the therapeutic range. Maybe you could ask your vet is it worth trying a slightly higher dose for a trial period?
August 24th, 2010, 03:17 PM
has your vet done a skin swab? that could show a yeast infection. Sometimes the shampoos help, sometimes antifungal meds are needed for a month or two to get rid of the yeast if it is internal. Allergies can definitely contribute to that, food, or environmental. Only a limited food trial for at least a couple months would indicate factors here, and with environmental allergies unless you get them tested hard to know for sure. Yeast infections can be cured, but finding the source of allergy or trigger is important too.
August 24th, 2010, 06:55 PM
Our dog has allergies and we have her on hydroxizine and it has worked very well. Because most of her allergies are environmental we keep her on a maintenance dose (about 1/3 the daily dose) year round. When she gets an allergy attack, we up the dose to about 2/3 until it clears up. This gives us some room to increase medication should she develop drug resistance. She's still young, so she's not hypothyroid yet, although as she gets older I expect some of that to occur too.
August 25th, 2010, 06:40 PM
Which Blue Buffalo food are you feeding and how long has she been on it? What was she eating previously?? If its the Basics Salmon and Potato recipe, that food still has common allergens like rice, flaxseed, canola oil.... Also the salmon could be preserved with a synthetic preservative that might be contributing to the allergies.
One of the best ways to determine 100% if your dog has a food allergy is to find a food that has ingredients she has never had...Dogs cannot have an allergic reaction to something they have never been exposed to.
Do you vaccinate your dog yearly? Or use flea/heartworm meds? Vaccinosis can often be the culprit.
While KetoChlor shampoos are often recommended for bacterial/yeast type of infections - they will do nothing to help the situation if its an environmental or food allergy. If the vet recommended this shampoo, then I assume the dog required an antiseptic applied directly to the skin because of a bacterial infection...but if that is not the case then I would not be using it... Anytime you over wash/shampoo a dog, it will strip their coats of natural oils - which are necessary for healthy skin and fur... Also, most of those shampoo requires that you clean your own hands immediately - which always makes me leary when told to apply and leave on my dog!
Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin e is always helpful when they are skin and coat problems. But of course, if you are trying to eliminate fish, that can cause problems because your dog's best source of omega 3 fatty acids are fish body oil.
Also, how your vet interprets your dogs blood results can also play a huge factor... Dr. Jean Dodd's and her lab is the go to lab for thyroid disorders... How they process and evaluate the serum is so much better than a machine spitting out numbers at most vets. Almost everytime I do bloodwork at the vet and they say Dodger's in the therapeutic range, when I get him tested through Jean Dodd's, she says he's still below (I can only afford to send out blood twice a year to Jean Dodd's)... So that is something to keep on mind.
Good luck... it sounds like you have your cut out for you. Very complicated!:)
August 27th, 2010, 04:51 PM
Thanks everyone! So it sounds like it is definitely is an allergy that developed concurrent with her thyroid problem?
Re: a food allergy - I have no idea what to feed her. She doesn't like the duck and she's probably eaten everything else (beef, chicken, fish, bison, venison, pork, turkey, etc.) - she's been on the Blue fish and potato for a good month now. (Yeah, I read about omega-3 being good - but if allergic to fish.)
The vets have never done a skin swab or given her any medication, just the shampoo and tell me to bathe her 2 -3 times a week. They insist the shampoo they sell is gentle and can be used daily. I think it's not really working/ making it worse. Keeping her dry seems to help.
I would like to try other things besides the Atopica at this point to get to the source. I've read the allergy testing doesn't always give good results. If it's something like dust that she's allegic to - I really can't eliminate that.
I think I need to give my vet a call and try and discuss a plan of action.
February 26th, 2011, 09:06 PM
JMK, my dog also has thyroid problems and a couple of summers ago, well after diagnosis, developed a horrible skin problem that wouldn't go away for love or money. Crusty, ooozy, scaly and spreading patches all over. I posted about it at the time I think. She would have what looked like a chicken pox come out on her, then erupt, ooze and spread.
Her skin would lurch if I touched her, and it caused her a lot of grief. We had lots of vet visits, antibiotics and steroids, special baths etc (and she HATES baths). Vet figured she had a bad reaction to bug bites or something as it was primarily during the summer. Thing is, I'd also started her on flea meds around the same time, so it could have been a reaction to anything. All I know is that it was a hugely stubborn problem. The vet did not want to do a skin scraping as in my dog's case it would have involved anaesthetic.
The baths didn't make it go away, and she hated them, but it did appear to give some short-term soothing effect and removed the crusties.
And then, after numerous courses of meds, it seemed to go away as quick as it appeared, for no good reason. She still gets some of the little lumps, but thankfully, knock wood, they seem to go away on their own.
In the interim I had changed her to a primarily holistic diet, nothing special, just non-corn and no by-products.
I have no idea what it was that actually worked!