Dog with skin problems
I would be somewhat surprised if between all the Vets you have been to, that you have not received somewhat sound counselling. I commend you for going the extra mile so far but one often loses sight or has selective hearing or memory when caught up in being so upset and desperate when the condition does not appear to be resolving.
I somewhat suspect, reading between the lines, that the courses of antibiotics and cortisones help significantly but the condition reoccurs with a vengeance periodically although nothing in her environment has changed. If it is allergies, they often get worse from year to year and the body's immune response is more violent with each exposure.
I am sure you have tried a hypoallergenic diet for a couple of months? I must say though that often people think they are doing it right, but unless the dog is eating 100% only this food and not a single morsel of anything else then this diet will not be effective or diagnostic.
The other problem is that once you see that they are doing better, you forget and feel sorry and feel that just a pea size treat will not affect anything and then when nothing does happen, more and more is given ( even if they remain small quantities ) and at some point you just cross that threshold to cause problems. We, as dog owners, then become adamant that we did not cause this as for the past 1 or 2 months or sometimes longer, nothing happened, so nothing that we did changed the situation. Frustration starts all over again.
Let me add now, skin disease has got to be one of the most frustrating chronic diseases to treat. They flare up overnight and take forever, if ever, to treat properly. That is the keyword 'if ever'.....Skin disease may be managed OK but never cured. There may be a food allergy on top of other allergies and the combination of their stimuli are needed to set off an episode.
A biopsy of the skin and skin allergy screens sound as if they are the way to go. It may end up that desensitization with allergy serum injections may be required or an option but even then do not think for a minute that you may not need the occasional course of cortisones or antibiotics or medicated washes. You can only hope to achieve that the outbreak of skin disease becomes less and less frequent and hopefully stops completely over a period of months to years.
The aim in skin disease is to help maintain comfort rather than a cure in the beginning, and hope that a cure is found over time. Very frustrating I know...
Martin Slome DVM
Centre Street Animal Hospital
7700 Bathurst Street
Tel: (905) 771-9855