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Old January 28th, 2010, 05:08 PM
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GoldenAngel GoldenAngel is offline
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Question Immune Supplements for Dogs? Does anyone have any suggestions?

My Golden Retriever is recovering from ear hematoma surgery and has to have another (serious) surgery next month. He now has a skin infection (down to the cartilage) in the ear that was operated on. Along with that he has always had chronic ear infections and general health malaise.

My vet told me today that it seems he doesn't have a good immune system because if there is a way for something to wrong with recovering from health issues, Teddy seems to always go to the top of the list with complications.

I have been doing an internet search on immune boosting supplements for dogs and wonder if anyone has tried these and would recommend any?

Also - if anyone knows of a good pet store that sells holistic vitamins and supplements for pets in the Toronto or general area, please let me know.

Many thanks to any and all suggestions!
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Old January 28th, 2010, 06:19 PM
Vicki.P Vicki.P is offline
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has your vet looked into allergies??? My golden had chronic ear infections and could not clear them up even with meds, it just came back. We decided to try removing chicken from his diets as a first step in the process of food elimination as some animals are allergic to some animal proteins. The infection cleared up almost immediatly after removing chicken and has not returned almost 2yrs later.

You can also try Global Pet Foods. The sell alot of holistic products and you may find something there however, anything purchased over the counter at any store may not have the same effect as something purchased from your vet. Hope that helps
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Old January 28th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Myka Myka is offline
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I'm thinking allergies too...what do you feed him?
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Old January 28th, 2010, 07:29 PM
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goldengal goldengal is offline
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Fish oil capsules help build up the immune system. Louie, our Berner, was prescribed fish oil capsules while he is under going chemo. However, he could not stand the smell of them so has been off them for a month. Just this week our vet suggested Triple Strength Fish Oil Capsules from GNC. They have no odour so Louie is doing fine with them. There are many sites outlining the benefit of fish oil, and this is just one I opened:

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/fish-oil-for-dogs.html

When Montana had an ear infection a few years ago and was on antibiotics, I gave her Acidophilus and Bifidus which I purchased from the health food store.

Take care,
Pat
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Old January 28th, 2010, 07:51 PM
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It does sound like the possibility of allergies should be explored.

There is an immune system support available at holistic vets and some pet specialty supply stores called Vetri-DMG follow directions for dosage by weight, I am using this for my CRF cat.

If you can't find the Veterinary labeled one, there is a human variety which is also available at holistic vitamin stores and can be used on pets (I have also used this one) called Aangamik DMG Liquid for a golden you would use 0.5 ml/day.
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  #6  
Old January 28th, 2010, 08:25 PM
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GoldenAngel GoldenAngel is offline
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That is interesting about the potential allergy to chicken!
I know I became concerned about allergy issues with wheat when he was on Royal Canin as that seemed to be when his ear infections worsened. I switched to Canisource ($115 a box and while it was high quality, it was dehydrated and the portions caused him to put on weight). To help with weight loss his vet switched him back to Canin - Weight Maintenance because she felt weight loss was more important than allergy issues for his overall health as he is an aging Golden and very much a couch potato in energy level.

She hasn't brought up allergy testing, but I will suggest it at the next appointment (Saturday). She seemed to think he just has issues with his immune system. The ear infections have been very frustrating over the last year. The particular infection he has now is in the sutures she used with his ear hematoma surgery (in the flap of his ear).

He has also had a bit of darker skin on one side of his cheek for two years. Bizarre... Almost looks like a bit of eczema. I have treated it with antibiotics that the vet gave me, but hasn't been able to clear up. It doesn't bother him at all though and isn't really that noticeable. Just looks like he has a very light smear of dirt on his cheek.

I did try buying some "Salmon Oil" at Bark & Fitz a few months ago that you squirt onto his dry food. I tried it twice, but the first time he didn't eat and the second time, he ate and threw up. It might be the scent! I will check out the odourless capsules! That might do the trick!

I did read about something called Immugen online (immune system supplement for dogs).

My vet did say that before he goes for surgery she would recommend that he be on antibiotics before/during/after as it seems he is prone to infections/complications.

I do now wonder about the potential for allergies....
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Old January 28th, 2010, 09:11 PM
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Myka Myka is offline
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Imo the best way to test for allergies is to change foods. 99% of the time the allergies are from an ingredient in the food. Start with eliminating grains, and if that doesn't work on its own then try out different protein sources (chicken, red meats, fish). Give your dog at least 4 weeks on each new food unless symptoms increase. It's funny how bad changes happen fast and good changes happen slower!!

I would suggest you try a high quality kibble like Orijen (my personal choice), Acana, or Evo. I believe all three of these come in Chicken/Turkey formula, red meat formula, and fish formula. Testing for food allergies this way is much cheaper than the vet's testing and often works better!

Don't feed any table scraps, dog cookies, or anything else except the one kind of kibble at a time. You have to do this while you're testing for food allergies.

Food allergies can cause a lot of health issues, and the ones you're describing really fit the bill.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 10:35 PM
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Thanks Myka!

I did have Teddy on Orijen a few years ago... it gave him the runs (for weeks) and I think was too high in protein for him. I also had him on Fromm's for a while. I don't know if its something in the breed but he's had more ear infections as he's gotten older.

Do you know by chance how much allergy testing costs?

By the end of 2010, I will have spent $6500 on his health issues so you're right... just removing one food at a time might be the better choice if testing is expensive.

Thanks for the tips!
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Old January 29th, 2010, 11:30 AM
katiebear katiebear is offline
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Just a quick comment about the weight gain on CaniSource, I know from experience that the guidelines on the box are a bit high (most dog foods are this way). If your dog gains weight, simply reduce the amount of food. I know personally for Katie, she get's about 1/3 less than what is on the box. It also works out to be cheaper to feed CaniSource than most high-end foods because I'm not feeding that much. It's an amazing food and believe me, allergies will cause MUCH more trouble than weight gain (been there - done that!). CaniSource is really good for taking excess weight off, you just have to reduce the amount you feed. Katie is in the best health of her life and she's almost 12 years old now! Before CaniSource she was always a bit on the chubby side, but since we got her on the right amount of CaniSource, she's slimmed right down to be the "perfect" weight. I wish it was that easy for me to take off the weight! Maybe I should start eating it myself!

Anyway, I would suggest going back on it as the chance of allergies is very slim on it - just look at the ingredient list on the food the vet recommends and compare it to CaniSource - there's NO comparison!
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Old January 29th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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I agree it is most likely allergies. Could be environmental. Ask your vet for an E-screen blood test, it will tell you if it's allergies or not (dog has to be over 2 yrs old). Then you can play around with food/elements........It cost about 75 dollars. My golden had chronic ear problems too. It was a lifelong battle.
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  #11  
Old January 29th, 2010, 04:04 PM
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The trouble with Canisource is that there are lots of grains in it, which could also be an allergy trigger.

If your dog is too fat - feed less! You don't have to follow the guidelines on the bags.

GA, which Orijen did you try? The runs can be from allergies as well. You could try a different protein source, like maybe last time you tried the Chicken/Turkey Orijen, this time you could try the Red meats one. Or try Acana, it's a step down from Orijen in the "rich" department. Your dog may have quite a lot of allergies. Our neighbour's dog was SO allergic to different things that all she could feed the dog was ground beef, and cooked brown rice! She had to add things like a vitamin tablet, and salmon oil for Omegas. Of course that was 15 years ago, so I think she would have more options these days.

You would have to ask your vet the cost of the allergy testing. The way I see it is that you have to pay to feed your dog anyway, so why not test it out for a few months to see if you can find a brand of food that relieves the symptoms. Make sure when you're trying the brands out that they are actually significantly different from one another otherwise it's like testing a BMW, to an Audi, to a VW. They are all cars, maybe you need a truck??

Last edited by Myka; January 29th, 2010 at 04:12 PM.
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  #12  
Old January 30th, 2010, 10:04 AM
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GoldenAngel GoldenAngel is offline
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I am going to ask the vet today about allergies... I am going in about... oh... 10 minutes!

Re the canisource - I did significantly decrease the amounts - he was getting one cup in morning and one cup at night. The vet said you can't go less than that for a dog his size and he was always hungry. He liked the process of "eating". To complicate matters he has a thyroid problem (on meds now) and seems he can gain weight just by 'looking at food'!

I can't remember which origen I tried back in the day but prob. just the chicken version - nothing too fancy.

Now I am wondering if chicken if indeed the cause of all problems because its the first thing I reach for when buying food/treats etc over the years...

Will give an 'allergy update' in a bit!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 11:23 AM
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Sounds good!! Can't wait to hear what your vet says!

I think your best best is to try a non-chicken food of decent quality, and if that doesn't work try a non-chicken no grains food. Maybe California Natural? It has few ingredients so it's often a good choice for allergies. They have a Lamb & Rice version with no chicken. You can also use California Natural mixed with a richer food (Orijen, Evo, Acana, etc) to tone it down a bit. You're right that some dogs seem to never be able to adjust to the richness of grain-free foods.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Came back from the vet and she recommended doing the one protein source at a time diet for 6-8 weeks... eg. feed venison and no other protein source for that duration.

I asked about allergy testing via blood and she told an interesting story. Years ago at a vet convention they gave her two sample testing kits (valued around $200 each) for her to try. She was a bit cynical about the validity of everything after reading up on the subject. Some clinical papers cited only a 40% success rate with blood allergy testing. So she created her own experiment... she used the blood from the same dog on both kits and sent them in. Sure enough she received a really nice print-up from both kits - stating completely different allergies and issues for both kits!!

Later they called her to follow-up on the care of the "two" dogs that were tested and she said they were from the same dog. Their only explanation was to offer to send her two more free kits. Based on that personal experiment and her own reading she doesn't believe in the validity of blood allergy testing and said the best option is to introduce one protein source at a time and evaluate the dog's skin/ear issues while on that source.

She also did mention that chicken allergies are quite common....
Chicken seems to factor into so many of my previous food/treats as I always figured that was the 'gentlest protein'... Never thought it would be a common allergy issue! Interesting!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 01:14 PM
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Myka Myka is offline
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Ya, I haven't heard much good about blood allergy testing, I didn't actually even think about that. I was thinking a dermatological allergy testing. I think it is fairly costly.

So what food are you going to try?
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Old January 30th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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I am thinking to go back to Fromm's Duck formula. He did really well on that years ago... can't remember why I switched things up in the first place...

And no more chicken treats...
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Old January 30th, 2010, 02:19 PM
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Myka Myka is offline
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If a dog has an allergy to chicken, would he not be allergic to all poultry? Fromm is a pretty good food though, so hopefully it will work for you!

Once you have found a food that works well you can also add some plain yogurt and either fresh or canned green tripe to help with digestion, and intestinal health.

Last edited by Myka; January 30th, 2010 at 02:28 PM.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:35 PM
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To my understanding chicken and duck are considered different protein sources, but I will double-check.

Thanks for the tips Myka!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:39 PM
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You're welcome. I'm not an expert, but I'm hoping it works for you!
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