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Old August 7th, 2008, 11:03 PM
eliz12 eliz12 is offline
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Location: Metro Detroit
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Unhappy Desperately need help with dog's skin problems!

Please help!
We have a 3-year-old half German shepherd/half black lab.
We got him two years ago from the Humane Society, and he has been plagued with skin problems from the start. He has bald spots on his belly and often bleeds from small wounds on his face. He almost always has a terrible body odor.
We've taken our poor dog to two vets and spent a ridiculous amount of money on medicine and shampoo and creams and NOTHING helps. "He has some kind of allergy," the vets tell us. "But there's no way to really know what."
I have four children who adore the dog, but his smell is overwhelming.
Can anyone offer advice? I would REALLY appreciate it.
Thank you!
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Old August 7th, 2008, 11:51 PM
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rainbow rainbow is offline
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What are you feeding him?
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Old August 8th, 2008, 12:58 AM
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Pit Bull Love Pit Bull Love is offline
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My foster Bailey has HORRIBLE allergies. She's always got some kind of skin issue along with constant ear infections. We actually got allergy testing done for her. She has more than just food allergies. Some of them are environmental. Even though we haven't been able to completely get them under control because much of what she is allergic to we can't control like dust mites, pollen, etc... I do think it was worth it to have the testing done even though it is expensive. I do know of someone whose dog was getting allergy shots. Knowing what your dog is actually allergic to can make a huge difference. Doing the whole elimination thing just wasn't cutting it with Bailey.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 06:05 AM
eliz12 eliz12 is offline
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More on allergies

We feed Teddy a regular dog food; I can't remember the name, but I imagine it has corn, which we've heard is a frequent source of dog allergies. We're going to try potato-and-fish dog food, which someone recommended. Has anyone had any success with this?
THANK YOU everyone for the help.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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I can't beleive your vet hasn't looked into food allergies that would have been the first place I looked. It could be a grain allergy or a protein allergy, you'll have to try to eliminate one thing at a time (ideally) to figure it out. Fish and potatoe is a good place to start, you could also try lamb and rice, or kangaroo and oat (seriously). Even BETTER, you could make your dog's food from scatch or go raw (lots of good info on the food board) so you know exactly what your dog is eating. I still can't get over the fact that your vet would try creams and crap before trying to rule out food allergies
Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
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Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
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Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
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Old August 11th, 2008, 11:11 AM
Dingo Dingo is offline
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The first thing I would suggest is going to a new vet.

You can have allergy testing (for both environmental and food allergies) done. It's very expensive, but may be worth it if you can find the source of the problem.

In the meantime, you can do a basic test for food allergies by picking a simple food (one unique protein, something he hasn't had before, like venison or salmon) and restricting him to it totally. Lots of dogs are apparently allergic to chicken and to beef. Grains can be a problem too, so look for a grain-free food.

Some people recommend switching to a raw food diet for allergies.

Also, you can try omega 3 (fish oil) supplements. They're good for skin, and come in capsules or in a pump bottle that you just add to their food.

Have your vets considered the possibility that it's a flea allergy? Dogs can have allergic reactions to fleas and flea bites even if they don't have fleas on their bodies. Try putting him on Advantage or on of the other monthly flea treatments.

Some environmental allergies can be treated with anti-histamines and other medications. I'm amazed your vet hasn't at least given him an anti-inflammatory/cortisone shot to give him some temporary relief. I would insist on it at this point.

Some dogs are allergic to dust mites. You can get special dust-mite blocking cushions. Keep him off carpets and fabric furniture, use Febreze Allergen Reducer, vacuum regularly.

Has the vet checked for mites (like mange and scabies)? They require taking a scraping of the skin and looking under a microscope.

If all else fails, there are veterinary dermatological specialists.

Good luck.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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TKW TKW is offline
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Originally Posted by eliz12 View Post
We feed Teddy a regular dog food; I can't remember the name, but I imagine it has corn, which we've heard is a frequent source of dog allergies.
I'd put my bet on this food you're feeding him is the problem. Please go to the dog food forum on this board and look for a quality food for him. It'll make a world of difference.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 07:26 PM
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lm9012 lm9012 is offline
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oh poor baby! he must be miserable!! Food is very likely the culprit. Has the vet ever done a skin scrape? They use a blade and scrape the wounds to get under the skin and run it under a microscope...to rule out mites which cause mange..which your dog has all the symptoms of. However, I'd hope that this has been ruled out and this poor dog hasn't been suffering from mite bites for two years!
It is crazy how many vets don't even THINK about food allergies. A friend at work in casual conversation mentioned to me her dog has itchy eyes and is biting his tail, and that she's gone to the vet and they are telling her it's 'normal' and he'll 'get over it'.. I SWEAR THIS IS WHAT SHE TOLD ME!

I asked what food she was feeding..it is a very common food recommended by vets that is CORN BASED, and just not good quality...starts with an S. We can all figure it out from there..

Anyway, I suggested a high quality holistic food..another co-worker of mine has a dog with a very sensitive tummy and allergies that gets fed the food..she brought her over a baggie of a couple of cups of the good stuff for my other coworker to try out..and voila..she didn't even wait to transition for the full week after she saw an IMMEDIATE change. She couldn't believe that two regular folks knew about this, and her trained vet didn't. So scary! That poor dog was suffering for who knows how long???!!

I suggested she switch vets! There are many, many that know their stuff of course, which is why I always recommend getting second, third opinions if you see your vet hitting a wall, and unable to diagnose. Sometimes just a fresh pair of eyes can make a difference....and once it is diagnosed, passing that info back to the original vet so they can add it to their arsenal of answers and hopefully be able to help the next patient with the issue. Hey, vets are human! no one knows everything!

If it is food allergies, it can be quite time consuming and frustrating to try to weed out what the culprit is..but if the allergy tests just aren't financially an option for you...i suggest you start ruling out. You can start out very basic..feed boiled ground beef and white rice..or boiled chicken..stay away from common allergens such as corn, wheat, barley, etc. Treats/bones are included in this too! you may need to pull those away while you figure out what it is..if there are still reactions, try another protein, etc.etc.

I've heard good things about a food called 'california natural'..
http://www.californianaturalpet.com/ <-- sold at several places near Detroit!

it's meant to help with allergies, and uses no by products.

the omega 3 idea someone else mentioned is great as well. Awesome for the skin and coat, not to mention for the insides too! But if your dog has a fish allergy...that wouldn't help!

Get to the basics and feed as simply as possible for now..even if it means home cooking for a few weeks while you figure it out..then you can get your furkid on a good, balanced, diet.
Keep us posted!
Proudly adopted by: Albert (Jack Russell Mix, 8 yrs young, King of the Castle) and Khloe (gray tabby, 9 mos, expert hockey player and Kung Fu Jumper)

Last edited by lm9012; August 13th, 2008 at 07:30 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 06:09 AM
eliz12 eliz12 is offline
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Thank you!

Dear fellow pet owners:

Your responses have been so kind and helpful and thoughtful (we're trying the fish-and-potato dog food). We truly appreciate it!

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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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rainbow rainbow is offline
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Grain free is definitely the best to feed him. What is the brand you chose? Good luck and please keep us updated.
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