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  #1  
Old June 17th, 2011, 09:57 PM
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Excessive Shedding

Is there a disease or syndrome that would cause a dog to grow it's coat like it's winter, but shed like it's summer? My dog Suzie who is a short haired pitbull mix and had a short coat, but it's all fluffy like it's winter, but she is shedding gobs and gobs of hair. She even shed like this in winter. This is not her normal shedding amount...

I took her to the vet and it was recommended that she get a bath with shampoo for dry/allergic/sensitive skin, which I did, to no avail.

She has no bald spots...

She's eating Go! Now! Senior/Weight Management food as she gained a few pounds during winter and we're trying to work off the extra weight, combined with exercise.

She has her annual check up next weekend, but I am wondering if this type of shedding is common with allergies, maybe?

I'm perplexed. I switched her to innova EVO, to see if that could help rule out a food allergy she might have with the Go!, but she got really bad gas and had diarrhea every time she ate it.

I also looked up Hypothydroidism....maybe a blood test is in order...
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Old June 17th, 2011, 10:16 PM
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I was thinking a thyroid test might be in order, too. Hypothyroidism can really mess with a dog's coat. It's a place to start, anyway.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 11:55 PM
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How old is she now?

In her annual check up I would have a complete blood panel & urinalysis done to give everything a once over including the Thyroid hormones
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Old June 18th, 2011, 03:23 AM
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The weight gain and bad coat do sound like hypothyroidism and at least that's an easy thing to check for..
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Old June 18th, 2011, 07:27 AM
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Some folks have reported that a food change triggered a coat blow. I know my dogs don't always follow a schedule when they blow coat. Usually it's Spring and Fall but once in a while it's off season. Or one is prolonged or skipped. One shed might be very heavy, another very light. Not to denigrate more serious possiblities mentionned above.

Is it possible your girl is mixed with something like Lab? They have short sort of coats but they should also have a definite undercoat and man, when it sheds, it really blows. We, Lab here, have lots of shedding going on as we approach the start of summer.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:46 AM
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I think she is a mix with a German Shepard, but have no real way to find out.

She is about 6 or 7 years old right now. She has also been showing intolerance to exercise, which I thought was due to her weight gain and lazy winter, but that is also a symptom of hypothyroidism.... She seems to have joint pain after any exercise she does get. Another thing I've read is that their coats look shaggy and messy and hers definitely does. I have one of those Furminator brushes and it is almost obscene how much hair comes out. I have to vacuum multiple times a day to keep the hair down in my house and our carpets get a carpet of hair on the top.

It's never happened like this before and is extreme. I will get her tested for any blood issues.

The other thing I wondered about is maybe it is stress? her best friend Luna, our other dog; is dying of bladder cancer and I wondered if maybe she sensed that?

either way, her vet check up will help find the answer!
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Old June 18th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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It sounds like hyperthyroidism might indeed be the cause and I'm glad you're going for a test to find out for sure.

Just in case it's not that, I don't know if this applies at all...buuut.
I have heard (but have never verified) that sometimes pets have weird seasonal shedding reactions based on our modern houses being heated and air conditioned versus the temperature outdoors. basically they go out and they are hot then they come in and it's 'un-naturally' cold. I admit this is total speculation but I thought I'd throw it out just in case it might make sense in your case.
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  #8  
Old July 3rd, 2011, 11:38 AM
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I don't think that's it, the shedding has been a problem spanning over two seasonal changes with no improvement or worsening through out. It had just become evident that with all the other symptoms coming to light; exercise intolerance, weight gain, sore joints, itchy skin and shedding, that it maybe points toward something more.

We had a general blood panel and thyroid test so we'll find out what's up on Tuesday!

She's gained 4kg since her last check up, and is 65kg So, hopefully we can figure out what we can do to help her get back to her ideal weight of 55lbs.

The vet also said she is showing signs of being arthtritic so weight loss is important to help reduce the stress on her dusty bones!

I will post the results of the tests when I hear!
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 01:28 PM
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I also think hypothyroidism or Cushings Disease could be the problem.

I have found most of my own dogs to be sensitive to Evo food, but I haven't tried the Innova line which isn't quite as rich as the Evo. A grain-free food that I have found to be very well tolerated by every dog I know that has tried it is Orijen.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myka View Post
I also think hypothyroidism or Cushings Disease could be the problem.

I
Yes, I thought Cushings when arthritis was mentioned too. Fingers crossed that it's hypothyroidism and not that.
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  #11  
Old July 5th, 2011, 03:50 PM
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*sigh*

Ok, so troubling outcome from the tests.

Her thyroid levels were in the normal range indicating no issues there. However, in the general panel there was a very slight elevation in liver enzyme and a significant increase in Creatine phosphokinase (CPK). The level he said was comparable to what was was seen in a human heart attack patient. She hasn't had any seizures or heart attacks(her heart rate was low-normal in checkup), nor any obvious trauma to her muscles. We are going to re-test in 3 weeks to check it out again and make sure that the exercise she got the morning of her appointment wasn't the cause of the elevation. Perhaps the exercise combined with her sore joints caused the elevation....

In the mean-time we're to keep an eye out for symptoms of heart failure

Last edited by .unknown.; July 5th, 2011 at 04:23 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 04:29 PM
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it was just an anomaly. I hate waiting. Other than the shedding does she have any symptoms?
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Old July 5th, 2011, 04:46 PM
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I hope its because of the exercise!

These are the signs/symptoms:
Unproductive coughing, especially during the night or first thing in the morning
Difficulty breathing; increased panting and puffing
General fatigue and lethargy
Exercise intolerance
Appetite and weight loss
Fainting
Distended abdomen
Gray or bluish gums

It makes me worry because she does cough (not a lot), but I always thought it was to clear fur from her throat since she sheds so much... She is less energetic, and can't tolerate exercise at all. She sits down, lays down and pants earlier into exercise than she used to...

These of course, could all be due to her bones being sore, also... She doesn't faint, have a distended belly, she has gained weight and her appetite has always been weird and kind of dependent on her level of activity during the day.

ugh!

I'm trying not to worry!
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:19 PM
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What symptoms is she showing that lead you to believe she has bone or joint pain?
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:24 PM
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she is stiff after laying down, and she hobbles after exercise. In her recent exam, the vet found that she was stiff in her front elbows.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:52 PM
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Given her age and size, I would be inclined to think the stiffness is likely arthritis, and probably not related to her other symptoms.

I would put the skin problems to her age as well, thinking that as she gets older she has different requirements. Do you feed her fish oil? Fish oil is high in omega 3 which has anti-inflammatory properties, will improve the skin and coat, and studies show it also helps to prevent heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. A dog won't get enough omega 3 on a kibble diet because of the processing of the food. Same like humans who eat processed food they are high in omega 6 (which is associated with inflammatory response) and low in omega 3. Omega 6 and omega 3 should be balanced with each other much like calcium and phosphorus.

Personally, I would add fish oil (up to double the label suggestion for 3-4 weeks) and a good glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM supplement. Pick a good quality fish oil that is in a dark glass bottle, and preferably has vitamin e in it. Or use capsules. The pump-type plastic bottles you typically see are often rancid, or will turn rancid not long after you first use it. Capsules don't have to be refrigerated, but bottles of oil do (even if the label says you don't have to). Crappy fish oil is as good as none at all, and none is cheaper!

Maybe she does have the beginning stages of heart failure, in which case it would be imperative to add omega 3 to her diet to help prevent further damage, and help to try to repair some damage already done.

Good luck!
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Old July 5th, 2011, 10:53 PM
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Thanks for the tips, I actually have some fish oil in my fridge! I'll start giving her that and see if it helps her out and get her the supplements asap.

I really hope that the raise in enzymes were due to the exercise and not heart failure. Do you think that with arthritis, that the possibility of the CPK elevation would be greater during strenuous exercise? It just sounded more extreme than what could have happened as a result of just exercise - which was about 15 minutes of fetch, twice in the morning.

I truely hope that she is fine and it was indeed and anomaly. I don't think I can handle having two sick/dying dogs
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Old July 6th, 2011, 12:18 AM
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a significant increase in Creatine phosphokinase (CPK). The level he said was comparable to what was was seen in a human heart attack patient. She hasn't had any seizures or heart attacks(her heart rate was low-normal in checkup), nor any obvious trauma to her muscles. We are going to re-test in 3 weeks to check it out again and make sure that the exercise she got the morning of her appointment wasn't the cause of the elevation.
Do you have the CPK value and it's corresponding reference range from the test?

Were there any other signs that would lead the vet to think heart issues?

Aside from possible heart related issues:
Quote:
http://www.nwlabs.co.uk/testinterp2....%20%28Creatine
CPK occurs in high levels in skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle and brain tissue though only skeletal and cardiac muscle are of major significance. The enzyme is essential for the rapid conversion of ADP to ATP to release energy for muscle contraction.
CPK will also be significantly elevated with any trauma to the muscles from as minor an incident as the animal struggling during the blood draw to major trauma such as being hit by a car.

Any strenuous exercise, an intramuscular injection (rabies vaccine), surgery, missing the vein &/or a hard blood draw, simple muscle cramps, will show elevated CPK

Plasma CPK has a half life of about 2 hours before it's cleared from the system.
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Old July 6th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Hm, I don't know the number.

If the half life is two hours, then that raises a few more thoughts. She definitey wasn't exercised for at least 4 hours prior to the appointment... If she did in fact get injured during her fetch sessions, then the CPK should have been cleared from her blood?
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Old July 6th, 2011, 04:33 PM
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A half-life of two hours means that at the 2-hr mark, there would be only half the original amount in the bloodstream. At the 4-hr mark there would be half the amount present as at the 2-hr mark--so 1/4 of the original amount. After another 2 hours it would be down to half again, so only 1/8 of the original amount. So depending on the original levels in the blood, after 4 hours there could well be detectable amounts of excess CPK in the blood.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 03:07 PM
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I just called and got the numbers

CPK was 1146 and the baseline was 10-200

I found this:

"Experience has shown that levels can rise slightly with muscular exertion alone but where pathological conditions exist the levels are usually very high. Increase associated with cardiomyopathies is are much less than with rhabdomyopathies in small animals. Generally, re-sampling in 2 to 3 days is recommended to exclude trauma as a cause of elevated levels.

Trauma (surgery, i/m /injections, complicated venipuncture, recumbancy, severe exertion)
Hypothyroidism
Convulsions or seizures
Cramping in greyhounds
Myositis (infectious, immune mediated, nutritional)
Hyperadrenocorticism"

Last edited by .unknown.; July 7th, 2011 at 03:17 PM.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 04:52 PM
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I have my fingers crossed that it is either "nothing" and not recurring or hypothyroidism which is usually easily treated, or even hyperadrenocorticism aka Cushing's Disease which is also treatable albeit a little ickier than the former. I think time will tell. Have you rescheduled another blood testing?
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Old July 7th, 2011, 05:09 PM
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We're doing one in three weeks time, it's a long wait, but I think time will fly by like it always does!
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Old July 7th, 2011, 11:27 PM
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I just called and got the numbers

CPK was 1146 and the baseline was 10-200
I've had similar CPK results on blood tests for both cats & dogs and in all cases it was just muscle stress/exertion, even with a dog that had a known heart murmur.

Good that you have a re-test already scheduled to set your mind at ease about the CPK and they can have a look at the liver enzymes again to see if there is any movement there.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 11:28 PM
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I have my fingers crossed that it is either "nothing" and not recurring or hypothyroidism which is usually easily treated, or even hyperadrenocorticism aka Cushing's Disease which is also treatable albeit a little ickier than the former. I think time will tell. Have you rescheduled another blood testing?
In a golden retriever a low normal thyroid is too low and needs treated, just wondering if she might be a low normal, that would explain a lot of the symptoms.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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Yeah, her thyroid was right in the middle of the normal range, so that's not the case.

I am going to take a more aggressive approach. I somehow suspect she is eating her own breakfast and then finishing Luna's when we're not home. I'm going to feed them while I'm still home and then remove any un-eaten food until we're off work.

She's on a duck and potato based food now and even after a week her coat seems way less out of control. It's still shedding quite a bit, but looks much less scruffy. I'm thinking when we get her re-tested that I will inquire about allergy tests, and see if that could let us in on the secret as to why she's so itchy and "sheddy".

It's good to hear that the levels in your pets were just due to muscle exertion. The pit bull in her gives her this tenacity when she plays that usually leaves out her sense of self preservation and she just goes as hard as she can. I think this attitude toward playtime when she was young and spry is maybe what precipitated her stiff joints, much like a retired athlete?

Here's some shots of My BF playing with Suzie in her prime at 3 years old:



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Old July 8th, 2011, 10:36 AM
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She's on a duck and potato based food now and even after a week her coat seems way less out of control. It's still shedding quite a bit, but looks much less scruffy. I'm thinking when we get her re-tested that I will inquire about allergy tests, and see if that could let us in on the secret as to why she's so itchy and "sheddy".
Allergy tests aren't overly accurate. Personally, I wouldn't rely on them. Food allergies are easier to test for by yourself, more accurate, and much cheaper! Often it is not an allergy (itching, hot spots), but an intolerance (gas, diarrhea). Common allergies and intolerances include lamb, beef, chicken and eggs, soy, dairy products, wheat, corn. Pay attention to ingredients in dog food, and be sure each one you try is missing one of the commonly sensitive foods. Narrow it down until you figure it out. Give each food at least 3 weeks.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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She only had intolerance symptoms with the Innova EVO but i chalk that up to the high protein content.

We just switched her to GO! Natural Duck, it was advertised as ideal for allergies, so I hope that it might make a difference


Duck meal, oatmeal, potato, whole oats, de-boned duck, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), apple, natural flavor, flaxseed, quinoa, kamut flakes, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, dried kelp, vitamins ( vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), inositol, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, beta carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), chicory extract, L-lysine, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract


We switched from Go! Now! Senior and Weight Management

De-boned turkey, potato flour, apple, pea fibre, pea, potato, tomato, sundried alfalfa, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), natural flavor, salmon, de-boned duck, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), whole dried egg, flaxseed, carrots, pumpkin, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, lentil beans, broccoli, spinach, cottage cheese, alfalfa sprouts, dried kelp, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, lecithin, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin, inositol, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, beta-carotene, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement) minerals: (zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, DL-methionine, L-lysine, glucosamine hydrochloride, chicory extract, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, yeast extract, yucca schidigera extract, chondroitin sulfate, marigold extract, L-carnitine, dried rosemary.


They seem to be different enough to give it a try, so hopefully this new food helps her feel less itchy!
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Old July 9th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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I don't mind the Go! ingredient lists, although the meat content isn't as much as one would like for a dog, and the oils in it are not very digestible for dogs (canola, flax, coconut). It's much better than some other brands though! The ingredient lists are much different from each other, hopefully that will help you out.

I see they just added Go! Natural Duck to www.dogfoodanalysis.com I'm going to go check out what they have to say! Plus Orijen changed their ingredients a bit about 6 months ago, and that information is up there now too.

If Go! doesn't work for you, try a different brand. As I said earlier I am partial to Orijen which is Canadian made in Alberta and is grain-free. Orijen also has higher quality ingredients than Go! I have been using it for several years now after spending 2-3 years trying to find that perfect food. I tried most of the top quality kibble before settling with Orijen, and it has worked really well for me and a couple friends with 5 different dogs. The difference in our Chihuahua was astounding. Here's the ingredient list of their adult formula (they have red meat and 6-fish formulas too):

Fresh boneless chicken*, chicken
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Old July 10th, 2011, 03:43 PM
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Yep, I've checked it out. I love that site.

My dogs were actually both being fed Orijen, but I had to switch Luna to a low fat food because she's had pancreatitis a few times and the GO! Senior had the lowest fat content at 10%. When Suzie gained weight, we just switched her over as well. Hopefully the duck formula works out, it seems to be helping so far... but I will wait a few more weeks.
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