Jack is a 2-year-old chocolate lab who's had skin problems since I rescued him (his previous owner had him chained to a tree 24/7 for the first year of his life). He's happy, affectionate, slobbery, smelly, loud and annoying... everything a good lab SHOULD be -- except for the fact that his skin is constantly itchy and irritated (bright pink). He'll just sit there all night and scratch and scratch and scratch. We all feel really bad for him. We've spent about $3500 trying to figure out what's going on and, out of 4 vets, none of them have a clue. The next step is putting Jack on Atopica, which would cost around $500/month. I wanted to post here to see if any of you have any additional advice that might help us help Jack.
Here's what we've done:
- Food change (including vegetarian grain-free as well as a medicated processed pure protein) -- no change
- Fish oil supplements (in many forms) -- no change
- Medicated baths (twice weekly) -- no change
- Skin treatment for that mite that's really hard to detect (forgot the name) -- no change after a month
- Benadryl -- no effect at all
- Simplicef -- no effect
- Anti itch spray -- no effect
- Allergy testing from animal dermatologist -- 65 allergens tested, none showed positive
- Growth removed from abdomen and biopsied -- results: eosinophilic granulomatous dermatitis (allergic reaction to... something)
The only thing that does make a difference is steroids. He'll get a steroid shot and be completely itch free for a full week.
Anybody have any thoughts, experiences or suggestions?
Thanks so much!
I should also add that Jack has lost hair on his belly, elbows, inner thighs and edge of his ears (I think from scratching). The insides of his ears are super clean and he's never had any problems with that.
With his allergic spots the vets were afraid he had mast cell cancer, which can manifest itself in the form of inexplicable allergic symptoms but he just tested negative for that.
The search goes on...
What about oral steroids? Have you asked the vet how long a dog can be on it safely? We used to have to put Maggie our 12 yr old on it every summer. It really helped. That with antibiotics for the skin infection. Our Sophie has allergies. The vet told us that even if she doesn't have fleas, even one flea jumping on her and biting her can cause flea allergy dermatitis. We were never sure if it was fleas, food or a combination causing Sophie's allergies. So, we put her on Comfortis, sprayed the heck out of our house, and put her on a food she never had before. Grain free TOTW Pacific Stream, which is a salmon based food with sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, peas and berries. We also give her fish oil caplets. The difference has been amazing. We noticed improvement right away. I know you must be frustrated. I pray you get some answers.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
hey man , my dog have exacly same problem, vet told me it can be hormonal problem, the only thing that help her was unsalted butter on her skin have u tried it?
olive oil didnt help and coconut oil too, im hunting for the cure , same people recom tea tree oil , soon i get back home in 8 days will try it and let u know , hows jack going ?
here is a little video of Morena skin Morena skin problem - YouTube
Remember it always helps to trim the hair first around the hot spot area and cleanse it with hydrogen peroxide if it is oozing. If it is necessary to keep your pups from licking the area, try the towel trick instead of using a collar...wrap a large towel length wise three times, wrap it around your puppy's neck and duct tape it. Ultimate goal is to put enough TOWEL in between the neck and shoulders to prevent the sneaky devils from being able to get to where they want to!
1. Apply the Maloxx to the hot spot...IT WORKS!!! Phillips Milk of Magnesia works equally well.
2. You can buy Aloe at GNC for 99 a tube and keep it in the refrigerator for the coolness and apply it. Aloe is also not harmful if licked. Or you can also use the gel from an Aloe Plant.
3. Gold Bond Medicated Power.
4. Tea Tree Oil is wonderful, apply directly to the hot spot; some people prefer to mix it with another type of oil such as jojoba or olive oil, or even a Vitamin E cap. I have never had a problem applying it directly. Tea Tree Oil (or Melaleuca Oil) is GREAT stuff. I not only use it for hot spots, but a million things on humans as well. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, penetrates below the surface of the skin and soothes the skin. Try it on burns. AND IT TASTES AWFUL. I haven't heard of a dog yet that will lick a spot with Tea Tree Oil on it!
5. Mix 10 parts extra virgin olive oil and 1 part oil of thyme. Apply to the hot spot with a cotton ball. This will stop itching and prevent infection.
6. Terra Cortril spray, available from Foster & Smith. The spray will usually clear it up in a couple of days. Pet Supplies | Dog & Cat Supplies, Pet Meds | DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Products
7. Apply a solution of betadine & water to the area once a day.
8. Brew a cup of chamomile tea, leaving the tea bag in the cup to cool. When tea is cool, use tea bag to apply the tea to the area. Let dog drink tea - it works to soothe on the outside (the tannic acid in teas also is an astringent) and calms them when they drink it. You can also use regular Lipton Tea, but don't let the dog drink the regular tea.
9. Calendula cream or hyper/cal (hypericum and calendula) cream.
10. Mary Wulff-Tilford's company Animals' Apawthacary makes a spray: it has aloe, calendula, and tea tree, lavender and carrot seed essential oils. http://members.tripod.com/~afis/medical....
11. Tasha's Herbs makes a spray too: Calendula Spray - distilled water, fresh calendula flowers, pure grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, echinacea angustifolia root, aloe vera gel, flower essences.
12. Veterinarian's Best Hot Spot Spray available in ALL the dog catalogs.
13. SKIN RELIEF SPRAY www.doggieietician.com
14. Here is a nice recipe for all icky skin
1 quart water
1 heaping tsp dried sage
1 heaping tsp thyme
1/4 tsp Epsom salt
Boil everything together ~ 5 minutes and then let it sit overnight. Strain off the herbs and refrigerate unused portion. You can also add it to shampoo and make a "medicated" shampoo.
Usable as a rinse for ant bites, bumps, hot spots, fleas, etc.
15. Monostat cream for female vaginal itching works really well, worked fast and stopped him from itching. I use as soon as I smell or see the hot spot.
For a regular hot spot, but not one that is spreading, I might treat the area 3-4 times the first day, then 2-3 times until healed. If a hot spot is growing or is smelly, or has a greenish drainage I then get to the vets as fast as I can. I will give antibiotics especially if I can't get into the vets that day. This is the only time I would use antibiotics for a hot spot without consulting my vet. Using systemic antibiotics indiscriminately....like for skin that is not severely infected but just inflamed, can make that antibiotic resistant and almost useless when really needed.
As you can see, none of these are drugs, which suppress the immune system. Suppressing the immune system is not recommended, because it only drives the problem deeper into the body, and the next symptom may not be hotspots but something much more serious. If your dog chews on herself out of boredom give her a job to do! A large meaty bone, more exercise, more training
this can help break the cycle of a lick granuloma. Again, the best thing to do for a hotspot is try one of these remedies and change the diet to a more natural one.
Have you looked at Jack's natural environment, his garden, the house and general surroundings. You might want to remove household chemicals, garden chemicals etc...which might cause irritation. My dog was the same and seemed to flare up every summer. We used a lawn fertiliser and i realised she would get irritated by it (come up with a red rash under her belly). I'm seen changed this and allergy has subsided.
What about multi-vits, as well as turmeric (half a teaspoon) over food once a day to boost the immune system. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and should subside allergies.
Hi- I go to a veterinarian that has an associate with certification in chinese herbs as well as acupunture. My lab is only 2, and this is the first year that he has really suffered from itching due to allergies. This vet put him on a chinese herb called "wind toxin" ( I know the toxin part sounds scary), which is a mixture of a number of various herbs. It has helped the itching very significantly. Try it.
Hi- I would suggest having an allergy test done. You can have blood and or skin tests done which will pinpoint exactly what he is allergic to. My guy unfortunately just had a blood allergy test done and is allergic to almost everything. They call him carbohydrate reactive. This basically means that he is allergic to almost all starches as well as environmental.
Anyway, they can then do immunotherapy which involves almost of a year applying drops under the tougue. I would not go the steroid/etc route unless you absolutely have to.
Another thing is chinese herbs. I know it sounds strange and I had my doubts too but there is a herb mixture called wind toxin ( a mix of chinese herbs) which worked wonders on itching and has no side effects. The cost of the testing is about 300, and the immunotherapy drops are about 200 for 5 months. Anyway good luck
I feel your pain. I'm working my way through a myriad of allergies with my 19 month old Lab, Lido. I figured out very early on that he was sensitive to chicken kibble (nasty poo, even when given probiotics) and extremely itchy when given ANY grains (I tried eliminating the obvious ones first: corn, wheat, and soy, but found that any grain inclusive kibbles set off intense itching). I finally found a kibble that was grain free, but didn't contain any peas, legumes, or potatoes (trying to avoid the DCM issue with retrievers, pending further research). He was still itchy! The vet had him on Apoquel - no change, then gave him an allergy shot - no change, steroids, medicated baths, medicated spray for the worst problem areas, his flanks and feet. He had a systemic bacterial infection with yeast overgrowth, for which the vet prescribed an antibiotic and weekly medicated baths.
I finally ordered a stress/trigger test from Naturally Dogs and did the saliva swabs, took hair samples, and mailed them in. I also ordered a couple of their recommended products - bovine colostrum and Glacier Peak Gold, an herbal tincture that's anti-viral and anti-bacterial. I also am keeping him on a good pro/pre-biotic I get from Chewy.
The test from Naturally Dogs was mind blowing! He was allergic to the second ingredient, pumpkin, that was in the only dog food I thought was going to help him! He is also allergic to chicken, turkey/eggs, all grains - like I thought, plus salmon, shellfish (and as a result, chondroitin), shark, pork, and goat. He's also allergic to a few fruits and vegetables, and nuts, some common oils (sunflower, salmon, sesame, safflower, krill, cottonseed, coconut), gluten, sugar, honey. There's more, but you get the gist - UGH!. He also has a few environmental allergies: dust, feathers, and some grasses (thankfully, not the type we have in our yard).
As a result, I had to do an extensive search to find something the poor guy can eat. The only kibbles I found were not my favorites, but it is what it is: Natural Balance Beef, Natural Balance Lamb, and Earthborn Holistics Lamb. All others have at least one ingredient that he can't have - SO frustrating!
Hi all- I have been struggling with my labs allergy issues for a while, and maybe my research and experiences with a vet dermatologist can help. Despite what the companies that do allergy testing claim, the only way to truly identify food allergies is through a food elimination diet. This starts with either a hydrolyzed diet such as royal canin hp for a minimum of 8 weeks with absolutely nothing else. You can get hydrolyzed dog biscuits too. Literally nothing else. This helps their body heal, as it takes up to 8 weeks for their body to exhibit allergic symptoms. Yes sometimes they react right away too. An alternative is a home made diet with a novel (a protein that they have never had before)protein such as venison, kangaroo, etc. Then after 8-12 weeks you add things 1 by 1 and see if there is a reaction. Despite what the allergy testing companies claim, their results are not accurate (yet)for food items...environmental is much more accurate with these companies. We are almost done with the food trial and will let you all know what happens. We also purchased a home air purifier, we freeze his food (then thaw) for storage mites, etc.etc.