I have a 5 year old male black lab, Logan. He is very healthy. I feed him quality food (no animal by-products, glucosamine supplements etc...) and no table scraps, much to his disappointment! :-) He is a free range dog as we live in the country so he is never tied up and gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. Someone is always home so he gets plenty of attention. I follow a naturopathic approach to life myself and for my family and take this approach with Logan. I do not subscribe to vaccinations - for any of us - so his immune system has not been compromised. His coat is and always has been very healthy, thick and shiny. He has not had any skin or coat issues, actually he has never been ill. He is quite large for a black Lab as his daddy was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, 120 pounds. Logan weighs just under 100 pounds. He is about 5 pounds overweight, 95 being at the upper end of his weight limit given his size. I feed him a weight management dog food I started him on one year ago which helped him drop a few pounds but turned him into the neighbourhood garbage picker so now he is "grounded" on garbage pick-up day and the neighbours like him a lot less! :-)
About three weeks ago he started having dry flaky patches on his belly. They were originally located on his rib cage. They do not seem to bother him as he doesn't scratch or chew them. They have progressed in size and have spread on his belly and predominantly under his "armpit" area of his front legs. I have seen him lick them now a few times and pull on the hair to pull out the dry flaky patch but he still does not scratch or chew and seems to be unbothered by them. Most of the patches are about the size of a nickel and the hair pulls out in tiny clumps where it is attached to the centre of the dry patch so his belly and underarms are starting to be sparse from the hair pulling/falling out.
I took him to the vet on Monday but she was oblivious as to what the problem might be, the cause or a course of action. She suggested Omega Three supplements which I had already decided I would put him on and then suggested antibiotics, skin scrapings, hair testing, biopsies etc... ($550!) but I am not convinced of her confidence and I feel I will be spending a great deal of money with no results. It reminds me of Athlete's Foot which makes me suspect fungal infection. Does anyone have any opinions or suggestions you could share with me that might be of help?
I would truly appreciate anything anyone may have to offer!
Well, for one thing I would take him off of the "weight management" food. Most of those foods are low in fat and high in fillers, so they can cause poor coat and dry skin. The fish oil supplements are also a good idea.
Oh yeah, and those table scraps? They can be a good thing for your dog if they are not spicy or buttery. Fresh steamed veggies and meat scraps are good for dogs and can broaden out their diet nicely. Would you want to eat dry, processed food every meal of your life?
Its hard to say over the internet, but I would also try taking him off the weight management food. If it doesn't clear up when you put him back on the other food you may have to take him back to the vets for testing. Skin problems can be nasty and they can get worse if left untreated...afterall, his problems may be totally unconnected to his food.
As yes, as Labsrme said, the whole 'table scraps are bad' thing is a myth. Obviously, you don't want to feed scraps when he is on a diet, but when he is at a healthy weight scraps can be an excellent addition to a dry diet. My dogs get all our healthy meal leftovers and this greatly reduces the amount of food we waste.*
I have had Logan on Omega 3 fish oil for approximately two weeks now, 2000mg twice daily in his meals. In the last five days his rash has been clearing up. I am fairly certain his dry skin rash was a result of an essential oils and fatty acids deficiency or perhaps the clearing is coincidental and has nothing to do with the Omega 3 supplements!* ???* I will keep an eye on his ears for oily build-up as a result of the fish oil supplementation as another Lab owner told me that is something you need to watch out for. Not sure about it myself, no experience there.
And for clarity's sake I define "table scraps" as junk food which we don't eat. Logan gets fresh fruit and vegetables as a daily supplement to his dry food diet* * and meat on the rare occasion when we ourselves are eating it.
The reason the vet want to do a skin scrape.....to check for mites. The most common cause of hair loss in dogs. A simple scrape and bloodwork will narrow the diagnosis so you can properly treat your labroador. These skin problems can be very dangerous and can become infected with the staph bacteria that is the normal flora on all dogs' skin. If anyone here has had "puppy pyoderma" you know how these things can get out of control quick. If it is mites, you are lucky your dog has not been scratching or biting his skin because the breaks in the skin offer a clear route for the staph on the dog's skin to enter the dermis. The secondary skin infection can be very dangerous. Usually when it gets to this point, the animal has to be IV sedated, shaved, medicated, and looked after 24hrs a day for around a week. Sorry, but your dog has mites. It's fairly common.