Hi all. I have an almost 6 yr old yellow lab who has developed a pretty bad skin problem in the last year or so. He has been to the vet several times and they simply suggest its food or something. He is on vegetarian food and has been, but still has itchy skin, licks a lot, and appears to be developing a staff infection AGAIN.
I am curious what some of the other people feel about feeding a lab vegetarian food. Since I switched to the vegetarian he has also developed a slight case of EIC. He used to be able to go forever, and now if it is warm out he only last about 5 minutes and collapses. A few times it has been pretty bad. Is it possible he is missing out on all the protein of a normal food? I started giving him and my other lab daily vitamins and fish oil in hopes that this helps. I just dont believe this all started from an allergy to his food, that he ate for 4 1/2 years before.
Any possibility this could be stress related? This all started about 6-8 months after adopting our other lab, and he was an "only child" for nearly 4 years.
Any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I just dont know i can believe my vet anymore since this has come back so many times. THANKS!
Sometimes nutritional deficiencies can take years to manifest and really start to show themselves. As our bodies age they become less and less able to be resilient enough to obtain nutrition from un-ideal sources.
Dogs are taxonomically carnivores (one look at their teeth will make that clear, note lack of molars for grinding and no horizontal jaw motion), so they need protein and lots of it to function at ideal health.
So I would agree that it more than likely is the food, and switch him to something more species appropriate.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
what are the ingredients of the vet-recommended food? Does it contain grains or corn?
You may want to search out a vet that offers allergy testing - I don't know if you have done a true elimination diet (where you feed simply one novel protein and one carbohydrate - ie venison and potato and then add ingredients to determine the allergen), but this is standard procedure in allergy testing. I'd also recommend looking into the raw diet and/or home cooking for your dog.
So you have a dog, which is a carnivore, and you put it on a vegetarian diet? I just don't get it. With humans who have a mind and certain compulsions to eat certain diets, fine, but why would you enforce it on an animal that is meant to eat meat?
Ever watch those Animal Planet "Animal Cop" shows? There have been episodes where they have poor people feeding their 25 cats and dogs RICE because they can't even afford to feed themselves. Despite the fact that these folks love their animals, it's still cruelty.
It's unclear from your post - did you or the vet just change him to vegetarian food - or has this been his diet all along.
It would be really, really hard, I would think, to provide ample protein for a meat eating species on a vegetarian diet.
Like others have said - please switch him to quality meat based food. If there really is an allergy, using a novel diet (single source protien/carb) is a good idea.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
There are vegetarian foods that are fine for dogs, Purina's HA is a veterinary Rx diet that is soy-protein based. There are certain dogs that need this food for life, but that is rare. Did your vet put your dog on a vegetarian food for a food trial? As in, is the plan that you can eventually start adding in novel proteins and seeing if he reacts? We did that with my Jake. He was on HA for two months, then I began to cook beef and add it into his food, we did that for a month with no reactions, and then began transitioning to a red meat-based dog food (Evo Red Meat).
As for if his problems could be stress-related - a traditional vet will likely say no. A homeopathic vet would say absolutely they could be stress related. If you're interested, a homeopathic vet might be able to help you. We took Jake when he had unexplained continued itching, ear troubles, etc. It was very helpful to have someone listen to not only how we thought our dog felt physically, but also emotionally. That being said, it's not cheap!
Repeated staph infections ... do you walk anywhere with tall grass? Really dewey grass? I know one member here (BobPr) has a lab who had the same problem, he began wiping her belly dry after each walk and washing with a medicated shampoo - maybe he'll chime in here.
One last suggestion, if you're not happy with the care you're receiving at your current vet (it seems from your first paragraph that you're not). I would consider trying another vet, or going to a college of veterinary medicine/specialty center and seeing either a dermatologist or internist.
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy
And - anybody can develop allergies to anything at anytime. I developed an allergy to shrimp just this year - much to my dismay.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I would have other tests ran if not already. Cushing, Addisons, thyroid. Run it all. I would not call it allergies unless you are 100% it is allergies. You will only know that if you test for allergies.
Your dog is not going to develope EIC. It either had it or not and I would say the collapse is likely due to something else. If you think it has EIC test. It is not expensive and you can do it yourself with a cheek swab.
I also would NOT feed a veggie diet unless under orders from a Vet. It goes against everything I believe. Having said that I feed Cinder Natural Balance Vegetarian. Because I HAVE to.
First of all, thank you to all for responding. I am finding all the feedback useful with the exception of the person who thinks I am a horrible owner and made this decision to feed vegetarian on my own. A few comments I have.
1.) This was something the vet suggested. I dont think it is good for my labs to be on this diet because I feel like there are losing a lot of protein and also believe this is what is causing the lack of energy. Ever since the switch to vegetarian Jack has not been able to go as long as normal while playing.
2.) He was not diagnosed with EIC, so I guess he doesnt have it. Just lately he has shown similar traits when playing fetch. He is very ball driven, comes from a great line of labs, and has collapsed uncontrollably once or twice do to only 10-15 minutes of fetch. Both times, once he got water and cooled off he was fine.
3.) I have not had any allergy tests done or anything because I have heard how expensive it can be, and honestly was trusting my vet in what they were saying. I am feeding both my labs Nature's Recipe Vegetarian - Sensitive Skin formula dry food. I would like to switch to something with more protein and maybe not vegetarian and supplement their food with fish oil or something. I heard about this before.
4.) I dont believe or know if it is the food because every time the skin problem has come back it is shortly after the antibiotics are gone. I have a prescribed shampoo and that seems to help a little too.
Thanks again for all the feedback, and I welcome all comments.