Big Atopy Problems

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby Hollys Rangie » February 17th, 2009, 9:05 pm

Hello everyone,
I just thought that I would ask to see if anyone had any suggestions for me. I have a fourteen month old APBT/Bull terrier mix who is having terrible problems with atopy. These problems have been going on for almost two months now and there is very little change in his condition. I have tried to do a quick explanation of his health and condition as follows. If anyone has any ideas, they are more than welcome, because we are quickly running out of ideas. :| Thanks in advance for the help! :wave2:

Wilbur is 14 months old, male, neutered, microchiped, and sees a vet regularly. He is UTD on all vaccinations, heart worm and flea meds (we used heart guard and frontline). When a very small pup, he had and was successfully treated for demodex mange. He is on Solid Gold Hund and Flocken (Lamb formula) food and we supplement that with NUPRO.

About two months ago, we noticed that Wilbur was losing massive amounts of hair. We took him in to see the vet who said that he thought that it might be seasonal allergies. The vet gave him an antihistamine shot and sent him on his way. Wilbur seemed to get better for a bit, but the hair loss returned, this time with itchiness. Back to the vet we went, where the vet gave Wilbur some antibiotics to get rid of a skin infection he had gotten due to scratching at himself so much, and another anti-inflammatory shot, as well a prescription shampoo (A2/S) and some fatty acid pills (A3/N). Things got better, but then once Wilbur finished the antibiotics, it got bad again. He began to scratch again and was still having massive hair loss. Once again we returned to the vet. This time they put him on Prednisone - two 20 mg tablets per day for the first week, then one 20 mg tablet per day for the second week, then one 20 mg tablet every other day for the third week. The Prednisone seemed to help a lot (except for the upset stomach he developed), but he is off of them now and seems to be heading back down that slippery slope again. He is now beginning to develop small bumps on his back and sides which do not seem painful, but are kind of oozy. I called the vet and he told me to clean the bumps with hydrogen peroxide and put a little neosporin on them. I have been doing this and they seem to begin healing as soon as I do that, but I am still a little concerned.

The vet seems to think this is an allergy that Wilbur has developed over time. He also does not seem to think it is Wilbur's food that is causing it. During all of this time, we have been trying to eliminate things one by one to see if we can find what it is he might be allergic to. I have changed laundry detergent (I am making my own now out of Ivory soap, washing soda, and borax), we have begun cleaning with only natural ingredients (distilled vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, and castille soap), and have cut out all treats except the Solid Gold Lamb Jerky ones. The only toys the dogs have are beef shin bones and natural rubber toys. He is eating out of stainless steel bowls, and wears a nylon collar, but there are no allergy problems around his neck; in fact, his head and his neck are the only places he is [b]not[b] losing hair. He is an indoors dog, and is only outside while we are with him. He occasionally likes to chew on a stick, but that is really about it.

If anyone has any ideas on what else to try, I am more than willing to take suggestions! Thanks again!
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Postby Leslie H » February 17th, 2009, 9:08 pm

I wouldn't rule out a food issue. Xanny had a real crappy coat on Solid Gold. I take it your vet has ruled out a demodex flair up?
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Postby Hollys Rangie » February 17th, 2009, 9:11 pm

Yeah, it is not demodex again. They did a skin scraping just to be sure.

We have the boys on Solid Gold since it is the only food that Murhpy (4 yr old lab/APBT mix) can seem to digest well. He had parvo at the age of eleven weeks. He caught it at the pound before we adopted him.
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Postby amazincc » February 17th, 2009, 9:18 pm

Have you ever tried a completely grain-free kibble or raw?
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Postby Hollys Rangie » February 17th, 2009, 9:23 pm

No, not yet. I have the feeling though, that this just may be a food allergy. I just hate the thought of changing foods since we have found one that seems to work for Murphy.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a food that might be something that is less likely for a dog to be allergic to and one that will also go easy on a sensitive stomach?

I am up for all suggestions at this point, but would like to stay close in the same price range as the solid gold (about $55 for 33lbs.)
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Postby SisMorphine » February 17th, 2009, 9:27 pm

Keep Murphy on the SG if it's working for him, and I would change Wilbur. You can go grain free or raw, or you can try an elimination diet (contact a local canine nutritionist to help you). I have had two clients in the past, one a Dobie, one a Heinz 57 muttski, both with intense hair loss (not mange), who switched to raw and within a couple months were both growing hair back into their bald spots.

Raw can be a HUGE jump, and isn't always the answer, but I'm just kinda laying it out there for you, definitely not pushing. There are plenty of good quality kibbles and cans out there that may be your answer.
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Postby call2arms » February 17th, 2009, 9:33 pm

What about an elimination diet? If it's a possibility, cooking for him would be the best way to see what causes allergies, and then from that on you can pick a food that doesn't contain the allergen... Also like Sis said RAW can help and there you have definite control of everything that gets into your dog's mouth.

Are allergy tests an option at all? I know my work sells the kits, so you don't have to see a dermatologist for controls. Remember, sometimes they are also allergic to crazy things like dust mites, carpet, air fresheners, one type of grass... And that can cause all the dermatologic signs... It's worth seeing a specialist if you try everything and can't find what the allergen is.
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Postby Hollys Rangie » February 17th, 2009, 9:38 pm

Okay, I think that we will try the food first.

I had thought about the allergy kit, but the vet also said that if we could not manage to rule out what it is he is allergic to, then we might have to look in to doing a thyroid panel (which is crazy expensive), so I had been trying to save money for that if it becomes necessary.

I am not the best of house keepers (the house does get a little dusty sometimes :oops: , but we have hardwood floors and some area rugs, so maybe those are something to look at.
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Postby hugapitbull » February 17th, 2009, 10:01 pm

I'll tell you Trouble's allergy story and see what you can pick out of it that may help. Troubs started having problems as a pup about 9 months. She broke out with little pimply things, scratched constantly, licked her feet until they bled, and made us as miserable as she was. She was on prednisone and antibiotics on and off for a few years. She finally had been given so much steroid the vet was getting skittish about giving her more. We went to an allergy clinic. The testing is expensive, and proved she is allergic to just about everything, wool, tobacco, fleas, grasses, molds, trees, dust, and I can't think of all the others right now, but you get the picture. We were given antigen that worked well until the first dosage was complete. When they mixed the second batch it never was the same, never got the better results and in the mean time Miss Trouble decided she wasn't taking any more shots. She would run, wiggle, bolt, and after bending a couple of needles, I gave up. I really did not wish to have to get a broken needle surgically removed.

We went to yet one more vet, he convinced me that quality of life has to be considered. We could keep her reasonably under control with weekly baths with Melesab shampoo, watching her diet - she gets IVD Duck & Potato (now Royal Canin), and almost daily antihistamines. Along with this a couple of times a year she had to have a steroid shot to keep major flare ups at bay.

My regular vet was out of town when she had a major allergy event. I took her to the vet at where we kennel her. He gave her an injection, but gave me literature on Atopica to read. We began giving her the Atopica and it was like having a new dog. We were very satisfied with the results, but have had to take her off it since it is contraindicated for dogs with tumors.

I've pretty much been there and done that with allergies. If you want more info, feel free to PM me.

I wish you luck, this is not a fun journey.
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Postby Jenn » February 17th, 2009, 11:29 pm

Amen Shanna.. I went through the same with my little lap dog, pure hell and I feel your pain... After months of shots, treatments, shampoos, tape worms (yes mutliple treatments! pills etc.) I was just beside myself.. I live in the woods pretty much turns out ONE FLEA bite will send him into itching fits, welps, and hair loss. :( I do ALL I CAN to keep them off him, and to treat him, as well as bathe his wounds, it is hell and took too long to figure out the cause, I wish you luck!!
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Postby Malli » February 18th, 2009, 5:11 am

Hollys Rangie wrote:Hello everyone,
I just thought that I would ask to see if anyone had any suggestions for me. I have a fourteen month old APBT/Bull terrier mix who is having terrible problems with atopy. These problems have been going on for almost two months now and there is very little change in his condition. I have tried to do a quick explanation of his health and condition as follows. If anyone has any ideas, they are more than welcome, because we are quickly running out of ideas. :| Thanks in advance for the help! :wave2:

Wilbur is 14 months old, male, neutered, microchiped, and sees a vet regularly. He is UTD on all vaccinations, heart worm and flea meds (we used heart guard and frontline). When a very small pup, he had and was successfully treated for demodex mange. He is on Solid Gold Hund and Flocken (Lamb formula) food and we supplement that with NUPRO.

About two months ago, we noticed that Wilbur was losing massive amounts of hair. We took him in to see the vet who said that he thought that it might be seasonal allergies. The vet gave him an antihistamine shot and sent him on his way. Wilbur seemed to get better for a bit, but the hair loss returned, this time with itchiness. Back to the vet we went, where the vet gave Wilbur some antibiotics to get rid of a skin infection he had gotten due to scratching at himself so much, and another anti-inflammatory shot, as well a prescription shampoo (A2/S) and some fatty acid pills (A3/N). Things got better, but then once Wilbur finished the antibiotics, it got bad again. He began to scratch again and was still having massive hair loss. Once again we returned to the vet. This time they put him on Prednisone - two 20 mg tablets per day for the first week, then one 20 mg tablet per day for the second week, then one 20 mg tablet every other day for the third week. The Prednisone seemed to help a lot (except for the upset stomach he developed), but he is off of them now and seems to be heading back down that slippery slope again. He is now beginning to develop small bumps on his back and sides which do not seem painful, but are kind of oozy. I called the vet and he told me to clean the bumps with hydrogen peroxide and put a little neosporin on them. I have been doing this and they seem to begin healing as soon as I do that, but I am still a little concerned.

The vet seems to think this is an allergy that Wilbur has developed over time. He also does not seem to think it is Wilbur's food that is causing it. During all of this time, we have been trying to eliminate things one by one to see if we can find what it is he might be allergic to. I have changed laundry detergent (I am making my own now out of Ivory soap, washing soda, and borax), we have begun cleaning with only natural ingredients (distilled vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, and castille soap), and have cut out all treats except the Solid Gold Lamb Jerky ones. The only toys the dogs have are beef shin bones and natural rubber toys. He is eating out of stainless steel bowls, and wears a nylon collar, but there are no allergy problems around his neck; in fact, his head and his neck are the only places he is not losing hair. He is an indoors dog, and is only outside while we are with him. He occasionally likes to chew on a stick, but that is really about it.

If anyone has any ideas on what else to try, I am more than willing to take suggestions! Thanks again!


Hello :)

My dog most likely has atopy. I've done a few elimination diets, none of them seemed to really make a dent. The consistency of his reaction makes my vet lean towards atopy (though Oscar has not been allergy tested -wich btw may or may not be accurate-).

I have a couple suggestions.

I'd take away the beef shin bones, just in case. Beef is common in foods and a common food allergen.

Make sure when you bathe him that you use luke warm - coolish water and rinse him VERY well, I've found baths can further irritate the skin and although I'm thourough, I sometimes wonder if some residual soap may cause it. The cooler water will also help keep the skin from drying out and exacerbating things.

Look into Atopica. I hear great things (work at an animal hospital). Unfortunately I can't afford it for my dog or he would already be on it.

I would also suggest using a minimal amount of any laundry soap in your dog's loads of laundry. I probably put less then a tsp of the Tide Free unscented liquid stuff, just enough to help break down any oils that may be on his blankets.

HTH

Oscar has had allergic skin disease for about 7 years now, so let me know if you have any questions you think I might be able to answer ;)
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Postby hugapitbull » February 18th, 2009, 6:16 am

Oh, some another things I forgot about...we have to make sure Trouble doesn't get the beef flavored heartworm meds. We also had to take her off the monthly topical flea preventives. It took me a really long time to determine both were causing some of the problem. And Jenn is absolutely right, if they are allergic to fleas it only takes one bite to drive them into a frenzy.

I think everyone else has covered all the other items. Mali did a great job of covering the bath and laundry detergent pieces. Trouble was different from most, the baths helped her, but I was told over and over again that frequent bathing can case dry skin that will lead to more itching. So if you try weekly baths make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse.

Glass or stainless bowls you already have covered. The point with the duck & potato diet is the single protein and single carbohydrate source, both being not the common. There are multiple kinds of this mixture by multiple companies using fish, venison, sweet potato, etc. I keep Trouble's beef intake to a minimum because it causes problems as well. I did try the Science Diet Z/D and she did very poorly on it but I know other folks who swear by it. I tried raw for a while and overdosed her on ground beef and had the worst breakout ever. So be very careful mixing raw and introducing new foods if you go that route.

The other real drawback to the whole allergy thing is the expense. The allergy testing was over $1200, the antigen was about $200 per vial, the Atopica is down in price a little, it started out at $10 per 100mg pill. I can't remember what I paid for the last round. Be prepared spend $$.
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Postby Hollys Rangie » February 18th, 2009, 10:08 am

Thanks so much for all of the suggestions and sympathy guys! :)

I know that this is going to be a long and expensive process, but I hope that we will eventually find the cause, or at least find a way to make Wilbur comfortable.

The weekly baths in the medicated shampoo really seem to help him. He jumps right in the tub to get them every Monday night. :) He seems to really feel better afterward.

We have looked in to the Atopica, but they vet says he would like to use that only if we can't find what it is that Wilbur is allergic to, or if the allergen is simply something that can not be controlled well (dust mites and such) due to the expense. Our vet is really great, and when I called him this morning, he agreed that we should remove the beef bones since beef is a common allergen. I also spoke to him about changing the food and he agreed that a one protein, one carbohydrate food might be a good idea, since that would give us just two things to rule out, rather than a bunch of them. He told me to do some research on foods that I liked, and to give him a call back and we would discuss it.

All in all, Wilbur is such a happy little guy, and acts like his skin doesn't even bother him (though I know that it must). I just hope that we can get this taken care of.

Thanks again for all of the help, and if anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know! I am willing to try just about anything!
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Postby TinaMartin » February 18th, 2009, 10:24 am

Good luck! I have an allergy monster too. I took the plunge into raw after I was at my whits end. I dont use a lot of chemicals in the house for cleaning and try to keep dust under control. Gator still has flair ups where he wants to scratch himself raw but its controlled for the most part.
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Postby hugapitbull » February 18th, 2009, 2:27 pm

Finding a routine that keeps them comfortable "most" of the time and preserves your sanity is the key. You will get there, just don't give up.

Trouble takes showers and it is something she doesn't mind doing, so I never had a hard time with that part either.
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