Mange, allergies...Giardia?

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby puppylove » October 12th, 2011, 4:00 pm

Time line:

About 2 months ago...

1. Noticed bald spots on neck

2. Took our little lady to a VCA emergency hospital in our area (san diego) and she was prescribed a skin topical. It seemed to help at first. I took her back for a check up, and the vet said to keep using the cream. But the longer we used it, it just seemed like it stopped working, or like it spread to a larger area.

3. Switched to Wellness Super5 Large Breed Puppy Health Chow (right after we found out she has mange and that it was due to a compromised immune system, so about 1.5 months ago) She was on generic Costco brand dog food before this.

4. We started bathing her in a safe mix of Apple Cider Vinegar, water, and Borax about a week ago, which seems to be working a lot better than the topical because it covered her entire body.

5. Took in a fecal sample to vet, it came back positive for Giardia. We do not have her on antibiotics for this yet.

I am aware that mange is caused by immune deficiencies. This is why we changed her food to Wellness. We also live in a cleaner, less stressful environment. She is also getting red spots in between her toes, which I understand can be a sign of allergies. So here is my question, is my dog allergic to something in her Wellness brand food? Her treats has wheat flour but she doesn't get many treats so I don't think it'd cause this much skin damage. I also used to feed her oats mixed with yogurt for breakfast, and I saw that Wellness puts oats in their food. Or could it be the soap we use perhaps? Or could the Giardia be the underlying cause of all this?

Again, this is LOCALIZED mange. Also, I want to note that her skin looks better in the morning (white as opposed to dark pink, perhaps because she hasn't eaten yet?)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I found the sticky here on treating mild mange. But I wanted a more specific answer for my dog.

A bit about me & my dog:
We aren't sure about her exact age, but we think she is about 8 months. She has most of her teeth and she has seemed to have grown into her paws. We "rescued" her about 2 months ago from a place where she didn't get nearly as much attention as she needed. As soon as we noticed hair loss we took her to the vet. Why her previous owners didn't look into the hair loss I do not know. But we have her now and are dedicated to her health and happiness.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 12th, 2011, 4:14 pm

Do you have any pictures of the spots?
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 12th, 2011, 10:55 pm

It's possible that she's allergic to grains...that can cause skin problems in many dogs...and going grain free can't hurt. I have two allergy dogs, and they're both doing better on grain-free kibble now.

I give my guys L-lysine when I need to up their immune system...during allergy attacks, etc. Score had viral mouth warts as a puppy...and I supplemented with lysine and they disappeared.

What type of mange does she have? I've been given topical flea treatments (Revolution) for when Ripley got sarcoptic mange a few years ago...it cleared up really quickly.
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Postby Malli » October 13th, 2011, 4:36 am

Allergies are so tough. It could be all of those things you are wondering about.

to rule out food allergy, it is my understanding that you need a minimum of 2-3 months on a trial diet of a new protein (and no other protein consumed before) for a trial. During this time you would feed nothing (including treats) besides the new protein diet.

basically, a lot of medicine is removing variables to narrow down cause, so you can think of each of your questions as a variable.

I would :
-stop feeding her treats and keep her only on the new diet and nothing else
-treat the giardia
-treat anything else wrong with her

If you can, try one change at a time, and give it a couple weeks.

My current puppy had a run with mange and has allergies. He is currently on a grain free, "novel" protein trial diet to see if it will help his itchy pink feet.

this link :
is an overview of food allergies.
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Conten ... &C=0&A=652
one thing to keep in mind is that there is no black and white with allergies, its whatever works for the individual


hope that helps :)
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 13th, 2011, 8:43 am

Isn't demodex a hormonal thing too...that's why it affects that certain age range so much? I mean, it could be allergies, as we suggested...but it might just be age and immune system out of whack.

What exactly does the vet have you doing for all of these things?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » October 13th, 2011, 11:05 am

Just in case people didn't notice, there are now links to pictures up a couple posts. :)
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Postby puppylove » October 13th, 2011, 12:38 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:It's possible that she's allergic to grains...that can cause skin problems in many dogs...and going grain free can't hurt. I have two allergy dogs, and they're both doing better on grain-free kibble now.

I give my guys L-lysine when I need to up their immune system...during allergy attacks, etc. Score had viral mouth warts as a puppy...and I supplemented with lysine and they disappeared.

What type of mange does she have? I've been given topical flea treatments (Revolution) for when Ripley got sarcoptic mange a few years ago...it cleared up really quickly..

Isn't demodex a hormonal thing too...that's why it affects that certain age range so much? I mean, it could be allergies, as we suggested...but it might just be age and immune system out of whack.

What exactly does the vet have you doing for all of these things?


She has localized Demodex. We actually put some flea medicine (simple guard) on her on September 10th and it didn't stop the mange. I would like to try adding supplements to her water or food, I will remember L-lysine. And yes, I have read that mange typically effects puppies (because their immune systems aren't fully developed) and she is "coming of age," so maybe hormones do have something to do with this.

Unfortunately because of all of this we want to change vets. The first time I took her in I wasn't disappointed, I had high hopes that all of this would be over soon. The second time I went in, I had a different doctor at the same place, who just wrote another prescription for the topical. Honestly, I don't really know what localized mange looks like. I told her I thought it was getting better with the cream. I don't know if she even did another skin scrape though, I'm pretty sure she just took my (unexperienced) word for it and just wrote me a new prescription. After the second prescription is when we realized that it looks like it could be spreading (to her chest and general underside area). Put besides all of that, we want a "real person" vet. Someone who understands you need to "treat the dog" as opposed to handing out topicals and antibiotics....Neither vet told me of any sort of natural ways to deal with this, only option was skin topical and then if that doesn't work, then I need to get a harsher chemical to put on my dog. Most of what I know about it is because I've been using google.

OK enough of the vet rant. :)


Malli wrote:to rule out food allergy, it is my understanding that you need a minimum of 2-3 months on a trial diet of a new protein (and no other protein consumed before) for a trial. During this time you would feed nothing (including treats) besides the new protein diet.

basically, a lot of medicine is removing variables to narrow down cause, so you can think of each of your questions as a variable.

I would :
-stop feeding her treats and keep her only on the new diet and nothing else
-treat the giardia
-treat anything else wrong with her


OK, so I am going to change her to the grain free Wellness food, stop giving her treats, cure the giardia (which I hear can be a nightmare as well to cure), and put her on L-lysine to boost her immune system.

She's also going to be going on a camping trip with us, I think that will be really good for her, I know I always feel extra healthy after hiking in the mountains & being out in fresh nature. It's my favorite way to detox. :)

Thanks guys for the help!
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Postby Malli » October 13th, 2011, 2:29 pm

my understanding of mange is that it is typically related to an inexperienced immune system in a young dog, or a decreased or overloaded immune system otherwise.

As for the pictures, she is very cute :)
To me it looks like there is some hair regrowth - I see thinning patches of hair but not bareness, her skin is a bit pink as well. She really doesn't look too bad though...
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 13th, 2011, 5:40 pm

Malli wrote:my understanding of mange is that it is typically related to an inexperienced immune system in a young dog, or a decreased or overloaded immune system otherwise.

As for the pictures, she is very cute :)
To me it looks like there is some hair regrowth - I see thinning patches of hair but not bareness, her skin is a bit pink as well. She really doesn't look too bad though...


Yup...agree all around!

I'm guessing that with the good food, some extra supplements for now, it will clear up pretty quickly.

I do agree that finding a new vet would be a good idea...my feeling is, if you don't like 'em...find a new one. I have a vet for one dog (he gives a service dog discount), but I just don't like him...I find him a bit abrasive and too quick. So he might be "good", but I just don't like him much. So Sawyer will be switching to the other vet that I love.
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Postby mnp13 » October 13th, 2011, 8:57 pm

When I got Ruby, I interviewed the vet - just like I would interview a new doctor. If you don't like their outlook on medical care, keep looking. There are many holistic vets out there, take a look online and see who you find and perhaps stop at a couple of natural food stores that stock pet food and see if they have anyone they recommend. Make sure they agree with you on vaccination protocols as well - especially since vaccines cause major systemic stress.

We treated Connor's localized mange with Ivermectin the first time (nasty stuff) and by diet and suppliments the second time.

My opinion on your food (there is a "How to read pet food labels" sticky about this as well), here are the first ten ingredients - which is what makes up the majority of the food.
Deboned Chicken, Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Peas, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Salmon Meal (a source of DHA - Docosahexaenoic Acid), Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Tomatoes,

The real first ingredient is Chicken Meal, which is a good thing. The "deboned chicken" and "whitefish" are not the real first ingredients because they are weighed before processing, and still have their water content in them. That's a trick that a lot of pet food companies play on consumers, so they drop waaaay down the list. After the meal there are four fillerish ingredients, then salmon meal, then tomato, fat, tomato.

Good things about this food - two meat meals in the first ten ingredients.
kinda good things - two fresh meat sources, though they really fall farther down the list. The chicken plummets, the fish not as much
not so great - two tomato ingredients, which moves tomatoes a good deal farther up the list

Is it horrible? NO. Are there better kibbles out there? Yes. If you like Wellness, I would suggest taking a look at the CORE line. Both the Ocean and the Original play the same "game" as above, but with potatoes (twice in the first ten), but have meals as their first couple ingredients.

Origin and Evo are also quite good, and are similar in price point to Wellness.

The point was also made that picking a single protein source can help weed out allergy problems, so picking a fish based formula might not be a bad place to start. Wheat is a very very common allergy, so getting rid of grains is a good start as well.

For treats, once you decide on the protein that you are going to feed, just get dried what-ever-it-is.

I call the white-pink skin change Riggs' barometer, in the morning or after a nap, he's white in the evening or after playing, he's pink. It's the same with Connor and was with Cleo as well. If the pink is caused by the food, and you feed twice a day, then she should be pale again before dinner (I'd guess.)

I also have to agree that the Giardia needs to be top on your list, and you're right it's hard to get rid of. I would definitely stop visiting any dog-park-ish places, they are great places for your dog to pick something like Giardia up.

(oh, and I've removed you from moderation, so your posts will now appear as soon as you finish them.)
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Postby TheRedQueen » October 13th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Puzzle's pink skin flare-ups are greatly reduced now that she's grain-free only. She seems to be more suseptible to other skin issues (she recently had skin bumps that stumped the vet, but went away with antibiotics) too...even on the grain free. I've never had so many skin issues as I have with her!
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Postby turtle » October 16th, 2011, 8:51 pm

Michelle's long post is excellent and gives a very good overview.

At 8 months, that's an age many young dogs will get a flare up of demodex. The diet change should help.

I would add salmon oil to her diet, that helps the immune system and the skin too. Also Neem oil is good for treating mild mange. It stinks but you can get it an any health food store, rub it into the spots.

Treat the guardia right off, it is nasty and hard to get rid of.

Good luck with your pup, she's a cutie!
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Postby puppylove » October 19th, 2011, 10:32 pm

Hey everyone! Thanks for all of the replies. Sweetie just finished her anti-biotics to Giardia, I hope it's gone, but I won't know for sure until I get her rescreened. Also just got her a new grain-free dog food called Taste of the Wild. It smells pretty good (made me hungyry:) Her mange is getting better, I'm thinking about investing in some Neem oil, because I hear that gets rid of mange.

Does anyone know how to tell if your dog still has Giardia?[quote=http://dogs.helium.com/how-to/9540-how-to-assess-dog-poop-for-health-problems]
"Yellow stools may indicate giardia, tiny parasites that have invaded the intestine, usually through something the dog ate or drank such as water from a puddle in the woods, or horse poo, bunny poo or other excrement. It results in not only a yellow stool, but yellow diahrrea and is contagious, a cause for immediate attention from a veterinarian."[/quote]
I've been looking at her poop after she goes, and I don't THINK it's really yellow, more of a light brown. It looks pretty "hard" but not super hard like she doesn't get enough water. Sigh, I don't really know though, I swear her poop color hasn't changed from how it was before the medicine. Maybe it looks a bit harder though.

But I am hoping that she is on her way to a speedy recovery
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Postby Malli » October 20th, 2011, 3:13 am

I'd just wait for the test results :|
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