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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Itchy skin and lesions - but not a food allergy - Help!

Hello all, new member here.

We have a 5yr old doberman that has a recurring skin problem and I am almost sure it is not a food-related issue..at least nothing that we are feeding him.

Starting every september/octobre, for the last 4 years, he develops skin rashes which, after obscessive licking, become lesions. The areas affected are his muzzle, his ears, the toes on each of his paws and especially his belly connecting to his genital area.

We live near Montreal in farm country. The cold starts in september/october with snow almost always arriving in december. The snow begins to melt around march(albeit not this year!).

Our doberman's issue seems to be seasonal as it it begins every year in the fall and lasts until about february. He suffers none of the symptoms during the summer or any other part of the year.

We have tried different diets, for months at a time, but the symptoms are, I am convinced, completely related to the time of year...because changing his diet has never had an effect, regardless of when we experimented.

Suspecting he might be eating something nefarious in our yard, we have also isolated him; for instance for a whole month we meticulously brought him out every time, under supervision, on a leash and made sure he did eat anything he wasn't supposed to – also to no avail.

We have an excellent vet center nearby and they simply prescribed him cortizone to treat the symptoms, concluding that he has seasonal allergies – also citing the fact that recently many other dogs in our area were consulted with similar symptoms.

What I do not understand is why are his symptoms so prominent in the fall and winter, when the ground is frozen and no vegetation is growing? Could he be building up toxins, somehow, during summer months only to have an overabundance by the fall?

Like I mentioned, the ground is basically frozen (no farming, harvesting, haying, pesticides etc) during the time his symptoms are present.

We are somewhat stymied and would love nothing more to understand his problem and be able to alleviate his pain.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 10:32 AM
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I AM NOT A VET--but I do have a dog with environmental allergies.

What you describe sounds like an environmental allergy--they are more common than food allergies anyway. There are ways to identify environmental allergies (skin tests) that would usually be done by a vet specializing in dermatology. I don't know where you live, but you could try looking around for one in your area (try inquiring at a vet school). If you can identify the allergen, sometimes you can remove it from his environment. There are also medical treatments more specific to the problem (like allergy shots or other meds) than cortizone.

Once the allergy is identified, sometimes your regular vet can handle the treatment, with occasional consults to the dermatologist, so you could even go to a vet further away than you would normally travel for the consult and testing.

Seasonal allergies are a real pain, because so often you can't really control the source, but they are treatable enough that you can ease the dog's discomfort to some degree. Unfortunately it can be expensive to do the testing, and if you end up giving shots regularly, that is an ongoing expense too.

A few possibilities--
Is he inside more during the winter? Does he wear a coat? Do you change the decorations, or other things inside your house during the winter months? How are you storing his food? He could be allergic to cereal mites, which can grow in dog food, and if you are using a container of some sort and not washing it regularly between new bags of food, they could be growing there.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melbrod View Post
A few possibilities--
Is he inside more during the winter? Does he wear a coat? Do you change the decorations, or other things inside your house during the winter months? How are you storing his food? He could be allergic to cereal mites, which can grow in dog food, and if you are using a container of some sort and not washing it regularly between new bags of food, they could be growing there.
Yes he spends more time indoors during the winter. However, once his symptoms disappear in february he is still spending more time indoors until about may-june where he is symptomless.

Food store: good point, I will wash the bin from now on..but it still does not explain (to me at least) why the symptoms occur during the 4-5 months of harsh winter.

Vet expertise in dermatology: Great suggestion about contacting a vet school. However, before I submit him to a battery of tests (yes, I expect it to be expensive) I would at least like to narrow down the possibilities to something that makes sense to me. For instance testing him for hayfever, imo, would appear to be a waste.

- No he does not wear a coat but we also do not leave him out for long.

- Nothing in our indoor environment changes (no decorations etc), at least nothing that I can think of right now.

I think you have given me some food for thought, however. I will start thinking about some other indoor possibilities.

note: We have 3 other dogs (Retriever, BCollie, Maremma) that live in the same conditions and do not exhibit any similar symptoms, ever.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 12:23 PM
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It sounds very much like a seasonal allergy. I would talk to your vet about treating it with an allergy medication that he takes during that season to manage his symptoms. It could be something in the indoor environment that is not present during the summer months. Honestly, sometimes it's just easier to treat it rather than try to figure out what it is. There are several good allergy medications available for dogs.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
There are several good allergy medications available for dogs.
Do you mean like a generic antibiotic?

If so, why would the vet we consulted have opted to treat him for his symptoms only, ie: Cortisone?

...just trying to understand.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 04:56 PM
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My Baron has environmental allergies but it just happens around his eyes:

https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberman...ound-eyes.html

We fussed with antibiotics, prednisone, etc. for about a year and half and it either always came back and/or really never went away. Finally went to a veterinary dermatologist and had him skin tested. He is allergic to almost everything outside. He has been on allergy shots, Zyrtec, and eye drops and has been symptom free for almost 2 years.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eskimoroll View Post
Do you mean like a generic antibiotic?

If so, why would the vet we consulted have opted to treat him for his symptoms only, ie: Cortisone?

...just trying to understand.
No, no reason to treat with an antibiotic, unless he's scratched so much he's caused an infection. I mean something like benedryl as a daily allergy medication as a starting point, which is what we did with my girl. We then moved to a prescription med after the benedryl wasn't strong enough. I can't remember the name of what we had her on after that...maybe hydoxyzine?


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 01:53 AM
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Buddy my doberman gets a circle on one side on the rib area generally in June gets worse until its about 50 cent size. Then has hair loss in little patches on one side, feet,little bit back off ears, tried prednisone makes him pee like crazy the vets have no idea. Also tried coconut oil and local honey no luck this is been going on for about 5 years now Buddy will be 9 April 28,2015 I gave up.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 06:13 AM
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Maybe look for a Holistic Vet or an Inegrative Vet. Most regular Vets will just treat symptoms and not get to the root of the problem.

Anytime treating with antibiotics give some probiotics, Kefir. This will put some good bacteria back into the gut. Actually you can give it a few times a week anyway.

Do you remember if this problem started soon after getting any vaccinations. I would hold off getting any vaccinations. Especially when he is having this problem.
Most Vets think allergies are not a big deal and will give vaccinations. Which is an No No. The dog or cat is not well. The immune system is already confused and reacting to something. It should not be overtaxed to try and develop antibodies from vaccines.
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