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post #26 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 02:26 PM
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What type of thing does start suddenly?
Inhalant allergies for one--one of my dogs is allergic to something (never really have determined what) and it starts in the spring when a whole lot of things that bloom are shedding pollen--it makes him itch--so for years after the first year (when he was a year old) giving him 25mg of generic benedryl twice a day was enough to keep him comfortable. Over time his pollen allergies got worse and although he never needed more than the 25 mg BID he did need to keep getting it longer--the first year it lasted a couple of months and ultimately it lasted until we started getting the fall rains. His vet and both think it started with blooming trees--everything from fruit trees to evergreen which shed enough pollen that there are times when everything is covered with a layer of yellow green pollen.

Stuff that involves insect bites for another--flea bite allergies can be really bad--every bite will end up with a hive (there is a show in eastern Washington state where the show grounds have ants--and practically everyone who has ever shown there has had the experience of discovering that after a couple of hours on the grounds their dog is covered with giant hives--which if not treated (usually with a steroid) end up with cases of staph which take forever to clear up.

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is 3 weeks of 500 mg twice a day long enough?
You'll hate this answer--maybe--that's one you actually have to play by ear--some of these things that start with staph clear immediately with a short course of antibiotics--some evidently end up deep in the skin and take a whole lot longer to clear up.

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I've thought a lot about the environmental allergen possibility. It can't be trees. There aren't tree species that overlap in all three areas. There are a few plants. Grass would the biggest possibility, and she had prior exposure to grasses and none in Seattle, where the full reaction really blew up. Otherwise it leaves the worst ones that are everywhere, like dust and dander. I can't shake the thought that it all started with a single line on her back - offcentered, like she touched something or scraped it on something. The thing that sticks out most in my mind is the fact that she slept on this rug the first night in Oregon, instead of her bed. I thought "hey she is happy and not stressed out about being in a new place, who am I to argue" perhaps those were famous last words? The next afternoon is when the line appeared...
I don't think that anyone would argue that environmental allergies are really hard to sort out. And Washington and Oregon tend to have the same sort of common environmental allergens present. Especially trees--firs are huge offenders.

But dust mites, a variety of molds--I also have a cat who is so allergic to flea bites that it takes only one flea and she is busy licking herself bare. She's the reason that everyone get treated with Advantage monthly.

Good luck with this--I wouldn't wish allergies (of any kind) on anyone or their dog.
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post #27 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 02:27 PM
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Has he had a skin scrape yet to rule that out?


No we haven't. I just spoke to a vet at the office, not our particular vet but nonetheless. He said that he really thinks it's an allergy and agrees with our vet about the food trial. His reasoning is that the bumps come and go rather quickly and the hair loss is most likely from scratching. He also said that Nexgard (which Jack is on) kills demodectic and sarcoptic mites. I was not aware of that. So he said it's unlikely that it's mites/mange but I have an appointment Friday. I'm thinking of just having the scrape done. He thinks the tummy (parasite problem) and skin problem is all due to an allergy.


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post #28 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 04:08 PM
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Vaccine history?


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post #29 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 04:43 PM
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Vaccine history?

He's 1 and up to date with all vaccines. Which or what are you inquiring about specifically?


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post #30 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 04:54 PM
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He's 1 and up to date with all vaccines. Which or what are you inquiring about specifically?



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When was the last round of vaccines?


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post #31 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 04:55 PM
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When was the last round of vaccines?


Not sure. He hasn't had any in awhile.


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post #32 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 10:04 PM
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Bumps are back. Not terribly but back today. One big one on his back. He's not terribly itchy either. It comes and goes. Nothing on his face or neck. Nothing on his legs. Just on his back and a small amount on the top of his head. Everything else is fine. It's strange.


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post #33 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-23-2017, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Inhalant allergies for one--one of my dogs is allergic to something (never really have determined what) and it starts in the spring when a whole lot of things that bloom are shedding pollen--it makes him itch--so for years after the first year (when he was a year old) giving him 25mg of generic benedryl twice a day was enough to keep him comfortable. Over time his pollen allergies got worse and although he never needed more than the 25 mg BID he did need to keep getting it longer--the first year it lasted a couple of months and ultimately it lasted until we started getting the fall rains. His vet and both think it started with blooming trees--everything from fruit trees to evergreen which shed enough pollen that there are times when everything is covered with a layer of yellow green pollen.

Stuff that involves insect bites for another--flea bite allergies can be really bad--every bite will end up with a hive (there is a show in eastern Washington state where the show grounds have ants--and practically everyone who has ever shown there has had the experience of discovering that after a couple of hours on the grounds their dog is covered with giant hives--which if not treated (usually with a steroid) end up with cases of staph which take forever to clear up.



You'll hate this answer--maybe--that's one you actually have to play by ear--some of these things that start with staph clear immediately with a short course of antibiotics--some evidently end up deep in the skin and take a whole lot longer to clear up.



I don't think that anyone would argue that environmental allergies are really hard to sort out. And Washington and Oregon tend to have the same sort of common environmental allergens present. Especially trees--firs are huge offenders.

But dust mites, a variety of molds--I also have a cat who is so allergic to flea bites that it takes only one flea and she is busy licking herself bare. She's the reason that everyone get treated with Advantage monthly.

Good luck with this--I wouldn't wish allergies (of any kind) on anyone or their dog.
Oh my god, I never thought of ants! There was a huge trail/mass of ants outside where we stayed in Bend, OR (ie Eastern Oregon!). That is when she broke out! And then she got a secondary staph infection and a pretty bad one. It is taking forever! Hopefully it will clear itself up with this round and the diet change and not be environmental.

We have lots of pines here, lodge poles, Jeffery Pines, White Pines, Sugar Pines, Bristle Cone Pines, Ponderosa Pines... good lord I never realized how many different pines we had till now lol. If nothing else the seasons will be changing soon for us, it gets cold at night, we are already down to the 40s most nights. I've been thinking of instigating late night walks to encourage her winter coat to come in early

I did give her Nexguard once we got home. I'll be religious about it when we travel from now on!
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post #34 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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She has been scratching less and acting less itchy, would the Cephlalexin help calm the itch, or is that the diet?

Her coat is already much improved! I'm sure the Cephalexin is helping a ton, but her coat doesn't look so thin already. Obviously she isn't magically growing it back so fast, so my only guess is that her skin was swollen before and causing the hair to stick up so I could see down to the skin more? I'm also using some skin oil I got at a dog show that seems to absorb really quickly into the driest areas and they are looking less dry. Because she is back on the Cephalexin I'm not bathing her constantly either. Skin is much happier.
The million dollar question is, is the diet change helping too? For now I'm not going to change anything and find out. I'm going to stick it out and let everything fully improve, so finishing Cephalexin will be the first change and we will know if that is the only thing holding it in check. Crossing my fingers that we stay on the improving trend! We have a couple more weeks of the Cephalexin still.
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post #35 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 03:22 PM
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She has been scratching less and acting less itchy, would the Cephlalexin help calm the itch, or is that the diet?
A week on Cephalexin has probably slowed down or stopped the staph infection--which means that with no more staph bumps she probably itches less. Diet? who know--that's always the problem of starting two things at the same time--you end up not really knowing what part of the change is working.

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Her coat is already much improved! I'm sure the Cephalexin is helping a ton, but her coat doesn't look so thin already. Obviously she isn't magically growing it back so fast, so my only guess is that her skin was swollen before and causing the hair to stick up so I could see down to the skin more? I'm also using some skin oil I got at a dog show that seems to absorb really quickly into the driest areas and they are looking less dry. Because she is back on the Cephalexin I'm not bathing her constantly either. Skin is much happier.
When staph is part of what is causing hair loss you can see hair growth pretty early--as soon as the hair from the follicle is above skin level it will make the coat look better. One of the side effects of staph is that the hair stands up instead of lying down after it emerges from the follicle. I don't think it was because the skin itself was swollen.

This is just what I do--I don't ever try to apply something like an oil or lotion to the surface of the skin because the skin looks "dry". Most of the products that are supposed to deal with "dry" skin on dogs simply put something on the surface which is likely to attract dirt. Never a good idea when the cause is a bacterial skin infection. It's why one of the treatments for folliculitis, staph etc is an antibacterial shampoo to keep the skin very clean. Only an FYI--it's worked for me.

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The million dollar question is, is the diet change helping too? For now I'm not going to change anything and find out. I'm going to stick it out and let everything fully improve, so finishing Cephalexin will be the first change and we will know if that is the only thing holding it in check. Crossing my fingers that we stay on the improving trend! We have a couple more weeks of the Cephalexin still.
Yes, definitely give the full course of Cephalexin--a lot of people stop giving antibiotics as soon as there is noticeable skin improvement. That's always a mistake. As far as the food change goes--who knows and you may never get a definite answer on that.

The breeder of my fawn dog is sure that his coat is good (which is to say he still has a full coat for the most part) because I've fed him ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach all his life (that's the one now called Focus)--she weaned him on it because an owner of one of her fawn bitches fed it and that bitch always had a good coat. Another friend is equally sure that it's because I've given him melatonin all of his life (minimal dose--3 mg BID)--I gave it because someone with a virtually hairless blue Doberman told me it was what really worked--I keep giving it because I've always given it and his coat has nearly always been good. But the fact of the matter is that probably the reason he has a good coat is that I check thyroid levels on all my dogs and when his started to decline the vet and I agreed to increase the thyroid meds as necessary. So he's got a good coat--and has never had skin problems worth speaking of. Is it the food? the melatonin? the thyroid meds? Who knows--not me but I'm not changing what works.

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post #36 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 03:29 PM
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She has been scratching less and acting less itchy, would the Cephlalexin help calm the itch, or is that the diet?
A week on Cephalexin has probably slowed down or stopped the staph infection--which means that with no more staph bumps she probably itches less. Diet? who know--that's always the problem of starting two things at the same time--you end up not really knowing what part of the change is working.

Quote:
Her coat is already much improved! I'm sure the Cephalexin is helping a ton, but her coat doesn't look so thin already. Obviously she isn't magically growing it back so fast, so my only guess is that her skin was swollen before and causing the hair to stick up so I could see down to the skin more? I'm also using some skin oil I got at a dog show that seems to absorb really quickly into the driest areas and they are looking less dry. Because she is back on the Cephalexin I'm not bathing her constantly either. Skin is much happier.
When staph is part of what is causing hair loss you can see hair growth pretty early--as soon as the hair from the follicle is above skin level it will make the coat look better. One of the side effects of staph is that the hair stands up instead of lying down after it emerges from the follicle. I don't think it as because the skin itself was swollen.

This is just what I do--I don't ever try to apply something like an oil or lotion to the surface of the skin because the skin looks "dry". Most of the products that are supposed to deal with "dry" skin on dogs simply put something on the surface which is likely to attract dirt. Never a good idea when the cause is a bacterial skin infection. It's why one of the treatments for folliculitis, staph etc is an antibacterial shampoo to keep the skin very clean. Only an FYI--it's worked for me.

Quote:
The million dollar question is, is the diet change helping too? For now I'm not going to change anything and find out. I'm going to stick it out and let everything fully improve, so finishing Cephalexin will be the first change and we will know if that is the only thing holding it in check. Crossing my fingers that we stay on the improving trend! We have a couple more weeks of the Cephalexin still.
Yes, definitely give the full course of Cephalexin--a lot of people stop giving antibiotics as soon as there is noticeable skin improvement. That's always a mistake. As far as the food change goes--who knows and you may never get a definite answer on that.

The breeder of my fawn dog is sure that his coat is good (which is to say he still has a full coat for the most part) because I've fed him ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach all his life (that's the one now called Focus)--she weaned him on it because an owner of one of her fawn bitches fed it and that bitch always had a good coat. Another friend is equally sure that it's because I've given him melatonin all of his life (minimal dose--3 mg BID)--I gave it because someone with a virtually hairless blue Doberman told me it was what really worked--I keep giving it because I've always given it and his coat has nearly always been good. But the fact of the matter is that probably the reason he has a good coat is that I check thyroid levels on all my dogs and when his started to decline the vet and I agreed to increase the thyroid meds as necessary. So he's got a good coat--and has never had skin problems worth speaking of. Is it the food? the melatonin? the thyroid meds? Who knows--not me but I'm not changing what works.
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post #37 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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A week on Cephalexin has probably slowed down or stopped the staph infection--which means that with no more staph bumps she probably itches less. Diet? who know--that's always the problem of starting two things at the same time--you end up not really knowing what part of the change is working.

I'm just glad it is working. Because the diet isn't balanced I'll definitely be adding stuff back in and be challenging with foods one at a time once we get to the appropriate time so we will find out. We will be on the first phase of the elimination diet for a couple weeks after the end of Cephalexin though and not challenging with the most common culprits for weeks after so it will give us a good idea about what is the effective link.

When staph is part of what is causing hair loss you can see hair growth pretty early--as soon as the hair from the follicle is above skin level it will make the coat look better. One of the side effects of staph is that the hair stands up instead of lying down after it emerges from the follicle. I don't think it as because the skin itself was swollen.

Does the staph hair stay standing until it goes through its natural shedding cycle, or lay down once the staph is gone?

This is just what I do--I don't ever try to apply something like an oil or lotion to the surface of the skin because the skin looks "dry". Most of the products that are supposed to deal with "dry" skin on dogs simply put something on the surface which is likely to attract dirt. Never a good idea when the cause is a bacterial skin infection. It's why one of the treatments for folliculitis, staph etc is an antibacterial shampoo to keep the skin very clean. Only an FYI--it's worked for me.

Good point on attracting dirt! I'll definitely cut it out at least a week before we quit the Cephalexin. I've personally struggled with dry skin, and I get what you mean about from the inside out, but when you're washing your hands all the time it does put a bit of oils back (in a less than perfect, but better than nothing kind of way) and keep my hands from getting really cracked and dry. She was to the point of peeling and flaking, probably in part from bathing so often. I think I'm going to apply a few more times and phase out and give her one bath right before the end of the Cephalexin. Then she gets max soothing from oil why her skin is improving but protected from infection by the cephalexin and then I'll wash the foreign stuff away before the bacteria can regrow.

Yes, definitely give the full course of Cephalexin--a lot of people stop giving antibiotics as soon as there is noticeable skin improvement. That's always a mistake. As far as the food change goes--who knows and you may never get a definite answer on that.

There is no way I'm stopping early! I'm wondering if it is long enough or if I should push the vet to go longer.

The breeder of my fawn dog is sure that his coat is good (which is to say he still has a full coat for the most part) because I've fed him ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach all his life (that's the one now called Focus)--she weaned him on it because an owner of one of her fawn bitches fed it and that bitch always had a good coat. Another friend is equally sure that it's because I've given him melatonin all of his life (minimal dose--3 mg BID)--I gave it because someone with a virtually hairless blue Doberman told me it was what really worked--I keep giving it because I've always given it and his coat has nearly always been good. But the fact of the matter is that probably the reason he has a good coat is that I check thyroid levels on all my dogs and when his started to decline the vet and I agreed to increase the thyroid meds as necessary. So he's got a good coat--and has never had skin problems worth speaking of. Is it the food? the melatonin? the thyroid meds? Who knows--not me but I'm not changing what works.
You check the thyroid yearly? With the coat issues we just checked, and it was fine but I was wondering how often I should recheck.

That is interesting about the melatonin, I'll keep it in mind down the road.

I'm not sure what we will be doing for food long term.
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post #38 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 04:00 PM
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You check the thyroid yearly? With the coat issues we just checked, and it was fine but I was wondering how often I should recheck.

That is interesting about the melatonin, I'll keep it in mind down the road.

I'm not sure what we will be doing for food long term.
I check all dogs at around 2 years--a full panel done by MSU (they are still sort of the gold standard for thyroid panels). And for the record the only dog I didn't do a full panel on at 2 (I missed him somehow and he didn't get tested until nearly three-AND he was showing signs of hypothyroidism at that point--hair loss behind his ears and down his back)--AND what's worse he turned out to have the genetic form of hypothyroidism. Got side tracked there--after that I retest every year (but I do a full blood panel every year and the panel I do includes T4--which is generally enough as long as they didn't have any sign of genetic thyroid problems TSH and TgAA levels that are off would have told you that.) Or if they show any of the common signs of hypothyroidism--hair loss, weight gain with no increase of food or decrease in exercise--skin problems--there are other signs but those are the common ones. When a dog tests low enough that I'm going to medicate I test 6 weeks after I start medication to make sure they are not being over or under medicated. And any dog who is being medicated as hypothyroid gets at least T4 tested every six months for the rest of his life.

Why? Because more Dobermans than not end up hypothyroid. And a vet told me years ago that virtually every dog will, if they live long enough, outlive their thyroid glands ability to produce enough thyroxin. Since then about half of the vets I've used have said the same thing and I haven't had a dog since the early 70's who continued to have normal thyroid levels his entire life.

About melatonin--it's been recommended for years as a specific for help to prevent coat lose in dilute Dobes. I know several dermatologist/allergist's who regularly prescribed melatonin in much higher doses than my fawn has ever been given for some of the things that have similar results on the coats of black or red Dobes as CDA does to fawns and blues. But even in human medicine there seems to continue to be some question about exactly what melatonin does--it's classified as a hormone so I am reluctant to give it in what is regarded as a therapeutic dose--Toad gets 6 mg per day--split into two doses. A woman I know from shows had a nice red bitch who had a big problem with bad coats--some sort of an alopecia--maybe the seasonal one or possibly one related to hair loss (which is actually normal in bitches) during heat seasons. That bitch was on 24 mg per day--and it didn't seem to do anything for her coat. Spaying her took care of the problem.

And you asked about the hair sticking up when it started to regrow on a dog who had a staph infection. It really only does that if the staph infection is still active. When it clears up the hair goes back to growing the way that it normally does. One of the other things that causes hair to stick up is if the dog is getting injections of a steroid to stop itching--the injection site will also have hair that sticks straight up--goes away after about 48 hours but it look weird.

We'll be keeping our fingers and paws crossed for you--my whole attitude about coats is that I do what works--on the fawn dog it takes more things to keep his coat looking good but it's worth it--it makes people jaws hang when they find out he's 11-1/2 and not only has coat but has a good coat.
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post #39 of 62 (permalink) Old 08-29-2017, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Her coat is looking awesome! I can't believe how quickly it is improving! Yay for Cephalexin! (And maybe diet?)
Her stools are also better than they have ever been. Less bulk and more consistently firm than they've ever been before. We have always previously added a bit of bone broth to her food because we found it made her stools more consistent; we assume it is the natural gelatin in it that helped. Now I'm wondering if the bone broth was just propping up a kibble that was giving her mild issues. She had diarrhea by the time we got home from the ill fated allergic reaction trip, but I attributed it to travel and going to vet stress plus running out of bone broth. Crossing my fingers that the food is the answer instead of some environmental thing out of my control. Time will tell....
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post #40 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Update on Piper. Her last Cephalexin was yesterday. I'm holding my breath. Her coat is gorgeous looking at the moment. Would just Cephalexin taking away Staph give it more luster and shininess, or just keep it from falling out due to Staph? Or to put it another way: Does staph affect the quality of the coat as well as causing it to fall out?
Because the shorter round of Cephalexin helped before, I know staph is involved somehow. Just trying to decide on the diet angle.
She is still on a mostly elimination diet. Still just lamb and lentils for meat and carbs, but after noticing that her coat was quite dry (no a shock as I knew the elimination diet was unbalanced) and reading up on dog nutrition I added a carefully selected supplement that would address her specific diet deficiencies plus safflower oil for linolenic acid. I figured the whole point was to improve her skin and coat and a dry coat due to diet deficiencies wouldn't help with that. Adding these items has really been a big missing link. Now that she is done with the antibiotics she is getting probiotics as well.
So now we are good and going to hold steady for another two weeks to see if the staph stays away. Then I'm going to add the "down the ingredient list" items that I figure are unlikely allergy candidates for a week. At that point I would have enough info to go limited ingredient kibble, so I'm trying to decide if I make the switch at that point and then test foods as an add on to that (that would be a cheaper option, fresh meat gets pricy fast), or keep up with the homemade to have more control and test from that end.
I don't think homemade is in the cards for us long term, and raw never would be, but I do like the control I have with homemade. It takes a lot of work and thought for a balanced diet though. Compared to her old kibble she is higher protein and higher fat, but in line with the needs of an active performance dog. If I go back to kibble I'll be adding in foods anyway to get her at the ratios I'm looking for.
So, assuming the huge coat improvement is diet related, still not sure if it is just an improvement because it is in balance for her needs, or because an allergen was removed. Either way it will be quite some time before I'm willing to try chicken again. lol. I feel like I should rechallenge to know, but after this nightmare, and realizing her coat hasn't been great for long before the reaction and subsequent staph infections, I'm not exactly eager to jump back in. i'll happily test less likely offenders like eggs, peanut butter, beef, fish, etc., but since she was on a chicken kibble with chicken breast for treats, I feel like chicken would be the most likely culprit if a food allergy is involved.
The weather has changed here, so if it is environmental then those factors should be disappearing for now as well.
Holding my breath to see how it goes...
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post #41 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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AAAAHHHHH!!!! She has a major case of dandruff, just like before the last Staph infection definitively took hold! Putting her back on the antimicrobial shampoo tonight and calling the vet tomorrow. UGH! We did no change in diet, so it isn't due to that...
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post #42 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 08:08 AM
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My 2 cents...

I went through similar symptoms with my girl; hair loss, bumps, skin infections, loose stools etc; we finally did the allergy test with Spectrum which came back positive for fescue grass (which is what we have), Bermuda grass, willow trees, pecan trees, beef, and a host of other things. Since we started the monthly allergy shots, Mocha has improved a lot. Still not 100% perfect, but a huge step forward from where she was previously. Now we just wipe her down after heavy playing outside, watch her, and when she starts getting a bit flaky/dry, we give her a bath with the Duoxo medicated shampoo.
We also give sardines in water a couple times per week, and coconut oil with her food.
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post #43 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 04:16 PM
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Food allergies are a lot less common in dogs than people think. Environmental allergies are far more common. Busytown, if I had to make a guess I'd suspect your problem was more likely staph and environmental allergies than food problems.


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post #44 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Food allergies are a lot less common in dogs than people think. Environmental allergies are far more common. Busytown, if I had to make a guess I'd suspect your problem was more likely staph and environmental allergies than food problems.
Yeah, I've always kind of figured that very well could be the issue, but I don't think her diet was helping and the local vet recommended I do an allergy diet because that is the first thing the the dermatology vet would likely do to rule food issues out. That way I could go into the appointment one step down and save an expensive specialist visit.

Besides, the more I've read and learned, the more I realized she probably needs more of a few things (like fats with high linolenic acid content) than what she was getting. Her coat was never great - not shiny, a bit thin, and a bit dandruffy and so it was probably an issue waiting to happen as the allergies set in. I bathed her that night (and she was washing brown off, so definitely had lots of potential irritants in her coat ) and haven't had a problem yesterday or today. No bumps had appeared either. So I'm going to keep bathing her regularly because we are out playing in the dust, dirt, grass and forest on a regular basis and see if that does it. Next stop is dermatology vet if that doesn't do it. I personally had bad allergies until I did allergy shots so I'm definitely a believer in them! I just really didn't want it to be that. I'll keep you all updated as our journey continues.
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post #45 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
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Yeah, I've always kind of figured that very well could be the issue, but I don't think her diet was helping and the local vet recommended I do an allergy diet because that is the first thing the the dermatology vet would likely do to rule food issues out. That way I could go into the appointment one step down and save an expensive specialist visit.

Besides, the more I've read and learned, the more I realized she probably needs more of a few things (like fats with high linolenic acid content) than what she was getting. Her coat was never great - not shiny, a bit thin, and a bit dandruffy and so it was probably an issue waiting to happen as the allergies set in. I bathed her that night (and she was washing brown off, so definitely had lots of potential irritants in her coat ) and haven't had a problem yesterday or today. No bumps had appeared either. So I'm going to keep bathing her regularly because we are out playing in the dust, dirt, grass and forest on a regular basis and see if that does it. Next stop is dermatology vet if that doesn't do it. I personally had bad allergies until I did allergy shots so I'm definitely a believer in them! I just really didn't want it to be that. I'll keep you all updated as our journey continues.
The one thing I would suggest is switching to a fish oil instead of safflower oil...dogs digest animal fats a lot better and she would get the benefits of the oil for her coat (and her heart!) in a more species appropriate oil. Just MO, of course. If you do that, you need a vitamin E supplement. My personal dogs get 1000 EPA of fish oil daily plus vitamin E.
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post #46 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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I'm doing safflower oil for two reasons. 1) eliminate animal products during food trial, especially because she was getting fish oil regularly when the reaction first occurred and 2) safflower oil has far more linoleic acid then fish oil.
Just so no one thinks I'm pulling this off of a dubious website or something, quoting from the book Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource Guide for Companion Animal Professionals Linoleic Acid has essential functions in maintaining the epidermal water barrier of the skin and further down the page Because linoleic acid is important for the maintenance of the epidermal water barrier, and because skin cells have a high rate of turn over, the skin is particularly vulnerable to EFA (essential fatty acids) deficiencies. In dogs, linoleic acid deficiency results in a dry, dull coat; hair loss; skin lesions; and poor wound healing....A change in the surface lipids in the skin alters the normal bacterial flora and can predispose the animal to secondary bacterial infections.

I've heard chicken fat is a decent animal source of linoleic acid, but chicken will be the very last thing we add back in. I'm still studying up on this, and just found another section near the back of the book that talks more specifically about EFA and their role is skin issues. I figure I should educate myself so I can ask the right questions once we go the doggy dermatologist

I have lots more studying to do, I never thought I would know so much about dog nutrition. lol

Edited to add: Oh and because of the additional fats she is getting I am giving her daily vitamin E as well.

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post #47 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 12:15 PM
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I'm doing safflower oil for two reasons. 1) eliminate animal products during food trial, especially because she was getting fish oil regularly when the reaction first occurred and 2) safflower oil has far more linoleic acid then fish oil.
Just so no one thinks I'm pulling this off of a dubious website or something, quoting from the book Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource Guide for Companion Animal Professionals Linoleic Acid has essential functions in maintaining the epidermal water barrier of the skin and further down the page Because linoleic acid is important for the maintenance of the epidermal water barrier, and because skin cells have a high rate of turn over, the skin is particularly vulnerable to EFA (essential fatty acids) deficiencies. In dogs, linoleic acid deficiency results in a dry, dull coat; hair loss; skin lesions; and poor wound healing....A change in the surface lipids in the skin alters the normal bacterial flora and can predispose the animal to secondary bacterial infections.

I've heard chicken fat is a decent animal source of linoleic acid, but chicken will be the very last thing we add back in. I'm still studying up on this, and just found another section near the back of the book that talks more specifically about EFA and their role is skin issues. I figure I should educate myself so I can ask the right questions once we go the doggy dermatologist

I have lots more studying to do, I never thought I would know so much about dog nutrition. lol

Edited to add: Oh and because of the additional fats she is getting I am giving her daily vitamin E as well.
About linoleic acid--while it is one of the EFA's and a lack can definitely cause the symptoms your source lists ,it usually doesn't need to be added to any reasonably good diet. It's present, in abundance, in a lot more sources than the Omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish oil.

How much Vitamin E are you giving? It's one of the vitamins that can cause problems if too much is given--it's oil based and if not used by the body can definitely accumulate and create problems.

Along with other things that you intend to discuss with the vet dermatologist you might also ask about fat (any kind of animal fat as an actual allergen. It was my understanding that fats--because of their chemical composition are not usually an allergen. Proteins are because of the long chain molecules they form are generally responsible for allergies. This is one of the reasons that many vet dermatologist/allergists now use fully hydrolyzed diets (where both animal based proteins and vegetable based proteins are fully hydrolyzed) With the proteins broken into short links, which are usable but not allergens it gets much easier to identify allergens as foods are added back to the diet.

Good luck--keep up posted on what the dermatologist has to say.
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post #48 of 62 (permalink) Old 09-28-2017, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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About linoleic acid--while it is one of the EFA's and a lack can definitely cause the symptoms your source lists ,it usually doesn't need to be added to any reasonably good diet. It's present, in abundance, in a lot more sources than the Omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish oil.

How much Vitamin E are you giving? It's one of the vitamins that can cause problems if too much is given--it's oil based and if not used by the body can definitely accumulate and create problems.

Along with other things that you intend to discuss with the vet dermatologist you might also ask about fat (any kind of animal fat as an actual allergen. It was my understanding that fats--because of their chemical composition are not usually an allergen. Proteins are because of the long chain molecules they form are generally responsible for allergies. This is one of the reasons that many vet dermatologist/allergists now use fully hydrolyzed diets (where both animal based proteins and vegetable based proteins are fully hydrolyzed) With the proteins broken into short links, which are usable but not allergens it gets much easier to identify allergens as foods are added back to the diet.

Good luck--keep up posted on what the dermatologist has to say.
I'm giving her 400 mg of vitamin E at the moment, and vet mentioned the protein as allergen thing, but still felt I should remove all animal products out of her diet during the elimination phase.
We saw the vet today and she said that she is looking good (in comparison) and recommended I stick with frequent baths to remove potential environmental allergens and that I could start adding foods back next week. She did say that because it hasn't returned to such a severe degree as before, that there is a decent chance that there is a food allergy involved as well. She noticed some returning dander (today is day 3-bath day). She felt that going to the dermatology vet wouldn't be very helpful at the moment because her skin isn't very symptomatic. i.e. the dander alone in its current amounts isn't enough to really see things on several of the tests they would want to run. So the current plan is to continue frequent baths, add foods back in one at a time, and hope it stays at mild dander. If it gets worse, off to the derm vet.

Because, on my close inspection at 24 hours post bath, her skin was much happier with zero dander, I'm going to wipe her down daily when we come inside as well and see if that keeps the dander at bay more and allows us to increase time between baths. No surprise, Piper isn't a fan. She will still allow me to lead her in happily to the shower, but she gives me the most pathetic looks.

Crossing my fingers and reading more about the different EFAs and their ratios and therapeutic dietary amounts. Wondering if we will ever get back to kibble....
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post #49 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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It's been almost a couple weeks now and other than the dander scare - so far, so good. We have added in several unlikely diet culprits with no issues, chickpeas, green peas, peanut butter and fish oil for the omega 3s. The vet nutrition book said omega 6mega 3 ratio of somewhere between 5:1 and 10:1 was found to be a good balance in studies. So with the fish oil I can achieve that now.
I'm going to continue to add one or two food items that seem to be low risk at a time - once every few days. I'm still holding off on the other meat sources for now. I'm still contemplating trying a limited ingredient kibble with lamb. Acana Lamb and Apple is my first thought, it has a nutritional profile that I think would be a good fit for her. As soon as I have a chance I'm going to call their customer service and ask if they do anything to prevent cross-contamination from one kibble flavor to the next. I'm taking this step after vet tech friend said that part of the reason vet Rx foods are so much more expensive is because they the the time and expense to decontaminate the processing machines between kibble runs. With the off the shelf limited ingredient kibbles, the manufacturers will generally run their chicken kibble, then their lamb kibble, etc, so you can still have tiny bits of chicken in your lamb - bad news for allergy issues. Not sure if Acana is any different, but thought I might as well inquire.

I've been noticing that she licks her feet - so grass is a good guess on the environmental end. We don't have grass at our house but often go to sport fields to play, so I think after next time I bathe her I'm going to stay far from grass fields for a week and see if that decreases foot licking. She doesn't do it excessively so I can just distract her from it for now.

Someone (maybe MeadowCat?) had said they wipe their dog down and wash their feet when they come in from playing, and I was hoping to get more details on that. I've always found washing feet well to be a pain (I would always do it to remove mud) because things hide so well in their toes - any tips or tricks to doing that well? Since we likely find allergens when away from how, can I easily reduce contaminations before I put her back in the car to limit what gets carried home?
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post #50 of 62 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 02:05 AM
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Hypoallergenic baby wipes might do the trick for you. That’s what Kip’s dermatologist recommended I use with him.
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