03-09-2018, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2018
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I use Apoquel with my Frenchie and the Frenchies I foster that have allergies. Yes, there are potential side effects to the liver. Therefore, you should ensure that you take your pup for blood tests every 6 months to a year (whatever your vet recommends). From the rates I saw posted, the U.S. rates are pretty consistent. My dog takes 8mg/day, 60 day supply is ~$65. He also does weekly allergy shots to keep everything at bay. The initial investment for shots is pricey, but after that the serum is only about $150/year.
As was mentioned a few times in this thread, allergy testing will give you the definitive answer on the best way to treat your dog. Knowing specifically what they're allergic to will allow you to help your dog completely avoid allergens all together (the MOST effective treatment). If testing is cost prohibitive where you live, your other options would be to research rates and travel or to see if a cheaper vet would do a remote consult via skype or facetime and then order the blood work for you, which your local vet could draw.
Less costly options are more labor intensive, but can definitely have huge payoff. To help control environmental allergies, I recommend frequent bathing (confirm with your vet, of course) with a gentle shampoo. Also, you'll want to use some kind of ear wash on a daily basis to keep the allergens out. Duoxo pads (on amazon) are great for wiping down their face and feet EVERY time they go outside. You only need one pad for all four feet and face--again, the payoff is significant. If his/her allergies are severe, you can wipe their entire body with a baby wipe every time they come inside. You will also need to launder any of their bedding regularly. Another option is an allergy bodysuit and booties (I've used toddler socks) for your furry guy or gal. You can google them and work with any of the companies for sizing options. If the allergies are not that severe, you might opt for a t-shirt wardrobe where you can throw a new t-shirt on him/her each morning. Again, your goal is to keep allergens off them.
For diet, without knowing what they're allergic to, pricey dog food/raw may just be in vain. Some dogs are only allergic to the mites that come from storing dry food, and therefore, do better on a raw diet. Other dogs are allergic to the raw protein itself. If the allergy test is off the table, I'd try an elimination diet. You could start with one food...just one...pork, chicken, lamb, rice, whatever. Many people will recommend specific proteins over others (rabbit is frequently recommended), but I've fostered quite a bit and I've had dogs allergic to anything. I have a foster right now with an "off the charts" allergy to rabbit. Whatever you choose, feed it to them for a few days and see if they have any allergic reactions. If not, add a second food...so maybe lamb & rice. A few days later, add a third food...lamb, rice, hard boiled eggs with shells. And so on...
In addition to working to keep allergens off of them, you're also working to keep any secondary skin infections from developing from their scratching. The baths and Duoxo pads can help with that. Keeping all this in mind, I've had at least two dogs allergic to human skin cells (no sleeping on bed and lots of vacuuming) and two allergic to cotton (blankets, doggie t-shirts all a no-no for these guys).
Good luck. Dealing with allergies can be frustrating and exhausting, but you do have a few options that might significantly help.