Thank you, that helps a bit. I just need the intense itching to stop. I suffer from chronic hives so I have very intimate knowledge of exactly how he feels and it breaks my heart. He just looks so miserable.
He definitely has allergies, we just aren't sure what the allergies are yet.
We did all the things you are supposed to do. We tried limited ingredient food and the novel protein foods. Then we put him on Apoquel to get him some relief from the itching while the food changes took effect. The novel protein food didn't work so we tried the veterinary hypoallergenic food and he started to get worse so we tried to prescription hydrolyzed protein diet and he got much worse. In desperation I switched him to raw food because I am out of any other options. He got about 50% better on the raw but then held there. It had been 6 weeks as of our visit to the vet last week.
I love my vet because she really listens to me and respects my opinion, and my vet loves a good puzzle and we certainly have one here. As we were talking everything through I asked her if it could possibly be demodectic mange. She said yes, but then we needed to worry about what allowed a 4 year old dog to develop this, what was happening with his immune system. The more we talked the more the pieces fell into place.
Apoquel is an immune suppressant. We put him on the Apoquel to give him some relief but he was on Simparica last year (which also kills the demodectic mites). We are in Canada so tick season is over in November and he came off the Simparica - which was right around the same time as we started him on the vet food and he got so much worse.
Our current thinking is that the Apoquel suppressed his immune system and when he came off the Simparica the mites took hold. So we are off the Apoquel and back on the Simparica. He is still not as itchy now, off the Apoquel and on the raw food, as he was on the Apoquel and on the vet food so I think we are getting somewhere.
Taking him off the Apoquel has obviously made him more itchy but it got so much worse on Friday, I am hoping that means the mites and dying their angry little death. He actually seems better today than he was yesterday.
He may still have an immune system problem, or maybe the allergies were just overwhelming his immune system and allowed the mites to take hold. We can cross that bridge later. One thing at a time. First the mites, then the allergies. He goes for a wellness check and we will run bloodwork in the fall.
His raw food (we are using a premade raw) is costing me about $8 a day because he can't be on any of the cheaper proteins (like chicken). The antibiotic he started on yesterday is $6 a day. So $14 a day - he still won't sleep with me. What a jerk
He has rubbed off all the fur around his eyes (I assumed that was the allergies) and his mouth, and then it is his left ear, a big spot on his left side and on the bony spot on his left hind leg. I feel like a bad doggy mom for not realizing it was mange before, but he was too old for that to be our first though.