HELP!!! German Shepherd Skin Troubles

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HELP!!! German Shepherd Skin Troubles

This is a discussion on HELP!!! German Shepherd Skin Troubles within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello everyone, My name is Tyler and I have a two year old German Shepherd named Gunner. Since I first got him we have been ...

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Old 02-05-2016, 11:30 AM
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Exclamation HELP!!! German Shepherd Skin Troubles

Hello everyone,
My name is Tyler and I have a two year old German Shepherd named Gunner.
Since I first got him we have been battling skin, itching, and hot spot issues.

Our first time to the vet I was told just to keep an eye on it since he was such a young pup. Bath him with the soap the vet recommended and keep an eye on things. I cant remember for sure but I am thinking once a week was his schedule. Fast forward to the spring of '15. Gunner started to itch constantly. Saying his name or trying to give him a treat would not stop him from itching unless I or my fiance went over to him and pet him to distract him.

And here starts the vet trips.
This trip we changed his food, gave it 8 weeks to see if something would change. Nothing did.
Second trip , the vet put Gunner on some Keflex 500mg/cap antibiotics and Prednisone 20mg/ tablet . Gunner would scratch until he cried or had started to bleed. Right away the Prednisone helped and his sensation to wanting to keep scratching slowed. We stayed on the Prednisone for two weeks. First week two tablets every day. The second week one tablet everyday. After two weeks we stopped the Predisone and kept on with the Keflex for 12 total weeks. We also thru in an Omega-3 vitamin during this time.

After this 12 week run, gunner had around 4 days of no scratching skin looked good. Then it all started again. I may have forgot to mention, we live in rural country of Iowa, lots of grass, trees, and pollen. (great allergy location lol ) . Like I said it all started up again. Another trip to the vet and this time no medications but switching his food again. I am now feeding him Royal Canin Vet Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Adult Hypoallergenic. I started feeding this to him 5 weeks ago.

Just yesterday I noticed he had been itching and biting at his paw. Numerous times during the day. I cleaned it, wiped it off, and washed it. An hour later he was back at it. His paw was inflamed, red, puffy, and irritated. I had a few left over Prednisone tablets left over from the earlier trial and gave him one. It was a night and day difference. But I have fears of leaving or having him on a steroid for numerous days/weeks/years. I have read things and heard good and bad to both.

I have been to two different vets. Both telling similar explanations. I asked about allergy testing. They mentioned while it would be the next thing to try/do, they believe he is a very allergic dog possibly to grass, pollen, dust, you name it, he would have it. Beings even in the winter hes acting up, but that could be the dust in the house vents. We have not had him full panel allergy tested yet because of not being able to control his current situation now.

I am frustrated for gunner because of the discomfort level he is at unless he is given a Prednisone which I have not done since yesterday as an instant relief. I am wondering if anyone has been thru these symptoms, medications, and or if they have had any different experiences or solutions to this problem.

I am lost on what to do next. Its hard to keep going back to the vet when it does not get any better and do not see any results.

I have read stating some have had their dogs put on over the counter allergy medication (benadryl, claritin, others) or Atopica and a low does of Prednisone for their life. Gunner is only two so I am concerned on if it were to come to that what the possible risks would be for long term steroid usage. I just want him to be comfortable and enjoy being a pup!

Thank you for reading. Sorry for such a long message. Thank you all, Tyler
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:53 PM
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We're in the same boat, I too have an allergy dog and trust me it's all about the management.

First I would high suggest an allergy test, if anything, to know what exactly are the triggers are. Sometimes by just changing your routine, removing plants, changing a few household items can make a difference. Also, if he's itching through out winter and spring he's probably allergic to something in the home environment so an allergy test can send you in the direction to fix it. I would also not recommend bathing weekly. All that is doing is stripping the natural oils from your pet's fur making it drier and itchy.

Some other questions:
What does the vet think it's a food allergy? Has he had any vomiting? diarrhea? weight loss?

Basically you're buying a really expensive food that isn't helping, which by now should be helping, so you have to try something else. I, personally, would stop the Rx food and go grain free with a novel protein, as grain heavy foods can be an allergy dogs worst nightmare, grains and carbs feed yeast, which is making your pet itchy; and that is basically all the hypo hp is. In fact there is 0 meat in Hypo HP, it's a food made of bird feathers that have had the protein extracted from, spun in a lab and reformulated into a prescription diet - sounds appetizing doesn't it? If your dog's problem is more environmental, RC makes a Skin Care/Skin Support which is supposed to be good for contact allergies, but once again I am a cynic on it actually working.

I would also begin a strong cleaning routine. An example: My dog is allergic to dust mites so I launder all cloth at least 1-2x a week in a hypo/skin sensitive detergent. I've also had to remove some of my area rugs because she's allergic to synthetic/petroleum based materials found in some carpets and gone with jute or wool (expensive believe me). In the summer we keep her on benedryl to combat the grass and pollen.

My own vet wanted me to put my pooch on Z/D which was not in the budget for 5 cups of food a day (what she would need to eat), so I refused. I work at the clinic, so I'm routinely handing over allergy rx food to owners who don't see results, but pay through the nose; although admittedly there are some that do get great results for their pets but I decided the rx allergy food was going to be my last resort.

Instead, I've found feeding an Orijen/Acana rotation, do the above cleaning, feeding an Omega/Fish supplement for coat health, and keeping benedryl on hand has been our solution. I've also recently added Honest Kitchen to our rotation but have to be careful which one I purchase because her only food allergy is to flax and that Shhhh is everywhere! It's all a matter of finding the right food, management of the environment the best you can, and possibly using medication long term.
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Last edited by KayWilson; 02-05-2016 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 02-05-2016, 01:03 PM
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I have never had an allergic dog. I adopted a 7 year old Rottie that was said to have multi allergies grass was one I don't remember the rest. I changed her food that was lamb and rice which she had been on for all her life to chicken and never had a allergy problem with her. I think it had been the lamb causing the problem all along. I am not saying this will be the case for your dog but when you say you changed food did you change to a single protein food?
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:02 PM
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KayWilson - I am calling the vet to schedule an allergy test.
One of the vets first potential fixes as they called it, was to change the food. They said it was a common problem as the food can cause the allergy. Other than that no weight loss, no vomiting, or diarrhea out of the ordinary. So none of those happened, so the vet thought changing the food if he was allergic was a step in the right direction. I guess.

I tried to do a little research about the food. And I noticed a lack of a protein source that I would recognize. I have Omega 3 gel tablets that I have continued to give since starting the food and will continue to do. Just for a safe precaution.

I have tried the common sweeping, dusting, keeping floors extra clean. As well as my clothes etc, but I think I might have to step it up, like you were mentioning.

Before switching to the HP food, I was feeding him Lamb and Rice dog food. Which did have heavy grains in the food. Thinking that was where the vet thought switching foods would help.

Do you give or have to give anything else besides the benedryl to help with the allergies ?

I appreciate the reply and your time.

Thanks, Tyler and Gunner
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:02 PM
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Thank you for your comments and suggestions !
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:05 PM
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Dawnben - I actually had been using what you mentioned. A lamb and rice formula. The vet then switched us to the HP food. I have wondered since the lack of protein sources and no improving conditions are taking place if a good chicken based food would be best?


Thank you for reply and time.
Tyler and Gunner
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:21 PM
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@tswen, we use just benedryl for her main allergies and surolan drops (anti-fungal) for her ears and occasional rashes. We've been lucky and not had to go on pred or atopica, though if I didn't manage her allergies with the careful use of food/cleaning then we were heading in that direction.

I would switch to a grain free novel protein that your dog has never eaten before, like a duck, pork, venison, rabbit, or fish and ask for a benedryl dose and see where that takes you. You do need to make sure, though, that you don't feed any scraps and no treats of a different protein.

I must also add that a friend of mine choose to avoid feeding "hot" foods (such as: venison and lamb) and instead feed "cool" foods (such as: Rabbit and duck) - this is traditional Chinese ideas but it's worked for her allergy dog.
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:46 PM
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I would try a protein he has never eaten. Some times they use chicken fat instead of lamb or put fish oil in somewhere down the line. You need a single protein like Zignature or Go sensitive and shine. Turkey worked for us. They both have grain free and also use beans instead of potato.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:27 PM
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@KayWilson , Okay. That is nice not having to resort to the pred or atopica. I appreciate the advice. I will be calling first thing Monday to talk to my vet about doses for benedryl.

Yes since going thru these last few months no scraps of food or anything has been given to gunner. Trying to rule out as many outside factors as possible.

I decided to give Go! Sensitivity + Shine Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food a try. It has had good reviews from dogs with allergies. And half the price of the HP dog food. Thanks for the information. If there is anything else, I am all ears to any tips ! Thank you
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:29 PM
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@Dawnben , I appreciate the information. I decided to go with Go! Sensitivity + Shine Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food that you suggested. It had good reviews from other dog owners that have allergies. I like the fact of dropping the potato completely. Try to rule as much out as possible. Thank you for the tip on dog food, hope it works for Gunner! If there is anything else, I am all ears to any tips ! Thank you
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