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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. Several remedies have already been tried and I'm hoping someone can either suggest something I haven't tried or point out the missing link.

My wife and I have a purebred beagle that is 2 years old. We raised her from 8 weeks and she has had her share of health issues (two cherry-eye surgeries, one hernia surgery, and anal glands removed). Thankfully these problems were one-time fixes and are way behind us. Zoe is very fit, runs with us several times a week, and her coat shines. The one lingering health problem we are still struggling with is her constantly irritated skin and intense scratching.

Her chest and belly are intermittently covered in a rash. It will flare up, cause her to scratch herself raw, then spread into her armpits. She also has raw places along her lips where she rubs her face on the carpet. I say 'intermittent' only because it will go from bad to much worse, then back to bad again. Best way I can describe it.

We tried changing her shampoo and also her food. At this point we have fed her just about everything for some period of time to see if it could be a food allergy. We have tried Science Diet, IAMS, Pedigree, and now Purina One. The changes in food have not made any difference.

About six months ago we took her to the vet over the scratching problem. They prescribed prednizone and benedryl. For the time she was on prednizone it seemed to make a huge difference. Her rashes and raw spots cleared up and she seemed calmer. But obviously we can't keep her on those drugs so it's not a permanent solution.

More recently we have switched to an oatmeal shampoo with baths once a week. I am giving her a cod liver oil capsule once a day to help her skin. Right after her first oatmeal bath she seemed to be soothed for about 48 hours and then the itching/scratching resumed.

We are out of ideas and would really like to see this problem solved. Is it allergies? If so, to what? I don't think it's a food allergy. If it's a grass allergy then that's just awful because she's a beagle and loves to run with us in the woods.

Last thing I'll mention - we've got her on Sentinal and Frontline.

Thanks again for your help.
 

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It's good that you thought to change her food, however all of the brands you have tried have very similar ingredient lists. I would look into changing her to taste of the wild, or if you have a petco near you natural balance is good.
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Ditto what Cali said. All the foods you have tried still have allergy inducing ingredients: that is lots of grains and fillers. Here's a website you can look up all the foods you've tried, and maybe look for another. http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/index.php

You might try a very simple hypoallergenic type food.
OR
If you are really at your wits end, and are willing to try a raw diet, you may find it does miracles. Our dogs have no itching, no anal gland issues, and their ears never need cleaning, since we switched to a raw diet. Its not very hard to do, and you could do a trial for a few weeks with a very simple version based perhaps on chicken. Here is a pretty good website. Leerburg | Feeding a Raw Diet
You really don't need to bother with supplements etc to know if this will help your dog. You could try her simply on chicken with a few veggies. You will find out after a few weeks if her skin problems go away.
But if you do embark on this adventure, do some reading first to learn how to transition. The one caution I would say is if your dog is a "gulper" you need to teach them how to eat raw food with bones in it. Our dogs had no trouble, and its totally normal for canines to crunch up and eat bones, contrary to popular knowledge out there, but anyway, some dogs need a little help slowing down as they learn.
Here's another good book Amazon.com: Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones (9780975717400): Tom Lonsdale: Books
Well, good luck!
 

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You're looking for a food with no corn or corn products, no wheat and no soy. Taste of the Wild, some Blue Buffalo and there are others. Those 2 are off the top of my head.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah Imhotep as in the pharoah. Everybody says I look like the guy who played him in The Mummy movies. Probably the lack of hair.

Thanks everyone for the great info. Honestly if I can fix this with different food then I will be thrilled. I will look at what's involved in a raw diet and also look at the dog foods you've suggested. I may start with a new dog food and see if it works. If not then we can move on to a raw diet.
 

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The problem with the brands you mentioned is they all think corn and corn gluten and corn meal are good things in food. Some add all 3 of these which means the food is mostly corn. Most have also added wheat and soy which also scream allergy. Then add the poor quality meat and cancer causing preservatives and you have dog food. I know at this point you are shocked by this but those dog food manufactures are not concerned about your pets health. They all own large meat packing plants and they simply want to use what they cant sell to humans to our pets. Unfortunately the rendered products are not healthy for our dogs. If you want a low cost replacement go to Costco and get these brands Kirkland or they also have Natures Domain that is grain free, or go to petco and ask for quality brands with NO by-products sugar, corn ,wheat soy meat or bone meal or bha/bht
There are a lot of companies that care about our dogs health.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I wanted to update on my beagle's skin irritation and hopefully get some help on chapter 2 of this saga.

The day after I posted this thread I went to buy some different dog food. I followed the great advice offerred by everyone here and chose this grain-free food:

Dog Food Reviews - Blue Wilderness Salmon - Powered by ReviewPost

I have also been giving her one cod liver oil capsule each day with her dinner meal and one benadryl pill with her breakfast meal. I also bought some oatmeal shampoo and have been bathing her about once every week. Lastly I have been giving her a 'Nasty Habit' chewable with both meals each day which isn't directly related to the rash but needed to happen because she tries to eat her eliminations sometimes.

To some up, these changes were made together:
- Switched to oatmeal shampoo (once weekly)
- New grain-free food (twice daily)
- Benegryl pill (once daily)
- Cod liver oil capsules (once daily)
- Nasty Habit chewables (twice daily)
- Cortizone spray (for 2-3 days then stopped)

After about a week it seemed like the rash that covered her entire belly, groin and armpits was starting to subside but definitely not gone. At that point my wife applied some cortizone for a few days and it completely cured the rash. It has not come back since.

There is still a big mystery though. Before switching food our dog also had some very irritated skin along her lips and around her eyes. She would rub her face on the carpet to get at those places. After making the list of changes her lips and eyes have gotten much worse. She has started rubbing so hard that she wimpers and yelps. Her eyebrows and lips are completely raw. This goes on several times a day, usually right after she wakes up and then off and on all day.

I am wondering if she is even more allergic to something in the Nasty Habit chewables than she was in the food. I am clueless as to why the problem is now so localized in those two areas instead of being all over her body like it was before.

I think we are getting close to a soothed dog. Any additional insight on tackling the lips/eyes irritation is greatly appreciated!
 

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I wanted to update on my beagle's skin irritation and hopefully get some help on chapter 2 of this saga.

After about a week it seemed like the rash that covered her entire belly, groin and armpits was starting to subside but definitely not gone. At that point my wife applied some cortizone for a few days and it completely cured the rash. It has not come back since.

There is still a big mystery though. Before switching food our dog also had some very irritated skin along her lips and around her eyes. She would rub her face on the carpet to get at those places. After making the list of changes her lips and eyes have gotten much worse. She has started rubbing so hard that she wimpers and yelps. Her eyebrows and lips are completely raw. This goes on several times a day, usually right after she wakes up and then off and on all day.

I am wondering if she is even more allergic to something in the Nasty Habit chewables than she was in the food. I am clueless as to why the problem is now so localized in those two areas instead of being all over her body like it was before.

I think we are getting close to a soothed dog. Any additional insight on tackling the lips/eyes irritation is greatly appreciated!

Some times you have to stop all additives for about a month and then add one at a time and wait for a reaction. I also would not bath so often it can remove all the oil from the skin and make things worse. Once a month is month is sufficient. You can also use aloe you can buy a plant or get the unscented no coloring one at a health food store , it is very soothing to the skin.
 

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Now that you have changed the food to a more natural diet I would highly recommend a product called vet aid (vetaidproducts.com). It is an all natural sea salt based spray/foam that has natural enzymes to create optimal healing environment to work with your pets natural defense system. Five star product give it a shot! Good Luck!
 

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There is still a big mystery though. Before switching food our dog also had some very irritated skin along her lips and around her eyes. She would rub her face on the carpet to get at those places. After making the list of changes her lips and eyes have gotten much worse. She has started rubbing so hard that she wimpers and yelps. Her eyebrows and lips are completely raw. This goes on several times a day, usually right after she wakes up and then off and on all day.
Have you had your vet do a skin scraping? Or at least discussed with your vet the possibility of demodectic mange? It sounds like the skin is severely irritated and perhaps even infected now, around her muzzle and face. Demodectic or sarcoptic mange is reasonably common, not a sign you have not been taking good care of your dog. Demodex often manifests itself first on the face. Some dogs are more genetically succeptable. Its possible she has both allergies, and mange, and on top of all that you could have skin infections that are now both itchy and painful. If this is the case, a round of antibiotics might be in order. If she has mange, that too is treatable easily.

Have you had her thyroid hormone level tested? Skin issues can go along with thyroid problems. If she is hypothyroid, another common ailment, treatment for that (which is a simple twice daily med.) can help a great deal.

You may consider going to a veterinarian specializing in skin issues... ie a doggy dermatologist. This sounds quite uncomfortable for pup, but there must be solutions out there to help her. The severity of her problems hints to me there may be more going on than just a simple food allergy, although that may be a large component.

Best wishes, and do keep us updated!

PS. Can you post any pics?
 

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I agree with Tess, keep after your vet. I have a dog allergic to grass, dust, food, just about anything you can imagine. Sarcoptic mange is often overlooked. Also check into Lortidine instead of Benydril...fewer side effects. Often hidden infections in the body can cause allergic type reactions. I'm adding to things Tess already suggested.
Hawk has 3 vets in different clinics who all work together, and I've changed vets several times until I found vets that are interested in the dog and not selling shots to make money. I also changed flea/tick/heartworm meds.
I know I'm gettin' long winded here, but I want to also suggest adding Omega 3 to her food. Hawk eats a capsule in his food so I don't have to stuff another pill down his throat. If it's skin, it'll help.
Finally, if you changed food to check for food allergy, the vet emphasized NO TREATS! We had to go to Hills ZD formula. Now we hope we can finally switch him to ProPlan for scensitive skin and stomach...still in test stage...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again for everyone who is sticking with this thread. I really appreciate your help.

In response to recent suggestions, I looked up some photos online of the mange and it looks a lot more serious than what my dog is currently dealing with. But...I will post some photos soon. I should have done that to begin with.

Tomorrow I can post some photos. In the meantime here is an update:

About two weeks ago we woke up one morning and Zoe's belly was completed rash ridden again. It looked like she had been rubbing and chewing on it all night. This happened right after we thought her belly was on the mend, but literally overnight it was as bad as ever. We placed a cone around her head and called our vet. The vet suggested we try an antihystemine for awhile and also switch her to the most restrictive food they could provide. It's a duck/lamb combo that costs about $50/bag. We agreed for the sake of identifying the problem, but honestly a $50 food isn't a feasible solution for us and can't be sustained longterm.

At this point I'm ready to say it's not a food allergy. We've stepped her down onto increasingly restrictive foods over the course of several weeks. We have not been giving treats during that time, literally nothing but the food.

So far, no change. If we remove the cone even for a few minutes she will eventually start clawing at her eyes and lips. Unfortunately the cone doesn't keep her from rubbing her belly on the carpet.

This is becoming a big concern and I'm desperate to fix it. We can't afford $1K or more for allergy testing. It just seems cruel that a beagle might be allergic to something in the woods.

Going forward I'll ask my vet about a skin scrape and I will definitely post some photos tomorrow.

Thanks again.
 

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yes, I'm glad you are going to ask about a skin scraping. Mange can be very bad, or on the mild side, so the pics you see on-line are probably going to be the very worst cases.

Overall, it sounds like a visit to a doggy dermatologist might be the quickest way to an answer. Skin stuff can be very difficult to ID. Also, doing an effective scraping is hard too. It took us 3 vets to diagnose a mild mange in one of our dogs. It was not until we got to a vet in the South, where mange is more common, that it was found on skin scraping. I'm not saying I think your dog necessarily has mange, I'm just saying if you have a vet who is not practiced in doing a scraping, false negatives are a possibility.

Good luck and thanks for the update!
 

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Just did a bit of "googling" about beagles and skin problems... and learned this breed can be quite sensitive and have a lot of skin problems, genetic related. Not news to you of course!

So here's a sort of summary. Sorry if its a repeat of what you already know. Maybe someone else reading will benefit.

Possibilities include, but not limited to...
1) Demodectic or sarcoptic mange: test is a skin scraping
2) hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease: blood tests for these
3) flea allergies: rule this out by having her on a good quality flea control such as frontline
4) Allergies: food and/or environmental (dust, mold, pollen, etc.)
5) something else I did not come across...

This may not be an easy single change fix. (ie just changing food might only be part of your solution.) There are so many variables if this is genetic/allergy based. I'm intrigued by the way her belly flared up all of a sudden. Can you think of anything environmental that might have triggered this? For example, was her bed freshly laundered and she could be sensitive to the laundry soap? Its going to be hard to track down all the variables out there and assess.

I guess the best thing I can suggest is again, finding a veterinary dermatologist. One or two visits to a specialist, although initially expensive, might actually get you answers that multiple visits to a regular vet won't yield. Regular vets are notorious for not being able to figure out skin issues, particularly ones that are a bit complex, as yours appears to be. This may turn out to be a long term management thing for you, trying to control exposure to allergens, treating symptoms with rounds of meds and ointments and so forth. On the other hand, maybe you'll get lucky and find a single culprit, such as mange mites.
 

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have you considered this...

Allergy or Systemic Yeast Infection in Dogs | Allergies Malassezia Fungus Candida | GREATDANELADY.COM

it manifests the same as a food allergy, and gets diagnosed as such all the time. Start adding probiotics to the dogs food (yogurt works well) and see if you see a difference. I saw a MASSIVE difference in my dog after just two days. (the redness and itching VANISHED) This was after multiple vets told me she had food or enviromental allergies. I did the works also...changed food, washed her with medicated shampoo...etc etc.

if they are giving her steroids for her "allergies" that will make it worse. As will antibiotics ;)



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