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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Friends!

It's been a while since I posted with any questions.

I currently have a foster dog that is allergic to everything, and is picky to boot! Buster is a Bernese Mountain Dog mix and just the sweetest boy I have ever met!

When he first arrived to me, about a month ago, his boy condition was maybe 3/5. Underweight at about 44 lbs. He had significant muscle wasting to his hip area from prolonged crating. He had, at one time, had fleas and had a mild skin reaction to his back from, what the vets suspected as flea allergy. He also had hot spots on his legs, belly and feet. We got his hot spots all cleared up and he seemed to be gaining muscle mass and weight slowly, but surely. I didn't want to put too much weight on him too quickly and stress his hips.

Then, when we all thought he was finally on the mend, his skin began to flake! Not just a couple, it looked like he had been snowed on. He began itching to the point of breaking skin, chewing his legs, feet, bum. Nibbling his stomach and scratching his ears to the point he was whining. Plus, he had horribly loose stools.

Being the crazy internet researcher that I am, I figured out he likely had a combination of food allergies and environmental allergies. Independently, I tried to change the protein source of his food and tried duck based and then lamb based foods. He didn't like the lamb and his symptoms didn't improve at all with the duck food. So, poultry allergy!

Took him back to the rescue's vet, who concurred with my thoughts and we started him on a hypoallergenic diet (yes, yes, I know....) and added in a 10 day course of prednisone to help alleviate his allergy symptoms. He seemed to be doing better, then once his prednisone was finished, wham, back to itching like a fiend and inconsistent stools. Ok, I thought, maybe it's a grain allergy, so went searching for a grain free, potato free (droopy ears = prone to ear infections...I didn't want to take any chances), poultry free food. I went to my local retailer and the lady there was most helpful and gave me a whole bunch of decent sized samples. We tried Canine Caviar Venison LID and a new food on the market that is fish protein based. He hated the venison, looked at me like "what is this you are trying to poison me with". The fish one he at least ate, so long as I added a small handful of the hypo food (which he loves....of course, but makes him itch still).

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to give you the sequence of events and all that we've done to help this guy out.

My question is this, the bag of hypo is almost finished and he won't eat the fish based food alone. He continues to itch and have inconsistent stools on the hypo food and it's $140 for a large bag. What do I feed this guy. Keep in mind, he's a foster dog, so I have to make sure whatever I choose, will be something that his new family will be able to maintain. Raw, is not an option.

Help, I'm out of ideas! Buster and I thank you for your suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There a couple of other single meat sources that Zignature has. I know with mine the lamb made them dry and dandruffy. Hated the fish but loved the turkey. Mine can't eat chicken but the turkey is ok.
Our Menu | Zignature
I'd love to try Zignature as I've heard such great things about it, but we can't get it here in Canada....yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Orijen and Acana are good foods as dry goes, both made by Champion foods out of Alberta.
Tried Orijen....he hated it! LOL! Maybe Acana Singles. Good Suggestion!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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How long was he on the hypoallergenic diet? A true food trial is usually ONLY the hypoallergenic food (no other food/treats, no flavored meds like heartworm preventative, etc), for 6-8 weeks. If you are feeding "only" a novel protein source, it may be worth inquiring with the manufacturer as to whether they process that food on different equipment than the other formulas, or have some means of "decontaminating" between formulas, otherwise there can be cross contamination between batches.

If it was a true food trial, and he showed no improvement, then my guess (as a non-vet, but I have had lots of itchy, allergic dogs) would be that his allergies are mostly due to environment irritants.

It might be worth a visit to a dermatologist for allergy testing, as they can test for all likely allergens, which would eliminate the guesswork. It's a large expense, but so is testing dozens of bags of food, and he won't be easy to adopt out with unresolved skin issues.

Is he on an omega 3 supplement (fish oil or the like)? If not, that can help many dogs with dander and allergy issues. Also, frequent brushing to help disperse the oils in the skin, and make sure that if you are bathing him, you either use something non-drying, or use an add on to help rehydrate the skin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@busannie, he's been only on the Hypo food for 4 weeks now. We saw an initial improvement, and then he started down the itchy, loose stool cycle again. We did start him on an omega 3 supplement at his last vet check up.

When we bathe him, we use the vet shampoo - Epi-Soothe which is specifically designed for allergic skin. I also have the matching conditioner, but haven't used it yet. I also have been applying coconut oil to the driest patches of skin.

We brush him almost every day as he sheds....a lot! But not an aggressive brushing, mostly just to get what loose fur is falling off.

I'm not sure that the rescue is going to want to pursue the dermatologist route, although they have been extremely supportive of anything and everything we've tried so far. That was going to be my next suggestion to them.

Thank you for the suggestion that I contact the manufacturer of novel protein foods. I never would have thought about cross contamination. I know with humans, even a small amount of contaminant can cause very serious, life threatening reactions.
 

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