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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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@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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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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@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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@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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@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
Its worth a try and a lot less expensive that testing. Wait at least a couple of weeks preferably a month to judge if its working. It takes time to get the allergy stuff out. You could also try this.
Canine Platinum Skin & Allergy | Platinum Performance
 

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sounds like the vet gave you expensive royal canin anallergenic? Jessie has allergies found she cant have any dry foods(tried just about everyone here in nz) including hills z/d and royal canin anallergenic. Jessie would get loose stools, direha, really red belly , dandruff itching chewing paws sore ears.

only things that help is this honey manaka cream, huha whoop itch and ouch lotion and a raw diet of rabbit, horse, lamb, goat and veal. adding new proteins slowly. though only having horse veal lamb atm. goat pieces are machine cut which is dangerous. oh she also gets green tripe too and organs and bone in.

Also i found i had to change laundry detergent to ones without SLS/sulphates, cant use shampoo with fragrance, sulphates esp SLS, and parabens or wheat in it. wheat because im allergic to it. we also dont use oatmeal shampoo. now its envirtomental
 
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My dog has environmental allergies, he's usually very itchy from June/July to October. This year the weather was so weird that his allergies actually came back full-force in November.

The vet prescribed anti-histamines (that didn't work so well...) but was hesitant to prescribe steroids because of the potential side-effects you're also worried about.

Honestly? The only thing that worked was having him wear a loose (human) t-shirt and men's boxers :D He is a very tolerant dog so he got used to his new outfit pretty quickly and never tried to take it off, so this might not work on every dog. We were able to prevent the numerous bald spots, secondary infections and hotspots that he had had the previous year from all the scratching and biting. I wish I'd thought of this sooner...
 

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@Dawnben .. I thought the same thing. I felt like I was getting a run around from the vet so thought I would give it a try. I am planning on a full month of the dog with nothing else.

I am going to check out the skin and allergy you mentioned.

Thank you again!
 

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@crazy Yes they gave me the expensive dog food. I was shocked how expensive it was. Today was the last day of it and will start the new food! Hopefully this does the trick!!

I will look into the laundry detergent. I'm willing to give everything a look over and trying to make Gunner more comfortable. I appreciate the tips and information. Thank you!
 

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@agility collie mom ... I will do so. I am starting new food today, and hopefully this does the trick. But I will make sure to keep this saved and ask the vet about it if the dog food does not work.

Thank you for the information!
 

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@Seyss .. I also was very hesitant with the prescribed steroid route.

I am sure he pulls off the shirt and boxers well! haha! Also helps to have a tolerant dog.

I appreciate the information and heads up. Also I appreciate the information for a heads up from what you have learned along the way. Thanks, again!
 

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@tswen Have you visited a Vet Dermatologist/Allergist? They can perform a blood or a skin test and come up with allergy shots like they do for humans for your dog. Over time your dog will become desensitized to the allergens.

Just visiting a specialist may help to give you better suggestions on how to control his allergies. But if you aren't aware dogs can be allergic to themselves.

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/healthy-pets/dog-allergies/
 

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I concur with @Dawnben about the single source protien, I never give food brand advice, but I will say that CHICKEN is the most allergic protein in the dog food industry and depending on the severity can cross over to turkey. Second, we've called Purina Vets, Purina Vets for about 30 years, for a reason :ponder:
Lastly, and most importantly, to your dogs tummy and your wallet, food allergies can take up to 4 months to actually purge from the system, so if you change your food every month your really not verifying anything.
 
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