Calling All Dog Lovers…

Several months ago I introduced you to one of my dogs, Jack, following a serious reaction to a new medicine (vet’s recommendation).  Why?  Because Jack has some issues with his skin.  So does our other dog, Shadow, but to a much lesser degree.

And I’ve spent a small fortune trying to resolve this problem for both of them. Skin tests, blood tests, medication, special shampoos…including one that made the house smell horrible for days.  It also ruined an entire load of towels because no matter how many times they were washed, the one towel made the rest of them reek.  And poor Shadow?  It was hard to be in the same room with her for about ten days.

A woman who worked at the animal shelter where we got Shadow thought she might be 6-8 years old, which would make her 11-13 years old now.  This picture was taken shortly after she came to live with us.

For those who don’t remember, this is Jack…

My boy!  Isn’t he gorgeous?  I just love how expressive his eyes are!

The purpose of my post today is not to show off my dogs.  Well, not entirely.  Mostly it’s to ask for some help.

I’ve tried everything to help with the skin conditions.  Two different veterinarians haven’t been able to figure out what’s wrong…and said that it’s highly unlikely that both of them could have food allergies (but we’re picking up a different kind of food tomorrow, just in case).   They just finished two months of bi-weekly shots that were supposed to take care of the problem.

We’ve ripped out all of the carpet just in case they were allergic to something in that.  None of the meds, natural remedies, shampoos or spray on treatments have helped.  They drink bottled water because what comes from the well is so nasty, and I’m not giving them softened water.  And I use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent for their bedding.

Has anyone ever had a dog with an itchy skin condition that seems to have no cause…or cure?  They don’t have fleas, ticks, mites, mange, or any number of other things they’ve been tested for.

I just want them happy and comfortable again.  Amazingly enough, the cats are fine.  Could two different breeds of dogs be allergic to cats?

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Calling All Dog Lovers…

  1. Kristy, my Weimaraner is allergic to dogs, something none of our vets figured out. One thought he had some obscure, and fatal, disease, but when we took him from our daughter’s home, where she has two other dogs, to live with us and our Standard Poodle, he was fine. He gets sick every time we board him with other dogs. I am allergic to dogs, which is why I had a Poodle, so it clicked.
    I’m allergic to him, bless him, but I wouldn’t give him up for the world, so I take medication, and he’s fine and still with us. So maybe they are allergic to your cats?

    • Aw…poor dog. I’m glad he’s with you now, and that you’re willing to take medicine so you can keep him! I sure hope the dogs aren’t allergic to the cats…it would make life around here rather difficult because my daughter feels about all the pet like a mom does about her children. 🙂

  2. I am really sorry to hear it Kristy – there’s nothing worse than watching your dog suffer and to feel powerless.
    First, have you visited our resident pet expert and blogger fabulous Amy http://amyshojai.com/ – she might be able to help!
    My dog has had a lot of skin issues over the years. Where she’s lost patches (tore them out) and had raw areas. Terrible. We finally figured out she was allergic/sensitive to glucosamine so we had to try a few different foods lines until we found one that worked. It’s a shame because glucosamine would help with her arthritis but when she eats food that rank high in it, or if I give her tablets, she itches insane and starts ripping fur out.
    The other thing I believe, but CHECK WITH YOUR VET, is you can give your dog Benadryl. I am not sure of the dosage etc so you’d have to call your vet but it’s definitely something you could try to give him some relief.
    Had the food change not worked with Tess, the vet was suggesting taking her down to a extremely bland diet and then once the symptoms were under control, try introducing one food item at a time to see if we could pin point it. Thankfully, changing her food did work!
    Stick with it – you’ll get there!!!

    • What you say about Tess sounds an awful lot like what’s going on with Jack. The picture I posted was taken before this all started. Such a beautiful dog! But he’s gotten so bad at times it just makes you want to cry. It started last winter and we wound up putting a hoodie on him and belting it around his stomach so he would freeze when he was outdoors relieving himself. It was quite a sight…

      Hopefully the new dog food will take care of the issues with him. He can take Benadryl, and has, but he’s had so many prescriptions over the past year that he’s gotten to be an expert at eating the food we hide them in …and spitting the capsules out.

      My daughter and I have decided to give this new food a month, rub him down with diatomaceous earth a few times a week, and hope that and the supplements help.

  3. Poor puppy. I haven’t had a dog in years, but they are part of the family. At least, too many. I know we have spent small fortunes on dogs and cats in the past. It’s such a good thing you do for your baby. 🙂

  4. Thanks, Debra. They sure are part of your family, aren’t they? When Jack had that bad reaction to the stuff the vet gave him a few months ago I was in such a panic, and nearly crying because I couldn’t handle the thought that something might happen to him. I want them ALL healthy and here for years to come! 🙂

  5. Aw… What an adorable dog! I’m not sure if this is at all similar, but my American bull dog used to have bad eczema—dry, crackly bumps on her face, some that bled. I switched her to all-natural food made with lamb and brown rice and cut chicken from her diet. Her symptoms totally disappeared. (She also had red, itchy pads on her feet before.)

    Sounds like a great question for Amy Shojah! Have you visited her blog? Best of luck, Kristy. Thanks for loving the pooches!

  6. Thanks! He doesn’t have anything like that. Just scratches way too much. There have been times when he has hardly any fur on his sides, and he’s been wearing a funnel thing for about six weeks now to keep him from mutilating one ear.

    I will send Amy a message. And yes, I do love them both. I never thought I’d turn into one of ‘those’ people, but I have. Dozens and dozens of pictures, conversations that start out with things like, “You’ll never guess what Jack did…” And worrying about them almost as much as I did about my kids. I just want them itch-free and happy again.

  7. Well… Maybe not. I’m not really comfortable spending that much for a phone consultation. If things don’t improve in a hurry with the new food, fish oil, vitamin E and diatomaceous earth, there’s got to be someone local who has dealt with something like this before. But thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

  8. Kristy, one of my good friends has a dog with a hormone imbalance that makes an unidentified contact allergy much worse. By treating the hormone imbalance, the allergy symptoms improved considerably. It wasn’t cheap or easy–especialy since the vet she found who could and would do this is 3+ hours away.

    Best wishes as you narrow down causes to find solutions!

    (On another note, remember that Lemon Drop fish oil I told you about. For goodness sake, do NOT get the Orange flavor! Tastes and smells like 3-day-dead fish with rancid fake orange flavoring. Stick with Lemon Drop!)

    • Oh you just made me laugh! DEFINITELY not getting the orange! LOLOL!!! Poor, Shelly! It reminds me of some fish sample I tried at Sam’s Club a few years ago. I nearly pulled a ‘Tom Hanks,’ wiping my tongue off and gagging (scene from Big when he took a bite of caviar). I couldn’t get rid of the overpowering fishy taste. Yuck!

      I may have Jack tested for that. But I talked with a woman who works at Soldan’s for quite awhile. She said that, based on his symptoms, it sounds like a common food allergy. And that Beneful is loaded with dyes…especially red. Apparently a lot of dogs have an allergy to that. I guess she’s had a lot of customers whose dogs have the same issues.

      So my daughter and I picked up the food they were on before this started. The woman said if it is the Beneful that’s causing it, we should see an improvement in the next 2-4 weeks.

      If the problem does resolve itself, I think I’m going to be giving both of the vets we’ve taken them to a piece of my mind. I’ve wondered, from time to time, about all of the expensive tests and treatments…with zero results…and if they were actually TRYING to help them-or just keep us coming back.

      LOL…I’m not going to put up with anybody messing with my dogs!

  9. Kristy, I have 2 dogs and they both developed skin allergies within a month of each other, even though they are a year apart in age. both are allergic to grains of any sort. so I give them food without fillers and make sure my grandchildren don’t give them treats.

    • Thank you, Louise! This last vet told me that it was HIGHLY unlikely that two different breeds of dogs…in the same household…could both have food allergies. But it doesn’t appear to be anything else…which is why we decided to switch foods.

      There is one other brand the woman at Soldan’s recommended if this one doesn’t help. But I didn’t think about treats. Shoot. I’m going to have to go back and find something else to give them after they go outside. Jack will be a very unhappy guy if he doesn’t get treats.

      I’ll give this food about 3 weeks. If it doesn’t help, we’ll try the other for 3 more. And then I guess, if they’re still itching, we’ll have the hormone tests that Shelly suggested.

      Thanks, everyone, for all the help! Sure hope it’s the food. 🙂

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