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dog lethargic
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dog lethargic

I have a 12 year old chesapeake bay retriever. He has been itching his eyes, and scratching himself so much that his fur is coming out in chunks. We do not have other animals, it is myself and my husband, he does not have fleas, we have no carpeting in our house. I have never seen him so lethargic before, he doesn't want to get up to eat. He drinks alot, and seems to have at least 3 to 4 bowel movements a day now. He is not around any other animals. He has scratche his left eye so much that he made it open, now its going to the other eye. We thought maybe it was a food allergy. He only gets dry dog food, and has been eating the same thing for a long time, but I'm thinking it still may be a food allergy. Please tell me what you think this could be, I think he has hot spots too, I noticed he chewed the middle of his tail raw the other day! Any Suggestions?!!!!!
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234713_tn?1283530259
There is no age limit for food allergies so you may be correct about your dog becoming food allergic.  It sounds as if he really needs some immediate relief from his allergies, so it probably would be best to take him to the vet for medications.  

If you would like to explore the food allergy question prior to going to the vet you can try an allergic food trial.  You will have to feed a novel protein dog food for 8 to 12 weeks.  You should be able to find a novel protein dog food at a good local pet food store.  Good choices are venison and sweet potato, or fish and potato, as long as he has not been exposed to venison or fish before.  There can be no cheating on this food trial!  It takes a long time to get the allergenic food out of his system thus the 8 to 12 week minimum.  If his symptoms go away in this time we can assume that he was allergic to an ingredient or ingredients in his old food.  

The medication "Atopica" is effective for food and environment allergies and may be a good choice for your dog.  In addition he may need a steroid, antihistamine, omega 3 fatty acids, antibiotics or anti-fungals for secondary skin invaders, and other medications to get his skin under control in addition to the hypoallergenic food.

Most dogs have combination allergies, i.e.: environment and food allergies.  If he had environment allergies he would have shown symptoms of allergies by the age of four.  If this is the case the environmental allergies should be addressed also.
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234713_tn?1283530259
Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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