I don't really know where to begin because I don't know where this all started. My 2-year-old Shih Tzu has always had skin issues since she's been a baby. I have had to bathe her with a certain shampoo and conditioner her entire life and if I don't, she has serious itch attacks and nobody sleeps. FYI - she is near my side 24/7. The only time she goes outside is when she's with me on her leash and we're taking a walk. She's ridiculously pampered.
About 2-3 months ago, she punctured her cornea in her right eye and had to have eye surgery (this could be relevant). She had an E collar for over a month and I was not allowed to bathe her facial area at all (maybe the lack of bathing caused this?). As part of her recovery, she was on Prednisone which, as an added bonus, completely stopped her itching during the time she was taking it.
Anyway, I noticed about a week ago that she was getting itchy again and gave her a bath with her shampoo. I looked in her ears and they seemed a little more pink than normal so I pulled out her ear hairs. Afterward, I cleaned them with a special solution given to me by a vet. Within a day or two, her ears became quite red and swollen. I was thinking, "Oh great. We just paid $3,500.00 for eye surgery and now we get to go pay another $200 for an ear infection. I decided to give it a day or so to see if it was just from the hair plucking.
Within a day, her ears were still red and swollen and it almost looked as if there were some... thin blisters on her ear skin. I began giving her Benadryl at night. This stopped the itching altogether and within a day or two, the blisters and swelling went away, and her ears were just a little more pink than normal. I was feeling better because it seemed like things were going in the right direction and we were out of the woods so to speak. I kept up with the Benadryl just at night. Things seemed to be going great.
Today, I took a look at her ears again. The swelling was still down, the color a bit more pink than normal and it appeared as though the blisters (though gone) had almost lifted her top layer of skin from the insides of her ears. The skin texture was rough and when I gently rubbed it with my finger, huge flakes (not much smaller than my pinky nail) peeled off of her ear. Mind you, this was on both the inside of the leather ear flap as well as the inside of her ear - in both ears.
So, today, I gently removed the flakes from her ears thinking that I was helping by keeping her ears free of debris. I didn't scratch or anything, just picked up the flakes between my fingers (sorry to be gross but when it's your baby, it doesn't seem gross when you're helping them). A few hours later, I looked at her ears and they were bright red again. Not swollen, but pretty red. She's also been gently rubbing them with her paws since I messed with them. Not a digging, obsessive scratch or anything - just a soft rub. I think I should have just left her ears alone.
I am completely baffled. If it were an actual infection, I would think that Benadryl wouldn't be helping. To me, the fact that the Benadryl helps with the itching, etc. means that it's probably an allergy issue rather than an infection. Also, since the swelling and dark color subsided, I can't help but think that we're heading in the right direction toward healing. But what's up with this flaking? What is going on? Like I said, we just spent $3,500.00 on eye surgery. I love my little baby - however, she has been a vet bill a month since we've had her. She came to us (2 years ago) from a bad breeder. She had Giardia, ear mites, ticks, an ear infection, etc. After getting her spayed (while also fixing an umbilical hernia) her surgery site became infected... etc, etc, etc! Seriously, this has been the million dollar dog already and I'm just hesitant to take her in. Every time we see a vet, they want to do 40 different tests at $60 a pop. Let's face it - we're in a bad economy and vets, just like everyone are hurting. Tests bring in money... money that I don't have to give unless it is absolutely necessary! I am a responsible pet owner, but who can afford this??
Any advice or help would really be appreciated. Thank you so much!
Wow, what a story! I can see you are at your wit's end and this dog has to be miserable. Any mention of dermatomyocitis or some immune disorder? I assume blood work and skin scrapings have been done?
Sounds like you are getting financially drained. I am so sorry you bought from a bad breeder. Did you happen to contact him/ her?
Is there any way you can seek another opinion? Is there a Vet school within travel distance you could go to? I would definitely check into that.
I don't know much about this breed. If I were you, look up their National breed club on the Net. They usually give a list of mostly reputable breeders. Perhaps there is someone close to you. I would try to contact them as they are definitely more breed specific and may be able to help you.
Feel sorry for you and the poor dog. Maybe someone here has some insight but this does not sound like an easy fix and needs professional evaluation.
Please keep us posted and good luck.
I'll definitely keep you posted. The redness isn't so bad this morning and the swelling is down again so I think I'll probably wait 2 more days (when I get paid) to take her in again. I didn't think to check vet schools. I didn't even know you could bring a pet to one but that does make sense so thanks for the advice!
To top it all off, we're moving this week (so we can pay for the past eye surgery). Stress, stress, STRESS!!
Hi Ashley.....I'll try to help you, but I need more information:
What's the name of the Shampoo & Conditioner you use? How often do you bathe her?
What's the name of the special ear solution from your Vet? If there is no name, do you have an ingredients list?
What do you feed her & how long has she eaten it? Including treats, please.
Do you use a topical flea product? Are you in an area w/fleas? It's imperative to rule this out, first.....One flea can trigger a reaction if your dog is allergic to fleas!
Is all this seasonal or year round?
Do you use fabric softener on her linens?
Let me know & I'll get back with you.......Karla
For the shampoo and conditioner, I use products from Tropiclean. I use the medicated oatmeal shampoo and their Oxymed medicated conditioner "ultra soothing." Both contain oatmeal and salicylic acid. I must use both. If I just use the shampoo, she itches but if I use them both together as directed, we can usually sleep at night.
The ear solution for cleaning is called Epi-Otic by Virbac. It says that the active ingredient is salicylic acid as well.
I don't use a topical flea product. I know most would frown upon that, but she had a reaction to revolution as a puppy (when we had to give it for the ear mites she picked up from her breeder as a baby). I haven't dared use anything else since. I don't think we have fleas... we'd be able to see them, right? I haven't seen any.
The itching is indeed year-round.
Yes, I have been using a fabric softener. I didn't think about that - it might be causing problems.
I bathe her once every 2 or 3 weeks. I'm afraid of doing it too often but not often enough. This seems to be a pretty good balance for her.
The skin condition is obviously chronic... but do you think that's what's causing this bizarre ear problem? I am afraid of going in and paying a vet to tell me that nothing's wrong... I'm also afraid of not going in when I should. She's scratched a couple of times this morning, but nothing too crazy. I just don't know what to do anymore!!
I forgot to add that I feed her a mixture of Bil Jac and Natural Balance's sweet potato and bison. The problem is, she won't eat the Natural Balance (naturally, since it's allergy-friendly). Also, my husband always sneaks her something from the table. I could just about pop him on the head for it and I explain the associated problems but he gives into her all the time. :-s
Oh dear heavens what's wrong with me? I am sorry I'm packing to move and I'm just very distracted right now.
We give her the Bil Jac "Little Jac" treats for when she goes to the bathroom and we also give her the sweet potato sticks with chicken wrapped around them once a a day. Every now and again, she eats a DentaStick.
does she eat the Bil Jack frozen or bagged dry (If so, which one)? Has she eaten this her whole life? Has she also had the Bil Jack treats her whole life?
What's the brand name of the sweet potato treats?
Do you have access to shop online and shipped somewhere else since your moving? If not, I'll have to change my plan of attack! :) Let me know....Karla
P.S. If I had to move right now, I'd shoot myself! I understand completely!!!!!
She eats the dry bagged food - "Small Breed Adult."
She's been on it for... oh, maybe a year and a half so most of her life. Yes, she has definitely had the Little Jac treats all her life.
The brand of the sweet potato/chicken treats is "Canyon Creek Ranch." I cringe giving those to her because they're made in China (and I've been told not to give treats that are made in China) but even at the organic pet store we have, most everything is made in China. Ugh!
Buying online could be a bit tricky at the moment, but I could have something shipped to a family member who could probably get it to me.
Do you think this ear problem is just another symptom of an allergy? Her ears are getting red and swollen again. I just may have to take her in. This stinks!
Oh, I forgot to let you know that I've had her on salmon oil for about a year. I thought it was helping with the itching for a while but it seems to have stopped.
Hi Ashley, IMO, your dog is being poisoned by the food & treats you are feeding.....I also suspect a Yeast Infection going on.....I have spent alot of time looking at ingredient lists for all your products!
The shampoo & conditioner look good, but unless your dog has dandruff or dry scales, there is no need for salicylic acid....This chemical is used to burn warts off...Also, they both (If I remember correctly) have fragrance in them.....That is a NO-No for skin conditions......What I feel you do need is a medicated shampoo for Bacteria AND Fungus.....Your Vet will sell one or you can get it online....If you need some names, I'll help you...
Next: The ears.....Now, if what your rubbing off is moist & sticky, then it's Yeast.....If these scales are dry and can be pulled off in one piece, then I believe it's a chemical burn......Again, we're back to the salicylic acid......People like your ear cleaner because it's one of the few that does not contain alcohol...(Very rare). However, there's something in it that's burning your girl's ears...As with all burns, the skin peels off & it's bright pink underneath! There is ONE product that no house with a dog, should be without.....It's called: Zymox Otic Solution....It's an OTC ear drop that's made for chronic ear Infections & Yeast Infections of the ear.....I like the one with hydocortizone for itching plus you can use it everyday for life if you need...It's an amazing product & doesn't cost an arm & Leg! My Vet sells it, but I buy online for half the price...I buy mine from EntirelyPets.com....Have shopped there for many years.....They will also sell a good Anti-Bacterial/Anti-Fungal Shampoo for half the price of what your Vet will charge...I buy mine there, also.....
Next: You MUST get her off the food & treats she's eating......Bil Jack is an extremely low quality product (One of the lowest)....I have counted 5 ingredients in the dry food that cause allerigies & 2 more ingredients that are toxins....One is known to cause cancer & seizures, yet still used in inferior pet food as preservatives.....Your treats (Bil0Jack) are even worse...The same toxins plus more & full of sugar....This is a huge red flag....Sugar is put in these products to get the dog addicted...Otherwise, they wouldn't eat anything in either one of these items....ALso, your dry kibble is sprayed with used grease (Usually leftovers from restaurants like Mac Donalds) in order to get the dog to eat it...Otherwise again, they would not touch it!
Your sweet potato/chicken treats are making dogs ill all over the US...Many are dying.....DO NOT FEED them!
I'll be Back w/ what to feed your girl, including treats.............Karla
Well, I just came back to report what has been going on.
You were right - it was a yeast infection. I did some research online trying to find the differences in symptoms between bacterial and yeast infections. Of course, the only REAL way to tell for sure is to get tested, but I was feeling desperate. One of the main symptoms in differentiating between yeast and bacteria is if the ears are peeling. Her ears were peeling profusely and there wasn't black wax or smell. I also noticed little yellow crusty things (gross). I made her a vet appointment for Friday (yesterday) but while I was waiting to get in, I decided to try an experiment. A friend of mind (former vet tech) told me that it is safe to use Monistat in a dog's ears because the main ingredient is the same thing that the vet gives for yeast infections. Keep in mind that if I would have tried to treat for a bacterial infection, gave an antibiotic and it was actually a yeast problem, the yeast infection could have gotten worse. It's okay (according to her) to treat for yeast without knowing for sure.
Anyway, I bought Monistat one (name brand). I put it in her ears just where I could see - I didn't shove it down her ear canal or anything. The first night she slept and in the morning, she started scratching again so I figured it wasn't working and I cleaned it out. This was on Thursday. On Friday, I noticed she hadn't been scratching. About 2 hours before her appointment, I looked at her ears and there was NO redness or swelling. The infection was apparently GONE! Here it is on Saturday late afternoon and still no scratching and her ears are back to normal! HOLY COW!
As for what you're telling me about her food - I'm totally freaking out right now. I had NO idea that I was poisoning her. This makes me angry and it's disgusting. I was told that Bil Jac was a decent store brand. Please tell me - what else should I be giving her? Is Innova a good brand? I've heard it is too but apparently I can't trust what I'm hearing. Thank you for telling me this - you're probably saving my dog's life!!!
How do you know all of this? You are a true saint for helping me out!
This is from dogfoodscoop.com: There are many resources that rate foods, but they all say basically the same thing......
The worst foods on the market:
Bad Dog Food List
Bad Dog Foods 0 Scoops
Here, you will find our Bad Dog Food List. These commercial dog food brands are, in our opinion, the worst dog foods on the market!
We give them a disgusted 0 Scoops!
Our personal recommendation is that you take a good look at these dog food names and memorize them.
Now! Tuck your tail between your legs and run for the hills!
See here for a glimpse of what really goes on behind the commercial dog food industry.
These dog foods contain the worst dog food ingredients you will find! They are comprised mainly of by-products; carcinogenic flavors and preservatives; cheap, unhealthy fillers, and ... Heaven only knows what else!
In addition, we have no respect for the philosophy of these pet food companies. In our opinion, they are clearly dedicated to their bottom line with a total disregard for the health and well-being of our beloved furry companions.
They are truly a far cry from the best dog foods available!
It is highly unlikely that any of these awful supermarket brands on our list of Bad Dog Foods will be carried or recommended by any respectable, independent dog food store.
Worst Dog Food Rating - Zero Scoops!
THE VERY WORST DOG FOODS ON THE MARKET
Abady Dog Food
Alpo Dog Food
Beneful Dog Food
Bil Jac Dog Food
Diamond Dog Food (Plain, Regular Formula)
Good Life Recipe
Iams Dog Food
Kasco Dog Food
Kibbles 'n Bits Dog Food
Ol' Roy Dog Food
Pedigree Dog Food
Purina Pro Plan Dog Food
Purina One Dog Food
Science Diet Dog Food
Tuffy's Dog Food
Next: Here's a list of the Very best foods on the market:
The Top Recommended Dog Food Brands
Rated 5 Scoops!
Here's our 5 Scoop list of the best dog foods ranked!
We consider these among the best commercial dog food brands on the market.
We found that not only are these the top recommended dog food brands by experts and dog nutritionists -- but they also appear consistently as the best rated dog food brands on various consumer reports on dog food.
So! What do the top recommended dog food brands all have in common? In a nutshell, the following:
All natural, human grade dog food ingredients.
Hormone and antibiotic free dog food ingredients.
No by-products whatsoever.
They offer a high protein dog food choice.
Quality grains and no cheap and nasty fillers.
Void of harmful chemicals, preservatives or additives.
Ready! In alphabetical order, here's our pick of the best rated dog food brands on the market ...
Best Dog Foods Ranked 5 Scoops
Acana Dog Food
Addiction Dog Food
Artemis Dog Food
Back to Basics Dog Food
BLUE Dog Food
Eagle Pack Dog Food
Evangers Dog Food
Fromm Dog Food
GO Natural Dog Food
Honest Kitchen Dog Food
Horizon Legacy Dog Food
Nature's Variety Instinct Dog Food
Merrick Dog Food
**** Van Patten - Natural Balance Dog Food
ORGANIX (Castor and Pollux)
Orijen Dog Food
Party Animal (Canned Only)
Nature's Variety Prairie
Solid Gold Dog Food
Taste of the Wild Dog Food
Timberwolf Dog Food
Wellness Dog Food
Weruva Dog Food (Canned Dog Food Only)
Wysong Dog Food
ZiwiPeak Dog Food
Hi Ashley......The Natural Balance is a very good food...I don't think you have to feed any of their limited ingredient/hypoallergenic diets, but you DO want to stay with their GRAIN-Free foods.....
Now, your girl is going to give you trouble with these good foods......She's use to junk food!!! This would be like offering a child a cupcake or a plate of veggies...Of course they want the cupcake! Same thing goes for your dog & she's going to be stubborn! Here's what to do:
Personally, I'd get a couple of CANS of Natural Balance Food (Any flavor)......Not only does she need the moisture in her diet (For Life), but also more tasty.....Do Not Free feed...Offer her 1/4 Cup of dry with a few teaspoons of Wet mixed in.....Set it down for 20 Minutes.....If she doesn't eat it, take it back up and try again in the evening.....NO dog will starve them selves!!!! This might take 2-3 days and your going to Panic, but hang in there......
For treats: Any of the Natural Balance Treats are wonderful....They make bisquit types & meat types.....My favorite is the LAMB Rounds......They're in a blue package.....They're disks/discs of lamb jerky.....About 2 inches round......They're hard & make great chews, but very healthy...She'll like them! My dogs like raw baby carrots & sliced apples......3 of them will eat a banana, but one will spit them out! She's my stubborn one.. ;) They love watermelon & cantaloupe......
Other things you can offer if she's not eating......A small bowl of Unsalted beef or chicken broth, cottage cheese or small bowl of unflavored yogurt.....All yummy & healthy!
She should eat 2 small meals a day.....Table scraps are fine as long as they are NOT fried, No fat, No seasoning......Any baked or broiled meat or veggies & fruit can be added to her bowl whenever you have them......NO Onions!
Now about the products: I'm hoping you can get these online for her:
#1 and most important- The Zymox Otic Eardrops W/Hydrocortisone.....Small bottle is $12.00...There is no better product on the market for ears, I promise...
#2 - An Anti-bacterial/Anti fungal (Yeast) Shampoo- Here's three good ones:
Chlora Seb Antiseptic Shampoo- 12oz..for $15.00
Malaseb Shampoo- 250ml for $20.00
Zymox Medicated Shampoo -12 oz for $12.00
Vet Universal Medicated Shampoo (My Favorite)- 16 oz. for $15.00
These prices are from Entirely Pets.com.....This is where I order from...Here's a coupon code to save 10%...That will help..
Coupon code: (sca10)......I hope you can get these 2 items......
Next: She needs to be on a good probiotic...There are thousands & I don't trust most of them....The easiest for you to find is "PEARLS" Acidophilus....You can get it at Wal-mart, Wal-greens or most pharmacies....
They will be in a blue box in the vitamin section....30 to a box, I believe.....
They are tiny little probiotic pills to fight Yeast from the inside, also.....She will need 1 pill every other day for 60-90 days...If she gets constipated, give 1 every 3 days......This is a must in order to heal her.....
OK, I think I'm done......Let me know what you think.....ANy of those foods listed (On the Best list) will be fine for her.......You also need to rotate foods every now & then for many reasons.....She should not have to eat the same food day in and day out for life.....I wouldn't want to either !!! ;)
Ashley, Something else: Don't be surprised if you see detox symptoms in your girl......This is natural & a good thing! You may notice worse ear symptoms, diarrhea, mucus in stool, casing or coating on the stool, itchier skin, peeling skin or dandruff.....Do not be alarmed....Again, hang in there, it's only the body getting rid of the old toxins and enjoying the new found health!
Please, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.....Keep us updated on her progress.....If you follow the above post, you'll have a new dog in a month, I promise........Karla
P.S. When/if you get the shampoo, I want you to bathe her once a week for 2 weeks...If she's better, wait 2 weeks and bathe again.....Then once a month or less......The instructions for the ear ointment are on the bottle...It's an all natural product & cannot be overused! Bye
You have no idea how right you are! haha! Lucy is currently on a hunger strike right now, demanding the return of her carcinogenic cupcakes (a.k.a. Bil Jac)!!! I am glad you suggested the wet food. I'm going to go pick up some today.
Another thing I didn't know is that adults can eat wet food. I've been told that the dry food is better because it helps keep their teeth clean. I supposed a combination of both would be ideal.
About two years ago, my three-year-old shih tzu unexpectedly passed away from a seizure. We raced her to the ER vet having no idea what was wrong and by the time we arrived, she had already passed away. She and I were very, very close - it was tragic and I still get teary-eyed about it today. It frightens me to know that I could have caused this by feeding her Bil Jac. That is so heartbreaking! :(
Thank you again for all of your help here. Seriously, you've saved me a whole lot of grief. I can only hope that other pet owners have the opportunity to read up on the important information that you've given me!
Hey Ashley...I woke up this morning and thought of your Lucy & wondered how she's doing? Hope all is well & she's better by now....Let me know when you can, please......Thank you & have a wonderful day! Karla
Are you still out there? How have you been? Thanks for thinking of us. We are now on our third bladder infection in less than a year. Every time we treat the bladder infection, her ears become infected (with yeast, thanks to the antibiotics). I am going CRAZY!
I just went to Petco today and bought Natural Balance's LID foods ONLY - I think the underlying problem here is a food allergy. I guess even the regular Natural Balance food is too much for her. Of course, a vet would be happy to confirm this at a gazillion dollars per allergy test, but I have LITERALLY spent THOUSANDS of dollars in vet bills in the last two years on my young dog. After allergies are confirmed, they usually mix up a cocktail of allergens, expose them to her over and over again in a series of shots, hoping to desensitize her while putting her life at risk, taking all of my money and likely not curing anything as a result. I'd rather go another route.
I hate to say this, but I'm starting to not trust veterinarians anymore. They never seem to cure anything and they charge exorbitant fees. I know it's a business but still, I'm paying a pretty penny and getting nothing but recurring infections in return. Don't people go into the field because they love animals? At what point do they lose sight of their goals to help animals and worship the almighty dollar?
Do you happen to know anything about holistic treatments of UTIs for dogs? I'm sure they don't work if they exist but I am so tired of feeling like I'm poisoning her system and killing off her good bacteria. I'm also worried she and/or the bacteria are going to start building up a tolerance and the medication will one day become ineffective. Afterward, like I said, we end up having to give her miconazole for ear infections, which is not good for her, either.
This poor dog is only 2 years old and has never been without an ailment. I strongly believe that this is all stemming from allergies. Her fish oil gets her itching under control but it is obviously much more deeply rooted in her system. I'm going crazy!! :-s
My 6 year old shih tzu suffer from yeast infection since he was two year old. I paid thousands of dollar to the vet specialize in skin disease. At the end, when he is off the medication the yeast infection was back. When I call them to renew his medication prescription the vet told me I have to bring him back for testing again because they haven't seen him for a year. To run those tests, meds, shampoo, and a visit to the specialist used to cost me +$1000/per visit. I'm not rich but I love my dog. Since then, I stop bringing my dogs in to the vet except to get their rabies shot because it is illegal not to in Canada.
I feed my dogs raw food now, coconut oil and use oregano oil for his ear infection. I feed him ingredients such as chicken, lamb, beef, veggies, chia seed, extra virgin olive oil, flex seed, fish oil, egg, yogurt, coconut oil, and etc. I mix it up and freeze the food in portions. I give them raw bone to clean their teeth. No more kibbles! You would have to do more research on the ingredients you can feed your dog. I just listed a fews here. My local butch ground up chicken bone with the meat, duck with bone, beef and heart, and he sells it by the pound. I would mix the meat with the other ingredients and feed them. e.g., Monday I feed them chicken, Tuesday they get duck and etc so they don't get bored.
I follow Doctor Karen Becker - she is vet who believe in holistic approach.
Here is some links that will aid your research on finding a cure for your lucy.
Ashley, you need to get your girl on a moisture rich diet, if you haven't already.....That would include NO dry kibble, ever! You might want to look into "The Honest Kitchen" dehydrated raw.....Visit their websight...They sell samples that make 1 lb. of food or smaller taste test samples. If nothing else, go read what they have to say on their page....Lots of good information about nutrition.....
I have fed Honest Kitchen for many years.......Let us know how she's doing......Karla
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