I would like to get an expert opinion on a potential auto-immune disorder. Since the day after receiving a large group of vaccinations at 1 year old, my dog has had varying symptoms listed below, with the most frequent being bacterial folliculitis. We have seen two different dermatologists and several general practitioner veterinarians with no luck. The only treatment besides long-term antibiotics that has helped his bacterial folliculitis is frequent bathing with medicated shampoo. After four years of these symptoms, I am convinced that the root cause of them is an auto-immune disorder. The question, of course, is which one? (Right now he has a bloody, peeling nose and the vet says it's cage nose, which just isn't possible.) Thank you in advance!
Here are his symptoms, present on and off for 4 years:
- chronic bacterial folliculitis, responsive to antibiotics
- frequent ear infections, mainly yeast-based
- blackening/thickening of the underarms
- frequent yeast infections of the skin - mostly underarms and groin (generally a symptom of the folliculitis)
- peeling nose, revealing bloody sores
- hyperactivity and compulsiveness
- agression towards other dogs
- patchy hair loss
- round, raised flat bump on mouth - size of a dime, went away with topical cream
- strange growths on paws, went away with topical cream and foot soak
- weight gain, despite dieting and frequent exercise
Things that have helped:
- long-term antibiotics for folliculitis
- frequent bathing with Duoxo shampoo prevents the folliculitis
- cleaning and drying ears frequently cut down on ear infections, plus using vetromycin when symptoms appear
Things that have not helped:
- full allergy testing and allergy shots
- staph lysate shots
- varied topical treatments
Hello Mamapants3, I would be glad to try to get to the bottom of this problem for your poor dog but could you answer a few questions for me and post some lab work?
Has he ever been tested for Lupus, Pemphigus, hypothyroid diseases or any tick borne diseases?
Is your dog neutered? Is so, at what age was he neutered?
Has he ever been tested for food or environmental allergies?
And last, Could you post most recent blood work including thyroid, if performed?
Dr. Aleda Cheng
Thank you for your response! He is being tested for discoid lupus and hypothyroid disorder (as of today) and I will know more when those results come back. As far as I know, he has never had a flea or a tick and we do not live in an area where these are common. He is neutered and was neutered at 6 months.
He had a full panel of allergy testing and he has mild seasonal allergies that I'm sure exacerbate the problem, but are not the cause.
To follow up on the above, his T4 was 2.1 and therefore normal, and his bloodwork all came back completely normal. His nose is being biopsied next week to test for lupus and pemphigus.
I am sure I'm missing something, as these symptoms must be related. I find it hard to believe that he just happens to have all of these symptoms of an auto-immune disorder without actually having an auto-immune disorder. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
It does sound as if your dog has an autoimmune disease or diseases which could be due to over vaccination.
Vaccinosis is a disease that occurs from over-vaccination and can include many of your dog's problems. Vaccinosis though still a controversial topic with traditional veterinarian's is a recognized phenomenon in the holistic vet community. Your dog may have had congenital predispositions to Atopy (skin allergy) and other issues but these could certainly be exacerbated by over vaccination. If you are able to contact your dog's breeder please do so and ask about history of Atopy in his siblings and parents.
If you live in a city there may not be much exposure to Lyme and other tick borne diseases, but, tick borne infections are ubiquitous in the environment and your dog should be tested regardless since anything that could further decrease his immune system must be addressed.
If the hypothyroid and lupus tests are positive, than treatment for one or both of these will make a positive difference in your dog's skin and health. Hypothyroid treatment requires thyroid replacement therapy, which is a pill twice daily. It just means that he has an underactive thyroid. If he has lupus he should be placed on doxycycline or an equivalent antibiotic, niacinamide, and prednisone initially and then as required for occasional flare-ups. These must be given under a veterinarians care.
Regardless of the test results your dog's treatment regimen should include an extremely health anti-inflammatory diet, avoidance of allergens, if possible, allergy shots to all the identified allergens, medications, supplements, filtered purified water, and baths. Additional tests are also recommended. The protocol will be listed below.
Food Allergy Testing: Dr. Jean Dodds has a food allergy test which can be performed at home or at your vet's office. The test seems to be more helpful than food allergy tests of the past. I have used this test many times in my own patients with success. The following is the link to the test: http://nutriscan.org/
Once the food sensitivities are identified they must be eliminated from the diet. Your dog's diet must be free of all gluten and grains. An excellent one is "Soothe" by Pettao. Here is the Link: http://pettao.com/products/soothe/
You mentioned that your dog has been tested for environmental allergies. Some allergy testing companies are better than others. I use VARL testing and subsequent allergy injections to the identified allergens. Some patients have done very well with the allergy injections. Do your own investigation and then decide. Your dog requires help on all levels.
Recommendations as follows:
1. Diet, discussed above.
2. Water: must be chemical, bacteria and parasite-free purified water.
3. Continue with medicated baths.
4. Probiotics: A Human over the counter probiotics is fine, such as: Align, Digestive Advantage, Culturelle. Use twice a human dose daily with food.
5. Digestive enzymes: NaturVet Digestive Enzymes or equivalent (available online) this also contains probiotics. Your dog will probably need the additional probiotic.
6. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish, krill or algae sources. Human dose twice daily. The Algae source is most digestible.
7. Nettles. Eclectic Institute Inc Nettles Leaf is a good one (available online)
8. Thuja homeopathic 30c (available online). This is for all vaccine reactions except rabies. Give orally twice daily.
9. Lyssin 30c (aka Lyssinum, available online). This is for rabies vaccine reactions. Give orally once to twice daily
10. Blood Heat Formula available by prescription from Jing Tang Herbal Company. This is a Chinese Herbal Formula used for autoimmune disorders of the skin and is quite effective.
11. Steroids. This must be done under veterinary supervision. Steroids are given to try and stop the inflammatory process that has developed due to the vaccine reaction. Dr. Dodds recommends 6 weeks of steroids beginning with a high dose than tapering down gradually over time. Dr. Dodds dose is 0.5mg per pound twice daily for a couple of weeks than once daily for a couple of weeks than every other day.
Please research Dr. Dodds. She is a holistic vaccine and vaccinosis expert with a ton of research under her belt.
Lastly, I believe that trying to accomplishing all of this on your own would be overwhelming. Please seek an integrative veterinarian in your area for assistance. I can only give advice and recommendations without actually being able to actually seeing the patient. You can find a list of holistic vets by searching on the AHVMA web site: http://www.ahvma.org/Widgets/FindVet.html or http://www.tcvm.com/
The protocol I have given is an excellent one for vaccinosis and also for allergies. I think that it is advisable to pursue the allergy testing that I have listed and to give allergy shots if necessary. If your dog is only afflicted with allergies and does not have Lupus or other infections than he may also benefit from the medication Atopica. Which is for allergic skin disease.
Allergy treatment is daunting because there is no cure for allergies, and they require a lifetime of treatment.
Additionally, If your dog's problem is not related to vaccinosis than you will not need to give your dog Lyssin or Thuja but the rest of the protocol is appropriate for allergies. I have listed the protocol for Lupus already but to reiterate it is: doxycycline or equivalent, niacinamide (500mg) and prednisone.
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