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Avatar universal

Skin problem

My dog is a small sized sheltie, he is 12 years old, he is very active, has a good appetite and generally in good health, loves walks, food etc.

The problem is his skin (see the photos in this link: http://imgur.com/a/vVsk0), its gotten scaly in lots of places, we have been to the vet several times, but it keep sgetting worse. The doc gave a steroid based cream, which inhibits the spread, but does not make it go away.

He shampoos with a medicated shampoo as well - Sebazole.

His food is boiled sweet potato and tialpia fish with a pinch of salt. He eats twice a day, no snacks etc. except apples every once in a while. No scraps etc. He has been on this diet for a while now.

He has been tested for a fungal infection - came out negative, mites etc. nothing came up. The only other possibility is environmental allergy, but its weird for it to come up all of a sudden.

The scaly skin issue has been around for a few months now and I have no ideas what to do now.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
13 Responses
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. I've looked at the photos and other than the obvious (things your vet seems to have dealt with already), I have no idea what it might be, though it does look like an allergy to something. On the subject of his diet - and since the vast majority of allergies are due to diet - I would certainly question the tialpia fish and added salt. I am of course assuming firstly the fish is cooked, not raw. Tialpia when farmed feed on the waste products including faeces of the other fish being farmed, so this would certainly be my first suspect. Try changing the diet to something else, such as a little cooked chicken and boiled white rice, just for a few days or a week and see what happens.

Dogs really need a varied diet, so just feeding potatoes is not enough. They contain a reasonable amount of nutrients, but the nutrients they contain are not all the nutrients a dog needs.

Dogs should also never (to my knowledge) be given additional salt as it is a toxic substance to both dogs and cats and can lead to sodium ion poisoning. I doubt this is connected to the skin condition, but it is worth addressing nonetheless.

Is there a reason you chose this particular diet?

If it is an environmental allergy, you will need to clear the decks of chemicals used for cleaning floors, carpets, etc., and just use simple chemical-free cleaning methods (vacuum for carpets, magic-cloths with just water for hard floors). I would also suggest disposing of the current doggy bed - or wash at a high temperature (more than 50 degrees) using non-bio washing powder and double rinse it to be free of all soaps when dry.

When did you or your vet last treat your dog for fleas/worms? This is best done once a year. If you haven't done this in the last year, I would definitely consult your vet and arrange for it to be done. Some mites are very hard to spot and could easily be missed.

Did your vet take a skin scrape? This would help identify if mites are involved.

Avatar universal
Hi Tony,

Thank you for your reply, my dog was on a chicken and rice diet, which was then thought to be an allergen and switched to beef and rice, which was better for a while and then some skin issues came back, so the vet advised to switch to fish and sweet potatoes instead, he got better again for a while and now the skin issue is back.

The vet took a skin scrape etc. and it all came out negative. Adding a pinch of salt was also advised by the vet, thought process being all animals need salt to some extent, even the pre-made dog food comes with some salt in it, so we were advised to include it into the diet.

Will have the worms thing looked into, might be worth to run an allergen test, though its fairly broad and generic (I saw a sample report) and doesn't really help a lot, since everyone is allergic to something or the other to some degree, figuring out the root cause of the dogs current state is proving to be very difficult though.

Thanks for the help and your thoughts!
974371 tn?1424656729
Skin problems can be so difficult to diagnose.
I had Shelties for years they can have DM, Dermatomyocitis, which is an inherited, genetic skin condition.  However, I didn't check the photo and, due to the age of your dog, it probably is not.
You said the Vet did skin scrapings which were negative.
Shelties can be prone to thyroid problems and hypothyroidism can cause these symptoms.  I suggest you ask your Vet to run a thyroid panel just to check.
Avatar universal
I will get the hypothyroidism checked out, seems to be worth a shot.
1916673 tn?1420236870

I think this could be quite a problem to try and resolve, but thyroid check is certainly worth doing, even if all it does is discount it in the end. I was interested in you saying after a change of diet twice, things improved albeit slightly, then got worse again. I think there's more than a chance this is food related. The problem is going to be to find out what the allergy is and a patch test should point you in the right direction. Tony
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi again. Not sure if this that I found is relevant or not, but perhaps worth thinking about and bringing up with your vet, just to try to reduce the possible things that may be causing this ... "Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, and cayenne peppers are classified as nightshade foods. A particular group of substances in these foods, called alkaloids, can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in animals and humans, and may also be able to compromise joint function. Because the amount of alkaloids is very low in nightshade foods when compared with other nightshade plants, health problems from nightshade foods may only occur in individuals who are especially sensitive to these alkaloid substances. Since cooking only lowers alkaloid content of nightshade foods by about 40-50%, highly sensitive individuals may want to avoid this category of food altogether, while non-sensitive individuals may be able to eat these foods, especially in cooked form, without problem."

Sweet potatoes are a slightly different family of plants, but still considered to be in the Nightshade group.

Avatar universal
Thanks again Tony, I gave the vet a call and asked about the thyroid thing, she said that the hairloss pattern was not in line with  thyroid issue, but we can test it out to eliminate it, will do this over the weekend. If that comes up negative as she suspects...then... gonna hv a bald flaky dog soon, poor guy, I feel bad for him.
462827 tn?1333172552
This looks like a vitamin/mineral, Omega 3 oil (Fatty Acids) definency to me.....Your food is not a balanced diet.....Karla
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi Karla.

Yes, I said the same at the start of this thread ... 'Dogs really need a varied diet, so just feeding potatoes is not enough. They contain a reasonable amount of nutrients, but the nutrients they contain are not all the nutrients a dog needs.'

I was also concerned about the additional salt and the Tialpia fish.

974371 tn?1424656729
Yes, could definitely be diet and Omega 3 would not be a bad idea to try.

Years ago, many of us Sheltie" people used to use a product called Orozyme with good results.  Not even sure they sell it any more.

I would still rule out possible thyroid.
Avatar universal

Everyone, thank you for your help, we ran a SNAP Dx TT4 test and it turned out a result of 11nmol/L while a low count is <13nmol/L, he has been started on Thyoxine, not going to make other switches at this time, but will look to vary things if his skin improves in 30 days when the next visit is due.

He also is being given some anti-itch medication and anti-biotics to help with the skin in the short term.

I am aso applying a solution of P. Glycol 70% twice a day to help with the dandruff.

Thank you once again for pointing me the right direction, will start him on multi-vits too.
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi again. That's good news. Let us know how things go and if his skin improves (fingers crossed). I would still spend some time researching the diet he's on and make some changes over the course of the next few weeks. Regards, Tony
Avatar universal
I sure will, all the diet changes from earlier on may have been not required perhaps given the underlying condition developing, so his diet can be re-thought once the situation settles a bit.

Thanks for the advice!
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