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Avatar universal

GSD severe skin allergies

My 5 1/2 y/o german shepherd has severe skin allergies.  We have been going to a dermatologist who has done the allergy testing, multiple rounds of various antibiotics and steroids.  Then he developed MRSA and was placed on injectible antibiotic.  Once the round of injectible antibiotics were done and the steroids finished, he developed severe itching, blackened skin and hair loss on the underside of his body.  He has been tested and is negative for food allergies only grasses and molds which he receives weekly injections for this.  Are there any other NON medication routes that can be tried to keep my furry kid comfortable during this very bad allergy season (we are in Western PA)?  I am open to any and all suggestions.  Besides his severe discomfort, the possible future side effects of all of the medication on his system and the expense are concerns.  His well-being is first with me.  I am willing to try whatever to get him relief.  Help?????
13 Responses
942557 tn?1272698419
My Bulldog takes Atopica for his allergies.It has worked really well for him.Just like what all you have done,we did the same for him and then we finally found this med.Sometimes if he has a flare-up we will give him steroids every other day for a week or so and then he is fine.Ask your vet about trying it for your furbaby.Atopica is actually Cyclosporine.It is a really good med for conditions like you are describing.It is a capsule taken daily for 30 days and then every other day and then 2-3 times a week.Good luck and take care.I hope this helps you out.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your thoughts.  Do you give your dog allergy shots in addition to the Atopica?  My doggie dermatologist had suggested Atopica aftr we get through this latest skin crisis.  Have you seen any side effects from the Atopica?  I read some of a literature and am really concerned about the side effects.  I am a health care provider so with what I call "a little medical knowledge" I am always concerned about the long term effects of all of these medications.  But the more I read and hear from dog lovers/owners like yourself, this is all we can do for our furry kids is to manage the skin issues and pray for the best down the road.  Thanks again for your reply, I appreciate it
746512 tn?1388811180
Omega 3 fish oil has really helped me personally with my allergies and asthma (it's helping more than 50mg of prednisone did!  especially for the muscous build up I've had).  

It would be worth a try adding some to your dog's food, there are many good brands out there and all large pet stores should carry them.  Otherwise the people gel caps could be opened and squeezed on the food.

I also have many customers that use the fish oil for their pets and have great success with everything from dry itchy skin to GI upset to allergies, even when the pets are on a high fish dry food like acana, orijen or go natural.  
Avatar universal
Thanks for the suggestion of Omega 3 fish oil.  I have read that is a good supplement but didn't know if it would be good for my dog.  It is definitely worth a try.  Thanks
462827 tn?1333172552
Although you stated that he has NO food allergies, I wonder if he may be allergic to a chemical that's in his food? Have you tried a grain free diet? I'm thinking that possibly his other reactions to Grasses & Molds would be less severe...Just a thought...Karla
Avatar universal
Hi Deb,
Hmm.. I am deb also and my favorite breed is the gsd, we must be kindred spirits. ;o) I just signed up on this medhelp thing and was browsing the FAQ's and saw your post. I am not a medical professional anybody. But I do have many years af experience with rescues, fosters and my own animals. I work at a natural pet food and supply store here in Silverdale Washington. check out www.naturally4paws.com
We see a similiar story come thru our doors ALL the time, so I will offer you the same guidance I'd give one of our customers.

First, all these allergy tests are not always super accurate.
What have you and are you now feeding your pup? In spite of the test results, this is important.

Corn, wheat and soy are currently the 3 biggest allergy triggers. You also want to watch out for the words by product on the label. By products is a topic by itself and it's quite discgusting what companies will put in pet food and sell just to make a buck.

He needs to be on a GRAIN FREE diet. Raw food is a controversial topic but I can tell you with all that I have read and all that I have exprienced, as soon as I can afford it, (when hubby retires from the Navy in 9 mo and gets a civilian job) all 4 of my dogs will go on a raw diet. It is simply the most natural way for them to eat if they are not out catching their own food.

Look up a company called Natures Variety and read about their raw food. Also, Columbia River and Primal.

If you can't go raw then find a grain free kibble and canned foods. It is even helpful to give a raw meal even just 2-3 x pr week. Go to www.dogfoodanalysis.com
Lots of good info there. We won't carry anything on the 1 & 2 star list because of the ingredients.

Also, the blackened skin and some of what you describe sounds like a yeast imbalance. Honestly, the conventionally trained vets don't recognize what it is unless the yeast is in the ear. Go to www.Nzymes.com
They have a product line specifically for a yeast imbalance. It is necesary enzymes and supplements missing from his food and digestive system. And I can tell you from experience that all the drugs in the world will not help with a yeast problem, in fact, it just really really makes it worse. I have a foster dog now who I've had for 6 months. Buddy was bald in large areas, stinky, greasy skin and coat yet had massive , thick amounts of dry skin flakes at the same time. He had chewed and itched himself raw in some places. He was soooo miserable. I knew the minute I saw him that if it wasn't liver or thyroid issues causing the skin problem, that it was just a poor diet. He had been seized from a neglect/abuse situation. I'm happy to say that Buddy is in glorious full coat now. He is a border collie mix and has a beautifully shiny, long coat and a thick, full tail! I think he might be mixed with a flat coated retriever by the way he looks. I immediatly switched Buddy to a grain free kibble and canned food. I put him on Evo by Natura. My other 5 animals are all on Orijen by Champion pet foods. I put Buddy on the Nzymes.com products for yeast imblance when the holistic vet told me that that funky odor was yeast. Buddy also had oozing between his toes and a yeast infection in his left ear.

Check out 2 books I swear by and recommend to people all the time.
1) The Nature of Healing by Dr Martin Goldstein DVM &
2) Dr. Pitcairns guide to Natural Health of dogs and cats by Dr Richard Pitcairn DVM and PhD. Both vets were trained conventionlly but unhappy with the limits to the care they were seeing in thier practices and went to holistic methods.

When you switch you pup over to a grain free diet and get him on the Nzymes products for the yeast, you will be amazed at the difference it will make. Some animals respond quicker than others so be patient. Buddy responded quickly.

Sorry so long but hope this is helpful info for you.
Good Luck,
1142422 tn?1275335800
Hi I have a shitzu bichon cross that has allergies all his life.  I have spent more than I know on finding the right food.  We realized that almost all dry food must have a preservative that he is allergic to.  He was on steroids and which cause other health concerns (do not recommend).  He was then diagnoised with Diabetes which was making his skin more sensitive also.  We got the diabetes controled, and got allergy testing done.  I know they say that he is not allergic to food, but I would try a different food anyway.  I recommend Medi-Cal Vegetarian by Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Only, as dry still has preservative he was allergic to.  This has no wheat in it.  He also was tested by Spectrum Labs in Arizona and they make him his own vial of allergy shot medication that he gets once a month (maintenance dose).  For seasonal allergies he also get Claritan and or Chlorpheniramine Maleate.  Claritan seems to be better for seasonal allergies for him and the other for food allergies.  The combination of better food, the injections, diabetes control, MOJO is like a new dog.  (He was also allergic to Fish Oil and his food has Omega 3 Flax as the source of healthy fats for his coat as an alternative).  NOTE:  Rawhide chews cause hugh flare ups for allergic pets and it can take four months or better to get any food allergy under control.  I believe you problem may be a combination of a few things going on.  Also I would put your dog on Pro-Biotic Acidophilus to help with the yeast problem, it aids in a healthy digestion.
Hope this helps.
Mojo's Mom
Avatar universal
My Australian Working kelpie developed bad itching last March. By Aug of last year he was eating hotspots into himself. He calmed a lot in winter and so far, he's still not too bad, but there is minor itching.

Many holistic groups feel the source of itching is issues with the gut; an imbalance of gut flora or perforations in the intestines which allow toxins or proteins not fully digested, to "leak" into the blood and lymphatic systems.

Also there is a feeling that due to undigested proteins, some food reactions may be a part of skin allergies; or that they may encourage the allergies. I did a nutriscan test at www.hemopet.com. It tests immunoglobulins in the saliva, not the blood. So it's not a test for "True" food allergies which typically manifest in regular bouts of diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, burping or farting. It tests for low level chronic food intolerance, which often causes itching. At least that's the theory.

My dog tested reactive to corn, soy, millet, barley, cow's milk, chicken, turkey , whitefish and DEER! He already is on the raw meaty bone diet and gets no carbs. Now I am removing those other meats to see what happens. I hear results can take awhile. I do know that this spring promises to have more allergens than the last, yet he seems to be better this March. Knock on wood.

Just sharing my experiences. The test is expensive but might be worth a shot. Dr. Jean Dodds patented the test. Overall she is held in high regard but, like probably any vet, does have some detractors. You have to decide what is best and what you believe. I wish you luck!
Avatar universal
P.S. I do also use a probiotic twice a day, but without food.
I can't shove pills down his throat so I do put it in the tiniest bit of goat's milk yogurt. Dr. Dodds says the milk test was for cow's milk.

I hear goat milk kefir does wonders for digestion and plain should have nearly zero sugars! I may give it a go for my dog, and myself!  
Avatar universal
Deb, just curious. When you used the Nzymes products did you buy the entire yeast kit or just one or two products, such as the Oxy Drops?

Did you have to keep buying them forever or for awhile? I know every dog is different and I would do anything for my boy, but at the same time, realistically, this stuff is expensive and I am wary of quack products, which I would bet you can understand.  :)

874521 tn?1424120397
Hi....you are trying to ask deb5863 a question but the thread she posted on is 2 yrs old and I don't think deb is on the forum any longer. Nor is there a Vet on this forum. If I were you I would repost a new question by clicking on the link below to MHelps Expert Forum, where Dr. Redford will give you a reply..good luck♥

Avatar universal
Oh for Pete's sake! LOL! Thank you!
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