My puppy Harvey is one year old, and ever since May he has had pretty bad allergies. From when he was a puppy we had him on blue buffalo chicken and rice large breed puppy and then he got bad itchy welts with diarrhea. Then we switched him to Zignature salmon (limited ingredient diet). That seemed to work for about a month or so, the welts came back, his hair started coming out and diarrhea also followed along with vomiting. We took him to the vet, chest and stomach xray came back normal, blood levels came back normal in his cbc and LFTs. They gave us a medicated shampoo, started him on Hill prescription zd and started him on steroids. Needless to say reading the ingredients on this hills I’m not overly impressed, seems like there is a lot of fillers and its 90$ a bag!!! I don’t mind paying if it works, but now it seems like his welts are back, he won’t eat the food unless we put sweat potatoes on top and his shampoo isn’t helping. I’m lost at what to do, every time he comes off steroids he gets the welts back. I don’t have enough money to keep taking him to the vet every few weeks for tests and drugs and food etc. I’m considering a raw diet possibly because every time we put him on the bland diet he is completely fine with no itching and welts and long term steroid use at his age scares me. Any advice is greatly appreciated! 🙂anonymouslyMember
It sounds like it could be environmental allergies which would have nothing to do with the food. If it has been going on for a while and the regular vet hasn’t been helpful I would suggest making an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist and see what diagnostic testing he recommends.
Have you used the search engine here?
Example: “If the symptoms have been going on for more than 1 year/4 seasons and have not responded in a significant way to treatment by a veterinarian. Consider making an appointment with a dermatologist”.
This subject comes at least once a week. People are reluctant to go to a specialist because they are concerned about the cost, and yet they end up spending much more going back and forth to the regular vet and trying all kinds of gobbledygook remedies.
excerpt below from: http://www.2ndchance.info/Apoquel.htm
“Food Allergies are probably over-diagnosed in dogs (they account for, perhaps 5-10%). Hypoallergenic diets are occasionally, but not frequently, helpful in canine atopy cases but you should always give them a try. Food intolerances are more common – but considerably more likely to result in digestive disturbances and diarrhea than in itching problems”.
Mail-in hair and saliva tests do not test for allergies and tend to be inaccurate. Food sensitivities fluctuate. Food allergies are rare.
Hope this helps:
By Klaus Loft, DVM
Angell Dermatology Service
Anyone who suffers debilitating environmental allergies tied to changing seasons, pet dander or household dust mites knows first-hand the misery of a scratchy throat, itchy eyes or painful rashes.
Not everyone knows, however, that our pets can experience similar allergic reactions — and other very bothersome dermatological issues. But our pets need not suffer in silence. Modern veterinary science has evolved such that advanced, comprehensive treatments are now available to treat a range of skin conditions.
Top pet dermatological issues
Our four-legged friends suffer from some of the same skin issues as we do — and several that we do not. The most common conditions we see at Angell include:
•Parasites, such as mites, fleas and mange (scabies)
•Infectious diseases, such as Staphylococcal pyoderma (“Staph”) skin infections, yeast and fungal infections and skin fold infections
•Systemic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases
•Skin cancer, such as Squamous cell carcinoma, cutaneous lymphoma, Mast cell tumors
•Allergies, such as flea allergy dermatitis, adverse food reactions, environmental allergies, etc.
All of these conditions can become serious and, if untreated, dramatically reduce quality of life. But the tremendous strides made in veterinary innovation, however, is very good news for our pets. Specifically, the testing and treatments for allergies now rivals human healthcare in its sophistication, quality of care and long-term health outcomes.
Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot tell us about their dermatological health issues. So we as pet owners must look for the signs. The most common indicators that a pet is suffering from some kind of allergy involve frequent episodes of ear infections, red raised or open sores on the skin, constant licking or biting of paws or groin — sometimes causing wounds that will not go away.
Allergies present a particular challenge because there can be hundreds (even thousands) of potential allergens that impact pet health, from foods to pollen from grasses, weeds, trees, dust mites and more. Today’s specialty veterinary hospitals have access to the very latest diagnostic tests to get to the bottom of what’s ailing our pet. Among these tests is the Intra Dermal Test (IDT).
IDT is generally considered the gold standard of testing for identifying allergens that cause pets to suffer from chronic skin and/or ear diseases. IDT involves injections of a series of concentrated allergens into the skin to determine which of them generate allergic reactions in a given animal. The use of fluorescein — a chemical that illuminates the inflammation caused by the injected allergens in order to visualize the strength of individual reactions — is key to accurately diagnosing pet allergies, and is just one of the many ways veterinarians use new technologies to improve care and diagnostics.
The results of IDT (as well as a review of the pet’s medical history) can then inform comprehensive immunotherapy treatments to relieve suffering. Veterinary dermatologists rely on IDT to build customized treatment plans for patients called Allergen Specific Immuno Therapy or “ASIT” for short.
ASIT involves a series of injections specifically created for the allergic animal’s skin. These injections, of diluted allergens, are designed to make a pet less sensitive to their allergens over time. In most cases these injections must be continued for life to reduce symptoms, but they are highly effective. Seventy to 90 percent of pets experience a reduction in symptoms as a result of ASIT treatment. These treatments can be delivered even more easily via droplets under the tongue, perfect for pet owners who are squeamish about giving injections to their pet.
This treatment is very new to the North American field of medicine (both human and veterinary) and underscores just how far innovation in veterinary medicine has come.
When it’s time to see the vet
Many pet owners are understandably concerned about taking their animals to the veterinarian because the cost (to say nothing of the fear some animals experience when going do the doctor) may outweigh any perceived reduction in suffering. To help pet owners know when it’s time to bring Fido to the doctor I’ve compiled my “Top Ten” list of dermatological symptoms that should never be ignored:
•Intense itching of the skin (head shaking, running the face into the carpet, furniture, etc.)
•Biting at the skin that creates red, raw crusting areas of the skin
•Multiple ear infections (head shaking, odor from ears, scratching at the ears with hind legs)
•Paw licking or chewing and frequent infections of the skin in the webbed skin of the paws
•Staining of the fur of the paws and nails on multiple feet
•Reoccurring skin infections in the groin, under the shoulders, perianal areas (on or under the tail)
•Greasy scaling skin and/or fur with odorous skin
•Hair loss, or thinning of the fur
•Dark pigmentation of the skin that is chronically infected
•Sudden depigmentation of skin
Allergies and other dermatological issues can be as frustrating for pet owners and their veterinarians as they can be for pets. I encourage any pet owner whose animal is experiencing any of these symptoms to consult with their veterinarianMarissa BMember
Thank you! Yes I’m assuming it’s environmental because we got him in October of last year and the allergies weren’t a problem until May. The Midwest is known for high allergy problems during the summer unfortunately. We did send in hair and saliva which we knew wasn’t super reliable but it did state he was allergic to certain fillers and then grass and pollen. Which of those are the culprits were not sure what else to do other than wipe him down when he comes in. If it goes away in the fall I guess we will know if it’s environmental or not! Thank you!anonymouslyMember
Atopic dermatitis is a hypersensitivity or over-reaction to a variety of commonplace and otherwise harmless substances in the environment such as plant pollens, house dust mites or mold spores. Most pets with atopic dermatitis either inhale or absorb their allergens through their skin. Allergy tests are used to identify what a pet is allergic to in their environment.
There are two types of allergy tests, the intradermal allergy test and blood testing for allergies (serologic allergy testing). In an intradermal allergy test, the fur is clipped on one side of the chest and very small amounts of common allergens are injected into the skin. This test is very precise and is only performed by Veterinary Dermatology services. Because most pets with environmental allergies become exposed to their allergens through their skin, the intradermal allergy test may also best simulate a pet’s natural allergies. In a blood allergy test, a blood sample is obtained and submitted to a laboratory for testing.
If a pet is diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, there are three methods of therapy. The first method of therapy involves removing the allergen from the pet’s environment. Unfortunately, this is not possible in most cases. The second method of therapy involves the use of anti-itch drugs such as anti-histamines or steroids (cortisone). Some of these anti-itch medications do not work in every pet. Other pets develop side-effects from taking certain anti-itch medications.
The third method of therapy for atopic dermatitis (environmental allergies) is allergy injections. Other names for allergy injections include desensitization, hyposensitization, allergy vaccine, or allergen-specific immunotherapy. Immunotherapy involves a series of injections of diluted allergens. Over time, these injections make a pet less sensitive to their allergens and thus less allergic. Most pet owners are able to learn how to give the injections at home. When based on the results of intradermal allergy testing, immunotherapy helps manage the allergies in approximately 70-90% of pets. Most pets will respond to immunotherapy within 6-9 months, but some pets will require up to a year of immunotherapy injections before a full benefit can be noted.
Allergy Diagnosis and Management
Allergies are a common cause of skin and ear conditions in pets. Dogs and cats with allergies may scratch, chew, lick their paws, rub their face or have recurrent ear infections.
Three types of allergies are common in dogs and cats: food allergies, flea allergy dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (environmental allergies). We offer:
•Intradermal and serologic allergy testing for atopic dermatitis
•On-site, custom immunotherapy formulation for the treatment of atopic dermatitis
•Custom diet formulation for food allergies with the Angell Nutrition Specialty Service
Above are excerpts from:https://www.mspca.org/angell_services/dermatology-allergies/
PS: The initial testing is expensive (dermatologist) but the maintenance isn’t that bad, I found the treatment ASIT (allergen-specific immunotherapy) to be effective.
The house mite is a common allergen, it is microscopic and everywhere all year round.
Impossible to avoid…….see how the fall and winter go. Good luck
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