In early May, I pulled a senior male GSD (who had lived his life for years on a chain) as a foster dog. In August, he was adopted by me as a foster failure. Sargeant, this GSD, is still coming back from his previous life and we are now challenged by what appears to be allergies. On Saturday morning, when I woke up and greeted him, the kitchen floor was covered in his hair. This never happened previously.
He is an approximately 10 year old 65 pound male GSD. When brought home by me, it took me four times wetting, soaping and rinsing him just to get the water to run decently clean from his dense coat. He has subsequently had three oatmeal soothing baths with a blow-out of his undercoat in three months, been placed on a grain free kibble and been given Benadryl around the clock when I noticed that he began scratching more than my other four dogs. I have gotten his dense undercoat out finally and he is finally more black than the sunburned red that he appeared in May.
When he became itchy in late June and early July, I tried to switch him from a beef based grain free kibble to a fish and oatmeal kibble. He could not tolerate this once the percentage of the fish-based kibble was more than 25 percent of is meal during the transition. My vet saw him and recommended a short course of Prednisone. This was done and he stopped all scratching. The thinking is environmental allergies. He went back on the beef grain free kibble. Three weeks after all steroids were removed, he has begun with profuse scratching again and hair loss. He is back on another short course of Prednisone as this seems to stop it in its tracks. I am also switching him to another fish-based/whitefish kibble with potato that has less fat than the salmon in hopes that this will agree with him.
Now that he has been clean, on flea and tick preventative, living indoors in air conditioned comfort and on a good grain free diet, I am at a loss to figure out what is going on. Is anyone else seeing worse environmental alleriges this year with the funky weather? Not one of my other dogs is similarly affected.
When he is not scratching, his coat is present but thin and somewhat sparse. It now has some gloss to it, which it never did previously. He eats well, plays with my other dogs, moves well for a senior and has a much happier demeanor than he did in May. His stool is solid and he has two BMs daily most days.
I am taking him to my vet later this week for a check of his thyroid just in case that is one element of his sparse coat status and to discuss therapies other than steroids for his scratching.
He is NOT licking his paws, chewing on himself or displaying any other symptoms of an allergic response other than scratching himself on his belly with his hind legs. No changes in household cleaners or detergents. No dog bed changes or anything else that I can think of.
Suggestions? Many thanks in advance.
Sabra - female GSD - born April 30, 2012
Sargeant - rescued senior GSD male/foster failure - approximately ten years old (August 2013)
Max - rescued GSD - Dec 22, 2010 to March 7, 2012 - at the bridge
Sable - rescued GSD - at the bridge