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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
Matt Stryfe
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 6
Scratching/Itching - White GSD - Watson - Detailed Info

Background Info:
Watson is a pure white GSD who is a tad over 1 year old. Her scratching/itching problems began sometime this past winter and have continued to worsen since. The itching/scratching has escalated to the point where there is visible hair loss on both, her front and back legs. Below is a list of what we have tried, what has been recommended, and some tests we have done to prove and disprove some theories.

I have also listed her symptoms and various other medications that she’s ingested. The only time the itching/scratched stopped was after the steroid shot. The next day the itching/scratching was completely gone. This lasted for ~3 days and then slowly increased back to ‘normal’.

  • Itching/scratching underbelly
  • Chewing on both, front and back legs
  • Obsessive itching/scratching on hind quarters and back
  • Zero paw licking
  • Zero eye redness or visible irritation
  • No visible gum discoloration or abnormalities
  • Normal stool
  • Normal eating and drinking habits
  • Normal activity level
  • Muscular, strong, and agile - no signs of depression or lethargy

What we have tried:
  • Diet
  • Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage (chicken based)[/INDENT]
  • May → Nov
  • Blue Buffalo - Large Breed Puppy (chicken based)
  • Nov → Feb
  • Acana Ranchlands (red meat based)
  • Feb → 18 Apr
  • Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach (salmon based)
  • Just started her on this.
  • She should be fully converted over by this weekend (26 Apr)
  • Purchased humidifier (Jan)
  • Increased humidity from low 30s to low 50s in sleeping area
  • Changing detergent (Dec)
  • Switched to Free and Gentle Tide
  • Washed bedding, couch cushions, even the carpet was cleaned with it
  • Vet visit (11 March)
  • Received steroid shot
  • Depo-Medrol 20mg/ml Injectable (per ml)
  • Anti Histamine
  • Chlorpheniramine 4mg Tablet
  • Dog-sat her half sister (same Sire)
  • Both dogs were in the same environment for 9 full days
  • There was zero increase in itching/scratching of the half sister
  • Spoke with Breeder
  • Mother has no history of allergies
  • Siblings have no reports of similar itching/scratching
  • Geographically ~300 miles from birthplace (Philadelphia → Virginia)
  • Recommended the new food
  • Pro Plan

Other Info:
  • First Shield Trio (flea and tick)
  • 16 Apr
  • Tri-Heart Plus (heartworm)
  • Comfortis (prescribed by vet during March visit)
  • 1 Apr

Food Ingredient Comparison:
This is a link to a food comparison I put together.
I haven’t completed cross referencing the Pro Plan
We haven’t even fully switched to it anyways.

Detailed Info:
In March, during the vet visit it was suggested that we start her on a Hydro-Protein (hydrolyzed protein) diet. The way this was explained to us was that this would eliminate any natural animal based protein and start on a ‘clean slate’. The vet suggests to most people that if this works to continue this diet forever. However, if we want to slowly introduce ingredients we could do so at 8-10 weeks.

As you might imagine; this did not sit well with us. Aside from the cost, we were not to keen on feeding (what we thought *please correct if wrong) was a more refined food. If anything we would switch to a completely raw diet and introduce food. After suggesting a raw diet to the vet the vet responded with a myriad of negative side effects. This included the typical salmonella zombie apocalypse scenarios.

We left the vet feeling discouraged.

Since then the itching/scratching has increased. She is now starting to show visible signs of hair loss in her pit areas and front legs. We are in the process of switching her food over to what her breeder uses.

After doing an extensive amount of reading we have considered the following as our next steps:
  • NutriScan
  • Full blood test panel (vet said this can cost upwards of 500+)
  • Raw Diet

  • At what point can we rule out food allergies if ever?
  • Is it common for one pup of the litter to be highly allergic while the others are not?
  • Has anyone successfully used a NutriScan, made the proper switches, and witnessed results?
  • If it takes 6-8 weeks for food allergens to be removed from the body should you see signs of improvements before then?
  • Is there any topical solutions we can apply, to least, help her comfort level while we do these tests?
  • If we are able to find a solution will the hair return?

Any theories, suggestions, or tests anyone could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. Have a great weekend,


Last edited by Matt Stryfe; 04-24-2014 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Formatting
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