White german shepherd with bad skin problems! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-02-2009, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

My dog Zeus is a white german shepherd with terrible itching/hot spot problems. He is constantly chewing or scratching. He was on puppy chow until he reached 1 year old and the local vet told me to go ahead and put him on an adult food, purina dog chow. With no prior problems before, we begin to notice he was itching and scratching. It begin to get worse and worse and the vet just kept on giving him a steroid shot about every month, which helped for about 3 weeks and it just started again. He never recommended any other solution but the shot so I took Zeus to a different vet. This doctor immediately took blood to check for a low thyroid, which it was, and gave him a steroid shot for relief. He also recommended switching his food to eukanuba fish and eggs formula along with .7 mg thyroid medication. Now, nothing has changed, Zeus is still miserable and I just took him back to the same vet, and he upped the thyroid medication to 1 mg. He stays in the house and I have yet to find a flea on him since mid-summer, so I don't think it could be a flea allergy.

I just want to know if there's anyone out there who has encountered a similar problem. We think he may have a food allergy and I want to know what the best dog food is for a dog in this situation.

Any help of info is much appreciated!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-02-2009, 11:11 PM
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

I'm sorry to hear about Zeus' skin problems. Is that dog food grain free? For years our Katie had severe problems with her skin (especially paws)....and in September 2008 had a severe allergic reaction to something....we put her on Natural Balance (the non-grain formulas) in September, and she's doing much better. Hope things get better!
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-02-2009, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

I really do not know if it was grain free or not. Most of Zeus' itching is under his tail, under his arms pits and pretty much all over his underside. He started shaking his head for a little while like he had an ear infection but that was not the case.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-02-2009, 11:58 PM
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

Your poor dog definitely has allergies and the first thing you need to do is take him to see a dermatologist and possibly have him skin tested for environmental allergies. After that you can do an elimination diet to check for food allergies. Continueing to take him to your regular vet is getting you nowhere and your dog will just continue to suffer.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 12:09 AM
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

maybe its an allergy or reaction to something in his food?

i went through about 5 different foods with my dog because she was having some stool issues and was trying to find something she could stomach properly.

i found one that worked, but then a week later she started scratching a lot. i though maybe it was just dry air because the temperature dropped a lot that week. but that passed and the itching lasted for about 3 weeks. so i changed foods again, and we are ok now. good stool and no itching. yay!

for my dog, as far as i could figure, was an allergy to grains, and i noticed she couldnt digest corn either.

if you're curious i have her on orijen large breed puppy. its grain free and high in nutrients and has fish oils, which are good for the skin and coat.

- Chris

Kyah (born 09/09/2008)
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 01:03 AM
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

How old is Zeus? How much does your dog weigh? Are the thyroid meds given once a day or twice a day? When the vet upped the meds, was a blood test run?

When you look at his skin, do you see any abnormalities? How red is it? discoloration, etc?

Is your dog on Purina Dog Chow currently? If that's the case, there are some pretty easy things that you can do that should help.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

He is a 1 year and 2 months and weighs 82 pounds according to the scales at the vet today. The thyroid meds are given twice a day. Blood test were run today and he upped the meds from .7 mg to 1mg. The skin is redish colored underneath with blotches of a brownish color. Mostly red but there are spots of brownish under his armpits and by his testicles. His anus is very red and he chews on it constantly. He also has hot spots on his thighs and had one of his back. The vet shaved those spots and put Zeus on a pill to help it, but every time the steroid wears off the itching and scratching continues, leaving more and more hot spots.

When the doctor told us to change foods the first time we bought eukanuba fish and eggs. We still had a little bit of food left in the purina dog chow bag so we mixed the two trying not to waste any of it. After doing some research I realize this is not the smartest thing to do but I did not know it would make that much of a difference at first. I just want my dog to get better and quit suffering.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 01:38 AM
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

You don't by chance have a copy of the results from the thyroid test, do you? That's a pretty big jump of .7 to 1 mg for the thyroid meds, but if the values were *really* low on the .7, maybe it makes sense. The starting dose for a dog your size would be .8 or .9 mg, twice a day. If your boy starts showing more restless signs, increased panting, too much energy and driving you nuts, etc., that dose might be too high.

I haven't had to deal with any type of mites, so I hope those folks will weigh in either way, but the discoloration does match the type of discoloration you see in bad food allergies.

So, is he currently on the Euk fish and eggs now? How long has he been totally off the Purina?

It sounds like your boy has been given quite a few steroids?

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

No i don't have a copy of the results. The vet didn't even offer me a copy. Yes he is still on the Euk fish and eggs and has been off the purina for about six weeks. And yes he has has several steroid shots! I live in a very small town and there are only 2 local vets and neither seem to know much about a problem like this, except shoot him up with steroids every 3-4 weeks.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-03-2009, 04:06 PM
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Re: White german shepherd with bad skin problems!

I have an allergy dog... we did see a derm and had the skin and blood testing done. Niko is most allergic to dust mites, mold, bugs and some grasses. I've never quite been able to figure out if he has food allergies since he is always itchy from his inhallant issues.

We did the allergy shots and I believe they were helping him. We stopped a few months ago because Niko was having fits at my vet's office every time he was going to get a shot. It was taking 4 vet tech's and myself to hold him down... he is a very sweet dog, but was so stressed out over it... I had to stop. He was on them for a little over a year. They do take several months to show any sort of improvement and it's never 100%... each dog is different. Some improve 50% and some 80% and some it doesn't help at all.

We use antihistimines - Tavist, Zrytec and Hydroxyzine. All help for awhile, but not enough. Another med is Temaril-P - which was prescribed by my dermatologist. I don't like giving Niko this since it has pred (low dose 2.5 mg) and 6 mg of antihistimine. I only give this very infrequently... only during his really itchy months which December and January seem to be the worst... for him I think it is dust mites since I have carpet and can't really rip it out now.

From what I have been told... if your dog responds well to steriods... then it is most likely an inhallant allergy... could be anything in your house or outside. Personally, I wouldn't treat with steriod shots. Niko had only 1 or 2 steriod shots when he first started showing signs of being itchy... because I really didn't know what was going on with him. Also, your dog should be checked for mites... these can cause severe itching and a few members on this board found out after many months of meds etc... that it was a mite issue. It is probably a little more easily treated than allergies. My derm had me treat Niko for mites even though his scrapings showed none.... many do this because not all scrapings will come up positive for mites.

I've also tried every food out there and Niko was raw fed for 4 years... he was still itchy. He has the exact same itching as your dog... the anal itching always made me think that he had a food allergy, but with every food (even the prescription foods - which he is still on) he still had the anal itching. Niko is currently on Science Diet Ultra ZD - it's an allergy food and the ingredients are really crappy. I don't like feeding him this, but am searching around to find another food that won't upset his stomach.

You could try the Orijen Fish based food... or even Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream (I think)... I've read many have had success with these foods. They do not have grains either. Both are a little pricey, but compared to the ZD they are cheap. The ZD is $83.00 for a 27lb bag and Niko eats 6 cups a day and maintains 100lbs... he is not fat. I think it's because there isn't much meat in this food... it is a crappy food, but does help dogs with food allergies.



You don't want to do too much changing of things at once since you will go bonkers trying to figure out what worked and what didn't. You can also give Salmon oil in his food - it is suppose to help with skin and inflammation... although if your dog has true allergies, it won't help that much. At least, that was the case for me.

I would hold off on the steriod shots and try antihistimines if you haven't. Sounds like you will most likely need to see a dermatologist for your boy. My previous shepherd had a low/borderline thyroid and was on .06mg of Soloxine... it does sound like your dosage is high and I could be wrong here, but your dog seems young to have a thyroid issue. I always thought it was a middle age issue for dogs. Usually with thyroid issues, the dog is tested and then given a dose of meds... the dog is retested in a month or so to see if the dosage is correct. My dog was retested every 8-12 months or so - to make sure his dosage was correct.

It would be good for you to get the thyroid results to know exactly where his range was. My dog's was on the borderline, but he was very heavy (120lbs) and was only eating 2 cups of food a day... so I chose to put him on the thyroid meds to see if I could get his weight down since being that heavy would shorten his life. My vet gave me the option to try the meds... so I would get the test results.

I've also gone down the homeopathic and holistic route, but that didn't help tremendously either... it could for your dog since every dog is different.

Oh... does your dog smell funny at all? My dog does smell when he is really itchy... his coat was somewhat greasy like. I give Niko bath's every week or two in a good Oatmeal based shampoo. This does help too.

Please let us know how you do... the dermatologist is probably your next step.

Good Luck!


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