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Old 01-17-2013, 06:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Skin issues in hypothyroid dog - what's the best plan of attack?

Background: My dog Heinz is 5-6 year old GSD, history unknown before I picked him up as a stray in March. When I found him, he had bilateral hair loss and smelly, shedding skin. He was diagnosed as hypothyroid and started on thyroxine and treated for a yeast infection. At the time, he was eating NutroMax lamb or chicken and rice + Innova turkey/chicken canned food. He put on weight and started growing in hair nicely.

Then came the fall. In October, I noticed the skin on his belly was blackened and starting to thicken in his "legpits". I (stupidly) let his thyroid meds run out and he was off them for about a week before I took him back into the vet. We started him up on the meds again at a higher dose for his now higher weight, and a recheck 3 weeks later gave us a "low normal" reading of serum T4. He was still itchy, though.

I changed his dry food to Fromm's grain free salmon and duck plus the Innova wet food every day. He started itching even more and losing hair. I increased his thyroid med dose again and it seemed to stop the hair loss, but the itching continued, and he was starting to smell "yeasty" again.

This weekend, he started shaking his head a lot, and I cleaned his ears twice in 3 days. Two days ago he was holding his left ear flat to his head and listing like the Titanic. So off to the vet we went. She diagnosed an ear infection, and we took blood to see where his thyroid level is at. The vet also noticed all the irritated skin and said "Wow, his skin is in awful shape and he looks really uncomfortable" - which he was, I guess I didn't realize just how bad (and I feel even worse now). So now he's on a short course of prednisone, a couple of weeks' worth of ketoconazole, a month of antibiotics, and two types of ear drops to combat the ear infection.

SO, my question is now this - assuming the steroids and the antibiotics get this under control and the free T4 comes back normal, what is the best thing I can do to prevent this from happening again? Vet recommended switching his food to Royal Canin Skin Support, as she has seen some dogs do very well on that. I'm willing to give that a try, and I figure if I don't see improvement in a month or so, then I'll do allergy testing and go from there.

Does this seem like a reasonable plan of action? I'll admit to being a little wary about the food - I know Royal Canin doesn't have the best track record in terms of safety and food recalls and the food lists rice as the first ingredient, followed by "fish meal". However, I do trust the vet when she tells me she's seen it work for other dogs.

Any advice or suggestions would be welcome!
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would add omega3 and a probiotic to his diet and see if that helps without having to switch foods. If there is no improvement consider allergy testing, but only the blood test.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have a read of this article and consider natural thyroid stimulation such as dissicated thyroid re: t3 and t4, as well kelp and/or other iodine sea vegetables, ashwagandha works on the thyroid AND adrenals (the other reason) and possibly Colostrum for the thymus gland - this is touted to balance auto-immune related symptoms such as allergies - autoimmune hypothyroidism. The adrenals and/or an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone would be related to yeasty condition.

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites...-pet-dogs.aspx

Taking ALL sugars out of the diet is best - which would mean going with raw or home cooked - this means no grains, potato's, pea's, legumes, fruit, carrots anything carbohydrate.

Also, titer instead of re-vaccinating - related to auto-immune disfunction...see the links inside of the article above and read this on colostrum

COLOSTRUM FOR DOG ALLERGIES Dogs Naturally Magazine

BOVINE COLOSTRUM: THE FORGOTTEN MIRACLE Dogs Naturally Magazine

Also note, if using synthetic hormone replacement - essentially the thyroid is going to stop working altogether - by stimulting with the right food, natural thyroid replacement and herbs, it can start to work and produce on it's own...5-6 yrs. is young - this is more an 8 yr. + malfunction - so I would think it is autoimmune related
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My vet prescribed Armour thyroid and everything got better. It is more expensive but natural.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Desiccated Thyroid Controversy: Why Endocrinologists Don't Like Armour Thyroid

here's more on the natural form
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It very well could be that his thyroid is low because of whatever is going on with his health, not the thyroid causing the problems. What antibiotic did the vet prescribe?
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In my experience, many of your skin issues will go away once the thyroid is under control. The bi-lateral hair loss and black, greasy skin are classic thyroid symptoms. You can look at his nose and the black pads on the back of his legs and see if they look like they rough, callous looking, growths. That is also from the thyroid not being properly treated.

You state " I increased his thyroid med dose again and it seemed to stop the hair loss,", did YOU increase it by yourself or did the vet increase it based on bloodwork results? Please do not ever just increase it by yourself. If you suspect a problem take them to the vet. And if you didn't, I apologize for the assumption.

I think it's possible that his skin was compromised from an untreated thyroid, obviously long before you got him and now it's infected with a yeast or bacteria.

You do need to take out the sugars from his diet to help treat yeast. You could treat for a Candida yeast overgrowth. It certainly will not hurt him or interfere with any other treatments.

Dog Yeast Infections (Dog Candida) | Causes and Symptoms of Dog Candida | Natural Rinse for Yeasty Dogs
Candida Infection - How to Diagnose, Treat and Prevent
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I know the above articles talk about pharmaceuticals but I personally use the NOW brand Candida detox for me, which are all herbs and that works. Along with a yeast detox, you will need to add probiotics to help repopulate his system.

Gatorbytes - the NOW brand has black walnut in it. It that an issue with dogs?

And do NOT...under any circumstances stop treating the thyroid. My husband did this to his dog because he "forgot" and I didn't know until she started losing hair again.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
You do need to take out the sugars from his diet to help treat yeast. You could treat for a Candida yeast overgrowth. It certainly will not hurt him or interfere with any other treatments.

I know the above articles talk about pharmaceuticals but I personally use the NOW brand Candida detox for me, which are all herbs and that works. Along with a yeast detox, you will need to add probiotics to help repopulate his system.

Gatorbytes - the NOW brand has black walnut in it. It that an issue with dogs?
Black walnut is fine and is used to cleanse some parasites (usually in conjuction with other herbs) and fungal infections. I have used in past (via Vet), and in a pre-mix through Omega Alpha

OP ~ Another item to add to the diet is raw organic cold pressed coconut oil (has to meet that criteria)...the caprylic acid in CO is the yeast buster. Which may be in the yeast kit. Although wouldn't do both if you were to go that direction, but use CO as maintenance after and for many other reasons

The CO can be used to swab the ears to clean out gunk and kill yeast and bacteria and sooth as well as topically on the black/red area's for the same reason.

Further, steroids are immuno suppressing, this will have a rebound effect once off the meds and you will likely see a return and even worsening of symptoms....detox while coming off steroids may be very hard on the system especially with the immune system weak, so start slow via removing sugars first and allow the body to adjust for few weeks, then you can introduce detox...don't expect immediate results with any treatment, natural or other, there is no perfect instant cure. Yeast die-off produces over 39 toxins, so expect to see lethargy, skin eruptions, mucousy eyes - this is refered to as healing crisis (herx.)...holistically this is viewed as disease leaving the body...
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I knew there was something about Black Walnut but couldn't remember.

NOW Candida Clear - Pau D'Arco, Oregano Oil, Black Walnut, Caprylic Acid.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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And yes, the detox may make him feel bad for a couple of days. The first time I ever did one, it felt like I had the flu. You can give him less herbs the first couple of days to slow the kill off of the yeast.
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