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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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switch making it worse?

I am in the process of switching Jake over to Acana Pacifica grain free from BB Adult Fish/Potato to eliminate both chicken and grain from his diet. For two months he has been scratching his left ear on and biting his back legs.

Last week I began the transition...he seems to love the food. HOWEVER the last few days he is really shedding! I noticed last night that on both hind legs he is biting his coat and removing fur in patches! How is this possible? I am at a loss about this diet thing. Is it common for dogs to have reactions to FISH? I have suspected chicken. Jake is 5.5 months so my options are limited on grain free.

HELP!! I am considering allergy testing, is he too young? What is the best course of action to stop him from pulling his coat out and biting himself to death?

Renee'

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:01 AM
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Have you tried adding flax to his food? Wolfie used to itch and I started adding a spoonful of ground flaxseed and wheat germ to his food. He doesn't itch anymore. As for the shedding, Jake is at the age Wolfie was when he started shedding like crazy. It was everywhere, but not as bad as Jakes shedding sounds. I hear that when you switch foods, they tend to shed a lot at first.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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It is coming out by the handfuls and he has removed huge patches on his hind legs. Is this normal when switching to grain free???

Renee'

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:04 AM
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No. In my experience that is not normal.

Is food the only thing changing? Sometimes environmental allergies can flare up too and the heat and humidity can be tough on the dogs.

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Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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I don't think so either, so what in the world is it? His skin looks normal, no redness or flaking...no sores or bumps.

Renee'

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:08 AM
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I don't know if switching to grain free is causing this, but it could be a contributing factor. Another thing I wanted to tell you is that when my other GSD, Chief, used to shed, he had big chunks of fur hanging off his hind quarters. Like you said, I could just grab handfuls off of him. He did this twice a year. What do the parts of him look like after the fur comes off? Is there fur underneath or are there bald patches. Have you tried the furminator in a spot to see if its the undercoat? It could be normal, but I think I would call and ask the vet just for some peace of mind.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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He is to young to blow his coat, and he is biting and very itchy. The skin appears normal and healthy. He has not pulled ALL of it out. It looks like the large places on his hind legs have the short undercoat still there.

Is he too young for testing?? Is it the heska test I should ask for if he is old enough?

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:23 AM
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At this point I'm not sure I would suspect diet. When we went through skin trouble with Argos, I think it had SO much more to do with an immature immune system and over vaccination. Because we didn't know what to do, it unfortunately developed into a pyoderma. We did switch him to NB LID Fish and Potato and supplemented him with Vitamin C and sardines, he was also on antibiotics for 6-8 weeks to clear up the pyoderma, as well as a special shampoo. After 6 months we never saw any itching again. He now eats TOTW Pacific Stream as his kibble, but ALL kinds of treats without any flare up. So despite presenting as possible allergies as a puppy...I really don't think that was the case. A good friend of mine working at the UF Vet School said that it's not uncommon to see puppies, and Shepherds in particular, go through trouble when they are small as the immune system develops, especially in the Florida climate.

It really is pretty unusual to see food allergies in such young puppies. I think people jump to that because it's an easy thing to switch and higher quality foods will better support the immune system so it "seems" like switching the food made the difference.

Bianka vom Eisernen Loewen IPO3, CGC, TC 1-3-08
Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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I decided to do the heska test and at least have a baseline understanding. The vet thinks this current situation was maybe brought on by using his regular flea/tick prevention and using a topical spray...I am using benedryl. I am hoping the allergy test results shed some light for us on what is has been bothering me since I got in him in April. The elimination thing just takes to long and that doesn't rule out environmental triggers. It will take 3 weeks for go back and have them read. In the meantime I am continuing to switch him onto Acana because in the end I want to go grainfree and rresearching RAW.

Renee'

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 06:07 PM
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I had Onyx tested with the Heska test. I got the results back within a week. I would start Jake on some vitamin C and stick with the benedryl.
I had the test run in April and just last week started her on shots. It ran $139 for the two bottles and should last me a couple/three mos. Then we go to maintenence shots.
I decided paying for ear meds and a hematoma repair was waaay more expensive than the serum/shot regiment.
I hope she feels relief soon, she is miserable...
I think raw feeding is the best way to go no matter what he is allergic to, even if it turns out to be environmental.
I fee your frustration!!

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