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Hi everyone! I’m new to the forum and am the owner of a 5 year old male German Shepherd named Benny who is suffering from terrible allergies.

We have a cycle that we cannot seem to break out of and the vet has besically said they have done a what they can for us. The cycle is we take him to the vet because he is itchy, chewing on himself and occasionally getting bad hotspots, losing hair on his face, legs and belly, smelly-like a weird biscuit smell but not in a good way, constantly rubbing his face and body along walls and furniture because of the itch, goopy eyes and horrible smelly painful ears. We take him in and they give us prednisone, sometimes an antibiotic if he has a skin infection as well and medicine for his ears. We go home and use the meds. He gets better and we try a new kibble (he has been on Zignature catfish since his last trip to the vet the beginning of February). 2-4 months later we are back at needing to go to the vet again with all of the above problems.

The vet has basically said they have done what they can for us. They suggested an allergy specialist or an allergy shot which due to his size they said would be very expensive each month. We are on one income-I stay home with our two young children and adding a cost of that size to our expenses is not feasible at this time.

It has been extremely difficult trying all of these new foods that seem to get more and more expensive and taking him to the vet for these problems 4+ times a year for meds to get his poor body calmed down.
I feel so bad for my dog. He is miserable and I feel like a horrible owner for not being able to afford the medication they are suggesting or to go to a specialist.

My mom thinks I should rehome him but I really don’t want to give up my dog. Plus I just don’t trust people and with so many good dogs out there not many would want to take on a dog with health problems.

I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions for food or diet changes that we could maybe try. I am thinking of trying him on raw food but am intimidated by the process-how to know if I’m feeding him the right things and the right amounts of them.

The other thing I wanted to ask was if this could be cause by stress or anxiety somehow? I asked the vet but they said no. I feel ridiculous for thinking this but Benny didn’t have these issues his first two years at all. He was great. It honestly seemed to start when my first son was born which sounds insane but suddenly he started scratching and losing hair and going downhill.

Thank you for taking the time to read my novel and for any suggestions.
 

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We've tried a lot of things to help curb our girls allergies including Rx from the vet. We are also currently down to one income with kids so we know how that can be. Someone suggested shampooing our girl with chlorohexidine shampoo and it did help considerably. We also ordered chlorohexidine wipes for spot checking problem areas between baths.

Raw was suggested too and we believe it would help, but we cannot go all in at this point. We still feed grain free kibble and sup with whatever beef, turkey, fish we are having.

We give her extra virgin organic coconut oil, which she loves and krill oil for omega 3s. With all that we can keep her allergies to a minimum.
 

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Have you tried cytopoint or aqequel?
 

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Bumping this as there are many forum members who can help but have not seen the thread.
 

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Hi everyone! I’m new to the forum and am the owner of a 5 year old male German Shepherd named Benny who is suffering from terrible allergies.

We have a cycle that we cannot seem to break out of and the vet has besically said they have done a what they can for us. The cycle is we take him to the vet because he is itchy, chewing on himself and occasionally getting bad hotspots, losing hair on his face, legs and belly, smelly-like a weird biscuit smell but not in a good way, constantly rubbing his face and body along walls and furniture because of the itch, goopy eyes and horrible smelly painful ears. We take him in and they give us prednisone, sometimes an antibiotic if he has a skin infection as well and medicine for his ears. We go home and use the meds. He gets better and we try a new kibble (he has been on Zignature catfish since his last trip to the vet the beginning of February). 2-4 months later we are back at needing to go to the vet again with all of the above problems.

The vet has basically said they have done what they can for us. They suggested an allergy specialist or an allergy shot which due to his size they said would be very expensive each month. We are on one income-I stay home with our two young children and adding a cost of that size to our expenses is not feasible at this time.

It has been extremely difficult trying all of these new foods that seem to get more and more expensive and taking him to the vet for these problems 4+ times a year for meds to get his poor body calmed down.
I feel so bad for my dog. He is miserable and I feel like a horrible owner for not being able to afford the medication they are suggesting or to go to a specialist.

My mom thinks I should rehome him but I really don’t want to give up my dog. Plus I just don’t trust people and with so many good dogs out there not many would want to take on a dog with health problems.

I’m wondering if anyone has any suggestions for food or diet changes that we could maybe try. I am thinking of trying him on raw food but am intimidated by the process-how to know if I’m feeding him the right things and the right amounts of them.

The other thing I wanted to ask was if this could be cause by stress or anxiety somehow? I asked the vet but they said no. I feel ridiculous for thinking this but Benny didn’t have these issues his first two years at all. He was great. It honestly seemed to start when my first son was born which sounds insane but suddenly he started scratching and losing hair and going downhill.

Thank you for taking the time to read my novel and for any suggestions.
Look into feeding a commercial raw food such as natures instinct, it's not so daunting and if it works then you can explore preparing your own raw food down the line. I would personally avoid all fish since this dog seems to have issues on it. Since he has a bread like smell I would guess the issue is yeast, which could be due to a poor diet. Look into vets best ear wash (just use the dry bottle) for the ears. Wiping the dog down with apple cider vinegar will also help yeast issues , just don't get in his eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the suggestions.

No we have not tried any allergy medications-only meds to alleviate the symptoms temporarily in hopes that a diet change would keep them from returning. I will ask about apoquel and cytopoint. I can’t remember the name of what the vet suggested but I thought it was a shot-maybe it was one of these. Ugh I’m sorry I’m not the most organized person unfortunately I should write things down when I’m there!!

I believe he may have an environmental allergy of some kind as well if that’s a thing. It gets worse as the wether warms up and calms down in the fall but never truly goes away.

I ordered some Chlorhexidine shampoo from amazon and will give it a try when it comes in. Do you know about how often you used it?

Adding oil to his diet sounds promising about how much coconut oil each day? Do you just add it tomheir kibble?im imaging trying to does him with oil in a syringe and it’s not pretty ? so hopefully it’s somethibg I can add to his food without a hunger strike.

I always have cider vinegar on hand but it’s just the cheap store brand. Would this need to be like Braggs vinegar to be helpful or would the kind I have work? You said I can just wipe him down with it so it doesnt need to go down to his skin level? It’s hard for me to even get his skin wet it seems his fur just sheds water and the inside fluff takes forever to get wet when he gets a bath so I just wanted to clarify that the vinegar can get wiped or sprayed on? How often would you recommend?

I will look into the prepared raw too.

Thank you all for replying and for your ideas. I’ve felt depressed about this for a while so this is giving me hope that we can fix this and help Ben feel better.
 

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I just gave my dog Cytopoint. Made all the difference in the world. I would advise starting with that. My vet said it doesn't really help food allergies so if you start with Cytopoint and it works, that would indicate environmental allergies.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will ask them about cytopoint. Trying unsuccessfully to pin down and eliminate Benny’s allergens has been very frustrating. I keep hoping to find a solution in his diet but need to accept that it may be more environmental and out of my control.

Thanks again for your help.
 

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this for now -

PROBIOTICS

the biscuit "doritos" smell is a fungal over growth .

allergies / sensitivities are what happen when the body responds
to foreign protein particles that have entered the bloodstream .

mucosal lining damage - permeability of the gut
 

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Like a human probiotic? I think I had a jar of pills that I used for myself a few years ago given to me by my aunt who is all about gut health. She says almost all of the bodies problems can be traced back to the gut in some way.

Would I need to buy a dog specific probiotic? Is there one you recommend?

Thanks for your help! These responses are giving me some hope and motivation to figure this out.
 

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Like a human probiotic? I think I had a jar of pills that I used for myself a few years ago given to me by my aunt who is all about gut health. She says almost all of the bodies problems can be traced back to the gut in some way.

Would I need to buy a dog specific probiotic? Is there one you recommend?

Thanks for your help! These respionses are giving me some hope and motivation to figure this out.
Mercolas probiotics are very good, and they have them on Amazon.
 

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Carmspack has a probiotic/digestive enzyme called Sunday Sundae that I have been using for my allergic boy for a long time. It helps a great deal. PM her for where you might be able to obtain it.
I had to resort to Cytopoint a couple of months ago when my guy got out of control with itching, bacterial skin infections and yeast. The shot lasts from 4 to 8 weeks; we got lucky and made it to 8. It stopped the itch totally with no side effects. Quinn is 11 now and beginning to show neurological symptoms. All I want to do is give him the best possible, most comfortable life that I can. Cytopoint is dosed by weight and was $225. CDN for my 80 lb. guy.
 

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Cytopoint was $100 for my 80# boy. It's seems Canadian vet prices are always much higher than ours. He had the shot on 3/29 so we're at 6 weeks. I've seen him itch once and chew on his foot once just the last couple of days.
 

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I just placed an order for Sunday Sundae, Feedsentials and Sh-Emp from carmspack. The chlorine I done shampoo should be delivered today and I will give Ben a wash.

Since I’m adding a bathing routine to deal with surface bacteria/yeast as well as the three dietary supplements, should I keep his food the same for now?

He is currently on zignature pork we are just starting our second bag after switching from the catfish formula. Should I leave this be for now with all these other changes or try a new protein? I don’t know if the pork is working for him or not honestly but it doesn’t seem to be getting dramatically worse at this point.

Also should I start one supplement at a time or all three at once?

Thank you all for your help!
 

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Ask Carmen about starting all three supplements at once. For sure, leave the food unchanged since so many other changes are happening. If there is an improvement you need to know which change is helping. The first thing the vet dermatologist had me do after I started taking Quinn there was to use a kibble based on a novel protein for a trial period of 12 weeks. She says any shorter time is insufficient to assess a food allergy. For him that was a kangaroo-based food by Raine and he had only that in dry and wet form, plus kangaroo treats and no people food snicker-snacks!
When you use the chlorhexidine shampoo be sure to leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing well. It will not lather up like regular shampoo but it still works fine. Pay close attention to armpits, groin, and under the tail as those are warm, moist areas where bacteria and yeast love to grow. Stop the shampoo behind his ears and do not get any in his eyes as it can cause damage there. One other bit of advice from the derm vet was to use the human shampoo, Nizoral, on any areas that are identifiably yeasty. She said to mix it 50/50 with the chlorhexidine shampoo to use between his toes and in his armpits. She takes samples from those areas when she examines him and looks at them under the microscope but it sounds like your vet does not do this.
 

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A blue-ribbon, international panel of vet derms recommends medicated baths as a first-line intervention with skin allergies. It washes off contact allergens and gives a lot of dogs instant relief. If you use chlorhexidene shampoo, it will also knock down the microbes that opportunistically invade inflamed, itchy skin (staph and yeast are two of the biggest threats). The chlorhex gives you space to get things stronger internally with probiotics (or meds, if necessary).

My vet has had me Chlorhex shampoo as often as 2x week. Weekly is very common. It doesn't strip skin oils -- it doesn't even suds up. Follow bottle directions EXACTLY (run a timer to leave it on the right amount of time). There's a version that adds Ketoconozole to the chlorhex ("Keto-Chlor" is one of the names it's sold under), and it's even better, since it's also antifungal. I think it's mostly sold by vets though -- the one I know of is RX.

The benefit of this weekly bathing protocol is that it can keep your dog off of internal antibiotics. Otherwise if staph sets in, you can be dealing with 30+ days of antibiotics to treat it -- which destroys gut bacteria, setting the dog back even further. I prefer to be aggressive in topical treatments to avoid the need for systemic ones.

Apoquel runs about US$80/mo. if you need it. I think it's best used as a bridge temporarily to get the dog out of the maddening itchy cycle. I've had a few rescue fosters that were in BAD allergy cycles -- one was nearly hairless when we got him. I get them on weekly chlorhex baths, Apoquel if they need it, fish oil, priobiotics, and a limited ingredient food (the rescue uses Wellness Simple Salmon & Potato as it's go-to food for allergy dogs because it works with more of them than any food we've found). Once the allergies are under control, and the hair grows back, we got all of them off the Apoquel -- we've had at least a dozen of these dogs recover and not need further meds once we got them stabilized, on a food they could tolerate, and got them stronger internally. It really does work!!!

With food, you've got to give any new protein 6-8 weeks -- with no cheating (including treats with a different protein). If you change too often, you won't know if it will work and will end up with no novel proteins left to try...and then end up on RX hydrolyzed protein food from the vet.

KEEP CHLORHEX SHAMPOO OFF THE HEAD -- NO HIGHER THAN THE SHOULDERS -- ELIMINATE ANY CHANCE OF IT GETTING IN THE EYE!!!
 

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My dog had horrible itching, and we tried so many things. We did Apoquel for a bit to get it under control. I really wish we hadn't. I feel that contributed to his early demise.
 

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Oh my gosh Lark really?? I’m so sorry for your loss. Do you mind sharing what was going on with him and how things ended up going wrong? You can pm me if you prefer.

I’m hoping we can get Benny’s body back to a healthy place with the probiotics and washing regimen suggested above. I am open to using other means (like apoquel) but I definitely want to know the risks before making a decision like that so thank you for sharing your experience.
 

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You may not need RX drugs if you bathe weekly and use probiotics, and figure out (and eliminate) whatever the allergy trigger is (environment, food, whatever) so that the body can heal. You can always add an OTC antihisitimine (Zyrtec or Benadryl), at a doseage approved by your vet -- they help some dogs, and not others.

Foods with quercitin are also a good idea -- I think Carm may even have quercitin in one of her supplements. Early (in vitro) research suggested that it may have natural antihistimine effects that may help with allergies -- we're a long way from saying it's equivalent to OTC antihistimines, but the research is very promising.
 
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