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My 2 yr old gsd, Brutus has a severe itching problem. Every vet I have gone to can't ever give me a real answer other than, "Well he doesn't have fleas or ticks.." It is really driving both me and my dog insane!
He gets incredibly worse when I leave him, even for just a few minutes to grab water or talk on the phone. He bites and scratches with his back claws to where he ends up bleeding. He itches basically everywhere so there's not a real clue.. No shampoo has helped, no change in diet has either.
He has gotten hot spots because of this getting out of hand.. Some of my friends think I am a control freak because I stop him from itching, but this is exactly why!
But it has gotten so bad that whenever I have to leave and absolutely can't take him with I put a cone and some socks on him.

I am at a real loss.. I have looked up quite a bit, but he relates allot with quite a few different things I've read so I can't exactly pin point. But I would love to hear some thoughts and suggestions.
 

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First, talk to your vet about Cytopoint. Second, have blood drawn and find out exactly what he's allergic to. And shame on your vets for not already doing this.
 

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Have you tried OTC antihistamines like benadryl or zyrtec? Has your vet tried any prescription antihistamines or steroids? I ask because you say he itches more when you leave him. If it were an allergy to environment, food or both you might see some relief. If it is OCD chewing/scratching behavior antihistamines likely will have no effect at all.

What Jax08 said....Allergy/sensitivity testing should be done to narrow down what is driving your boy crazy. Test for food and environmental.
 

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what diets you have tried and for how long, what did the vets prescribed, what shampoos your tried and which things that you have read that relates to your dog.

The answers are needed to cut the "already tried that" answer and will help others who are experienced help you figure this out and make suggestions. Often times it's a process of elimination to figure out which triggers are causing this.

I have found the cone to be a great help with preventing hot spots when I was figuring out and helping him with his scratching and itching.
 

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Seriously if your dog is digging that bad please just have allergy testing done. The Cytopoint will shut down the itching without skewing the allergy testing. I have been there and done that. I did the whole elimination thing convinced it was chicken because that's what everyone says and instead he's allergic to 9 grasses and 5 dust mites.
 

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We have struggled with allergies with our girl Zoey (8 yrs old), this year being especially bad. I've chased around a number of solutions, raw, chlorohexidine shampoo, apoquel, Zyrtec, and on and on. All helped to some degree, but none worked completely. the apoquel helped noticably, but increased her level of aggression so we stopped.

I was reluctant to try the Cytopoint, but I finally gave in a couple weeks ago and for the first time in months she is no longer scratching. She cleared up almost completely, only her eyes were still a bit goopy at times. My vet suspected pannus and it turns out he was correct. I give her drops in each eye for this and now they're clearing as well.
 

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What Jax08 said....Allergy/sensitivity testing should be done to narrow down what is driving your boy crazy. Test for food and environmental.
run both panels. food and environment. It's about $400. the Cytopoint is about $100. If that doesn't work then it's probably a food allergy. Has any vet suggested Apequel (sp?). That's a steroid type med for allergies. I chose to start wth the Cytopoint and use claritin for right now. You can give claritin or zirtec every 12 hours. Dogs process it differently than we do.
 

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Most likely food. Put him on raw food for a 2 weeks and you will see.

Itching is not emergency anyway, so you can wait and save a vet bill (if it turns out to be a food). If it doesn't help, you can always go to vet and test demodectic mange etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the suggestions. Only one vet really prescribed him with a shampoo that did nothing to help or make it worse.. The others didn't say much other then it possibly being allergies or an infection. Currently I was going to test out these probiotics and see if it changes anything if not I'm going to take him to yet again another vet but one I haven't taken him to yet. So I will update as it goes along!
 

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Definitely have him tested for allergies. Just a thought, you said he gets worse when you leave? Is it possible he is self mutilating due to anxiety/stress?
 

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Most likely food. Put him on raw food for a 2 weeks and you will see.

Itching is not emergency anyway, so you can wait and save a vet bill (if it turns out to be a food). If it doesn't help, you can always go to vet and test demodectic mange etc.



Food allergies are actually not that common. I know everyone likes to blame food but it's a much smaller occurrence than environmental allergies. And a raw diet will not fix a food allergy. The food being raw has nothing to do with it. If there is a food allergy then the dog needs to be on an elimination diet with one protein at a time. Then add one vegetable. Literally, one food at a time. It would take up to 6 weeks or more to find the allergies. Still, I would start with an allergy test. The food test is not necessarily 100% accurate. There could be food they have a sensitivity too but shows negative on the test. It's still a good starting point.



While itching may not be a medical emergency, the resulting staph infection from the digging will be. And if that doesn't happen, the discomfort of the dog is certainly worth the visit. I just went thru this. my dog could not even walk 5' without stopping to dig in such a way that I had to stop him and break the cycle. years of screwing around messing with the diet and thinking this thing worked and that thing worked but the results never lasted.


And OP- if you have a breeder, ask them about the other dogs. Allergies are genetic.
 

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@Jax08, what can you do for a dog that has environmental allergies aside from giving them medications? It's not like you can keep dogs away from grass! If the only option is meds, why bother with the allergy tests and not just go straight to the meds to treat them?
 

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@Jax08, what can you do for a dog that has environmental allergies aside from giving them medications? It's not like you can keep dogs away from grass! If the only option is meds, why bother with the allergy tests and not just go straight to the meds to treat them?



Right?!? And he's an IPO dog so we are IN the grass. FULLY immersed! But even that is not as bad as the dust mites. You can not escape them at all.



First, you know exactly what he's allergic to so you stop spending money on irrelevant things looking for a fix. Buying expensive foods you don't need to "fix" a chicken allergy that isn't there. Buying humidifiers in the winter because you think their skin is dry. All those supplements that are suggested by anyone with Google capability. I've spent so much money that the allergy panel would have been cost effective if I had started there.



Second, you can do allergy shots for environmental allergies. which is what we will be doing. It will be a combination for the mites and the grasses. You can make sure you are wiping them down with a damp cloth as soon as they come inside.


If it is food, then that's an easy fix. Take it out of his diet and research cross reactions.



And if you choose to not do shots, at least you have the knowledge to make informed decisions.


The Cytopoint can not be given any more than 4 weeks apart. But the shot lasted 4 months for him! There is concern that it will start losing effectiveness but my friend has been using it for 4 years and it still works fine.
 

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What about mange? Early in an outbreak dogs go crazy itching and scratching and no lesions are visable yet.
 

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Another convert to Cytopoint here. I tried everything with my guy who is allergic to dust mites, novel protein diet, allergy tests, steroids, sub-lingual allergy serum, chlorhexidine shampoos, probiotics and on and on. None had total success but his first Cytopoint injection worked in 24 hours, gave 8 weeks of total relief, second shot was given in early May and he is still not itching. Allergy dogs get into a terrible cycle of itching, skin damage, staph infections, antibiotics, messed up immune system, then mange and fungal infections and even antibiotic-resistant staph infections. What works for us is regular chlorhexidene baths, probiotics and Cytopoint. Stop the itch cycle and then do diagnostics to get to the root cause. I'm sure your dog is beyond miserable and needs relief. Good luck!
 
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