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My 12-year-old GSD has had chronic skin issues her entire life. Previous to this year, her skin issues would start with a small irritation, then eventually spread and turn into a staph infection. Those were always located on her belly and underarms and were mostly red and pink in color. A round of antibiotics would always treat the issue and everything would clear up. This typically happened about twice a year.

Within the last year, her skin irritations have been occurring on her back, her sides, her chest, etc. They were initially treated with a round of antibiotics and a 30-day dose of a yeast medication. She has since been on 4 rounds of this medication regiment and still, the problem has not resolved itself. This time around she's experiencing significant hair loss around the irritation and the color is more black versus pink or red. I was advised by my vet to begin the Cytopoint injections on a monthly basis, but those don't seem to be resolving any of the itchiness or irritation. I'm at a loss now, as she's on yet another round of medication. The vet suggested adjusting her diet to try to eliminate the source of the allergies. I've been trying this all of her life - she's been on a majority grain-free, but then the cardiovascular scare came out so I immediately switched up her food to a different brand. I've tried a raw diet, Honest Kitchen, various brands of kibble, and wet food. The vet suggested a hydrolyzed kibble recently, but after looking at the first few ingredients, (soy protein, chicken fat, etc) I don't feel comfortable feeding her that. I would really like to transition her off of kibble again, but I'm always fearful I won't provide enough nutrients with a raw diet. I also did the Glacier Peak Holistic "sensitivity" test and she's sensitive to so many ingredients it's almost impossible to find a kibble that will work for her.

Looking for help on diet and what this possible chronic skin condition could be caused by.
 

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If other things have failed, don't be afraid to try hydrolyzed RX kibble -- I know it looks junky, but it's sometimes the only thing that works for some dogs.

For my allergy dog, the right combo was Honest Kitchen Preference base mix plus raw beef, but your dog might be different. Dr. Harvey's Paradigm is another really excellent base mix to try with raw -- if you know what protein she can tolerate.

Nutrition experts affiliated with UC Davis Vet School also run a service called "Balance It" that can generate pre-formulated recipes according to the ingredients you specify (or even custom ones, in consultation with your vet) at BalanceIt.com.

Have you tried medicated baths (4% chlorhexidene veterinary shampoo)? If I start it on my itchy one at the first sign of itching, then keep up with an aggressive bathing schedule (when it's bad and there's staph, my vet has us doing baths 2x weekly for 2 weeks, and then 1 x weekly for another month, we avoid oral meds and hotspots during her springtime itchy season). Vetricyn Wound Care Spray also helps on itchy spots between baths.
 

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Thanks for the advice! After extensive research, I decided to spend the money and buy the hydrolyzed Royal Canine kibble and wet food. Really hoping this will help, as I hate putting her on more and more rounds of antibiotics.

I do medicated baths as well with chlorhexidine shampoo and it never seems to help - maybe I'm not catching it early enough. My girl is not a big scratcher, so I don't notice until I actually see the "scratchies" on her skin.
 
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