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Hi all,
I've been on here for many yrs mostly just browsing the forums but I need to just vent a little and see if anyone else is experiancing these issues I have.
Got my GSD as an 8 wk old pup (rescue) and he has always been an itchy scratchy large 100 # dog.

I have addressed his allergies on many many occasions. He has had allergy testing- blood and scratch skin testing only to reveal he is allergic to every environmental allergen there is. I believe I have even posted before on the specifics. Even brought him to a dermatologist....got him going on allergy shots- didn't work well after several months doing them and then found the medication Atopica to work along with baths 3x/week and a really involved skin care regimen. That was about 2.5 yrs ago. He is now 4.5 yrs old.
I have been trying my absolute best keeping him comfortable and giving his meds. His itching was so bad that the sound of him chewing and scratching makes me INSANE. Like I get mad at him. Talk about feeling guilty. He gets occasional hot spots and lately, his meds aren't covering him as much as they used to and he is again itchy and scratchy. I have had to back off his meds a little which could be the cause of his relapse but if I gave it daily, it would honestly cost me $250/month plus his shampoo and conditioner ($50/2months) plus his grain free dog food $100/month plus what ever else...He is sucking me dry. I feel like I am going to have a mental breakdown.....PLUS today I am 4 days past due with my first baby....

The dog fur is really bothering me when he itches like he's been and I just try to suck it up but really, I can't afford to up his meds, get him back to the dermatologist, etc. I just wanna cry as I feel like I've failed him.

He has literally cost me close to $10,000 in the short 4 yrs we've had him. I just need support I guess and someone that understands or can relate. Constant constant constant. I fear I won't have as much time once baby comes but obviously I will care for him the best I can. I seriously know no one else that has ever done this much for their dogs but I can't let him suffer....I want him to be comfortable and I want to enjoy him but his health has really taken a toll on that...Sorry to carry on....
 

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Amanda, I am in the same situation. Tried the same meds as you, but came to the conclusion maybe we should try and live with it because the meds can make things worse. Unfortunately, we end up with staph and ear infections if we aren't dilligent with the benedryl.

I noticed that our dog was fine with the allergies all summer but when October came around, it became worse. What's blooming in October/November? lol.

All we can do is make the dog as comfy as long as they are in our care.
 

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I'm sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope you can find some peace, maybe put off any major decisions until after the baby. The stress can't be good for you.

Take care.
 

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.... I seriously know no one else that has ever done this much for their dogs but I can't let him suffer....I want him to be comfortable and I want to enjoy him but his health has really taken a toll on that...Sorry to carry on....
I think that you might be surprised at the number of people that have done as much, and sometimes more, for their dogs. You are not alone.

These allergies are very frustrating.

Personally, I don't think dogs with these severe allergies are managed well with conventional care. Home-prepared diets and careful immune support are the best way to attack the problem.
 

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I'm not saying this will cure his itching, but I know a few people who had very itchy dogs who switched to raw feeding after trying a LOT of vet recommended options and the itching stopped or got a lot better. Just an option you may want to keep in mind.
 

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Hi there,
To keep this short, my 2.5 yr old male GSD is allergic to feathers, dustmites, storage mites, tobbacco, molds, grasses, weeds, trees (pine/birch trees -go figure I live in NH).
I found this in one of your old posts.

The problem with many of these types of allergens is that it can also affect that foods that can be fed. If you have a birch tree allergy, combined with a ragweed allergy, combined with a housedust mite allergy, you're dog is kinda screwed. This link will explain some of the food relationship issues:
Food Allergies, Intolerance and Adverse Reactions Associated With Specific Pollens

So.....what I would do....is get a food allergy BLOOD test run. Derms don't believe in them, and many vets don't either, but you need to use those to help with what foods you can feed. I went through Spectrum labs for this, and am in the process of food trials, combined with the test, to see what will work.

I would also use the herb scullcap to help with the itchy part, start with 2, twice a day, and eventually you might be able to drop to once a day. For extreme days, that can be combined with st. john's wort, but the latter will start acting like an anti-depressant and can interfere with meds, so best to use that as little as possible.

If you allergy test didn't include indoor materials like cloth (say cotton for example), that wouldn't be a bad thing to include in the blood test either.
 

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I have an evironmental allergy dog too.
She is rawfed, on benedryl and other supplements, gets the serum shots from the allergy testing lab(Heska). I run air purifiers in the home and vaccuum daily.
So far I see no relief and her ears/feet and abdomen are chronically itchy. I feel really bad for any dog that has to go thru the daily uncomfortableness of allergies!
 

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Hi Amanda,

I've done it all too, but over $10k - Niko is 8. LOL - Have to laugh at times since it does become so overwhelming when nothing seems to work. The money I've spent and am still just managing Niko can be depressing!

I did all you did plus holistic, homeopathic vets etc. Atopica didn't work for us... Niko really didn't tolerate it well and was extremely depressed on this med which I think he was just feeling very sick. Had aural hematomas in both ears - did surgery on it the first time and his ear stayed up very well. About a year ago both ears had hematomas and both ended up collapsing. Niko was also on a low dose of pred for a couple of months to avoid surgery on his ear(s) again and ended up getting a major cervical (throat/mouth abscess) which required emergency surgery which at that point he would have died from this infection. His throat has almost completely closed due to swelling which shifted his voicebox. It was not your average throat abscess and I do believe it was directly related to his low dose of pred for his ear hematomas. That fiasco was $3500.

Niko is always itchy and I do the same... bathe him every 2 weeks or so. Use antihistimines and most recently put him on a round of antibiotics for his skin. I also went back to raw feeding a few months ago and will continue with that. He has had the skin testing, blood testing for food and inhallant... did allergy shots for a year and nothing quite helped him enough. He is allergic to dust, mold, bugs, some grasses, some trees. Food panel (which I agree with LisaT) derms and most traditional vets will not do the food test... I asked my vet to draw the blood and I sent it out to VARL for food testing. It was the only test I hadn't done since I had to do it on my own. Niko is allergic rice, potatoe, catfish, peas, oats, pork, milk... odd stuff.... but no dog foods are rice, pea or potatoe free. Many believe the food tests are not reliable, but it's at least a guide... although having a dog with inhallant and food is tricky since it's hard to figure out if it's inhallant or food or both that is bothering them.

I have heard that raw feeding has helped many even with inhallant allergies. For me, Niko is still itchy, so I give him a bath with Douxo Chlorehexidine shampoo and will probably give Eqyss Microtek another try. Douxo is pricey. I even purchased a metro hair dryer to dry him a bit during the winter months since bathing is a must.

I'm sure being pregnant and trying to deal with all you have going on is tough! I'm not pregnant and feel like I'm insane at times too.. yelling at him to stop scratching and biting. Then I feel bad too... Niko is a great dog and just ended up with bad luck. :( He did not come from a shelter (my other boy did tho)... even high line breeder dogs can have many medical issues. My shelter dog Whiskey has been very healthy... he could probably eat tin cans and be fine. LOL

Do you use salmon oil or anything for fatty acids? What kind of food are you feeding? We did Science Diet ZD for quite awhile and it didn't help... that cost me about $200 a month for one dog. The best ear wash/cleaner I have found is the blue power ear treatment - you can make this one yourself or buy it as K9 Liquid Health Ear Solution. I buy it since I'm too lazy to make it or look for the ingredients. LOL I have enough ear cleaner products to probably start selling them... (even the pricey vet ones). This one has really worked the best for us. I have also read that the mouthwash Listerine can help with itchy spots... must be the gold one.

I've also been to a couple of vet's in NH... one in Exeter and the other in Lee, NH.

So... from one allergy mom to another. You are not alone. :)

Tanja
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Amanda, I am in the same situation. Tried the same meds as you, but came to the conclusion maybe we should try and live with it because the meds can make things worse. Unfortunately, we end up with staph and ear infections if we aren't dilligent with the benedryl.

I noticed that our dog was fine with the allergies all summer but when October came around, it became worse. What's blooming in October/November? lol.

All we can do is make the dog as comfy as long as they are in our care.
Come to think of it, my dog was also fine all summer and then like you said, Oct/November hit and he is an itch factory again. I used to give benedryl like candy but found it made him even more hyperactive and nuts. Didn't see the therapeutic effect either.

As far as his management goes, I feel like I have done the absolute most for him I can and can't see to doing more testing. Just get through these periods of unusual itchy months and try to deal...
I used to feed him a raw diet but it got to be too complicated as he was a fussy eater and things would go bad and waste my $, not to mention create even more work for me to manage him. Thanks for everyone's support as always. I was really not searching for the cure but just to carry on a bit. No one seems to understand when I talk to the general public about these issues. I get alot of blank stares and the awsome response "its just a dog" line which pisses me off to high heavens.
Anyways, thanks again.

I feel for anyone with dogs with skin issues. Its not just the dog suffering...
 

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Hi Amanda,

I've done it all too, but over $10k - Niko is 8. LOL - Have to laugh at times since it does become so overwhelming when nothing seems to work. The money I've spent and am still just managing Niko can be depressing! I thought i was the only looney one here. We have much in common.

I did all you did plus holistic, homeopathic vets etc. Atopica didn't work for us... Niko really didn't tolerate it well and was extremely depressed on this med which I think he was just feeling very sick. Had aural hematomas in both ears- how horrible is that? my gosh, didn't know it could get worse. - did surgery on it the first time and his ear stayed up very well. About a year ago both ears had hematomas and both ended up collapsing. Niko was also on a low dose of pred for a couple of months to avoid surgery on his ear(s) again and ended up getting a major cervical (throat/mouth abscess) which required emergency surgery which at that point he would have died from this infection. His throat has almost completely closed due to swelling which shifted his voicebox. It was not your average throat abscess and I do believe it was directly related to his low dose of pred for his ear hematomas. That fiasco was $3500. OMG...I am gonna have to read this post to my husband...I feel for you.

Niko is always itchy and I do the same... bathe him every 2 weeks or so. Im gonna have to buy industrial size shampoo chlorhexidine and start really using it I guess- any website you recommend for this product?
Use antihistimines and most recently put him on a round of antibiotics for his skin. Been there, I might as well get a lifetime supply of Keflex also while im at it. I also went back to raw feeding a few months ago and will continue with that. He has had the skin testing, blood testing for food and inhallant... did allergy shots for a year and nothing quite helped him enough. He is allergic to dust, mold, bugs, some grasses, some trees. Do we own the same dog? Food panel (which I agree with LisaT) derms and most traditional vets will not do the food test... I asked my vet to draw the blood and I sent it out to VARL for food testing. It was the only test I hadn't done since I had to do it on my own. Niko is allergic rice, potatoe, catfish, peas, oats, pork, milk... odd stuff.... but no dog foods are rice, pea or potatoe free. I may be afraid to do the food test as I'm not sure I want to know. Many believe the food tests are not reliable, but it's at least a guide... although having a dog with inhallant and food is tricky since it's hard to figure out if it's inhallant or food or both that is bothering them. At this point, I come to the conclusion he is allergic to oxygen. Whats the alternate for that? lol

I have heard that raw feeding has helped many even with inhallant allergies. For me, Niko is still itchy, so I give him a bath with Douxo Chlorehexidine shampoo and will probably give Eqyss Microtek another try. I have the this product also- didn't find it to be that helpful. Douxo is pricey. I even purchased a metro hair dryer to dry him a bit during the winter months since bathing is a must. ok, something I havent done...

I'm sure being pregnant and trying to deal with all you have going on is tough! I'm not pregnant and feel like I'm insane at times too.. yelling at him to stop scratching and biting. Oh yes, my dog even knows the word "stop" when I yell at him and he just gets up and removes himself from the room. Guilty much? Then I feel bad too... Niko is a great dog and just ended up with bad luck. :( He did not come from a shelter (my other boy did tho)... even high line breeder dogs can have many medical issues. My shelter dog Whiskey has been very healthy... he could probably eat tin cans and be fine. LOL

Do you use salmon oil or anything for fatty acids? I used to give him the fatty acid supplement but stopped. **** for all I know, he's allergic to that too. What kind of food are you feeding? I do Evo Chicken formula and beef formula (the "equivilent to raw" allegedly") We did Science Diet ZD for quite awhile and it didn't helpUs too. Our vet insisted... that cost me about $200 a month for one dog. The best ear wash/cleaner I have found is the blue power ear treatment - you can make this one yourself or buy it as K9 Liquid Health Ear Solution. I have this and didn't find it to work all that well then again I probably didn't give it a chance. I continue to use the stuff the dermatologist concocted for us (Con/dex solution) I buy it since I'm too lazy to make it or look for the ingredients. LOL I have enough ear cleaner products to probably start selling them... (even the pricey vet ones). This one has really worked the best for us. HMMM, maybe I should try the liquid health again- how often do you use this? Makes quite the blue mess...Good to know.

I've also been to a couple of vet's in NH... one in Exeter and the other in Lee, NH. Are you from NH? We should be friends...lol
I take Nassir to a vet in MA and his dermatologist is also in MA but I haven't seen her in over a yr.

So... from one allergy mom to another. You are not alone. :)
Thank you thank you thank you for validating my life with this dog... Will you keep me in mind if you find anything else that might "cure" our dogs issues? I'd love to follow your progress. Your life with your dog sounds almost exactly like mine.

-Amanda

Tanja
Thanks alot
 

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No... I'm just as looney... at least some of my friends think so for all I do for my dog. He is my child. :) Yes, we do have a lot in common and there are many other allergy parents on this board... we are all struggling to manage something that our own vets can't manage. I really feel the dog owners know more than the vets... no disrespect to the vets here, but they are not dealing with this daily. I love my vet... he is great!

Ear hematomas suck... surgery is the only real way to fix these and surgery back in 2005 was a little over $500... my vet did a great job, but to do surgery again on the same ear would be pressing my luck which is why we tried the low dose of pred... then the other ear blew up and oh well. Niko has lab ears now. :)

I buy most of my products thru Entirely Pets... they seem to have the best prices. They sell Douxo... it's about $23 for the larger bottle. Which shampoo do you use? Douxo or Eqyss.... I like the smell of Eqyss and use it on my other dog. Can't use an oatmeal base since Niko is supposedly allergic to oats.

You can also buy fish antibiotics from Entirely Pets... I buy Fish Flex (Cephelexin) for Niko. It was the exact same green capsule my vet sold me for double the price. I just reordered them last week and the capsule looks a little different, but I haven't bought them from the vet in a few years... so their capsule could have changed too. I was hesitant to do this, but one of my friends in rescue said I was crazy for paying for Cephelexin from the vet for Niko. He takes the 500mg capsules. I hate giving antibiotics, but when I think he has a bacterial infection from scratching... it's necessary. He also gets probiotics too which hopefully will help his gut from the antibiotics. I have never used Keflex, but I think it may be similar to Cephelexin which is commonly used for skin infections in dogs. EntirelyPets Discount Pet meds Pet Supplies & Flea Medicine

Yup, we probably need plastic bubbles for our boys. Inhallant allergies are the worst and I agree... Niko has gotten worse during the winter months.. must be the dust and I do clean alot because I can't stand a mess or dirt! :)

I have given salmon oil, sardine oil etc... but I do think Niko might have been itchier... was never quite sure of that. He did come up with a catfish allergy on the food allergy test... although I don't know why VARL tests for catfish. I have also given Virbac Omega Derm. Not sure if this caused any issues... may try it again. I have tried probably all of the grain free diets, but really had no luck - then I did the the food test and almost all had potatoe or peas. We will stick with raw since I know exactly what he is getting. :)

The Liquid Health ear wash is messy... I do not pour it in his ears... but use a cotton ball instead. It does help, although it doesn't fix anything.. but better than the $45 tiny bottle of Otomax from the derm. Bought mine from Lucky Vitamin... reasonably priced...
Buy Liquid Health - K-9 Ear Solutions - 12 oz. at LuckyVitamin.com

I'm not from NH... but read about all the vets around the area - especially non-traditional - holistic etc. Always looking to try something. Not sure where you are in NH... but Regina Downey in Exeter is a good vet... she is holistic, but does traditional when needed. I really liked her, just far for me to travel during the week with work and all. I'm in Arlington, MA - near Cambridge.

Niko has seen a couple of derms at Tufts in Walpole. His first derm was Dr. Lowell Ackerman... pretty well known and he did the intradermal skin testing and the blood test for inhallant. We started allergy shots with him - this was probably in 2005/2006. Stopped the allergy shots a year or so later and then most recently saw Dr. Prost at Tufts... she was very nice. We did the Atopica with her... but couldn't continue with this med.

So, I'm on my own again... LOL There is another product I tried I think back in 2005 called Nzymes.. It made Niko worse after 2 months, but it does say that is what will happen. I just couldn't continue with him getting so bad... Was thinking I may look into this again. I do think the blackened skin is a yeast issue which is very itchy on it's own per my derm. Niko had yeast at one of his visits and she said you MUST treat the yeast first prior to anything since yeast is extremely itchy. He was on Ketoconozole for that.

Nzymes - Nutritional supplements for pets and people

Curious if anyone on here has had any luck with this product. I even spoke to them on the phone and they were very supportive/nice. I think this product just may take a long time and I don't want Niko to get worse either. :)

Yes, we should be friends! :)

Tanja
 

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Come to think of it, my dog was also fine all summer and then like you said, Oct/November hit and he is an itch factory again. I used to give benedryl like candy but found it made him even more hyperactive and nuts.
I noticed that you are from New Hampshire. IF you don't mind me asking, what type of heating system do you use in the home? Fuel oil or propane?

I have noticed when we moved to northern New York from Virginia that itching increased A LOT in my dogs once winter came because it was very dry in the home. My Shepherd already had some itchy issues and could not tolerate certain foods well, but that had been under control before we moved. Once the first winter came, however, she was back to scratching and my non-allergic Malinois also started itching.

I bought some humidifiers after it was suggested on this board, and that has made a difference.

Just a thought.
 

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I have tried the Nzymes with not alot of luck. These holistics take soooo long to work and they do get worse. I stopped with the product even though I bet it would have done something if I continued...


I noticed that you are from New Hampshire. IF you don't mind me asking, what type of heating system do you use in the home? Fuel oil or propane?

I have noticed when we moved to northern New York from Virginia that itching increased A LOT in my dogs once winter came because it was very dry in the home. My Shepherd already had some itchy issues and could not tolerate certain foods well, but that had been under control before we moved. Once the first winter came, however, she was back to scratching and my non-allergic Malinois also started itching.

I bought some humidifiers after it was suggested on this board, and that has made a difference.

Just a thought.
I have hot water heater, not hot air which may help but we also use the wood stove. It probably doesnt help that I have chickens and my dog is allergic to feathers per test results.... oh well, I will just deal with it and hope I don't kill anyone... It isn't yr round that he is really bad. The baths do help.
 

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Penny tested positive for environmental allergies but her biggest allergy is flea allergy. It only takes one bite to send a flea allergic dog into panic mode. Using comfortis for FAD has solved most of Penny's itchiness and we use medicated shampoos for flare ups of yeast and bacteria which come secondary to the scratching. I really sympathize with you as I know how difficult and frustrating allergies can be.
 

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My 2 Cents

Actually I do not own a German Shepard although I was browsing through the internet to see if I could further help my dog with a condition that has dramatically improved over the last month.

I own a Japanese Tosa, who at around 7-8 months started breaking out with pimple like bumps all over his entire body. His itching was out of control. I have spent thousands on different vets to no avail. I tried to eliminate plants in my yard, put him on flea medication, tried raw, consulted with a dermatologist, etc., etc. but his itching persisted and the raised areas of fur were the bumps were seemed to be painful when I would groom him and occasionally bled. He had lived in this condition till just a month ago. He is a year and a half now, and just as I was about to give up on the situation (I literally have the kitchen counter top full of sprays, supplements, shampoos, etc), I turned to a drug that I have been taking for my own allergies; Allegra. I first researched the product to see if it would be harmful to the dog. I found out that many of the concerns about using Allegra for dogs stem from the fact that their hasn't really been a precedent for it, not that it is harmful, it is that they do not know. Allegra has actually been tested on dogs and found it non toxic up to 2000mg. They actually used allegra-d, which I do not recommend, to test on dogs not regular allegra. I found another person with a german shepherd who needed a non drowsy antihistamine because her dogs were used for agility/obedience trials and found that allegra was best. She has been successfully using it for years. I actually got the guts to try it for my own dog because of her. I am talking about regular Allegra and not Allegra-D which would be harmful to a dog. I was also able to find 1 vet who recommended the use of antihistamines such as claritin and allegra to the discretion of the dog owner because their hasn't been a precedent for its use on dogs. I started my dog who is 140lbs on the pediatric dose of 60mg and gradually increased it till I found a significant improvement. On 90mg he seemed to be fine during the day and itchy during the evening. He is on the full adult 24hr dose of 180mg. I do not want to go beyond 180mg. He still itches a bit, but it is a far, far, far cry from what he was before... His bumps have decreased to the point where you have to find them on him. His fur has returned to its full glory, his smell that was associated with dandruff due to allergies is gone. He looks like a normal dog for the first time in months. His quality of life has increased with no ill effects so far. If Allegra does have any negative effects, if his life span is shorted by 1 or 2 years, I am sure he wouldn't mind. Allegra is absorbed by the liver and hasn't shown to be harmful although dogs with liver problems may want to research further. I am posting this because I know what you guys are going through and I just wanted to post my 2 cents in what helped me. Oh and along with the allegra, he is on EVO red meat, and on raw diet supplemented by Solid Gold sea meal.
 

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To all those with terrible allergies has any one ever recommended probiotics (symbiotics --- a combination of prebiotic/probiotic/ and enzymes) as part of the solution.
This is typical of the cases that I hear about including cases of malassezia .
What is the background history of this pup. Pedigree, age of leaving litter, what had he been fed before , what is he eating now.
Is there a before picture of the dog .
PM me .
Carmen
Carmspack Working German Shepherd Dogs
 

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To all those with terrible allergies has any one ever recommended probiotics (symbiotics --- a combination of prebiotic/probiotic/ and enzymes) as part of the solution.
This is typical of the cases that I hear about including cases of malassezia .
What is the background history of this pup. Pedigree, age of leaving litter, what had he been fed before , what is he eating now.
Is there a before picture of the dog .
PM me .
Carmen
Carmspack Working German Shepherd Dogs
I use Solid Gold sea meal which iis a combination. I found that it helped with his coat when he had bald spots due to over shedding from his allergies. I tried this before I resorted to allegra which is what stemmed all the scratching he was doing.
 
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