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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I have a 2 yr old GSD who has a serious case of the itchies with a little bit of hair loss around the ears, face, and belly. We have been to the vet twice, tried steroids, antihistamines, Apoquel, and Bravecta (hedging our bets in case it was demodectic mange instead of allergies). We switched him to a fish based food (Crave Fish & Salmon). Before, I take him back to the vet as the itching is unabated, I wanted to see if anyone had a similar experience or advice. A little background - we know nothing about his background other than that he was picked up as an emaciated stray by animal control at 1 yr of age and turned over to a GSD rescue from which we adopted him. He's been with us for a year, but didn't show any problem with itching until about 3-4 months ago. Picture of Fred here. Any ideas?
 

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Did you try cytopoint to shut down the itching and actually test for allergies?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Did you try cytopoint to shut down the itching and actually test for allergies?
Nope to either. Not sure why our vet has not tested for allergies. Makes sense to do so. I was tested for allergies as a kid before I started treatment.
 

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Have you tried weekly chlorhex baths? You'll know after one bath if it's going to help -- my latest foster came to me hairless and covered in spots from scratching herself like mad, even though she had been treated for fleas several days earlier. I gave her one bath with chlorhex 4% veterinary shampoo, and the itching is basically GONE. It was instant relief for her, and I've had that experience many, many times. It won't help every dog, but it's a cheap thing that helps a lot of them. You do have to keep up a frequent bathing schedule for a while though.

If that doesn't work, throw in the towel and make an appointment with a vet derm -- get expert help and stop fooling with the regular vet.
 

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Cytopoint was a life saver for my boy. Once he was comfortable we tested for allergies. I would recommend you find a dermatologist to help you.
 

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You could try changing foods? The wife claims that 'taste of the wild' helped prevent those itchy bald spots that our dogs use to be plagued with.

I remind myself of that every time I buy a bag of it...ouch.
 

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Curious if you've tried a humidifier for your house - sometimes the drier winter air can cause itchiness (especially with our home heating systems going) and then the constant scratching causes more irritations resulting in a vicious cycle. At least, it did for my boy - he had hairloss on his ears really bad, did some foot fungus cream and bought humidifers. I now have two humidifiers in my home - one in the basement where they're crated during the day, and one in the bedroom where we sleep at night. The itching is near nonexistant now.
 

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If the dog is allergic to mites, the forced air in the winter makes it much, much worse. I tried humidifiers, oils, everything I could to help is discomfort. Humidifier will help somewhat and may fool you into thinking that's the issue while you pass off the remainder of itching as just dry skin. One big indication of allergies is gunky ears. People want to attribute that to food but in my vet's opinion, that is typically environmental.

Certainly start with Magwart's advice. Her experience is much more vast than anyone else's on this board. But if that doesn't work, Try a cytopoint shot to at least get him comfortable and get to a derm for testing. I seems to me that steroids should have helped if this was solely allergies?
 

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Sorry but I may have missed where your location is. I’m in Florida with a lot of humidity and that doesn’t help my allergy ridden 4 legged kid. She’s 10 years old and we have spent many $ on her allergies, including an animal dermatologist. We have been fighting her severe allergies for 5 long years. We have tried all the meds you mentioned and then some. We may have finally (knock on wood), found what works for her. Temaril P. She takes it daily and it’s a steroid. But my husband and I believe quality versus quantity. The last 18 months are the first months she wasn’t living in socks and/or a cone. Good luck! I know how frustrating allergies can be for animals and humans!
 

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So much of what might bring a little comfort depends on the allergies and individual dog. This really is about quality of life vs quantity. My dog is allergic to mites and grass. So in the summer his symptoms would be itchy feet and nasal congestion to the point that I had to retire him from IPO because he couldn't track. Winter would hit and he would dig incessantly. He couldn't walk 5' without stopping to dig and I would have to go physically stop. It hurts to see your dog not comfortable in his own skin. So here are all our stories. I hope you find a solution in one of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank all of you for sharing your experiences. I feel so bad for him and his belly hair especially is getting thin. I'll definitely try the bath and then talk to the vet about a dermatologist. Not sure if they have one on staff, but I'm sure he can refer me to someone if not. The gunky ears is interesting. He did have an ear infection just recently. Thanks again!
 

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I would get him off the Crave Fish & Salmon. It has too many possible allergens if this is the formula you are taking about: Salmon, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Split Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pork Meal, Dried Potatoes, Lamb Meal, Fish Meal, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract. I would try a limited ingredient food with a novel protein for at least 12 weeks to see a difference. One of my dogs can't do chicken, lamb, fish, peas or potatoes which are all in this formula. Mine can't do grains either. But he has been doing fabulous on Earthborn's Venture Turkey & Squash. Prior to this formula he had massive problems with hair loss and yeast infections, blackened skin and ear infections. They are removing the chickpeas from it soon and adding tapioca which I'm hoping doesn't cause an issue. But you want to avoid peas and legumes too if at all possible due to the possible link to heart disease.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, that's the one. Vet said get him off the chicken-based food we had him on and try fish. Didn't realize all that other stuff was a factor! I'll try that too. Thanks!
 

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Yeah, that's the one. Vet said get him off the chicken-based food we had him on and try fish. Didn't realize all that other stuff was a factor! I'll try that too. Thanks!
People always worry about the proteins but mine allergic to White potatoes and green beans. If you really want to know if its food ask about the hydrolyzed protein food
 

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I'll definitely try the bath and then talk to the vet about a dermatologist.
Here are examples of the shampoo that I'm talking about:

I don't think brand matters, but Trizchlor, Douxo, and Curaseb are reputable, but my vet team advised me to try to stick with a 4% concentration.

Follow bottle directions exactly. Keep it well away from the head--shoulders down only (NEVER near the face/eyes--it can severely damage eyes). Run a stopwatch to make sure you leave it on the dog the recommended time. If it helps, repeat it weekly....for a while. It won't strip the coat (it doesn't foam).

We just had a dog festival in which our rescue's booth was next to the local vet specialtist clinic's booth, and I got to chat with their new derm during some down time. When I told her that I buy chlorhex shampoo by the gallon to distribute to all of our foster homes to use as the first-line intervention for every itchy dog, her response was a big, enthusiastic grin and thumbs-up. She said, "WONDERFUL! Keep that up. I definitely think it's a good idea."

Do one thing at a time. Don't start baths and ALSO change food the same week -- you won't know which one worked!
 

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My female had the winter itchies cytopoint helps with that and I have to get a humidifier for next winter as it seems to be a winter thing I think possible dryness in air. One time I bought a bag of Purina sport good and all the dogs were itching - max and topper my male dogs never had itchy skin. Once I switched from purina the itching stopped as fast as it started. So don’t rule out food. As suggested you can always get an allergy test but still important to keep other things open and I only recommend getting it from the vet. Also always check for mites.
 

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I have an itchy dog. She has allergies but that really is not the problem.
Here is what I know. Baths- help short term but really just contribute, same as when I get out of the shower I itch. The constant washing removes oils from the skin. Food- if I feed my dog beef she gets hives in her ears right away. Food allergies are fairly rare and while food may contribute to chronic itching, it is seldom the cause. Soaps, cleaners, detergents and fabric softeners- ALL are torture to a dog(or human) with sensitive skin! If you are using scented products it's a double whammy, since few use natural sources for fragrance.
Chicken, for whatever reason, seems to contribute to itchy skin and this becomes more evident in the winter. And I personally don't feed foods that have more then one protein source.
On advice I got here I spent $60 and bought a humidifier, I run it about 4 hours a day and the difference is night and day. When I lived in Alberta, dry and high altitude, both me and the dog were itchy and just generally yuck most of the year. I tried EVERYTHING! Nothing seemed to combat the extreme dryness.
When I moved to Ontario the itching mostly stopped, except that I live in an apartment with electric heat now.
Poor Shadow was so itchy she couldn't sleep! Hair was falling out and thinning from her constant scratching. Last week I plugged in the humidifier and while she is still itchy, she can sleep and the hair loss has slowed. She isn't stopping every 30 seconds to scratch and she doesn't twitch when I pet her.
 

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So I have a 2 yr old GSD who has a serious case of the itchies with a little bit of hair loss around the ears, face, and belly. We have been to the vet twice, tried steroids, antihistamines, Apoquel, and Bravecta (hedging our bets in case it was demodectic mange instead of allergies). We switched him to a fish based food (Crave Fish & Salmon). Before, I take him back to the vet as the itching is unabated, I wanted to see if anyone had a similar experience or advice. A little background - we know nothing about his background other than that he was picked up as an emaciated stray by animal control at 1 yr of age and turned over to a GSD rescue from which we adopted him. He's been with us for a year, but didn't show any problem with itching until about 3-4 months ago. Picture of Fred here. Any ideas?
Hey i Had the exact same issue with my gsd coconut oil 3 times a week for 2 weeks and then maintainance of once a week for life. He was itchy and had hair loss turns out his diet was too low in fat. Good luck
 

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I'm not as fussy as others here. Sometimes these things are serious (in which case listen to the fussy people) and sometimes they are just normal dog things. Elke had an itchy spot she worked on for a few days and made a mess of. Maybe it was a bug bite? I cleaned it 3 times a day with J&J antiseptic wash and applied Benydryl from a tube. Cleared up and the hair has almost competely grown back. Elke says Fred is a good looking fella and she asked me to attach a photo of herself!
 

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I have the same exact issue with my baby. She is on Apoquel 16mg every other day and I also give her Zyrtec 40mg daily. She is on a strict hypoallergenic diet (Hills Science Diet D/D). Switching to a strict hypoallergenic diet did help but she still has some symptoms. We figured out she has an allergy to chicken as well as environmental allergies. Itching on her belly and ears. She also gets dry skin on her back. Because she has dry skin I make sure to brush her twice/week to help stimulate oil production and remove undercoat. I also add fish oil to her food. For any spots that get bad I apply hydrocortisone cream. For any especially dry spots I apply Vitamin E oil or Coconut Oil. I have found a loation that works great so I have been using that lately.

The products that I have found that work for itching are...
  • Veterinary Formula Hot Spot Relief Spray (has hydrocortisone in it)
  • Veterinary Formila Hot Spot & Itch Relief Shampoo
  • Ultra Oil Skin & Coat Supplement
  • DERMagic Skin Rescue Loation
Hope this helps!
 

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