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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow GSD Forum members, I'm completely new and this is actually the reason why I joined - I wanted some real life advice and knowledge of the members. So allow me to pick your brain! :help:

At 12 years old, I have had Sasha since I was ten and it wasn't until the last two years where things have gotten quite bad with her. Aside from the usual slowing down, hip problems, Sasha has been dealing with the following symptons quite bad for the past three months;

- severe itching (some days there is little, other days are extreme to the point of her almost falling over from using her back legs to scratch)
- scaly, almost greasy skin and yellowish coloured skin flakes that look like buildup along the skin
- hair will pull out easily
- "fleabiting" on select areas; hind legs, lower back area and over ribs resulting in matting that needed to be shaved off last week (and is coming back again matted)
- a very, VERY strong odour that comes from her skin
- some areas, especially on the inside of her back legs, hair loss with the skin being pinkish/blueish/purplish


Now, I have been back and forth to the vet so many times the past year I cannot count or afford anymore. Either they cannot pinpoint it or my vet is giving me the run around. She is currently on a raw food diet for the past six months which had cleared up her ears and she is much more active since the switch from kibble.

Can anyone offer their insight or knowledge? Any experience? I have been researching for the past couple of months and have drawn some conclusions. It has been quite difficult to see her age really catch up with her, as most of these conditions have been kept under control when she was younger. Anything anyone can offer is invaluable to me at this time, thank you for taking the time to read, and if you take the time to post! :confused:

 

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I'm sure others will know a lot more than me, but I can tell you my experience.

For the hips, I use Glyco Flex III, hyaluronic acid, and the biggie---ZEEL homeopathic pills. Three pills, twice a day. The Zeel has made the most difference.

For the skin......my dog gets seasonal allergies. His belly and groin area turns blackish. I treat him with Claritin, to relieve the itching, and I just recently started rubbing the area a few times a day with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water (in case it's fungal/yeast). I've even sprayed him with jock itch spray that kills fungus. I also rub coconut oil on him a few times a week in case it's bacterial. The vinegar mix has helped the most.
The pink skin is just starting to come back. I've read that yeast infections stem from the GI system.
Has your dog been treated for a skin infection? Mine was treated in November for one. He also started thyroid medication in February.

My neighbors are dealing with a more severe case........both their dogs fall over from the scratching etc, like yours. Their lives were miserable. They tried everything (prednisone, local honey, antihistamine etc). They fought against using it, but finally gave in to using atopica. They had relief within a day or two and are starting to heal up. Those dogs are allergic to pollen. Oddly enough, these dogs are older dogs that never had a problem before. Then bam, both of them this year.
The owners are going to work on building up their immune systems so they can try to avoid this next year.

Again, I could be way off the mark. I hope the more knowledgable members chime in with more thoughts. I'd definitely want the greasy skin and foul odor addressed.

Best of luck!
 

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On top of the other suggestions have you tried feeding her coconut oil and fish oil too? My dog gets these every day and has a satiny soft coat. I've also heard positive things about feeding dogs with allergy problems RAW honey.

I'm sorry your pup is going through this! There are some very knowledgeable people here though and hopefully you'll be able to find something to give her some relief!
 

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I agree with the advice to start with an antibacterial/antifungal bath -- it could be as simple as yeast, given that odor. I would start with this kind of antibacterial/antifungal bath before doing any medicating -- you'll know very quickly if it helps. It's economical too.

In addition to the brand of shampoo Michelle suggested, my vet recommends Chlorexidene 4% shampoo (here's an example). Malaseb has Chlorhex 2% in it --so you'll still be using Chlorex, if you go that route (the 4% is stronger, but it lacks the second antifungal ingredient of the malaseb). You may have to repeat this kind of bath in a week, and be sure to leave it on for the time specified on the label.

Chlorhex shampoo has worked wonders on foster dogs with nasty skin conditions. I was skeptical when my vet told me a $15 bottle of shampoo was likely all that was needed, but I'm convinced it's a miracle in a bottle for some dogs who are miserable.

I also agree with the coconut oil suggestion -- medium-chain fatty acids are supposed to combat systemic yeast and other infections from the inside too (start with a small amount and work up, as I've seen reports of "herxing" effects when there are systemic yeast infections and sudden bacterial die-offs). Look for organic, unrefined coconut oil (I order mine from Vitacost.com, but if you have Costco, they sell it too; so does Whole Foods and Amazon). It's a very good multi-purpose supplement for seniors to be on anyway--and great as a moisturizer for your own hands and feet!

I think I'd add a probiotic, too. Getting the gut bacteria back in balance may help.
 

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You might want to have her thyroid checked. Your dog has at least two symptoms on the list. I wish you luck in solving this problem.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

inexplicable and persistent weight gain
inexplicable weight loss
unusually heavy or thick coat
unusually sparse coat
unusually greasy coat
areas that have been clipped down grow back very slowly or not at all
generalized all over itchiness
generally crabby or crotchety attitude
spaced out some or all of the time
lethargy or reluctance to exercise
seems cold most of the time or seeks out warm places
suddenly fearful of things that weren’t a problem previously
softening of muscle tone even with regular exercise, particularly noticeable in the face
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First off - thank you all so much for your insight. These are things that were not brought up with me from either of my vets (Sasha has been seeing two over her life time). Both are under assumption that the skin problems are food allergies. As per suggested by Magwart, Jax and Carriesue, I am going to purchase Malaseb tonight and start with one bath a week. I have also purchased Betadine for some of the matted fur to wash it nightly. So sad to see her going through it, but I really appreciate the info.

M&J - thanks for the advice about the ZEEL pills, I have done reading in to them and they look like they could be of some help. And I love homeopathic, anything natural.

Also thanks to Carriesue for the coconut oil suggestions, I will be heading over to my local Wholefoods tommorow!

:eek: thank you ! Lots of knowledge on here!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You might want to have her thyroid checked. Your dog has at least two symptoms on the list. I wish you luck in solving this problem.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

inexplicable and persistent weight gain
inexplicable weight loss
unusually heavy or thick coat
unusually sparse coat
unusually greasy coat
areas that have been clipped down grow back very slowly or not at all
generalized all over itchiness
generally crabby or crotchety attitude
spaced out some or all of the time
lethargy or reluctance to exercise
seems cold most of the time or seeks out warm places
suddenly fearful of things that weren’t a problem previously
softening of muscle tone even with regular exercise, particularly noticeable in the face
I have a vet appointment booked for the first of June, I will definately bring this up. I have read into hypothyroidism as well, being common for Shepherds but didn't suspect it. Thank you for the wishes!
 
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