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Hi folks, I'm hoping someone who's been here might be able to give me a shove in the right direction.

Last year my three GSD's were having a problem itching and scratching constantly. On advice received largely here we switched them to Purina One. Over time the itching and scratching went away for two of the three dogs. The third, Rocky, seemed to get better but his skin (chest and belly) seemed to remain most and he itched all the time.

I took him to an animal dermatologist and, after spending $1,500, walked away with shots and some stuff to give him (see image below with details). Over time his chest and belly coat came back, skin looked normal and the itching stopped. This was last year.

Now the problem is back. The other two GSD's are just fine. It's just him. And I can't go and spend another $1,500 to fix this.

On the advice of a trainer I changed his food yet one more time to a salmon and potato based formula from 4Health. This was just a few days ago. I'm told to wait two to four weeks to see if it changes anything.

I thought I'd reach out and see if anyone might have been in my shoes and learn what other remedies might exist. His skin is balmy and moist and he is scratching it all the time. No injuries thankfully (by that I mean bleeding caused by scratching).

I'll add that in doing some research I just started (yesterday) to wash down his skin with apple cider vinegar. The theory being that the slightly acidic pH might help kill off bacteria and fungus. The skin, after two days of doing this, feels dryer than before but this might be a very subjective thing.

Thanks,

-Martin





 

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Has he been tested for demodex mange?
 

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Yikes, that looks bad. If it is allergies, they would be severe. I would also look into mange. That was my first thought when I saw his chest.
 

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We went through the same thing, though not quite that bad. Our Vet mentioned some GSD's are gluten intolerant. We switched food out to be totally wheat and gluten free. That stopped the itching! Coat grew back just fine. We had to really study dog food labels. Sometimes that wheat flour or gluten meal is way down the list. Same goes if you mix in canned food: the majority of canned dog food has gluten in it. Our girl did well on Nutro Max grain free chicken and rice mixed with Blue Diamond Lamb and Rice. She wouldn't touch anything with fish in it. An oatmeal shampoo might help in the short term. Good luck!
 

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Yikes, that looks bad. If it is allergies, they would be severe. I would also look into mange. That was my first thought when I saw his chest.
Probably going to go to the vet again. Just want to do some research before. I can't get hit with thousands of dollars every year. Hoping for a more sensible solution.
 

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Mange is not difficult to treat.Ask your regular vet to test for it.
 

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1. If you still have some of that Trizchlor shampoo left from the vet derm, use it! If not, you can buy more from Amazon (it's OTC, and it's a $10-20 item....though you probably paid more at the vet derm for it):
https://www.amazon.com/Dechra-TrizC...530235300&sr=1-1&keywords=trizchlor+4+shampoo

Keep it away from the head, and follow instructions carefully. The chlorhexidene in it will knock down bacteria topically if you use it at least weekly. Doing this early and consistently can keep the dog from getting staph requiring oral antibiotics. The reviews on Amazon show how many dogs this stuff helps.



2. If you suspect fungus, there's an even better shampoo that includes ketoconazole and chlorhexidine -- like this (though I buy a different brand from the vet, it has the same ingredients as this):
https://www.amazon.com/Antifungal-A...6&keywords=ketoconazole+chlorhexidine+shampoo
The keto is an antifungal, the chlorhex is antibacterial -- it's a very effective combo, and this may get rid of the issue topically without the need for those oral meds from the vet. Again, check out the Amazon reviews. I'd MUCH rather use keto topically in a shampoo like this than have to give it orally!



3. Spray problem spots with Vetricyn spray in between baths -- it may prevent them from turning into hot spots:
https://www.amazon.com/Vetericyn-Pl...30235524&sr=1-1&keywords=vetericyn+wound+care
This stuff should be in every dog owner's medicine cabinet (I even use it on ME). It's painless, and it's pretty amazing at helping skin heal. I'd use it at least 2x day.


4. Get a skin scrape done at the regular vet-- it's relatively cheap (an office visit fee and maybe $30 for the procedure). That will help determine whether you've got mites, an infection, or both.



5. If none of this works, I'd go back to the vet derm before it gets bad.



I would caution you NOT to use oatmeal shampoo -- if the dog has an environmental allergy to grass, you'll make this situation much worse! I also keep all the rescue's dogs with skin issues on a very limited ingredient diet -- we either use Wellness Simple or the new Diamond Care hydrolyzed protein food. Either of those seem to help A LOT of dogs. A few need to be off kibble entirely, but that's rare. Chicken is a very common allergen so it's always my #1 suspect if food is a trigger. Often this stuff has an environmental component too (e.g., blowing up seasonally when some weed is pollinating, or dogs are lying in fresh-cut grass).


How are the ears?
 

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Oh that poor boy. Mine looked just like that, with it spreading down his legs and chest. I tried every trick in the book to keep him from taking the 'normal' route of prednisone and antibiotics. He did end up with an antibiotic and for that I am still paying. I was using a tar and sulfur shampoo but switched to benzoyl peroxide, followed with a cider vinegar rinse. Temporary relief at best. He has demodex with secondary infections. I finally, with much hesitation (orals give me the willies), started him on Nexgard. There is a period of 'worse before better', where the mites are dying in large numbers and cause even more intense itching. He erupted with tiny pin prick spots all over his ears, underside, legs. I was freaking out. I have been bathing him every 3 days with the benzoyl peroxide to flush the mites from his skin, followed by the vinegar rinse and now 3 weeks in things are looking much better. The scaling and redness are gone. The moist, smelly skin is gone. His coat is coming back. The itching is much improved, but not yet totally gone. I am giving milk thistle to assist the liver in getting rid of the toxins from the Nexgard and the rotting mites in his skin.

I tend to ponder the 'whys' of every situation. My thinking is the onset of his break with mites is the rabies vaccine. (If anyone knows how I can get an exemption in SC, please let me know) I use a topspot, but the vials only contain 4 ml. That's very little, on such a large dog. Perhaps it doesn't reach the undersides to control the mites? My guy did not have any spots on his topside or flanks. He did break with a couple of bald patches on his face after the Nexgard, though.

Be aware that skin scrapings are not 100% accurate. If you try the benzoyl peroxide shampoo and see improvement, go for the Nexgard. I gave Simon his with a meal, to avoid an upset stomach and then followed him around for 4 hours to make sure there were not ill effects. If he didn't have a complex before, he certainly has one now.

Keep us posted, eh?
 

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Poor boy. It’s a good idea to check for mange. Do you have foxes or coyotes in your area they do carry mange. The vet diagnosis this with a skin scraping and is best have the vet treat him for it. Does he wear a collar with tags. Our chihuahua had baldness and redness on his entire chest not itchy though - we found it was his tags on his collar causing the irritation and baldness from allergic reaction. Just another suggestion. Hope you find out what it is and he gets relief fast.
 

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Giving baths with Trizchlor worked for my allergy girl. Magwart recommend it, I tried it and have gotten very good results. I'm also giving raw for her evening meal to hopefully help build better gut flora.
 

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Did he have issues the same time of year could be seasonal allergies. Good to keep a journal . The weather does not aid in healing either we had real humid weather the last few weeks and max wound on his toes has not healed yet still has his stitches in and wearing his Elizabethan cone -glad he does not mind it all and vetricyn -still on limited activity trying our best. Wondering if the weather has something to do with it.
 

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1. If you still have some of that Trizchlor shampoo left from the vet derm, use it! If not, you can buy more from Amazon (it's OTC, and it's a $10-20 item....though you probably paid more at the vet derm for it):
https://www.amazon.com/Dechra-TrizC...530235300&sr=1-1&keywords=trizchlor+4+shampoo

Keep it away from the head, and follow instructions carefully. The chlorhexidene in it will knock down bacteria topically if you use it at least weekly. Doing this early and consistently can keep the dog from getting staph requiring oral antibiotics. The reviews on Amazon show how many dogs this stuff helps.



2. If you suspect fungus, there's an even better shampoo that includes ketoconazole and chlorhexidine -- like this (though I buy a different brand from the vet, it has the same ingredients as this):
https://www.amazon.com/Antifungal-A...6&keywords=ketoconazole+chlorhexidine+shampoo
The keto is an antifungal, the chlorhex is antibacterial -- it's a very effective combo, and this may get rid of the issue topically without the need for those oral meds from the vet. Again, check out the Amazon reviews. I'd MUCH rather use keto topically in a shampoo like this than have to give it orally!



3. Spray problem spots with Vetricyn spray in between baths -- it may prevent them from turning into hot spots:
https://www.amazon.com/Vetericyn-Pl...30235524&sr=1-1&keywords=vetericyn+wound+care
This stuff should be in every dog owner's medicine cabinet (I even use it on ME). It's painless, and it's pretty amazing at helping skin heal. I'd use it at least 2x day.


4. Get a skin scrape done at the regular vet-- it's relatively cheap (an office visit fee and maybe $30 for the procedure). That will help determine whether you've got mites, an infection, or both.



5. If none of this works, I'd go back to the vet derm before it gets bad.



I would caution you NOT to use oatmeal shampoo -- if the dog has an environmental allergy to grass, you'll make this situation much worse! I also keep all the rescue's dogs with skin issues on a very limited ingredient diet -- we either use Wellness Simple or the new Diamond Care hydrolyzed protein food. Either of those seem to help A LOT of dogs. A few need to be off kibble entirely, but that's rare. Chicken is a very common allergen so it's always my #1 suspect if food is a trigger. Often this stuff has an environmental component too (e.g., blowing up seasonally when some weed is pollinating, or dogs are lying in fresh-cut grass).


How are the ears?
Wash the dog 1x per week to start off. When you wash dog, wash crates and beddings, etc.

I am shocked that the vet did not test for mange.
 
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