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For months, my dog has had itchy black moist patches under his armpits, and an irritated groin area. We tried giving him calendula cream and bag balm, but they didn't seem to help (and he would lick those areas even more). I've seen the vet multiple times about this, and he's now on antibiotics and an anti-fungal shampoo. Unfortunately, we're not really seeing an improvement. There's a couple more options we can take at the vet, both of which are antibiotic injections and one of them is particularly hard on the liver (my vet even said he would prefer not to do this). Ideally, we're looking for a more natural solution that gets at the root of the problem.

Some back story... my dog has had numerous health problems since the day we picked him up from the breeder. Our vet (after seeing him on a weekly basis) concluded that he had allergies and a weak immune system. For a long time, he had chronic diarrhea and couldn't properly absorb the nutrients from his food due to allergies and problems with his GI tract. Over a period of over a year, we went through several types of dog foods before we eventually landed on his current diet of raw ground lamb and couscous. This is supplemented with bone meal powder and glucosamine. This diet was like a miracle for us, because he was finally able to put on weight and have "regular" stools. In addition to this raw diet, he takes small doses of steroids on a weekly basis and also receives biweekly allergy injections.

Over the years, he still had occasional problems (eye and ear infections, diarrhea would come back for a while, etc.), but things were more or less under control. Unfortunately, as mentioned, he now has these irritated areas that we can't seem to figure out. The last time we saw the vet he was fairly certain that it was a yeast infection (which made sense, considering his chronic ear infections), although the quick test that he did could not confirm that.

Any suggestions?

A diet change? It took us a very long time to get to his current diet and I can't say I like the idea of doing anything drastic with this. I'm considering taking out the couscous and replacing it with some kind of green vegetable (or a supplement). But the protein source will be extremely difficult. We already know that he is highly allergic to chicken, so the only source that we can reasonably consider is beef. What I'm really afraid of is trying to switch, failing, going back to lamb, but then having his system end up rejecting that as well.

Probiotics and other supplements? I'm looking at getting something to help with his GI tract and possibly boost his immune system. Nzymes sounds like an interesting product, but reviews are mixed and it's pretty expensive. Going through this forum, I'm also considering giving him some apple cider vinegar and trying fish oil again. The last time I gave him fish oil, he ended up getting diarrhea, but that may have just been a coincidence.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

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We've been going through the same thing with my partner's dog. Her feet, face, belly and legs were a mess. She had horribly infected ears that wouldn't clear up no matter what they were cleaned with. The vet had her on a low dose of steroids and off and on an antibiotic for secondary skin infection. The allergist wanted her to eat kangaroo food (did that for a month and no change) and go on a higher dose of steroids and more antibiotics.

She had to wear a cone or a t-shirt and socks to keep her from tearing herself to pieces.

So, here's what we did (this is in random order):

1) Worked up to 2000mg/day of Buffered Absorbic Acid (vitamin C)

2) Added fish oil caps

3) Switched her to a novel protein for her food. Right now she's on raw pork at night and rabbit and salmon grain free kibble in the morning

4) Added a high quality probiotic, twice per day (VERY IMPORTANT!)

5) Give her Spring Tonic by Animals Apawthecary twice per day

6) Wash her 1-2 times a week with a natural medicated shampoo. One has NEEM, one has tea tree oil and I forget what the other one is. These get alternated.

7) Started seeing a reputable holistic vet. She gets acupuncture and Chinese herbs from the vet.

After 3.5 months on this regime she is doing about 60% better. THis is a HUGE improvement. Her skin and coat look so much better and she's gone from being itchy and miserable to being mostly comfortable and playful. This is a problem she's had since she was a puppy and it had just gotten worse and worse (before my partner and I were together). She is now 6.5 years old.

Also, I tried the Nzymes and ACV with my allergy dog, Basu, and neither helped.
 

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GSDs are very susceptible to yeast.

I would have the thyroid checked, and then, if the vet really does feel it's yeast, try an oral anti-fungal. Of course, be sure to add liver support. The steroids will make it harder for the body to fight of any infection, and it's possible that any type of grains, like couscous, can also make fungal infections worse.

If they have a fungal infection, it can make them more susceptible to bacterial infections. I don't understand why your vet said that you would need antibiotic *injections* rather than an oral antibiotic. Of course, it might be difficult to distinguish between thyroid, yeast, and bacterial infection, for some vets.
 

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Hi everyone, I've been out of town for a while so sorry for the late response!

JeanKBBMMMAAN, we tested him for EPI a few years ago. The results were inconclusive, as he was borderline EPI. Consequently, we ended up giving him digestive enzymes and coconut oil (among a few other things). Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work at the time and so we stopped. Still, I may consider adding some of these things back into his diet. He was also on Tylan at one point which, if I remember correctly, helped him only temporarily.

BowWowMeow, any recommendations for the probiotic? We just started giving him Acidophilus Bifidus (with goat milk) again, and we're planning on slowly adding in vitamin C, fish oil, and vitamin E (I read that we should give him this if we give him fish oil).

LisaT, we haven't had his thyroid specifically checked, but we have had thorough blood work done (I'm not sure if something like that would turn up). About the antibiotic injections, it's possible that my memory is being fuzzy and they are in indeed oral antibiotics. Still, I'd like to avoid this if possible. He's had antibiotics before and they cleared things up for a while, but then the problems would just end up coming back. With that said, besides the anti-fungal shampoo, I'm trying to figure out ways to help my dog get some immediate relief.
 
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