I apologize - I posted about itching a few weeks back and it's hard to find the post (is there a "search" option I am missing maybe by topic or something?)
Anyway, Dakota has been itching for 3 weeks or so and it's gotten to the point where he has small patches of fur missing from scratching so much. He also has small scabs/bumps in various places. The vet has concluded that it's food allergies. He told me to discontinue his Purina Pro Plan food as well as gthe various treats he gets daily. He's put him on a prescription food for two months and no treats as well as two pills (a steroid and antibiotic). After two months if he's better GREAT, I must continue (says the vet) the prescription food and no treats forever. If he still has itching problems after 2 months his normal food can resume and then he'll look into other allergies it could be (seasonal, etc)
I guess I realize he point in stopping all the food that he's been eating that may be contributing to the allergic reaction -- however, I don't feel it's specifically conclusive other than the fact that it will either say "yes he's allergic to something, ANYTHING he has eaten in the past month" or "it's something else".
Is this plan of action the norm?
Is a second opinion necessary at this point? I am thinking so but could be overreacting as a first time dog owner.
If this plan is the corect path.... are there foods I can buy at the regular pet store that are hypoallergenic? It's not only about the money but the 8 lb bag for $20+ is a bit steep LONG term... it's Hill's brand. Are natural foods just as safe when it comes to allergies or am I stuck with the vet prescribed food available only at their office? (aside from cooking my own which I prefer not to do.)
What breed of dog do you have? I assume the vet did a skin scrape to rule out mange, which is what it sounds like, and can be hard to detect, especially sarcopses. If I were you, I would cut your dog back to plain brown rice, not the instant kind, and some kind of meat, at first, just for maybe two or three weeks. Vets tend to sell what they have but it's not necessarily the best food.If he improves slightly, (because remember if this is an allergy it can take a while to dissipate), then pick the highest quality food you can. I would avoid corn and wheat, if you find that it is indeed a sensitivity problem. You are definitely not stuck with food from the vet. Have a look at the food grading sticky at the start of our home page, and you'll get an idea of what's out there. Good luck, and let us know what happens.
First of all, what kind of heat do you have in your home? If you have forced air heat, it is more likely to be drying out the dogs skin, possibly causing itching. My own hands are so dry and itching during the winter, due to the artificial heat. Maybe that means I should move South?
Steroids are way over used, did you know steroids compromise the immune system so the body can't repair itself? Not a good idea. Try evening primrose oil and fish oil supplements with a good anti-itch shampoo and spray like Maleseb. It's anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
Thanks for the responses.... My dog is a yorkshire terrier.... 8 months old, 15 lbs. I have forced air heat but there's another dog in the house and the problem isn't really there with both of them. (Not to say it couldn't just affect one if it is dryness). They did not do a skin test, the vet said his ears are infected and he could tell by the bumps that it wasn't a parasite, etc - he ruled out everything but food allergies. I have read online since the appointment that the change in food for 2-3 months can indicate whether something they ate before was causing the allergic reaction - is it common to reintroduce them to their original food after that period to verify it was the food and not just treats or somethihg? I thought I was using a good quality food as the ingredients are real chicken, etc rather than most (even Science Diet!) that begin with fillers.
my 14 wk old sheltie has been itching and the vet told me its the change in the weather seeing its so cold here then come in where its so warm . he told me to spray pro -pet itch relief only on the spot shes itching and it has stopped her ,
My youngest has a food allergy. Not only was her incessant scratching driving her insane. It was driving us insane also! Since they were already on a no grain formula I decided to go to a lamb variety since I'd heard that lamb is a better choice for food allergies. Her scratching got worse on it. I went to Canidae chicken formula and the scratching cleared up within about 5 days once I had her weaned onto the new food alone! It's probably worth experimenting with a good low allergy pet store variety. Although with that you might be doing a lot of trial and error and it could also be expensive initially. The problem being you have to gradually introduce the new food with the old food for about a week before you can switch them over completely. If the scratching continues after a week or so you are back to square one and another food to try :(
There are plenty of hypoallergenic formula dog foods out there. Avoderm, Innova, Addiction are just a few. You certainly don't need to buy a prescription diet for the rest of his life! Your vet gets a kickback on the food he sells. I'd seek a second opinion. It could be airborn allergies. You can treat it without drugs in some cases. I use an allergen free food, with supplements and a holistic allergy tab. Remember, it can take up to six weeks to fully get old food out of the system and see the full effect of the new food. So, patience is required. There are also allergen free treats out there, so no reason to never give her a treat again. Sounds like your vet is trying to gouge you!
Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over if you just sit there. (Will Rogers)
Thanks again for the responses. So things like Innova and such you mentioned are hypoallergenic? I am going to stick with the prescribed food for the testing period (2 months) but will buy elsewhere when it's all over and done with. I realize the vet is probably informing me of less options than I have.
I am fairly confident he is not underestimating with the food allergy vs. dry skin or change in weather diagnosis due to the bumps he has, very red/infected ears, etc. I will follow thru with the test since I have started it already and see what it concludes.
In the meantime, I am having a hard time giving him pills, rewarding him for good behavior or even luring him into his kennel with ease due to the lack of treats. I will check the local pet shop and see what Innova and such sell as far as treats. What about Zukes, are those any good? Maybe not hypoallergenic? A friend mentioned trying those. I am just paranoid about giving him anything aside from the food because I want to eliminate any causes of the allergic reaction.
Dakota, you can still give your dog treats, just make sure they're healthy ones. Does he like apples, or carrots? Mine love them. They also would do anything for a little piece of cheddar cheese, or any cheese for that matter. Try the food with out the wheat and corn first and see if there's an improvement. Also, I'm not sure how often you're bathing him, but in the winter, there's less of a need to do so, plus it dries the skin, and strips the natural oils.
apples or carrots may be a good idea to try... I was giving him cheddar cheese before so I am almost scared to continue giving it to him now during the "testing phase" since it could have been the culprit in the first place. I know I may be acting overly cautious but I don't know how else to be! :)