Need Help. Health Issues with my dog

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Love my Critters!, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    I have a 5 year old Boston Terrier, female, spayed. I feed her Taste of the Wild salmon because I need her on a "grain free" diet. She has severe skin allergies, always has. She gets about 2-3 steroid shots a year plus I keep her on oral steroids, but we keep her on the lowest dose possible. Her first problem is that she is licking and chewing on her arm. It is from her chest area down to her paw. I have put ointment on it and wrapped it with vet wrap. While that works, she began chewing above the wrap. She does this until it is all bleeding. Her chest/stomach is all raw and scabby as well. Her second problem is that she has been steadily loosing weight. She is down to about 10 pounds and all her bones are sticking out. Now she eats 2.5 cups of dry food a day. I also give her a vitamin E / fish oil supplement and nutrical that adds about 600 calories a day. She doesn't have diarrhea or vomiting and her appetite is good. I have spent about a grand on vet bills trying to figure out what is going on with her. She sees 3 vets that are working her "case", they have taken x-rays, done bloodwork, checked her stool for any parasites, etc. At first I thought she was diabetic and she's not. We have checked her even for cushings just incase she was having an adverse reaction to the disease. I am completely out of ideas. I really could use some ideas, my husband and I hate to have to put her down. Thank you for reading.
  2. Skyesrocket

    Skyesrocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
    Wow! Three vets and no solution? First I would put a pair of those cotton pajamas on her the ones with arms and legs to stop the digging. You will need a few sets so you can change and wash them daily. This might be enough to break up the chew cycle she is in.
    With three vets I'm sure one of them has scraped her for mites already. A friends little dog was doing the same thing and I brought her here for three weeks and kept her skin covered and gave her Alavert. Whatever was causing her to tear herself up stopped and her hair grew back. My friend has had her back for two months and continues to keep cotton pj's on her. The itching has stopped.
    Sometimes it's a contact allergy and once removed from the enviroment the itchy cycle stops. Then the pj's protect the skin to give it a chance to heal.
    The weight loss...I don't know. Tapeworms don't usually show up in fecal samples. Try worming her for tapes. If she has them you might see what looks like small grains of dried rice where she sleeps.
    You could try putting her on a raw diet. So many people get good results from that.
    Good Luck with her.
  3. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    We have done the skin scraping, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have tapeworms. I worked for the vet for 9 years so unfortunately I am familiar with tapeworms [​IMG] . What kind of pj's are you talking about? I haven't seen them before, do you know where to find them. I'm pretty sure she is allergic to the grass so that would maybe help. She is inside 90 percent of the time, but it only takes a little exposure. Thanks
  4. Mrs. Feathers

    Mrs. Feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    If she has flare ups when in the grass is there a chance it could be a flea allergy?
    Poor puppy...must be awfully uncomfortable for her. Good luck with your search to find the root of it.
  5. ChickChickChicky

    ChickChickChicky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2011
    Greater Kansas City, MO
    Benadryl is a wonder drug when it comes to controlling itching, in people and dogs both. Try giving her 1/4 of a Benadryl. Yes, it will make her sleepy, but it does a fantastic job of calming itchiness. Plus the Benadryl doesn't have the long-term health problems like steroids. Unfortunately itching can just be a viscious cycle, so hopefully if you can get her to quit digging long enough for the skin to heal then it may break the itch cycle.

    I'm not sure what to tell you on the weight loss. Is a mostly fish diet really good for a dog???? I don't know, just wondering out loud. Maybe if you could give her eggs, and beef or lamb with some fat on it? Adding some fat to her diet may help with the skin.

    Another thing that MIGHT help some is to be sure she has something (besides herself) to chew on. My dog LOVES his Nylabone (the hard type, for power chewers), and will chew on it for hours. Keeps his teeth clean, relieves stress, plus might help your dog with the self-mutilation.

    Just ideas, hope something helps.
  6. Skyesrocket

    Skyesrocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
    [​IMG]Like these. Ebay has a lot of them. Probably Jeffers too. They cover a lot of the dog's body so should help with any contact allergies.
  7. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    ChickChickChicky, these are great suggestions for mild allergies that are just starting. The OP seems to have a very severe case of allergies, severe enough that she's questioning the quality of her dog's life enough to consider euthanasia. Benadryl works for some dogs, and not for others, just like it works for some people and not for others. It doesn't do much for my dog's seasonal allergy itches, and he gets 3 or 4 whole pills 3 times a day when I do give it, and it does not make him sleepy at all (although we do often recommend owners who need a mild form of sedation for their dog use benadryl for this purpose because it does make many dogs sleepy). The dose for Benadryl in dogs and cats is 1mg/pound of body weight at least three times a day. Unless you have a dog that weighs less than 5lbs, 1/4 tablet is not enough to do anything. An all fish diet is not good for a dog, but a fish-based diet is usually great for dogs with skin issues. All kibble needs to meet AFCO standards for a complete and balanced food, which means that they have all of the important nutrients that we know dogs need in appropriate amounts. The biggest problem with fish-based diets is that they tend to cause dogs to be very gassy.

    Love My Critters, I did not see allergen testing listed on the short list of tests the vets have run. Greer laboratory does allergen testing on blood samples. It's a bit expensive, which is why the vet I work for will do skin scrapings, topicals, and at least a 3 month food trial before even sending it out. But they can test to see what exactly the pet is allergic to and they can compound injectable allergens to help desensitize the dog to the worst of their allergies. We've had a few dogs go on allergen shots and for most of them it has made a huge difference. Like I said, it's a bit pricey, but after all you've invested in her already it's a drop in the bucket.

    Another thing to consider if the itching is so severe that it's causing weight loss even on steroids is a skin biopsy to help rule out auto-immune disorders or cancer.

    With the weight loss, you might want to consider that there may be another chronic underlying condition besides the skin issues. I'm sure at least one of 3 vets would have done it already, but has she been tested for hypothyroidism? How about having her TLI, PLI, Folate and/or Cobalamine checked? IBD? Finally, the last dog we had with really really severe skin problems we were even considering doing a blood screening test for lymphoma (although one issue with that test is that the dog can't be on steroids or it will cause the results to be inaccurate). Grasping at straws, yes, but the owners were pretty desperate for answers, and quite frankly so was the vet.

    One other thing that comes to mind, does she seem less itchy after a bath? A lot of our pets with severe allergies do better when they get frequent baths (like weekly in some cases) and topical conditioners with antihistamines in them. It's not going to solve the problem, but it might give her some relief.
  8. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    My dog was similar to yours. Also mine was biting at her feet and making them bleed. She would be constantly scratching and chewing at herself. Her skin was red - some parts greasy and other dry. She also used to get pimples and yellow scab things. Horrible. She was on steroids and all sort of low allergy food and nothing worked!!!!!!! Out of desperation I tried the raw food diet and I am so glad I did!!!! Now 6 months on she is 100 per cent cured!!!!!!!!!!!

    I never believed what people said about this diet. Now I do. Its easy. Stop feeding all her normal food and any processed food and dry food. Just feed raw meat and bones.

    Its so easy really. I feed my dog chicken wings, legs and backs. Pork chops, trotters, beef, rabbit (my friend has a rabbit farm). She also gets some liver, kidneys and tripe - she loves them!

    I don't feed ANY vegetables, fruits or rice. Just the meat and bones. I add no vitamins or powders.

    If my dog is putting on weight I just feed less - and vice versa.

    I was worried about bacteria etc, but a dogs digestive system is stronger than ours!!! Just look at the yucky things they eat when they are on a walk. Also its safe for us - just wash you hands after handling the food - same as when you cook meat for your family.

    As an added plus, she used to get smelly breath and her teeth were bit yellow. Now her teeth as so white and no more bad breath.

    Please give it a got nothing to loose.
  9. naturalfeddogs

    naturalfeddogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2011
    Have you considered a raw diet? We had one years ago with allergies JUST like yours. No diet helped until we went to raw. NO allergies after the change at all. If you want to look into it, go to and look at the getting started guide first. Just something to think about.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Nslangton

    Nslangton Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2012
    Couple of suggestions. I would recommend the spot allergy testing also. I have had this done for several horses. The cost is about $300. A Blood sample is taken and then sent to t laboratory. I have used Spectrum Labs, Inc. They test for over 100 different allergies including grasses, weeds, trees, fungi, epidermals, dust, foods, insects, grains, etc. Each item is rated with a number system showing how high the positive allergies are. Once you know what your dog is highly allergic to, you can try to avoid what is causing the allergies. The vets can then customize an allergy shot for you. Obviously you can't control the pollen but you can control the foods your dog eats, and also the materials your dog lays on. She could be allergic to cotton or wool for instance. I would test before I put her in a pair of pj's because the material used could be something she is allergic too. The testing will also be able to help with the food selection. I bred dogs for years and would never recommend an all fish diet it just doesn't have the proper nutrition a dog needs. I am a huge fan of boiled chicken or lamb and white rice. You can smash up carrots and a few other vegetables also. It is easy on the digestive system and has extra calories in the rice. I would also give a few tablespoons of vegetable oil daily for the weight loss. It will help her gain weight and help keep the skin lubricated. Good luck!!! I know it is not any fun watching an uncomfortable animal that you love.

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