I've searched through the threads already, but wanted to throw this one out to you to hear your thoughts.
I have a 9 year old mixed breed dog, Louie (also know as Louis, Luigi, Louie Bear, Gooey Louie). He's a love...never had any issues in the 8 years we've had him other than one odd weekend when we went to the park and 12 hours later had a 'dead' tail (see the recent 'limber/water tail' threads).
Anyhow, about 3 or 4 weeks ago, I notice that Louie is starting to get itchy. He's not chewing on himself, but scratching up around his shoulders with a hindfoot here and there and then licking between his hind legs and mid abdomen. When I took the youngest dog to the vet about 7 days into the itching dog saga, I asked about it and he said it was probably seasonal allergy stuff and give him some Benadryl.
Dog has been on the same grain free dog food (Hi-Tek Rations lamb & sweet potato) for for 7 months (after the Diamond recalls began) with no issues. Same treats, no people food, no other changes that I could recall. He also gets salmon oil added to his food.
Gave the Benadryl for 2 weeks, but without much change. He woke me up the other night 10 times and all I heard was the sound of him licking. And licking. And licking. GAH!!!!!!! STOP LICKING!
Upon waking, I see that he's now opened up some small sores on his belly where he's been licking.
Go to the vet on Wednesday. Gives him a shot of steroids, says give him a cool bath with a soothing shampoo and let them know if it doesn't clear up. She didn't think we were dealing with anything major since he's never had any skin issues.
It's now 36 hours later and I have an itch free dog (Yay!), but I'm trying to figure out what the hell could be causing the previous itching.
Then I thought of this. My dogs generally are let out the back door to use the restroom. They go out on leashes because I don't have a fenced in yard. When it started to get cooler, I started going out the front door because I didn't have to stand on the cold deck waiting for them to pee. Outside my front door are three hydrangea bushes. Louis prefers to sidle up to a hydrangea to pee. I realized last night when he does so, the leaves of the bush brush up against where he's been licking.
You think there's a connection? I googled it last night and saw that if a dog eats hydrangea leaves it can cause serious gastric distress (puking and diarrhea) but nothing about it causing contact dermatitis or anything like that. You think it might be a possibility?
Regardless, we're going out back to pee from now on. Fingers crossed we stay itch free.
Acute pruritus/ licking / itching list of potential causes.
2. Scabies Or Cheyletiella mites
3. Food allergy ( think more protein, not grains, and not likely)
4. Secondary bacterial infection (sores on the abdomen)
5. Contact allergy, even less likely
6. And most commonly inhalant / environmental allergy. Not usually acute or initial age of onset is younger. Though would never rule it out.
Steroids work quickly and wonderfully. However I bet that you are not put of the woods yet with the licking. Often the steroids will suppress the reaction, and if there was an underlying cause, it will be back, when the steroids wear off. Unfortunate the bacterial infection and less likely yeast infection was treated concurrently.
Last edited by idlemoon; Nov. 29, 2012 at 08:29 PM.
Reason: Forgot to add wretched walking dandruff mite?
Lamb is a common enough protein that dogs are developing allergies more frequently. Try a grain free alternative protein food. Bison/venison/fish.
Wash with Microtek anti itch shampoo and dry thoroughly.
Quick thought....was just chatting with a vet tech friend who was throwing out questions regarding changes in our household (I.e. New laundry detergent, New dog food, etc). Then she asked if my dog food had a new or improved formula.
Not really....BUT they did switch the way they bag the food. Went from paper bags to a plastic bag. I wonder if there is a possible connection. This would be the 3rd bag I've gotten with the plastic bagging, so right around week 7 of the food.
Am I just grasping at straws? Am switching foods as a trial, probably to Blue Wilderness Duck.
if you really want to know, don't change everything at once- I kind of like the bush theory.
Keep in mind the steroids will cover up the symptoms, so you'll have to wait for them to wear off before you can "change stuff" and see if each change has an effect or not.
I wouldn't bother with the food change for now- I'd keep him away from the bush for a month or so and see if that fixes it.
Food allergies are actually quite rare in dogs and usually manifest as ear infections/itchy feet, so I'd look for an environmental cause first before moving on to try food changes.
Ditto Wendy on changing multiple variables...but I also see that you're in SC. Have you been having unseasonable cool temps lately? I ask because we have here in VA and have had the heat turned on quite a bit and it's getting DRY in here. I am wondering, given the general itchiness rather than the typical base of tail/paws itchiness of fleas, ears/paws of allergies, etc, if perhaps your dog is getting dry itchy skin due to the abrupt decrease in humidity.
If so, once the steroids wear off, you might try a nice oatmeal based shampoo/conditioner (aveeno style) and/or putting him on fish oil capsules.
I know *I* am feeling dry and itchy since we turned up the heat!
I very much doubt that the packaging of your dog food is the issue but I've been wrong before!
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
BuddyRoo...we've had a few days of cooler air, but for the most part, we've been in the 60s during the day. I'm a cheapskate, so our furnace doesn't run until it gets below 59 degrees inside the house which is a rarity (it's kicked on a few mornings in the past few weeks). I don't feel particularly dry or itchy (and I usually do in the winter).
The vet did say that they're seeing more than the normal amount of itchy dogs this fall, so who knows what is in the air.
Just an FYI...I have three dogs and all three of them have been itchier than normal, but the other two (a 13 year old and a 3 year old) aren't nearly as itchy as my middle dog (who is 9). The youngest seems to be itchier up around his head and does scratch and ear here and there, but his ears aren't red, don't stink, etc. It's just the middle one who started licking himself raw.
Prior to the Diamond recalls earlier this spring, all three ate Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice, so they've been on a lamb based protein for several years. After the Diamond recalls kept going and going and going, I switched to the Hi-Tek Rations grain-free Lamb & Sweet Potato. They're a small company in Georgia.
I did just notice on their website that they're now making an Alaskan fish & sweet potato formula. Hadn't seen that yet at the dog food store.
I've never, ever seen a flea on anyone (seriously, not one), but that's mainly because they don't spend a ton of time outside unless we're on leash beating feat around the neighborhood on walks. I don't have a fenced in yard, so the dogs don't lounge, roll, bask or spend much time in the back yard unless it's to pee or poop.
My dogs do spend a lot of time lying on my bed and being with their people. I haven't changed my laundry detergent, haven't put anything on the floors/carpets, etc. IMO, it's really got to be something with either some sort of naturally occuring outdoorsy 'thing' or something with the food. I did send an e-mail to the dog food manufacturer to see if they have changed the formula of their dog food in any way over the past 2 months.
Well, the thing about fleas is that they only spend about 10% of their time on a host so unless you have a MAJOR infestation, you're not that likely to see a flea. Further, it only takes one bite from one flea for the flea allergic dog to have a reaction. So...if you're puzzled and it is an option to rule out, you may want to do a plea preventative. You can "test" for fleas by grabbing a white piece of paper and then kind of roughly rubbing your dog over the paper. If you see any black curly pieces the size of a comma, rub with a dampened q tip. If it rubs out red, that's flea feces.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Allergies normally develop after a repeated exposure to something. So it's quite possible, in fact very possible that he has developed an allergy to lamb. Or to something that he has been exposed to for a while.