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Allergies
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    I tried looking through previous allergy posts to see if I can narrow down my problem based on others experiences but I was unable to find anything solid. Rocky has been diagnosed with some kind of allergy which has been going on for about 3 or 4 months now and after several vet visits we were able to determine it is not flea or mite based since he appeared to have no signs of them and was giving drops to ensure that they were not present. It comes down to environmental or food allergies but I'm trying to figure out if any of the symptoms pinpoint which one it is, licking feet and paws raw, scratching belly until there are open cuts, itchy mouth, itching and licking anal region and occasionally teary eyes. He is on a raw diet and I rotate the protein (chicken,duck,turkey,beef) so I'd have to remove one by one for a food trial. It's breaking my heart to see him suffer like this and I don't feel entirely comfortable pumping him with steroids while I figure out what the cause is.
    Post edited by mmobed at 2013-11-03 20:33:09
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    From my research, because I am really paranoid about food allergies as well, I have learned that Shiba's are more likely to be allergic to chicken and beef. I will be feeding my pup Orijen 6 Fish when she is an adult. I supplement her diet with Grizzly Salmon Oil right now...

    Just a suggestion, it could also be the colder weather making the coat dry and itchy.
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  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    Thanks, I also figured if it was a food based allergy that chicken or beef would be the culprit. As far as weather goes, I live in California so we've already finished with the heat and have moved into cold weather and the symptoms still persist.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I would stick to feeding one and only one protein and nothing else for a week or two to see if anything changes. If you are feeding store premade raw, read the ingredients and look for anything that might be a trigger. Try to feed your own cuts, so you know they are not mixed with anything. If you are feeding real raw (not ground or premade), then make sure your meats are not enhanced. If you don't notice any changes, then the allergy is environmental. If you notice Rocky gets itchier with a protein, he may not be allergic to the protein, but rather the feed given to the animal. I have heard this happens a lot to dogs sensitive to corn or certain grains that were fed chicken. Once they were given free range chickens, their symptoms disappeared.

    You may also want to try booties on your dog and see if he is allergic to grass. Or you can just wipe his paws after coming indoors. I've also heard of dogs getting infections (yeast?) in between their toes, which leads them to lick. If it is contagious, it could easily spread to other parts of his body.
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    I get his food from Darwin's based out if Seattle, I finish each protein before moving onto the next, it comes with about a week and a half worths of each so first week and half turkey followed by a week and a half of beef and so on. I'll be sure to wipe his paws after each walk and see if that helps. Thanks for the tip.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Just looked at the ingredients list for Chicken and Vegtables:
    Ingredients
    Free-Range Meat (69.0%): Ground Chicken Meat (including Bone), Chicken Gizzards, Chicken Hearts, Chicken Livers.
    Organic Vegetables (29.3%): Carrots, Squash, Yams, Zucchini, Celery, Romaine, Parsley, Apple Cider Vinegar. (Vegetables may vary based on seasonality.)
    Special Nutrient Mix (1.7%): Organic Kelp Meal, Organic Ground Flax Seed, Sea Salt, Inulin (Extract of Chicory), Zinc, Copper and Iron Amino Acid Chelates, Vitamin E.

    That's a lot of stuff. It would be easier to narrow down food allergies if you just fed plain chicken, or another meat without any thing else. I'm not sure why sea salt is added because one of the things I always avoid in meats is enhancements, which is usually some form of salt.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    This is the site I got the info from: http://www.darwinspet.com/darwins-raw-dog-food/
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    Yeah that's the one, I was thinking about dropping chicken and beef if the symptoms don't get better by the next shipment but if it can be an issue with one of the other many ingredients I might have to switch the food alltogether until I can find the culprit, granted it's a food related allergy.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I did a search for allergy and read up on the posts that were similar to your dog's condition. Seems like it will be a few months before you see a definite change. Here are some recommendations to keep him comfortable:

    grass allergies: limit outside time, wipe down when coming home with a black tea soaked rag, do twice a day black tea bag compresses, apply california baby calendula cream and bath a few times with tea rinses (soak for 5 or more minutes- tea has tannins that dry and soothe itchy spots). Avoid professionally maintained yards (pesticides/herbicides)

    Hot spots: Fill bath tub with water and add betadine to it until the color of tea. Wash the dog in that water using an antimicrobial shampoo. Rinse in the betadine water when done. Bathe every 1-2 weeks depending on dog's smell. Keep hotspots clean and dry... shave fur away from the spot to clean properly if needed.

    Environmental factors: eliminate harsh cleaners and chemicals in the house and use non-detergent cleaners and white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, salt, baking soda and cheap vodka. Vacuum, use HEPA filters, and wash bedding often.

    Good luck!
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    I'll give that a shot along with some food elimination, thank you so much for your input!
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Have you tried allergy testing (intradermal test, not the blood test)? It sounds like he may really benefit from allergy injections. I also feed Darwin's for my allergy girl (and Acana Pacifica) and it's been a fine food. She does best on the raw turkey and bison. She saw a Veterinary Dermatologist and was diagnosed with an immune deficiency, started on interferons and shots, and 4 years later is completely asymptomatic with no hint of a skin condition. She was also discovered to be low thyroid, and once that was diagnosed and treated, there was remarkable improvement. In this breed, Atopy (skin allergies) is fairly common. It's inherited, from poor genetics, and it can be triggered by all kinds of things, like vaccines and spay/neuter, or sudden changes in the environment. You may want to try testing for thyroid disease and doing the allergy injections. It sure beats all the guesswork with diet, steroids/antihistamines and trying to turn your home and yard into a sterile environment.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
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  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    Allergy testing was my next route if I wasn't able to get it under control myself, already put over $1000 for blood work, treatments, medications and multiple visits to various vets then going to a dermatologist, his vet that specializes in dermatology is beginning to think it's not food and is just an environmental allergy, she suggest I ride out the season change to see if he gets any better and although it slightly has, I'm starting to lose hope and hate relying on steroids to ease his symptoms.
  • I am not sure if this will help, but Bella had a huge allergy a couple months ago as well. She was scratching her face raw and I had to use the cone when I could not watch her to protect her. The vet decided on the elimination diet. Of course, when I first got into the Raw diet I went crazy and tried to be adventurous and fed every single type of meat out there except Venison/elk. So we cut off all meats except something that she has never tried to see if that did anything. We did the Elk/Venison for 8 weeks before introducing the next one, but her allergies did diminish. Her ears did not stink anymore, her eye mucous disappeared, she stopped licking certain areas, etc. I would definitely cut out the chicken and Beef because that is what triggers Bella today. Good luck!
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    I'm thinking that if it is indeed a food allergy, beef or chicken are the culprits, I cut it out on his next order of food so I'm hoping that might do the trick, I just can't stand watching him suffer like this anymore, the benadryl doesn't seem to be any help and I don't like the idea of giving him any more steroids.
  • I have also experienced allergies with my Shiba. Last year he was biting himself on his back and base of tail and he had hair loss on those areas. Our vet said it was most likely environmental allergies or a food allergy. I mentioned thyroid problems as a possible cause and she replied that a thyroid issue is unlikely because he is so young. He was 1 year old at the time. We switched him to a salmon and fish, grain-free dry food based on our vet's recommendation and his fur has grown back, his tail is much fluffier and he does not bite himself anymore. It took 3-4 months before we saw the improvement.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I just switched Kira from the chicken-based Wilderness Blue Buffalo to Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream. It's only been about a week, and even though I know it could take up to 2 months or more to see results - she has already noticeably stopped scratching herself as much! I also supplement her dinner with Stella & Chewy's Duck Duck Goose for variety. I think the culprit was chicken, in my situation.

    How is Rocky doing @mmobed?
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  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    If it is food related I'm looking at chicken or beef, I've switched him over to a duck diet and although I am seeing minor improvements its just that, minor, I know it takes some time to see general improvement so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Also as you mentioned ShibaSweet, it could quite possibly be a thyroid issue and Rocky is nearing 4 years of age so it wouldn't be unheard of. They did do a blood work panel on him but I'm not sure if that picks up that kind of thing or if it was even something they were looking for.
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    I've been trying to figure out Rocky's allergies for almost 8 months now and I'm not seeing much improvement, I've taken him to the vet several times and one who specializes in canine dermatology and for the life of me can't figure out whether it's food or environmental related. He's been on an elimination diet for a while now and prescribed predisone (hate having to use it. Have any of your shibas had allergies where they were not only licking and scratching themselves raw but also a constant irritated teary eye?

    photo IMG_3546_zps1e0e189a.jpg
    Post edited by mmobed at 2014-01-22 17:28:05
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1088
    @mmobed, did you do the intradermal allergy test? For environmental allergies, which yours seem to be, that is the best bet.

    Poor guy, he looks so sad! I hope you and your dermatologist figure it out soon.
    Post edited by zandrame at 2014-01-22 18:51:32
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Poor thing! Is that the only spot that is affected? The rest of his coat looks fine, that is peculiar
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    @zandrame The vet didn't do a intradermal test just a blood panel and some skin scrapes, she advised that I try a food elimination first to ensure it isn't a food allergy.

    @Kira_Kira He's got his head scratch, a couple on his belly and armpit area and the sides of his mouth. The medication has helped a little but not as much as I had hoped. His coat looks visually good but whatever he has is causing his coat to become really oily and smelly.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1088
    What food are you feeding, and how long? Food trials can take months. And it has to be novel. Treats included (no bully sticks if avoiding beef).

    Thyroid test might be useful.

    The antihistamine that has worked the best for Kouda is clemastine (Tavist).
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    @Zandrame He's on a premade raw diet from Darwins, I was feeding four proteins, chicken, beef, duck and turkey. I decided to do just duck which he's been eating exclusively for 6 weeks but 2 weeks ago I accidentally gave him 2 bullysticks in a week not forgetting that it's still beef and coincidentally he scratched his head like that a few days after but it's been ONLY duck for the past 2 weeks so I'm just waiting to see any slight improvement I'll look in clemastine, I was trying benadryl but that didn't seem to improve any symptoms. Only thing that has changed is that he still licks his paws here and there to a point of irritation but not raw.
    Post edited by mmobed at 2014-01-22 21:14:10
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    Also he had pretty severe itching in his anal area, from what I've read I've only seen anal itching in food allergies cases as opposed to the other types but I might be wrong.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1088
    Judging from your post dates, you haven't been on the diet trial very long. It takes a lot of time, so be diligent and avoid any lapses that might set you back (bully sticks!)

    Usually for a serious food trial you want to choose a food that is as simple as possible. The Darwin's still has a lot of ingredients that can be eliminated. And the ingredients (other than the protein) are the same for all varieties, so it's not a good trial if he is allergic to one of the non-protein ingredients.

    We chose Nature's Variety Instinct: Limited Ingredient Diet, Lamb for Kouda's food trial. Turns out his allergies are mostly environmental, but a food change did help a little. Even better would be making food for him, so you can control exactly what goes in it.

    For the anal itching, have you had him expressed?
    Could it be a reaction to flea bites?

    Kouda recently had an itchy ear and eye boogers on his left side. The vet said these are classic symptoms of an environmental allergy.

    I haven't seen Clemastine in stores, so we get it from Amazon. 1.34mg twice a day.
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    I was considering switching to a more simple allergy purpose food but after his vet saw the ingredients for Darwins she had said I could continue to use that for the trial but I was considering changing the food altogether or learning to make my own homemade raw if I can find the right ingredients locally. They checked his glands just last week and everything looked fine and they were unable to find any fleas, maybe I've been lucky but he's about to be 4 and I've had him since he was 2 months old and there's yet to be any fleas found on him. Like Kouda did, he's recently beginning to have eye boogers in his left eye each morning.
  • ddavidddavid
    Posts: 94
    @Kira Kira
    Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is what we feed our Shiba, recommended by Mosako of Saving Shiba's. Her mom has been around Shibas all her life and save Shibas from shelters with all types of conditions.
    She foster homes Shibas until they are well, then finds a new home.
    Post edited by ddavid at 2014-01-23 08:58:17
  • His coat is oily and smelly? What do you bathe him with? Does it take his coat a long time to dry? He could have a skin infection (yeast, fungus, bacteria...) or an allergy to your bathing products. Heck, even dryer sheets used on the towels you dry him with can cause issues for some dogs.

    What do you wash your dog's bedding with? Does he sleep on his left side? (left side eye boogers)

    Two weeks is not long enough to know if the beef was the problem or not, especially with the bully sticks interrupting the trial. You have to wait long enough for the beef to leave his system (a few days for it to be cleared out by the next food) then wait for his allergic reaction to die down, which can easily take several weeks, then you have to wait for his skin to start to heal so you can see a difference. Any skin infections in the broken skin can slow down healing, and healing skin can also be itchy. It can be two months before a food trial will show results, and any mistakes will make it take longer before you can see results.

    Just because you don't see fleas doesn't mean he doesn't have them, although four years is a long time not to see fleas.

    Itchy anus can be food allergy, or it can be an environmental allergy. The shiba booty is, er..., exposed.
  • When we first adopted out Shiba, he didn't have the itching or raw skin but his coat was pretty thin, especially around the neck, and had very runny stool - our vet suspected that he had an intolerance to grains and said was somewhat common for the breed (whether or not that's true I don't know). We switched him to Blue Buffalo Wilderness and he hasn't had a problem sense - his coat and skin seem much healthier too, but since he was in a kennel and not cared for especially well before we got him I can't say if it's the food or just a better home. We don't see a difference between the different proteins, so we're assuming the grain-free food is what did the trick.
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    @RustyAngel Yeah I've got some time to go with the food trial I had a solid 4 weeks straight but then broke it by accident with the bullysticks and now I'm on to two weeks with it. I use earthbath as does the groomer I take him to and it's never been an issue for him, the vet didn't see any signs of skin infection, I believe its his immune system reacting to the allergy causing him to get oily very quickly even after being washed. He usually finds his way on to the bed with me and I'm washing my bedding every 2 weeks so it stays clean.

    I know visually not seeing fleas doesn't necessarily mean they're not there but even when the groomers and vets check they're unable to find anything which is just as surprising to me too. Either he's really lucky or the fleas are experts in stealth.
  • mmobedmmobed
    Posts: 76
    @Burtonsbuttons Unfortunately in Rocky's case if it is food related it's most likely a protein because he's been on a grain free diet since I brought him home at 2 months. So I've cut out all proteins except one, Duck in this case, to see if that helps.

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