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Constant Itching, Hair Loss, Skin Discoloration! What do we do?
  • Hello everyone. We are new to the Shiba Inu forums, however we have been lurking and getting info for a few months now. We are new Shiba owners and have a cute fun little 14 week old girl. She has been nothing but fun and joy since the day we brought her home. How ever Shiba (yeah thats her name too) has recently been scratching allot and losing allot of hair. I know there are posts about this already but I felt maybe if I started a new one with pictures we might be able to figure this out.

    We have taken her to the vet who did a scratch test for mites that came back inconclusive. Since then the hair loss has gotten worse. She is actually going back in again today.

    We feel after reading all the great responses to the other post that she might have food allergy. We are currently feeding her a mix of Primal Raw Food (We switch up between Chicken, Duck, Turkey and Beef to keep her interested) with a combo of Solid Gold Hundchen Flocken Puppy and Orijen Puppy. She didn't eat either by them alone but loves the mix.

    She is still full of energy, if not even more playful and vocal at wanting to play with us.

    However is seems like she is stopping to scratch every 5 mins and has lost allot of hair, some spots being fully bald.

    Here are some before and current pictures.











    Any advice would be great. We just want our happy fluffy hair ball back. Thank You every one for listening to me.
  • Oh poor baby, I hope you find out what is going on. Good luck.
  • Thank you. MY GF Should be at the vet with her now. So hopefully some good news
  • lockshi3lockshi3
    Posts: 628
    Aw I would say allergy, but that's pure speculation
  • Awww the poor baby! I really hope you figure it out! Poor little girl has to be miserable! :(
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    In the search area of this forum I would look up the term "allergy". I know there are several past threads.
    Hope that helps.

  • UPDATE!! Ok so Shiba is back from the vet. After another scratch test that was again inconclusive they gave her an antibiotic and said to come back in a week and check her progress. If nothing has changed or she is still getting worse they said they will be sending us to a Veterinary Dermatologist.

    We have noticed a few new behaviors as of recent as well. She never used to pee "piddle" when she would get excited for another dog. Now it seems like every time she starts to want to play with one she pees a little. This is new for her in the last week or so. She is also starting to get a little more aggressive with us when she is doing something she should not be. I think this is a new behavior, for she never used to be like that to me, but my GF says she is like that every other day with her.

    SNF - We looked up the allergy threads on here and found our selves a little more confused. IT seems that we are feeding her the same things as everyone else. Has anyone had an issues with Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism (spelling?) or Mange with their Shibas? I am starting to think we might have one of these issues.
  • I would definitely try to change his food to one protein and grainless to see if it is an allergy. I feed my puppy Natural Balance Duck n Potatoes. Its a limited ingredient food and it helped me figure out what he was allergic to. Natural Balance DID have a recall but it was for their chicken. =( Allergies are no fun for dogs.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    The Solid Gold food that you are feeding has grain in it... Not sure about the Orijen. There are many Shibas (including one of mine) that have grain allergies. These types of allergies can manifest themselves in several ways... Itching and hair loss is just one of the symptoms... You may want to switch your girl to a grain free food (Solid Gold Barking at the Moon is a great all stages food) to see if this helps.

    I know this might not be very helpful, but hopefully you guys can figure out what is causing her such grief soon!
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    He seems a little young for hypothyroidism, but never say never. It would have all angles looked at to eliminate factors as a step by step process. Often if a dog has mites it can be very difficult to find on the scrapings. Off the top he does not look like he has mites, but I am not a vet, nor can I see close up or view the medical. It could be a combination of factors that have sent your pups immune system over the edge. Quite often it is not solely food related.

    I can understand your confusion though, understanding the issues and diagnosis can take some time as you work with a vet that can work with you over the long haul. Keep in mind each case is different as each animals body is individual in terms of health. What works in treatment for one may not for another. That being said, the average vet most often will have limited experience in such a specialized area. Given your circumstances I would see a specialist in veterinary dermatology asap.

    Here is a resource to look up to find a vet dermatologist in your area

    Here is some info on allergy that comes straight from a vet. dermatologist

    Here is a chart to help, but remember these are generalities and the list is huge. Each case needs to be looked at as a whole with lab work.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-07-14 14:07:01
  • KBBD83KBBD83
    Posts: 249
    Marshall went through something similar, but in no way to the degree that your pup is showing. When we took him to the vet for it, they said it was a case of mange and that it would clear up on it's own. It has for the most part except for two tiny spots on his back legs. Now his coat is full and soft, but I do give him a pump of salmon oil in his noms. I don't know if that is what is affecting your baby, but those are my two cents.
  • kuhligkuhlig
    Posts: 57
    My pup had some hair loss around 3-4 months. I was supremely worried it was mange, but the vet said if the area is not red/scabby/scaly it usually is not. She was aggressively biting/scratching her hind and front legs to where they were missing sections of hair.

    Basically, my vet was stumped and wanted to watch and wait, which didn't sit right with me. I am the sort of person that HAS to do something; I can't sit idly.

    I switched food to grain free, and then transitioned to raw food. You pup could possibly have a chicken allergy or an inhalant allergy. A lot of people on other forums have had Varl Liquid Gold Allergy testing done.

    For Bella, the switch in food and adding solid gold seameal seemed to do the trick. Her once bald leg now has hair again. I also put a tiny bit of raw apple cider vinegar in her water. I also mixed a solution of 50/50 ACV/water and wipe her paws with when she comes in from outdoors. Also, to alleviate the itching immediately, I bathed her with colloidal oatmeal and put resicort leave in conditioner on her (just once; I didn't want to overbathe her). I also started giving her a pro-biotic supplement as well because she had yeasty ears... No idea if the probiotic helped her situation, but she hasn't had ear infections since all these changes, and I didn't want to leave any stone left unturned. Yeah, I went a bit insane/into overkill mode, but the pup is a lot better!

    My husband and vet definitely thought I was crazy though.

    Please be patient if you switch food. A lot of people have said it took some time to see any improvement.

    I hope the vet/vet dermatologist are able to get to the bottom of it.
    Post edited by kuhlig at 2010-07-14 15:52:36
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1165
    I agree with all the comments above. Eliminate grain and get her food down to one predominant protein. I recently found out my dog is allergic to chicken/chicken meal. Hang in there and best of luck in figuring out her allergies.

  • Thank you everyone for all the advice. We have stopped all the food we are giving her and just going with some salmon right now. AS for the Solid Gold it does have grain in it so we are going to stop that one, however the Orijen we have is the Chicken based one. I believe they do make 2 flavors for puppys so we are going to look into that seeing as far as we can tell it is grain free. We have the vet again next week. I'll keep everyone posted.

    She is scratching less since going to just salmon. But I dont know if that is because of the meds the vet gave us or the switch in food.
  • myamamomyamamo
    Posts: 51
    PFS - poor baby! Although the hair loss is pretty significant, thank goodness her skin is not red and raw. I've noticed that the top of her neck and above her shoulders is also quite thin. Can she reach there to scratch? It just seems like a difficult (and not so ordinary) spot to have so much hair loss. I'm not a vet, but I would probably try treating for sarcoptic mange. Just remember that you might want to take a very conservative approach since she's a puppy and most medicines may end up being too strong for the pup. There is a Frontline flea spray that can be used on puppies and kittens 8 weeks and older. There is also a dip called Lymdip (?) that you can dilute with water that can also be used to treat puppies.

    Also - if you suspect that it might be sarcoptic mange and with it being summer (and flea season), it's probably just best to switch to the flea medicine Revolution. I've used it many times on my dog as well as my fosters who appeared to have some kind of skin problem and Revolution is really the way to go for both sarcoptic mange & fleas, as well as combating intestinal parasites. (Demodectic mange is a more mild mange - it's not contagious and can clear up pretty quickly with sulfur based shampoos or creams.)

    Winnie suffers from allergies - inhalant/environmental and food. Her food allergies are to wheat and fowl, so I have her on a combination raw & high end kibble diet, but have eliminated all wheats and fowl. If you search "elimination diet" on the internet, you should find a bunch of different suggestions on how to do this correctly. It sounds like you're on the right track with sticking with salmon. Remember to do the same with all chewy bones & treats - stick with salmon (or fish based) for everything. Once you notice a difference and you see the hair growing back, you'll know that you're safe with salmon. I used a calendar to mark down everything that Winnie had to eat and it seemed that within 2-3 weeks, I would see trends on what is fine and what is a "problem" food that seems to aggravate her allergies. The whole process of doing the elimination diet probably took about 3-4 months.

    If you want to just stick with fish based kibble, I highly recommend Orijen Six Fish, Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream and Wellness Core Ocean. Winnie can have beef, venison, buffalo, lamb - so I also rotate in raw foods in the morning and give her Orijen Regional Red or Barking at the Moon.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    You've gotten a lot of good advice here, so I'll just say I hope you get it figured out. It's really hard to be patient when your dog has health issues, but this is a tough one and often takes a multi-faceted approach (change in diet, sometimes meds, etc).

    I had similar problems with my GSD at about the same age. It was tough! We went through all the possibilities: mange, fleas (he had none), allergies, hypothyroidism.

    It turned out he had serious grain allergies, as well as inhalant allergies. A raw diet fixed most of his problems (except in the spring when the pollens bothered him--then he'd get itchy again). Also, he was severely hypothyroid (virtually no thyroid function) but that didn't happen until he was an adult dog. We tested him as a pup, and it was ok--but a few years later, nothing.

    It's a long struggle, but once you find a good food that works for your dog, that will be half the battle.

    Good luck, and she sure is cute!
  • Here is another article on zinc that may be helpful:
  • So another update.

    We have switched her food to salmon now being mixed in with Acana Pacifica. We also purged all the treats with grain and chicken. She does seem to be scratching less. We are going back to the vet tomorrow for our follow up on the last appointment. We also have her scheduled for a little bath there with a medicated shampoo, which they said she could do with. So we will see what happens tomorrow and if we are off to the dermatologist or not. I will also make sure that we mention the possible sarcoptic mange. We do have her on the Frontline, however were told not to give her the most recent months worth seeing as it my irritate her exposed skin even more.

    We have received allot of great advice on here and thank everyone for it. Hopefully she will be a furry little monster again. She is still full of energy and is not afraid of letting us know when it is time to play or go out for a run. So i'll keep you all posted on what happens next.
  • phong919phong919
    Posts: 32
    PuppyFaceShiba - My shiba is having the same issue, but it's only on his right ear. I just switched over to the Natual Balance Sweet Potato and Venison. My vet said it takes about 6 - 8 weeks to see results. Is the salmon you mix with your food a supplement? Thank you.
  • HamletHamlet
    Posts: 146
    From your title, I almost thought that your pup had demodex mange (scabby red/hair loss/scratching) and was going to reassure you that it clears up in almost all cases. Ham had a little bout of that around the same age as your pup, and it's pretty much all gone now.

    HOWEVER, from the pictures, it looks much more similar to what our Westie had -- which was a mixture of allergy-related skin issues occasionally combined with some bacterial/yeasty infection. Skin problems are fairly common to Westies and you MAY get some help checking out forums for Westies since their owners have pretty much done alot work pioneering ways to control these odd issues. If you can afford it, I do also recommend going to a dog dermatologist since at the very least, they will be able to prescribe some very specific shampoos and medicines and will have more experience treating these types of issues.

    What help our Westie significantly was switching to a limited ingredient diet and using shampoos designed for sensitive/allergy prone skin. We had almost a complete reversal in her symptoms when my mom supplemented the meds given by the doggie dermatologist with a home-prepared food diet of rice, ground pork, carrots and vitamin supplements.

    It does take a while to see results but based on this experience, diet adjustment + medicines for skin allergies seem to help alot. You may want to just switch to a homemade diet like I described above (or raw, which I suspect would provide similar benefits). You can also make treats that fit in the limited ingredient category. I suspect that if you google "homemade treats/diet" combined with "skin allergy" or "Westie skin allergy", you will come up with alot of recipes that you can try for meals and treats -- ALTHOUGH if you want to go the homemade diet, talk to your vet since they have some software available for vets that lets them prepare recipes for you to follow based on the dog's needs.

    OH - and limit bathing to once a month or less, even if you are using the medicated/special shampoo. Bathing tends to do more harm than good when you have skin related problems.
    Post edited by Hamlet at 2010-07-20 13:02:47
  • ok Latest update on Shiba.

    So the vet said she was looking better, and we have noticed allot less scratching. Also ( i might just be imagining it) but it looks like we are getting some hair growth back too. The vet gave her the medicated bath, her fist we have every given to her, and also recommended the Revolution product as well. So we have it on its way from PetMeds, should be here tomorrow. She did mention to us, as we came in with a list of stuff we thought it might be thanks to the help of everyone here, that Mange and skin mites are the same thing just 2 different names for them. So I guess we were treating for Mange already. She is doing allot better on her Acana food, we have slowly started introducing the Primal back into the mix and took away the salmon because it was causing havoc on her pooping.

    Hoping to get some pictures up soon. She is getting so BIG!!!!
  • myamamomyamamo
    Posts: 51
    yay! Glad to hear that there is some progress! Take photos of the areas every few days and that will help you "see" if there has been any progress and hair growth. It's hard to determine that if you see them everyday. So happy to hear that she's scratching less - that's a great sign!
  • Thanks for the update! Glad to hear that she's doing better!
  • Ok here is an update on our girl. SHe is doing allot better since removing grain and chicken from her diet, as well as switching to Revolution from Frontline. We have seen allot less scratching and her fur has grow almost fully back in. We recently took a road trip up to the Bay Area to visit my family and she had allot of play time with my mom's beagle. Here are some pics for you guys.

    She is currently at the vet getting de-womanized, so if anyone has advice for us for when we pick her up that would be amazing.

    Road trip

    My Toys

    Play time

    Shiba and Emmy

    Playing with Emmy

  • Awe! She is looking so much better! Glad she had fun with your family. I only have a neutered male so I can't offer much advice other then try to keep her mellow for a few days.
  • DaniDani
    Posts: 29
    It's great to see that Shiba's doing so much better. And she's grown quite a bit, as well! She looks so cute in that last picture.
  • lockshi3lockshi3
    Posts: 628
    Wow! she looks a lot better. I'm glad you guys could figure it out.
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    She looks great! We should schedule a playdate! You are in HB right? :)
  • myamamomyamamo
    Posts: 51
    Awwww~ In about 3 short weeks, she's made great strides! Glad to hear she's doing better... What a cutie in that carseat!
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I'm hijacking this old thread. Juni went to the dentist to remove placque (spelling?) and came back with a small shaven patch on her front leg. She has had that before after surgery without caring much about it but this time she was obsessed and managed to lick a big raw bald patch on her leg before we realized how obsessed she was.
    So for nearly a week now she has either worn an inflatable collar so she can't reach it or a bandage. And she is miserable.
    The shaven patch has started to have fur growing back and the area she licked is healing but still bald.
    My question is, when do I dare let her go without 'protection'? She still wants to lick it quite bad but she seems at least less obsessed. It usually takes forever to get the fur grow back to it's normal thickness so I can't wait that long.
    And is there anything that can soothe the itchiness? Benadryl or similar is not available here and I don't know if it would help anyways.
    I have to leave her at doggy day care tomorrow and I worry the staff won't notice if she starts getting at it again.
  • Someone on a fb page I'm on posted this - maybe it'll help?

  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Haha that is a good one! It will be my last resort.

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