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Allergies and Allergy Testing
  • I know a lot of you have had to deal with allergies, and I'm looking for some suggestions on allergy testing. (There was a thread like this, but it's been closed awhile.)

    In the midst of my other doggie drama (Bel's LP/ACL surgery), Toby has developed really bad allergies. he looks like he's blowing his coat around his neck, but the fur has come all the way off, and he has red, slightly scaly looking bald spots on his neck and now going down his chest. He's not scratching at them though.

    My vet suggested benadryl, but it didn't seem to help, so now we've moved on to Predisone, but just started it.

    He's also wheezing. Not all the time, but it got worse in the last couple of days. He wheezes and chokes like he's asthmatic and can't catch his breath (mostly happens when he's laying down, then he gets up til he catches his breath and it stops). Today he wheezed so badly he threw up the water he'd just drank, poor boy. He's actually wheezing worse since we started the pred. but that is likely just a coincidence.

    This makes me think this is an inhalant allergy, but who knows. He's had periods of wheezing before (usually in the spring), but he's never lost his fur before.

    The vet says juniper and pinon are bad right now, even in winter (she is allergic to them and is coughing and wheezing herself) so it could be that. He's also sometimes had funny wheezing like this when he's been blowing his coat and there is a lot of his hair on his blanket.

    He had a thyroid test by Dr. Dodds a few months ago (full panel) and everything looked good on the level of meds he's on, so I'd be surprised if it were thyroid).

    I was kind of panicking that it was a food allergy (i SO don't want to do an eliminaton diet) but the wheezing makes me wonder if it's an inhalant thing.

    Ok, so after that long intro, here's my question; who has had allergy testing done, and where did you do it? I can probably only afford the serum test (if I can afford that right now, and don't know where I'd take him for the skin test anyway). I did a quick google and came up with a couple of places:

    This one looked good, better than I expected from a serum test, but maybe serum testing has improved since I last did it 11 years ago:

    but there's also this place:

    And probably others.

    Anyone done it? Had experience with a particular lab? Thoughts?

    (and god knows this is SO NOT what I needed right now after Bel's surgery, but I would like to know what he is allergic to).
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-08-09 09:13:52
  • who has had allergy testing done, and where did you do it?
    After going through all sorts of things I finally gave in to the allergy testing. I got Severus test done at Dermatology For Animals in California. I would look for a Dermatologist in your area. I thought about just buying the serum..I forget which website it was but they offered a serum based on location of where you live. It kind of puts all the most common pollens into the serum. But I guess I just needed to know what my pup was allergic too.

    Its been several months and there hasn't been a change yet...We were told it could take up to a year for any progress. He takes Atopica in the mean time which basically eliminate his allergies for the time being. HE has to take one everyday. We tried benedryl, Chlorpheniramine Maleate (, power mushrooms (reishi mushrooms), acupuncture, Quercertin, stinging nettle. I mean some combinations worked but after a while his face would just flare up and it was clear he needed the atopica. Fish pills help for some as it is a natural inflammatory.

    Does your house have carpet? Perhaps he's allergic to dust mites..or human dander?

    But yeah hopefully you find a solution for Toby. Poor guy..
  • Bowdu's got some splotchy bald patches happening... in January/February... I mean, granted, it never snows here so we have to deal with environmental allergens year round, if that' what it is, but CRIPES, I wish we could get a break in sometime!

    Here are some pictures -- maybe you can compare with Toby

    Hair loss neck and armpit

    Hair loss neck area

    Hair loss neck area

    He has not been wheezing. I would not describe Bowdu's skin here as scaley. But he does have spots of major hyperpigmentation that seem to come and go -- there's a pretty significant patch that's under his chin right now that I haven't taken a picture of because I need good light and to catch him in a good mood. He hasn't been scratching excessively, though he has been kicking at his *muzzle* lately -- not so much his neck.

    I'm assuming the skin is a little chafed, but it's not bothering him too much. Maybe it's excess fur that was yanked out by his Martingale while he was blowing his coat, and because of his hypothyroidism, some areas of fur was easier to yank out than others, and it's just having a hard time growing back.

    That doesn't quite explain that area in his armpit though (which is not on his other side). We've given him a few baths with some medicated shampoo (Mal-A-Ket and Selsun Blue) -- just on the affected areas, not full baths -- and it seems to have helped a little. We've also been applying Sulfodene to the spots, which he's been very obliging about allowing us to do. However, the hyperpigmented areas will go away for a bit, then come back in another spot.

    We haven't been to see the vet about this, but we've been monitoring him. I honestly don't know what they can tell us at this point except to keep doing what we're doing, and/or put him on medication. Which, frankly, I'm not ready to do this early in the season if we can manage it other ways.

    He is, of course, still on his thyroid meds. He's not scheduled for a re-test until April.

    Speaking of medication, you may want to talk to your doctor about Temaril-P instead of straight-up Prednisone, if you have to go that route. It's a Pfizer drug (it shouldn't be that hard for your doctor to order?) which includes a combo of prednisolone and antihistamine. It's equally as effective, if not better, than Prednisone -- I'd say better because there's a little less steroid content in there than the amount of prednisone that's normally prescribed for allergies. If you've got to give Toby steroids, I do think you may as well give him Temaril-P, though of course ANY non-steroid alternative would be preferred. Like Atopica. That stuff is pretty expensive though. The dose our vet recommended would be about $100 for the first month's loading dose, then $50/month after that -- so something to consider during the worst of the allergy season, if it becomes a more severe issue...

    If we're doing allergy testing, VARL Liquid Gold serum testing is what I would try. I don't know about giving him the shots though... but it would be helpful to at least know what he's allergic to. Unfortunately we don't have the $500 - $800 that it'll cost us to run that... at least not right now, especially not with Bowpi's dental scheduled for this month. =P

    The regional allergy serum that Frank mentioned is called RESPIT -- Regionally-Specific Immunotherapy:
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    I opted for the intradermal allergen testing with Beebe. It's more accurate than any of the serum tests as far as I know. The anesthesia/sedation for the procedure, the evaluation by the Dermatologist for her Atopy/mange, initial blood work, the interferons and starter doses of allergy sera was about $1000. The maintenance vials I get about every 3 months are $300. They make it at their office. She has had outstanding results in combination with a raw/grain free diet. She improved even further once we completed the new move to a brick house with hardwood floors. The debris and mites in the old wool carpet and mold in the wood of our rental was really problematic for her. She is strongly allergic to dust mites, human dander :(, and mold.

    The Derm vet performed an initial blood panel for thyroid and total body function, but went on to test her immune globulin levels. I would advise to have those assessed. It was about $100 for that test, but that proved to be the key to managing her disease. I think the hypothyroid with Beebe is strongly linked to her weak immune system. She was always greasy, smelly and itchy as a puppy. She had multiple eye and random skin infections. When her mange blew up, along with the reoccuring warts and GI issues, it strongly pointed to an autoimmune process. The Gp vet mentioned a steroid and Atopica trial, but suggested a Derm vet eval first once the correlation with poor immunity became apparent. The Derm vet told me to absolutely avoid vaccines, Atopica or steroids based on her IG levels (very low), which would further suppress her immune system.

    I haven't really bumped into any other dogs who have had her unique constellation of symptoms. In her case, her body was susceptable to assault for lack of strong immunity, whereas most of the allergy dogs I know of have had a too strong allergic response and need an immune suppressor like steroids. My concern is with GP vets misdiagnosing the root cause and prescribing steroids at the drop of the hat without checking IG levels first.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Wow, I had no idea the serum test might be so much.....I had it done a long time ago for my GSD, and it wasn't that much, so I just assumed it would be only a couple hundred dollars tops. (Granted the test he had wasn't terribly useful, but....)

    Well, there will be no allergy testing for Toby for quite sometime then, as I'm still in the process of paying for Bel's surgery.

    Bowdu's patchiness looks very very much like Toby's and is even in the same places. (In fact, he looks enough like Toby that if I showed pics to people, they'd just think it WAS Toby!) He does have some hyperpigmentation, too, and the scaly parts aren't super scaley, but are enough that it is noticeable. Like I said, he doesn't seem to be scratching it either.

    I know the steroids isn't the best solution, but right now I'm in a bad position because of lack of $ so I'm trying to do a little damage control (stop the wheezing and the hair loss) and then plan for future tests. I will ask the vet about the Temaril-P. I do think having the IG test would be useful (and is affordable now). One of the things I note about Toby is that he seems like he's still having thyroid problems though everything on his full thyroid panel was good. He's still fat, he's still kind of lazy, and tires easily, and now he has this hair problem....I'm just kind of confounded, though it could be a combo of things, as he's had allergies in the past....

    (Oh, and I also thought at first the hair was pulled out by his collar, but he's had his collar off for two weeks and he's still losing hair.)

    We have carpet upstairs, and his wheezing has been worse upstairs, or when he lays on the dog bed that the other dogs lay on. we don't have carpet downstairs or in the sunroom where he spends a lot of time, but he does have his chair, which probably collects dust. I'm wondering if it could be something like dustmites...

    Thanks for your thoughts, me something to think about and plan for....I also have been wanting to see the holistic vet here, but have never actually done it, and I wonder if this might be a good opportunity to see what I think of the holistic vet and get a new perspective on things...Well, once I'm done paying for Bel's vet bills, that is.
  • Yeah I tried out the holistic vet. They told me about the power mushrooms and how it could help him. And also mentioned we should think about feeding duck instead of lamb because lamb is hot or warm. Or something along those lines. He also had one session of acupuncture haha but I don't think it did anything for him.
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    Have you gotten a skin biopsy done to rule out any skin infections (like mange or ringworm)? I'm wondering, since it sounds like that this hasn't happened before with him, that it could be something other than allergies. And the air is pretty dry around this time of year, he could be hacking from that or maybe some sort of respiratory infection. You don't really mention checking for something other than allergies, thus why I ask.
  • Ugh, week from hell....

    anyway, took Toby to the vet, and he does not have ringworm or mange or anything like that. She said allergies, and given the wheezing, she thinks it is likely inhalant allergies, the same thing that has both me and the vet stuffed up with headaches, etc. Pinon and Juniper. So for now, because I can't afford to do anything else, we're going with pred. and benyadryl. I forgot to ask about the Temaril-P so will ask when I take Bel back for her next check up on Friday.

    While his fur loss hasn't cleared up yet, he isn't wheezing while taking the pred, so that's something.

    And I have had a killer headache for taking whatever is going on with the pollen, it is kicking my butt too!
  • Yechk...

    Check out for "allergy forecasts" -- they're supposed to tell you what's currently in the air around where you live.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    :( Sorry about the bad luck you're having with the pups. I hope the pred helps. Have you tried claritin for Toby? That may help too.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    Just thought I would add these 2 blog post links to this thread.

    So You Think Your Dog Has Allergies, Part 1: Symptoms and Types

    So You Think Your Dog Has Allergies, Part 2: Diagnosis

    So You Think Your Dog Has Allergies, Part 3: Treatment

    edited: adding part 3 of the series!
    Post edited by sandrat888 at 2012-03-30 01:57:55
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Awesome! Thanks for the additions. Sandra, you always post such useful things. =)

    Tonight, I'm also attending a seminar on "Holistic treatments for allergies" sponsored by a local pet boutique and a well-respected vet. I'll definitely report back if I glean any good info.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • RyuDragonRyuDragon
    Posts: 319
    Ryu has been having loose bowel movements for about a week now and he is eating grass and not finishing all of his food as quickly as usual. Could this be a food allergy? He is 9.5 months old and ever since we got him from our breeder he has been on Wellness Super 5 mix Just For Puppies-Small Breed (I can't remember what the breeder used but we have had for 6 months now). Do allergies typically show up suddenly like this when a dog is this young? Any advice would be appreciated. Probably going to try to take him to the vet this week.
  • That doesn't sound at all like a food allergy, but sounds like something else is wrong. I would take him to the vet.

    Food allergies usually show up as dirty ears or ear infections, hot spots on paws or elsewhere, and otherwise in the skin.
  • RyuDragonRyuDragon
    Posts: 319
    Took Ryu to the Vet today and they said it might be stress related (not sure why he would be stressed). They gave him a cernia shot because they thought he was feelig nauseous, some antibiotics to get rid of bacteria in his bowels, and some Hills Prescription Gastrointestinal health. I hope this takes care of it. I was hoping it wasn't food allergies. Appreciate the advice @shibamistress.
  • My mom believes Kinako has allergies too. The fur on the inside of his paws are red from him chewing and licking his feet. He's chewed off most of the fur on his inner thighs and the skin is pink and irritated. Sometimes the skin around his mouth will turn pink too. We took him to the vet a couple weeks ago and found out he'd chewed his legs so much it got infected so now he's on medication. :( There's a specialist coming to the vet's office sometime this month, my mom and I are hoping to take Kinako in to find out what he might be allergic too. He's always scratching or biting, I'd hate to be itchy all the time too.
  • Yes, it sounds like Kinako has allergies. What do you feed him? It could be a food allergy.
  • Well we switch his food a lot since we weren't sure what he might be allergic to. He is currently on a brand called Natural Balance, it's a sweet potato and fish formula. We also have shampoo for sensitive skin (although we hardly bocha him since he HATES the water). And we wash his feet with a medicated soap. Since we've started washing his feet more often his paws aren't as red as they used to be but he still chews and licks them.
  • RyanRyan
    Posts: 293
    Do any of those with allergies feed raw?
    Any animal I have had that has had allergies has ended up on raw, so my Shiba has been on it since we got her and she wasn't tolerating processed foods well.

    What kinds of environments are your animals exposed to? It could be anything from a plant in the garden(weed, grass, anything!), sprays or cleaning products used around the house, detergents used on dishes, clothes etc. Even the soap you use on your own body.

    We try to stick to organic/natual products around the house, and where ever possible natural cleaners- there are some great books on amazon on how to keep your house clean using naturally occuring products(white vinegar, tea tree oil etc).

    I recommend looking into these factors, as many doctors and vets don't assess them. I myself have allergies and all my GP's missed them.

    Have you tried only walking on concrete or sand temporarily if the only thing yet to be ruled out if your walking circuit?

    It is also worth keeping in mind that some animals are allergic not only to fleas, but the flea products that are used.

    The Shiba in the photos has a rash similar to a rescue dog we had- it was food primarily, and grass seeds in his coat.

    Good Luck!

    Bella (Sherae Aka Akicho) | F | Born 27/1/2012
    Suki (Aust. Ch. Betlin Takaisuki) | M | Born 03/02/2005, adopted 10/09/2012
  • this is Kinako's paws beforePhotobucket

    and now with the medicated shampoo. it's not as red but he chews behind his paws and the skin there is starting to lose fur and turn pink alsoPhotobucket

    Kinako's right hind leg/thigh

    Kinako's left hind leg/thighPhotobucket


    I think it's difficult for us to know if it would be an environmental thing since we take him on walks in many different areas so he's around different plants&different dogs. We don't feed him raw but he does sometimes get table food.
  • I feed my dogs raw. I started the raw diet about 12 years ago for a GSD who had terrible allergies. My forward thinking vet at the time suggested it, and I never again fed a dog kibble (well, except for certain circumstances like kenneling). It helps enormously, but doesn't help with everything. (Depends on what a dog is allergic to--we have forum dogs allergic to chicken, for example, and that's the major part of my dog's diet).

    It's not fun, but if you really want to know what the dog is allergic to, there are a couple of options. Obviously, expensive allergy testing is one. But another to get a better guess for food allergies is to do an elimination diet. It's what I'd try if I was thinking food allergies. Here is one explanation of a type of elimination diet: It's basically sticking to one type of food to see if the allergies subside some, then slowly adding other things the dog ate back into the diet. This link describes how to do it with dog food.

    You can do this, or you can get more serious--the kind of elimination diet I've tried before was to start with a home cooked meal. Usually its rice or potatoes or something like that plus protein, preferably a novel protein which may be difficult if you have been switching food around. You do this for a month or so, then add other elements bit by bit. It's not easy--the dog can't eat ANYTHING else. But it does give you useful information.

    Funny, just before seeing this thread pop again, I was bashing my head agains the wall because I saw (elsewhere) a convo about allergies, and someone was saying it couldn't be food allergies because it is in the paws. Then someone said the reason their dog has and paw problems is because he puts his dirty paws in his ears, and that dogs should have their paws washed often to prevent this problem. Uh, no. Ears and paws are very likely allergies, and while it could be an inhalant allergy (esp. if it is seasonal) it's more likely a food allergy.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Oh yeah, I did get some good information from the "Holistic Treatments for Pet Allergies" talk that I attended. Posted up a lengthy bit on that here, if anyone's interested.

    As for @Ryan's question -- yes, one reason we ended up going the raw route was because of allergies! The encouragement of this forum really helped us make that step, and it made a HUGE difference.

    But just to clarify, I think that the raw diet ultimately helped Bowdu's horrible allergies not by eliminating any possible food allergies, but by improving his overall health and strengthening his immune system. We did NOT treat the raw diet as an elimination diet, though we put him on relatively novel raw protein for the first two months. Basically, we made the transition to raw by feeding Primal Raw nuggets for two months, specifically the turkey & sardine recipe, which were meats that he hadn't had much of before. But we did give them other proteins in the meantime (though we stayed away from chicken altogether for about a whole year, and now beef is also on our list of verboten meats) so I can't say we went to raw specifically to address food allergies.

    An elimination diet, as Shibamistress posted above, is still the "gold standard" when it comes to figuring out food allergies. If I still thought food was the main problem, which I don't think it is in our case, I would go with an elimination diet over expensive allergy testing.

    Currently, we don't feed exclusively raw, mainly for the sake of time and convenience. We try to offer our dogs the best diet that we can, ultimately for the sake of keeping their bodies healthy enough to resist the allergies largely on their own, or at least with only gentle intervention.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @curlytails, I came across this thread and what you described in February 2011 is exactly what is now happening with Bear, other than he hasn't been diagnosed with thyroid disorders.

    I have been leaving his collar off in the house (dangerous as he did door bolt on my husband once and go on a long run about a mile down the golf course) thinking the daily flat collar isn't helping. He started showing signs of losing his coat about a month ago and still seems to be shedding, but this December is also unusually warm even for Florida. I also bought a walking martingale collar that has a soft fur lining hoping to keep that area more comfortable during walks.

    He is balding on his throat and now seems to be scratching more which I believe is increasing the bald spot issue. His neck looks a lot like the pictures you posted but right now bigger with 3 or 4 pinlike black tiny pimple like spots.

    We recently changed his diet trying to find resolution to the poo issue. We seemed to now have firm poo with the diet change and probiotic, but now we have a fur issue. I am becoming drained worrying about his health as we just seemed to resolve one issue and now have another.

    What did you do to resolve the issue you talked about in that February 2011 comment?
  • @redcattoo, Wow, looking back at those pictures, he was pretty patchy! It's happening again, but not as extreme -- I'm accepting this as part of his seasonal shedding. Meanwhile, we've done a few things that seem to help overall. His coat did grow back full and thick after that shedding season was over. Things that might have helped:

    * Daily fish oil capsules (we just get the kinds for humans, 1000 ~ 1200 mg capsules, but there are more expensive "pet only" options and brands like Nordic Naturals which are really rigorously controlled)
    * Vitamin E drops (again, just OTC human grade stuff meant for ingestion, not topical application -- Bowdu gets about 3 drops a day)
    * Honest Kitchen Sparkle, an herbal supplement that's supposed to help with coat and skin quality, but also has digestive benefits. I went through about 3 or 4 canisters of this with both dogs for half the year (allergy season) this year, and I'd like to say it helped.
    * Minimizing use of the Furminator during shedding season. We actually remove most of his fur by hand now, just by petting or gentle plucking, and also the Zoom Groom.
    * Soothing, skin-friendly shampoos massaged gently into his neck area with blunt tips of fingers.

    Gee, this dog is spoiled...

    Bowdu also has a soft hemp Martingale from Earthdog that does claim to be hypoallergenic. Dunno how much that helps. We leave him naked inside the home (door bolting is not an issue for us anymore) so it's not like he's wearing his collar very much. I think some other folks use rolled leather collars or other "home" collars with soft fabrics, which might be an option as well if you want to always keep something on Bear for emergency ID purposes without damaging his fur.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • That Sparkle stuff sounds good--I might need some!

    I wonder about the collars too. Toby doesn't seem particularly itchy right now, but he has never grown the fur back on his neck (under collar area) where it was shaved way back in May after Bel bit him. I suspect it's more to do with his thyroid, but I wonder if it would help if I took off his collar too (though it's the same collar he's had for most of his 8 years). Can't hurt, anyway. Toby doesn't bolt anywhere these days!
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @curlytails, wow, yes that dog is spoiled :) At least maybe I have some comfort not to panic about it then just yet. Thanks for updating me on what you did and that it wasn't anything out of the normal per se.

    I just know he seems more itchy since starting to blow his coat and now getting bald in his neck. I looked for a nice leather type collar at the AKC Invitational this past weekend and just didn't find any that I really wanted, I need to keep looking though as I definitely want a softer daily collar for him.

    I do hope it is just the seasonal weather here in Florida and his allergies or whatever will pass. I know even his eyes are showing minimal signs too that it could be a combo of blowing coat/rubbing collar and seasonal allergies.
  • Wierd....Sparkle is not allowed to be sold in NM! That's so odd! Well, looking at it, I could probably put together a good herbal mix myself, but I'm a bit puzzled by that!
  • @shibamistress Yeah, I don't know why those restrictions are there! I think it applies to all their herbal supplements for some reason. But they do tell you exactly what's in the can (if not the exact formulation), so if you can get the herbs individually, you can probably pull together a good approximation. The product itself isn't too expensive, in my opinion, but if you have multiple or larger dogs, you may as well blend it yourself.

    I consulted Tilford & Wolff's Herbs for Pets when I was trying to pick apart just what went into HK Sparkle. That might be a good resource for anyone who's interested in exploring alternative remedies for skin conditions.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • DrySeDrySe
    Posts: 101
    Another shiba owner here who went raw because I thought Tsuki had food allergies.

    Basically a few days after I brought Tsuki home he started scratching his forhead to the point where he cut himself and lost some fur. After cleaning up the blood I took a picture to show my breeder. You can see the photo below


    He was starting to scratch his neck and ears and bite his bum, as if he had fleas. Both the breeder and I checked but we couldn't find any though. We tried frontline just in case but to no avail nothing changed.

    After a week we both thought it was most likely food allergies so I ditched his Natural Blanace puppy kibble (that he was fine with while the breeder was raising him) and started trying a bunch of different kibbles and treats one week at a time. He was constantly itchy, had wierd poop, threw up occasionally at night after heavy wheezing.... it was bad. The vet checked him out and couldn't come up with a feasible reason. I did not give him any medications because I wanted to figure out the problem and didn't want to mask the symptoms.

    I later met a lady who told me a story about raw and why she now feeds her dogs raw (her dogs were 17 and 7 years old and running around full of energy like puppies) She recommended a company called Darwins so I though hey what the heck ill give the trial price a shot. All Tsuki's problems went away within about 4 days. His coat is awesome, never greasy even after a couple weeks of his shower. Now at this point I had pretty much figured out that it was the wheat, most other grains as well and the potato protein that were the issue because when I tried foods without those, before the raw, the symptoms were reduced. I think it is also the preservatives.

    The reason I blame it on the processed food is beacuse after the trial sample ended (a little more than 1 month worth of food) I switched back to the hollistic kibbles I still had. The ones that claim to be natural grain free etc. His symptoms immediatly came back within 4 hours of feeding him kibble for the the first time in more than a month.

    He had a violent bout of diarhea in our kitchen (his first mistake...............) At this point I was like...... that is completely my fault....................... and I ran off to buy him some more raw :D (of course I cleaned it up first). Plue got started on raw right away and he is fine. I have 0 issues with the both of them now and the vet says their health is excellent.

    So last month I came home from work only to find Tsuki terribly distraught in a corner and the house smelling a little funny..... He had made an explosive mistake for the second time ever.... this time though I had been feeding him exclusively raw..... I was super confused but I just figured maybe he ate something on the ground during his walk because I had caught him munching on something that morning. The next day we went on a long mountain hike and it was very strange because he was still having diarhea and was going constantly. He went about 5 times during the hike. (Tsuki usually goes once in the morning and sometimes a second time in the evening about once a week) I couldn't figure out why so I was talking to my wife about how we need to make sure he doesn't eat off the ground. She immediately realized what the problem was. Turns out she gave him some of his old food from when he was a puppy. She didn't believe in raw and always argued against it. I never threw away his old food and treats because I didn't want to waste it. So that morning (of his second mistake) I asked my wife to feed Tsuki because I was busy and since she didn't like raw she fed him the old stuff. Anyways he had terrible scratching issues and pooping issues for about 3 days. She now feeds him raw after watching him struggle on the hike.
    Post edited by DrySe at 2012-12-18 20:05:52
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    It is my understanding any sudden diet change can create digestive upset, so I am glad your wife is back on the same page at least with the diet choice.
  • @ Shibamistress and Curlytails: Regarding Honest kitchen
    Sparkle, other heral product, teas etc etc. not allowed to be sold in certain states....

    Response via honest Kitchen:

    "Our supplements have been refused licenses in the states of New Mexico & South Dakota because they contain herbal ingredients that are not approved for animal consumption in those states. These are all ingredients with (in many cases) hundreds of years of therapeutic use in animals but with only empirical evidence or ‘folklore’ references that do not stand up to NM & SD state scrutiny! The ingredients in question are widely available in supplements sold for humans in these two states, but the NM & SD Departments of Agriculture require that the safety and efficacy of herbal ingredients be proven in clinical trials prior to offering them for sale for use in animals within their state! As a small family owned business, we do not have the infrastructure or funding to conduct such clinical trials.
    Unfortunately it restricts sales to private individuals and also stores! Of course there is nothing to stop someone form buying human supplements with these same ingredients and feeding them to their pets – or traveling out of state with their pets for vacations, and using the products while outside NM & SD. These products just can’t be sold inside those states at this time."

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2012-12-19 11:24:33
  • Thanks Snf! I think this is likely because NM has very odd laws about animal care. Basically, anything has to be under the direct supervision of a vet, which includes canine massage, canine water therapy, nutrition, etc.

    The interesting thing about this is that NM also has very liberal laws about the use of herbs for humans--basically anyone can set up as an herbalist, with no licensing. Not sure why it is so restrictive for animal care though.

    I will just find some herbal blends to make myself. And thanks too, to Curlytails for the book rec!

    Also, glad Tsuki is back to normal, but yeah, I guess that really tells you what he was allergic to!
  • I understand you all. I hve been through almost all of the above except food testing for Akiko.

    Let me give you a briefing. Akiko's itching was driving me up a wall. It pained me to see hom suffering so. I had been to the vet so many times since he was a puppy for his scratching. He is now five and things are looking up.

    He would scratch his skin raw and bare. He would bite his paws continually. I was also noticing he was getting scalie and crustie.

    Under the advice of the vet I too tried Benedril, Loratadine, Zyrtec you name it. He had received cortizone shots to help the suffering. I tried changing his food many time from their advice. He is now on Duck and Potato, but have had some success with the Whitefish and Potato. Nothing is cheap as these are specialized foods. I have only been able to buy this food at the vet.

    Remember to not give any foods or snacks to your pet that are not the same as the food you are testing him with.

    I finally took Akiko to the Dermatologist about a year ago. He has ungone allergy testing. He is allergic to just about everything. Trees, grass, dust mites, me (human dander). He was started on allergy shots and has worked up to twice a week shots. The roughest part is going through his Shiba screams everytime he gets a shot.

    He has had a regimen of antibiotics on several occasions to alleviate the crusties. The Dermatologist also advised to bathe him on a weekly basis, which I have had considerable success. If I miss his weekly bath he starts to backslide. He is bathed with: Duoxo Chlorhexidrine PS Shampoo, Epi-Soothe cream rinse (conditioner)and Epi-Otic (to dry any water in his ears). His fur is very soft and full now, with no red, crustie or blotchy spots. He smells great and his fur really seem to repel the water when he gets wet.

    He also went through a regimen of stuff to get his immune system up to par. (can't remember the name of that medicin off hand). The Dermotologist said most every Shiba he has treated has had a low immune system. That regimen consisted of putting drops on his gums...Akiko didn't mind those at all.

    I think my first appointment at the Dermotologist was around $1500.00 including all medications. The next appointment when the testing was done was around $600.00. Each appointment has been around $350.00. Allergy shot medicine is i think is around $160.00 for each vile.

    This has all been quite a trial but I believe my beloved Shiba Inu (Akiko) is worth every cent to not have to see him in misery with the scratching. Please don't mistake me...he still scratches, but his symptoms are much better than they were, and he does not scratch near as much as he used to.

    Forgive me for the dissertation, but I hope this information helps you and all the little Shiba of the world.


  • DrySeDrySe
    Posts: 101
    @redcattoo: Yea I heard that you are not supposed to have sudden diet changes, but Tsuki gets bored of his food and will stop eating if I don't rotate every couple of days and spice up his meals. He gets destroyed if I rotate kibble but is completely fine rotating raw. When I first gave him green tripe my mother in law said "won't he get an upset tummy since it is new?" but the green tripe was fine he loved it!
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @DrySe I was mainly referring to that sudden change from raw to kibble also being a root of the diahreahha episode. If the family stays on the same page with raw it shouldn't be a problem.
  • DrySeDrySe
    Posts: 101
    yea when it was a sudden change to kibble it was extra bad, but it was still bad with the same kibble after a couple months. My mother in law has a yellow lab that cannot eat kibble because of the same tummy issues/allergy etc so she feeds him a special super high fiber kibble from the vet. He doesn't have diareaha (I don't know how to spell it either) but he has to eat an extra large amount because it contains little nutrients and lots of fiber. Poor lab has to go constantly and still has severe allergies.... I didn't manage to convince her to switch to raw like I did.

    I actually don't get tummy problems/allergies anymore since I went Paleo myself :)

    But yea my wife still refuses to do the feeding unless I am not there and she has too :P
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786

    I had the same thing with Beebe, my allergy dog. Her Derm vet tested her immunities, and they were low, and she had to take the oral Interferon drops also, massaged into her gums. Now she gets weekely/bi-weekly allergen shots, which she's had for several years. If I stretch them beyond 2 weeks, then she starts to chew again. She has become a horrible screamer for the shots. I usually let them come to room temp on the counter before giving it, rotate the sites, and shove food in her mouth just before giving it.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Reading all of these stories is making me very nervous... I think Maggie (10 mo) may have a skin allergy... She has always been generally itchy and scratchy, but for the past month or two, it has been horrendous. Everyone always jokes that she has fleas (very annoying). We did find 1 flea on her in November after playing with the neighbor's outside dog and took care of that, but she has been on Frontline since we brought her home 8 months ago, so that is a nonissue. Anyways, recently she has been ignoring her food unless coaxed and has completely fallen out of her "breakfast time, dinner time" routine because of how uninterested in her food she has become. The only time she will eat her food consistently is if Penny (our kitten) is around the area, she will run up and snarf it down in seconds (not aggressively, btw, more like "OMG MY SISTER IS NEXT TO MY BOWL!! I BETTER EAT IT BEFORE SHE DOES!!!! sort of way). She has also been losing fur like crazy, but we summed it up to her blowing her coat...

    We brush her for about 10-15 minutes everyday, yet chunks of hair are coming out each day. She is constantly scratching herself and biting at her forearms, her back legs (around the knee & hip areas), her armpit area, and her tummy is almost bare. Her lower tummy is all pink and there is hardly any hair there anymore.

    Earlier today, I examined her legs and they are all raw underneath the fur and it looks like there are small red irritation spots on her legs also. While I was brushing her chest, a large clump of fur came out and Maggie started licking her chest. I looked closer and I realized that it was a huge open, raw patch of skin. I feel horrible because I didn't think I had brushed her that hard at all, but it seems like the skin on her chest is just generally raw and brushing it just broke the skin open or something. :(

    Anyways, I'm attaching links to the brush we use and the food she currently eats because I would appreciate any and all feedback someone can give me. Also, it is currently about 10 degrees in Northern Indiana and everything is covered with snow. The weather has been reallly up and down lately though, so perhaps that might have something to do with it also?

    Other possible factors (?):
    ~Maggie runs in the day room (where our kitten usually is) any chance she can get and gobbles up cat poo and cat food. We have been monitoring that much more since we've realized it's an issue, but it has happened over the past month since our kitten has been here.
    ~We moved at the beginning of December, so we ARE in a new house. We are really clean people (haha) and we vaccuum regularly, but it is a new place - if that has any effect on anything.
    ~Her temperment has been really wacky lately also. Very territorial towards other dogs coming near her in the house... could that be a symptom?

    I will be calling and making an appointment with her vet tomorrow, but if this sounds familiar to anyone, or anyone has heard of similar circumstances, any advice is appreciated.


    Food (p.s. We have been considering switching her to Purina ProPlan Selects, which is not made with corn , soy, or artificial flavors, which we read are top contributors to food allergies...)
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Eek! Get Maggie off that food NOW! I would start by switching her to a higher quality grain free food pretty much immediately. Anything made by Purina is not something I would ever feed a dog. I would try something like Taste of the Wild with a salmon oil supplement added once a day.

    You might also want to get a softer brush if you feel that the slicker is causing her already sensitive skin to break open. Check out the Kong Zoom Groom.

    As for the kitty food and litter, get it out of Maggie's reach ASAP. Cat food is generally quite rich, and if it is similar in quality to what you are currently feeding Maggie, could cause issues if it is a food related reaction.

    If your new house has carpets, have them cleaned with a natural solution. It is best to have this professionally done. You never know what sort of terrible chemicals the previous owners used to clean the carpets.

    If she is not feeling well, she could be a bit more snarky towards other dogs. However, this could also be a symptom of the recent move or her becoming more mature.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • @Sunyata,
    We normally shop at PetSmart or Petco, and neither places carry TotW, so we never even thought of it. We did some research and it seems like it's really one of the best out there for pet allergies! We took a trip over to Pet Supplies Plus (which seems like an all-around better place for more diverse foods) and had a fantastic talk with one of the managers. She had such great information for us! She noticed our bag of food and treats we picked up, and she said we were on a great track to a better diet for our dog. She helped us pick out some salmon oil (too expensive in store, will order online) & she recommended Sulfodene Skin Medication to put on Maggie's itchy spots to help the raw skin heal. She said any forms of corn, wheat, and chicken are the top contenders for food allergies, so we're just gonna cut everything out. The treats have chicken in them, so if we don't notice any change with the food, we will cut those out also. All in all, it was an extremely successful trip, and we got so much more information there than we ever have at any of the times we've been to PetSmart. (However, I can't knock PetSmart, because they did offer to give us store credit for the unopened cans of Purina we still have for Maggie, so that was nice.) It's so funny, when the manager found out we had a Shiba Inu, she shrieked and begged for us to bring her in sometime soon. We make friends everywhere we go because of Mags - with or without her with us! :P

    Anyways, we brought the food home and I had Maggie sniff a little bit of it, and I gave her one kibble piece to see if she liked it. She sniffed it cautiously, but when I carried the bag across the house and filled her bowl (half Purina, half TotW), she came racing, sat politely when asked and chowed almost the whole bowl down. The only time she has done that in the past 3-4 months is when Penny (kitten) has been in that area the past couple of weeks!!!!! It was awesome! Penny even came racing in the kitchen, but Maggie was totally engrossed in her food that she looked up at her, but just went back to chowing down!! It was wonderful. We checked her treats and tossed out the ones with the culprit potential-allergens (all Christmas gifts, believe it or not, haha). I'm just so thrilled that Maggie liked her breakfast!

    They also have TotW for cats, so I think once PenPen is finished with her kitten formula, if we like the results we see in Mags, we will probably switch her to that as well.

    I'm feeling very positive about this!!! Thank you! We're going to go through the bag we bought (5 lbs) & try the skin medication and then take the allergies from there before going to the vet. I've heard stories that it won't be that easy, but we're just going to pray that all it takes is a food change... But please, if you (or anyone!) has anymore suggestions, I greatly appreciate it!
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Chiming in for the salmon oil supplement: Use Grizzly Salmon Oil. I've been using it since Sagan was younger and I love it. I only see it at mom n' pop pet stores, but I buy most, if not everything, online as far as dog items go. Everyone comments on how Sagan's coat is soft and silky.

    As far as kibble goes, I buy Nature's Variety and it's totally grain-free, high-quality, and Sagan has never had a "dry spell" with it, meaning he's never refused it, ever. I feed him both raw and dry food, so he gets the best of both worlds. :P He's never had allergy problems, itchiness, or anything negative with the food.'s+variety+instinct
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • @Rikka, my husband and I are interested in adding raw components into her diet also. We want kibble to be her main food source (if possible), so what sort of things can we add to the regular meal or treat her with every once in awhile?
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @Sarah_Jay12, try pre-made raw. Or some RMB (Raw meaty bones)
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Nature's Variety has some cool stuff for raw food. I buy the raw medallions (here: and they're really easy. I put 4-5 in a glass container every night and Sagan has two for breakfast and dinner. The reason he has less than the recommended portion is because he also eats kibble. If you're doing straight-up raw medallions only, they say to do 8-10 a day, even more if they're younger. Sagan's favorite flavor is Rabbit ( and man, he goes absolutely insane for this. He eats it up in one bite.

    I also buy actual raw, like turkey necks and beef knuckles, but I provide them for him a few times a week, rather than make it a continuous diet.
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
    Post edited by Rikka at 2013-01-24 19:19:33
  • Mika has been liking and scratching herself for the past month...we have tried to change food, a humidifier in the house and salmon oil for her...we finally popped for a full blown allergy test to the tune of 400 bucks...we should hear back around Monday
    Fred and Jodie...Madison WI

    **Mika....The Shiba Inu**

    **Zoey....The Schipperke**
    Post edited by BuckyBadger at 2013-01-24 19:34:51
  • Our shiba, Mieko, was chewing her paws and rubbing her face on the carpet until she was red, raw and bleeding. We thought it was her food (chicken-based) so we tried duck instead...Bad idea, since duck was one of the things she was allergic to. We got an allergy test done, and most of it was covered by her insurance thank goodness. Here's a list of what she was allergic to:
    Every type of grass in Eastern Canada, other than blue grass. Ragweed, pig weed, lamb's quarters, marsh elder, sheep sorrel (all types of weeds, apparently), alder trees, ash trees, oak trees, rhizopus, soybeans, barley, carrots, tomatoes, duck and...Cockroaches. :P
    So there are crazy things they can be allergic to that make it very difficult to manage. We've had to keep Mieko on medicine, but we're going to try a tactic the vet recommended where we introduce miniscule amounts of allergens into her system to build up her tolerance.
  • @Bootz, awesome, thanks! My husband wants to know "If I defrost a chicken breast and throw it in her bowl just like that, is that okay for her?"

    @Rikka, FANTASTIC!!! That is honestly exactly what I was kind of looking for. Something we can add in with her kibble that will spice things up a little. I'm not sure if we would do it twice a day, but I mean, even a little something to throw in with her dinner would be awesome. I remember hearing somewhere about turkey necks being good too, so we're going to look into that also! My hubs is all on board and I'm ready to do this.

    And hey, even if it ends up to be a totally different allergen after a diet change, than at least she will be healthier either way, right??
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    Yup! That's perfectly fine. I started feeding my furbabies slightly frozen chicken breast as its less messy and makes them chew. They swallow when the chicken is fully defrosted.

    You can also feed any part of the chicken to start since they have the softest bones out of all the proteins. I usually freeze mine for a couple of days as a precautionary measure.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    @Sarah_Jay12 Chicken hearts and gizzards are easy to portion up and add to meals as well. Just be careful with larger pieces, as they'll need to be monitored -- whether for potential choking/gulping hazards, or, in the case of my dogs, the desire to drag them to consume in the safety of their bed or some other place you don't want the raw meat going!!

    Check out Saya's Raw Thread too for lots more pointers on how to get started. It also sounds like you could benefit from picking up Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet (discussed in this thread), which talks about options for folks who don't want to go all raw.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • Our shiba, Mieko, was chewing her paws and rubbing her face on the carpet until she was red, raw and bleeding. We thought it was her food (chicken-based) so we tried duck instead...Bad idea, since duck was one of the things she was allergic to. We got an allergy test done, and most of it was covered by her insurance thank goodness. Here's a list of what she was allergic to:
    Every type of grass in Eastern Canada, other than blue grass. Ragweed, pig weed, lamb's quarters, marsh elder, sheep sorrel (all types of weeds, apparently), alder trees, ash trees, oak trees, rhizopus, soybeans, barley, carrots, tomatoes, duck and...Cockroaches. :P
    So there are crazy things they can be allergic to that make it very difficult to manage. We've had to keep Mieko on medicine, but we're going to try a tactic the vet recommended where we introduce miniscule amounts of allergens into her system to build up her tolerance.

    Yikes indeed! Which kind of allergy test did you have done? blood test or skin test? I'm always curious because some people think that only the skin test is really accurate and I've wondered about that and have been curious about people's experiences.

    I'm pretty sure at least one of my dogs shares my allergic reaction to juniper and pine, because we both are wheezing and coughing at the same time of year, which is when these trees are doing their thing. Unfortunately for me, I think I'm also allergic to the wood when burned (and we burn wood for heat). Haven't seen that bothering my Shiba yet, though, thankfully.

  • We just got Mikas report back today.... N is Negative-----BL is BorderLine----P is Pisitive....


    Fred and Jodie...Madison WI

    **Mika....The Shiba Inu**

    **Zoey....The Schipperke**
    Post edited by BuckyBadger at 2013-01-30 16:08:38

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