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Toby is losing his undercoat. Like all of it.
  • Ok, so what is up with Toby?

    First of all, early this spring he lost some hair on his neck and chest, down to bald spots. I figured it was allergies, because he was also sneezing and wheezing. Took him to the vet. It isn't mites or fleas (which we don't even have here) or mange, and his thryroid level was great in Nov.

    So we went the allergy meds/prednisdone route, as some of you may remember from the last time I posted on Toby's coat issues.

    It worked. It took a couple of months, but the hair has mostly grown back on his neck and chest. The problem is, I didn't want to keep him on pred, and he's a fat Shiba anyway, and he blew up to 44 pounds on the pred.

    Well juniper/pinon season (what we suspect he was allergic to) is mostly over, and I stopped the pred (I ran out, didn't refill it) about a month ago but kept giving him the allergy meds (just over the counter zyrtec which I had because I take it.....my vet felt any antihistamine would work). I put him on a diet: fish and vegies, and he's slimmed way down. Also, we upped his thyroid meds just slightly. In some ways, he's great, and I have to suspect his thyroid level was too low even though in Nov. it looked good, because he's got much more energy, he slimmed down, and he just seems more like my old Toby.

    Except...he's blowing his coat, which is normal. But he's lost ALL of his undercoat. All of it. This has never happened before. He usually has the softest, thickest coat, and now he just has thin, kind of dry guard hairs, and NO undercoat. I can see his skin on his belly and sides! (Which brings up a slightly funny point: he's pink with huge black patches! Kind of like those pink and black pigs. Who knew?)

    He's still taking zyrtec, but if this is an allergic reaction, well, the zyrtec isn't helping any more. And if it is, what could he be allergic to? He hasn't eaten any chicken for over a month (simply to slim him down). Obviously, he's going to have to go back to the vet (maybe I should just try a holisitic vet this time?), and also have his thyroid retested again,b ut I wondered if anyone has dealt with this, and if so, what it was.

    ideas?
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-08-09 09:58:22
  • Adonia1986Adonia1986
    Posts: 451
    I would try a holistic vet, maybe they can give you an option other than just meds. Also, I recently learned that if your dog is suffering from LP, an animal chiropractor can help. Here's hoping toby is back to his old flufy self soon, I know it was hard to see Sakura lose even a little hair on her ears.Stefanie & Sakura Twin Cities - MN
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    The black skin is from low thyroid and allergies/atopy/whatever it is he has, and as for being extremely out of coat, I would say the prednisone and change in meds could have made that worse, in addition to the thryoid issues.

    Beebe just started getting bald patches on her neck and in her pits, and the blackish skin she had prior to starting allergy shots is comming back slightly, as is the hydronephrosis (excess sweat all over her body, she is literally damp when I touch her sides or belly). She's itching more, so is getting some benadryl in addition to her allergy shots. She looks very moth eaten right now, with zero undercoat in patchy areas on her neck, sides and back as she is doing also doing a complete spring blow. I have noticed that in Spring, some of my dogs will completely dump all undercoat and only have guard hairs, but this is the normal seasonal pattern for them.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Adonia1986Adonia1986
    Posts: 451
    @ lindsayt - really? black skin means that? Sakura has been "speckled" since the first day we got her (her tummy is the most evident) but she is mostly pink with patchy "dark (black)" spotsStefanie & Sakura Twin Cities - MN
  • Huh, interesting! Toby doesn't seem to itch at all, which is the wierd thing, and even though I've seen the thyroid meds make a difference, that is really puzzling to me too, because his numbers were perfect in Nov. and we even did the testing through Hemopets, and he hasn't had a change in dosage until we upped it just recently. But I suppose they can change, even in a short time, or more to the point, maybe he just needs a higher dose, even though the numbers said he was ok. (he was still fat and lethargic in Nov., for example).

    And yes, Toby has always had some speckles, but I never noticed the bigger dark patches before, although, he's always had such a thick coat it's hard to see his skin, so I don't know if this is different or not.

    But if pred makes it worse, then what do people do for allergies?

    It's clear Toby feels good--he's happy and active again and wants to play and go for walks, and he isn't scratching at all, but damn...his coat is thin.
  • I just wanted to chime in here a bit. I'm not sure if it will help or anything but this spring when Hime, my female, blew her undercoat she blew it all and only had her top coat for a few weeks. I wasn't over using the furminator and she wasn't itchy but the whole under coat was gone. She looked so skinny and cold. But within a few weeks the undercoat grew back in and she looks totally normal now. I just thought I'd let you know my experiance because you said Toby has just gone thru his coat blow, and he's not itchy or anything. Maybe some times they can just blow the whole thing out before the new coat grows back in?
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    At shibamistress- it's frustrating huh? I mean, what can you do for a dog that can't take steroids, like my girl? It really complicates things. I did immune therapy for her and allergy shots, but rotating antihistamines worked well. If the dog is actually hurting themselves, them sometimes steroids are best. There are about 2 weeks out of the year when I end up having to cone Beebe and using a mild tranq to keep her from hurting her skin.

    The black allergy skin is different than the normal pigment spots many pups have on their bellies.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8388
    Lisa - Toby can have some of Nola's undercoat... That girl refuses to blow her coat for some reason. I am actually starting to get a little concerned about it.

    Every couple of years, Bella will completely blow coat. She looks awful when she does it, but the new undercoat usually grows back in a couple of weeks like Jen (stryker777337) said. I never really know what is up with that, but she never has any other symptoms or signs of anything else going on.

    Hopefully it is just a full blow and nothing allergy or thyroid related. I hate dealing with the thyroid issues... It seems to make everything else more complicated than it should be. :-/
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6675
    Sorry about Toby hope her gets better soon.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    Lisa - I'm sorry this is happening to Toby. There is a supplement called Mushroom Matrix that I do plan on giving my pups later and it's supposed to help with skin and coat. It has helped a dog that my groomer/holistic shop owner is fostering. He had a big bald patch and it looked very raw cause he was biting at it as well when I saw him a few months ago. She put him on this supplement for a few days and his skin got better, and his coat is coming in very nicely!

    I'm not sure if it will help with Toby but it's something to look into if you're interested.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8388
    @jujee - Julie, my dyslexic tired mind totally read magic mushroom instead of mushroom matrix... Oh, I need a vacation!

    @shibamistress - Lisa, I hope Toby is still doing well... And hopefully this is just one of those freak coat blows. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • I'm beginning to wonder if it is some sort of freak coat blowing, coupled with allergies, because while it is very thin and feels kind of dry, it's not getting worse in terms of patchiness. And it doesn't seem to bother him at all, beyond the fact that he's slightly allergic to his own hair I think....he's always sneezing a lot when he starts blowing his coat.

    I'm a little worried about food allergies (rather than just he inhalant allergies I know he has) but I haven't been organized enough, yet, to try a real elimination diet with him. He's been off chicken for awhile though, and is looking so nice and slim now! (thanks Lindsay, btw, for pointing out to me how fatty chicken can be). But I think I'll check into other supplements (like the mushroom matrix!) for the future. I haven't taken him off his other supplements (seameal and salmon oil) since we're not doing the elimination diet yet, anyway.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    You're welcome. Hope he gets a nice summer coat for you.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • McYogiMcYogi
    Posts: 518
    I can't remember how old Toby is, but he could also be at a point in his life where his luxurious coat will start to become a little more dry or coarse just because he's getting a little older and drying out, as old things tend to do :)
    image

  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Toby is 7. Only middle aged for a Shiba!

    Anyway, his coat actually looks ok....still dryish and thin, but no more balding spots, so I think he is just having a super coat blowing of the type he hasn't had before.

    Unfortunately seasonal allergies are kicking his butt (and mine): we just went for a walk, and now he's hacking and wheezing (so bad it may necessitate a vet trip), and I've got a killer headache. And we both took our allergy meds too :(

    Whatever is going on with him is pretty clearly allergies, sadly.
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    =/ poor guy and poor u! I have allergies too, but luckily mine do not flare up as often.

    Feel better and I hope he does too!
  • EmilyRubyEmilyRuby
    Posts: 24
    Does this look like it could be allergy related? Rubes is almost 13 weeks, but she has had an increased amount of green eye burgers lately too.

    image
  • INU RYUUINU RYUU
    Posts: 1507
    @EmilyRuby,

    At 13 weeks she is most likely losing her puppy coat. My Penny had a naked belly her first winter and I had to have her wear a coat. Rubes undercoat will grow in. Allergies usually occur in older dogs, as well as, fur loss due to thyroid issues .
    犬竜
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    I can say, as an update, that Toby now always loses all his undercoat when he blows his coat in the spring. He also gets bald patches, or has for the past two springs, which maybe a thyroid issue or maybe allergies, or it may just be something that is happening to him now. I think @Curlytail's Bowdu had the same problem...

  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8388
    The eye discharge could be very problematic. Anytime there is an issue with eyes you should have it check by a veterinarian. It is possible it is seasonal allergies, or it could be a major issue that could lead to blindness. So the best advice is to get her to your vet for a checkup.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • EmilyRubyEmilyRuby
    Posts: 24
    I guess I forgot to put in more detail about her belly, it started out as pink and now it has those black patches on it. She is really young for allergies so that's probably not it but I'm just super paranoid.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1587
    Sorry a bit off topic, but I'm thinking the birds around here are loving Kobe's coat blow. We try and brush him outside, and leave the remains in the tree limbs. The birds gather it up almost as quickly as it comes off! Natures recycling I guess!
    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
  • fisticuffsfisticuffs
    Posts: 148
    EmilyRuby said:

    Does this look like it could be allergy related? Rubes is almost 13 weeks, but she has had an increased amount of green eye burgers lately too.



    Kiri had lots of eye boogers, vet suspected allergies and Benadryl helped for awhile. When my husband's allergies got worse, so did Kiri's boogers and she stopped responding to the Benadryl altogether. Vet said it was allergic conjunctivitis, gave us a steroid drop and after the first day of use (once per day) her eyes were clear and super bright again.
    I'd have a vet check her out though, he mentioned that if the drops didn't work, it could be a disease that's caused by not enough tear production, but is treatable with some other drops.
  • EmilyRubyEmilyRuby
    Posts: 24
    Went to the vet and got an antibiotic ointment for her eyes! They were gone by the next day! :)

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