Help with Skin Problems
Hello Everyone, First post here and i'm looking for some help. I'll apologize for the ramble to begin with.
I'm looking for some help to try and get my golden to become a happy and healthy dog. His name is Ferguson and he's almost 2 years now. (end of march). Here is a photo of him: Ferguson | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Since this summer we have been dealing with constant (as it seems) skin problems with him. He's been to the vet multiple times which usually results in a few weeks of antibiotics to clear things up. He also had an ear infection and a staff skin infection at one point that was treated with antibiotics and steroids. All of which seem to clear up his issues within the time period of the treatment, but shortly after his skin starts to become itchy again. Lately he's been very itchy which results in hotspots and then trying to keep him off of them so that they can heal. We usually do ok for a day or so, and then he will rip them open again as the process starts over. A simple rub of his belly he will begin to lift a leg to itch at it. Just within the last day or two he's been developing somewhat of a rash of red bumps. He's going back to the vet tomorrow first thing for, what i'd guess, are some more antibiotics.
As a result of this he seems to have very thin hair (from what i see on other goldens) and sheds pretty abundantly. He's always scratching or licking, although we try and limit it as much as possible. His hot spots eventually scab up, but are sometimes scratched again when we go to work. More recently( last 5 days or so) his scabs have been smelly and look like they are infected (although we do try to clean and sterilize them as often as possible.
Here is some information that may help.
He has been on blue buffalo chicken and brown rice + 2 fish oil pills a day. More recently (3 weeks ago) he is now on blue buffalo fish and sweet potato with 2 pumps of wild alaskan salmon oil. The change in food has not seemed to make much of a difference (yet anyway)
He gets a bath with some dry skin formula shampoo about every 3 weeks to a month.
I frequently clean his ears with the blue home made formula since he's had so many ear issues. This happens probably once or twice a week.
I'm at the point that i need help, and that i feel like i need to change vets.
Is there something that i should be looking out for? Should we change his food again (once he is in good condition) to see if thats the problem, Less or more baths, anything else?
thanks for the help, Were just trying to get a healthy and happy puppy... we feel so bad for him.
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Hello and welcome
Firstly, I would suggest having a FULL thyroid panel run by Dr Dodds. Mine has the exact same issues as yours and he has a low thyroid. They do not have to be fat and lazy to have low thyroid. Heres information on it
Here is where you need to blood sent to for testing (most regular vets say if the dog falls within lab range they are fine when its not the case)
Chances of a food allergy is really slim but a change in food couldnt hurt any. If a thyroid problem is ruled out I would lean more towards environmental.
Mine would get constant staph infections on his skin, antibiotics would clear it up and then it would come back. Also, how long has your dog been put on antibiotics and what dose was prescribed? Sometimes 10-14 days is not enough I am just finishing up a 7 week course of antibiotics with mine.
Search for "Apple Cider Vinegar" here on the Forum. EXCELLENT for any/all itches & hotspots. Read what other people have said about it.
And, please read in full this link ("Apple Cider Vinegar" is usually called "ACV")
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
Very Important: If you decide to get it, ONLY get the ORGANIC "Apple Cider Vinegar". This organic ACV contains the nutrient-rich sediment, which is called "the Mother". The best brand to get is Braggs sold at the Health Food store, e.g., Whole Foods, or the health food section of your local supermarket.
Here's one of this forum's links with info about how to treat hot spots and allergies, etc.:
(Itchy scratchy)(Itchy scratchy)http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...-scratchy.html (Itchy scratchy)
Maxi, my beautiful girl. Gotcha day 6/5/2014. Birthdate 9/16/2008.
Both posts said what I was gonna say...Doc Jean Dodds @ Hemopet.org
Get the full Thyroid 5 Panel done, don't let your vet send the blood anywhere else for this.
Also you may want to try the Food Sensitivity & Intolerance Saliva Tests. I found out Tailer is sensitive to corn, wheat, chicken...we were having the same problems that you are talking about...we only did one run of prednisone n antibiotics before I found Doc Dodds! Tailer also has low thyroid...2 tiny pills a day a pond that is under control!
Apple Cider Vinegar, Braggs, is part of "Tailer's Dressing." I mix up Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Braggs ACV, granular garlic n herbs in a salad dressing bottle...shake well before you shake a couple of teaspoons full on each meal...I am using "Now" DHA 500 fish oil capsules, one on each of two meals. I feed Evo Herring n Salmon, grain free.
We have the additional issue of seizures so add things to help there too.
Welcome to Golden Retriever Forum, tons of Great People n FurKids here from around the world. Loads of good advice. Use the Advanced Search to find things...you my become addicted, but...what's wrong with that! Tailer will drop a ball on my laptop if we wants me to quit cyber-dogging!
Captain Morgan, King of the Hill
(Born - April 1, 2014)
Tailer Riley Da Golden Nibbler
(October 3, 2005 - March 18, 2014)
You will never be forgotten. You will never be replaced. You will always be in our hearts.
Thanks for the help everyone. I'll talk to the vet today and hopefully get a sample drawn and sent out. I'm sure then he will go on antibiotics again until things clear up. I'll keep you posted.
Once i get those results, I may try the Nutriscan after.
Lets say the T3 is 12 with a reference of 10-45. According to the lad that would be normal. To Dr Dodds that would be really low. A large breed dog needs to sit in the upper 50% of the range. So take 10+45/2=27.5. So, according to Dr Dodds Lincoln would need to sit at 27.5 or higher to be considered a normal thyroid. These calculations would be done for all the values from T3, Free T3, T4 and Free T4. My vet was open minded, did his own research as we agreed to treat him. Since starting thyroid medication hes improved a *little*. If thyroid is your dogs only problem then thyroid meds would essentially "cure" him so to speak. If theres other issues like my guy has it can help a little or a lot or not at all.
Food allergy/sensitivity testing is not accurate, save your money. Ive learned a ton over the past couple weeks. I have been dealing with mines issues for over 3 years. Feel free to do an environmental allergy test though. Spectrum (I think this is the name) and Heska are two labs commonly used.
MSU also does thyroid panels, but, I prefer Dr Dodds personally. Dr Dodds takes into account breed, sexual status (spayed or neutered), age and all that. Different breeds hold different "normal" thyroid values.
Just my two cents
Definitely check thyroid. You may also want to look at the drup Atopica--while my boy has been in the unlucky minority for adverse reactions, he's finally infection free (we battled skin & ear infections for the first 12 mos he lived with me). His triggers are a combination of environmental and food allergies, thyroid is perfect.
I believe Dr Dodds advises against the use of Atopica or any generic formula because of the effects it has on the immune system short and long term. Something to look into when making your decision