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Eddie & Maple's mom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am dealing with a host of problems with my dog right now and trying to sift through the food labels. Are barley & oatmeal ingredients that generally cause some dogs with food allergies problems? All along I thought Cal Nat Herring & Sweet Potato was a good choice for him but now I'm not sure as I see the barley is the 2nd ingredient listed and oatmeal the 3rd. Stupid question but are those considered "grains"? Thank you.
 

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If you look up the definition it says that oatmeal and barley are grains. But when it comes to allergies, are all grains the same?

What is he allergic too?
 

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Oatmeal and barley are grains, but they are considered good, high quality, low-allergen grains.

Cal Nat Herring and Sweet Potato IS a good food for those with allergies. However, if your dog is allergic to oatmeal or barley then you are going to need to find a grainless food. If you're not sure, using the Cal Nat is a good starting point.

I highly recommend trying the Cal Nat. It worked for my dog, who had sensitivities, and has worked for other dogs here on this forum. It is also cheaper than many of the grainless food varieties and is considered a high-quality food from a high-quality company.
 

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Eddie & Maple's mom
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, thanks for the info. Cubbysan, not sure exactly what he is allergic to yet. I'm considering having Tufts do some allergy testing on him but I'm reluctant due to 1) the fact that they have to put him under 2) the reliability of the testing is questionable. He is on a medication for hypothyroid and now we are moving into the world of food and environmental allergies. Do you know of any other Twin Beau D's with these types of problems? He was a Sir/Sadie puppy.
 

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Best money I ever spent was having Shadow tested for food allergies. It's controversial, but it sure has helped us through the years. Shadow is allergic to many of the proteins like Chicken and Turkey He's borderline allergic to Duck and Rabbit. He's also allergic to corn, milk products and I know I've forgotten something.
 

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if his problem is gluten, then oats and barley are out. It's why my boy can't have the prescription kangaroo and oats; he's got an issue with gluten.
I would suggest you try a 12 week course of the prescription IVD single protein/single carbohydrate foods. It comes in venison and potato, rabbit and potato, duck and potato, and whitefish and potato. Be sure to pick one that he's never been exposed to before.
Alternatively, you can try the (mucho expensive) prescription allergy free foods, which are made of hydrolyzed (sp?) proteins so that dogs virtually cannot be allergic to them.
Remember, no treats either while you are doing the allergy trials.
 

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I did the VARL allergy testing and have been extremely pleased. It is supposed to be the most accurate allergy test out there. Oats and Barley, by the way, did come back as being allergens for my dog.
 

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Eddie & Maple's mom
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Loisiana, what is the VARL allergy testing? I'm not familiar with the acronym. Thanks for the info on gluten, I'm wondering. We been on Duck & Sweet Potato and Herring & Sweet Potato and looking at both labels, they both have barley and oatmeal in them. The dermatologist offered the rx allergy free foods but I wasn't so comfortable after reading the labels. I understand they are necessary in some cases but I guess I'm not ready to make that much of a leap just yet. Is the prescription IVD only through the vet? Do you know the name of who makes it? Thanks for all the info folks, huge help ... I just keep gathering info trying to make the best decision for my guy.
 

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The dermatologist offered the rx allergy free foods but I wasn't so comfortable after reading the labels. I understand they are necessary in some cases but I guess I'm not ready to make that much of a leap just yet. Is the prescription IVD only through the vet? Do you know the name of who makes it?
I believe IVD is now under the guise of Royal Canin. If you'd rather avoid an Rx diet and think gluten may be the issue, you can instead try an elimination diet of a quality food that has as a singular meat protein source and only potatoes and/or rice as the sole carb sources (neither of those is glutenous). The California Natural Chicken & Rice or Lamb & Rice look like safe options if you haven't tried those yet.
 

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VARL is actually the name of the company, the name of the test is Liquid Gold. The website is www.varlallergy.com

If you email them they should be able to tell you a local veterinarian that uses their tests.
 

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Ok, thanks for the info. Cubbysan, not sure exactly what he is allergic to yet. I'm considering having Tufts do some allergy testing on him but I'm reluctant due to 1) the fact that they have to put him under 2) the reliability of the testing is questionable. He is on a medication for hypothyroid and now we are moving into the world of food and environmental allergies. Do you know of any other Twin Beau D's with these types of problems? He was a Sir/Sadie puppy.
Hi Megan,

Brady is a Sir/Annie puppy. We did have some problems with hot spots and ear infections. The last hot spot was over a year ago, and it was a bad one. I changed his food to Wellness Core, he was on Candidae ALS before that. We have been ear and hot spot free ever since. Don't know if it is coincidental or not. Brady's fur is beautiful, his weight does fluctuate depending on his activity, so I just up or lower the amount of food he gets for a few days.

The only other Twin Beau D puppy I know is a SR VP at work adopted one, but he was not a Sir puppy. He told me good friends of theirs had two Twin Beau D dogs, they traveled all the way from Georgia to pick each one up, so I doubt they have any issues.

Have you called Nancy at all?

Brady is not due for a vet checkup until January. I am wondering if I should have his thyroid checked just so I don't get any surprises.
 

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My Bentley has intolerances to most grains (barley included), but does fine with oatmeal. He didn't have specific testing, but I figured this out from trying a variety of formulas; what worked and what didn't; and what were the similar ingredients in various formulas. A carb source that he does well with that technically is a grain, but not from the category of most grains, is quinoa which is in The Honest Kitchen Thrive formula (dehydrated).
 

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Shadow wasn't put under for allergy testing. It was just a blood test. It was very affordable at the time, too. I wonder if my friend's GR is of the same pedigree. His allergies were awful, but the series of shots changed his and his owner's life. He's a different dog.

Well, best wishes on finding the culprit.
 

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Shadow wasn't put under for allergy testing. It was just a blood test. It was very affordable at the time, too.

Well, best wishes on finding the culprit.
Why would they have to put him under? For a scratch test?
 

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Why would they have to put him under? For a scratch test?
Shadow didn't have the scratch test, just the blood test. He wasn't put under. I was responding to the OP's post.http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/showpost.php?p=945963&postcount=4 I know at least two other members whose dogs had the same test and whose Vets used the same Lab. They were not put under either. Doodle has the info. I have it in my PM's I think.

I have no idea why they would put a dog under.
 

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Loisiana, what is the VARL allergy testing? I'm not familiar with the acronym. Thanks for the info on gluten, I'm wondering. We been on Duck & Sweet Potato and Herring & Sweet Potato and looking at both labels, they both have barley and oatmeal in them. The dermatologist offered the rx allergy free foods but I wasn't so comfortable after reading the labels. I understand they are necessary in some cases but I guess I'm not ready to make that much of a leap just yet. Is the prescription IVD only through the vet? Do you know the name of who makes it? Thanks for all the info folks, huge help ... I just keep gathering info trying to make the best decision for my guy.
Natural Balance LID (Limited Ingrediants Diet) formulas are grain-free. The Sweet Potato & Fish formula performed miracles for Rocky. Rocky's dermatologist prescribed Iams Response KO and the oats made him scratch like a fiend even after getting just a very small handful of KO.
 

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Another possibility is to make your own elimination diet (under the supervision of your vet). Years ago I did it for my Dexy. He was on a venison, potato and kidney bean diet. I actually found a health food potato chip with nothing but potatoes in them that I used for treats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tufts said they put the dog under anesthesia and shave a square section of the fur off on the side of the dog (middle of the dog). They then inject about 50 different potential allergens into the dog and then see which they get a response to. It is the same as what a lot of dermatologists do to people when they are doing allergy testing. They said the blood test version for allergy testing is not as accurate.
 

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Tufts said they put the dog under anesthesia and shave a square section of the fur off on the side of the dog (middle of the dog). They then inject about 50 different potential allergens into the dog and then see which they get a response to. It is the same as what a lot of dermatologists do to people when they are doing allergy testing. They said the blood test version for allergy testing is not as accurate.
This is called intradermal testing (basically an advanced form of scratch testing) and my guess is they put the dog under to remain still while administering the testing. It's a bit more involved (and can take a few days to get the results) but I've seen it be quite reliable in identifying allergies.

Megan, given your location, have you also checked with Angell Memorial (in Boston, MA) to see if they have an accurate allergy testing procedure you might be more comfortable with? ITM, if you want to try an elimination diet and have trouble finding a commercial food to do this, here's another option taken from this site: http://www.canismajor.com/dog/allergy.html#Food
(a veterinary nutritionist can also help you come up with more balanced meals along this line):

Dr. Lowell Ackerman, a veterinary dermatologist, recommends home-cooked diets when food allergies or intolerances are suspected.

“Any suitable protein source may be mixed with rice and/or potatoes to create a hypoallergenic meal,” Ackerman wrote in Skin and Haircoat Problems in Dogs. “The meal is prepared by mixing one part lamb, rabbit, or venison (or other protein source to which the dog has never been exposed) with two parts rice and/or potatoes. All ingredients should be served boiled and fed in the same total volume as the pet’s normal diet. Once cooked, the meal can be packaged in individual portions, frozen, and then thawed as needed. This diet is not to be fed long-term. It is not nutritionally balanced to be a regular diet. It is only fed for one or two months at a time as a test diet.”
(Guide to Skin and Haircoat Problems in Dogs Lowell Ackerman /Paperback/1994, page 16)


When trying to isolate a food allergen, the dog must not get anything but the prescribed diet. If the dog tolerates the food well and the symptoms decline or disappear, other foods can be gradually reintroduced to determine which ingredient is the culprit. If the symptoms are not alleviated in four weeks, another hypoallergenic diet can be tried, and if it is not successful, further diagnostic tests are indicated.
 

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The traditional elimination diet is one way to go and the way that most vets recommend. It works if you are religious about how you perform the test. The problem we had is when you introduce a new commercial food or treat to test it and the dog reacts, how do you know which of the many ingredients is the culprit? After frustrating months of attempting to determine Brady's allergies (we were able to determine a wheat allergy), we had him tested with the blood test to which Kimm referred. We used the same lab she did: Bio-Medical Services in TX http://www.bmslab.com/ The results showed Brady is allergic to wheat, eggs and oats. Since we have eliminated those things from his diet, he is greatly improved. I'm not saying this blood test is the end-all answer as it can yield false positives and negatives, but it also can be helpful. Regarding your food, you may want to consider switching to California Natural lamb and rice formula. That's what Brady eats and does well on. The only grain is rice, and the lamb is less likely to be an allergen than the chicken formula.
 
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