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Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis

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Tail Chaser
Tail Chaser

Joined: Aug 18, 2004
Posts: 256
Location: NSW

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:02 am Post subject: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

I am hoping I can seek some information about atopic derm.  There are some wonderfully knowledgable people on this site...and I hope to tap into some of that knowledge and or opinions.

I welcome everyone's thoughts and advice.

I have an "itchy" rescue currently in.  She is a 3.5 year old entire bitch.  Last season approx 5 weeks previous and not in whelp.  We are holding off desexing while we treat the initial bacterial infections on her skin related to the derm.  She is on antihistamines, antibiotics, malaseb wash and an EFA supplement.  She has been with me for 14 days.  She has bald patches, spikey patches and normal fur patches (primarily on her back).  She also has the usual blackened skin in the areas around her back legs and on her chest and neck.  

She is currently fed a mix of beef and kangaroo mince and minced chicken carcases with a small amount of pureed mixed raw veges, raw egg once a week, plain low fat yoghurt 4 times a week, sardines once a week and low fat pet milk daily.  She also recieves a small handful of low fat kibble once a day.

Her history is patchy.  She was a private surrender and the information I recieved with her was that 'she had itchy skin and scratched a lot but was not normally as bad as what she currently looked'.  I was also told that she was worse when in season.  She has been bred from it would seem and was surrendered with an entire male who had dermatitis and bacterial infections of his ears.  They were fed a canned commerical food diet.  When she arrived her skin was itchy, red and very irritated.

She still itches NON-STOP!  Despite being on antihistamines and the rest of her medications and skin washes, she is still itching badly.  Her coat has improved a great deal, her skin has no visible red or irritated patches any more and the hair is growing back well in most areas.  

The itching though is obviously not under control and therefore the issue is still there.  I need to clear the issue.  After speaking with the Vet today we have decided to get her in and desex her so that we can commence cortisone - you can not do this with the desexing or before as the cortisone wreaks havoc with wound healing and bleeding.  

I dont want her on cortisone in the long term obviously and so I need to determine the cause and I need to do it with the resources available to my rescue.' It is a common thought that diet is responsible for most itchy conditions but this is, in fact, no true.  Diet only makes up less than 1 in 5 cases.  Usually it is grasses, pollens, dust mites and other things in the environment.

What are your experiences with itchy dogs?  What have you successfully treated them with?  What diets have you tried? Have you done allergy testing on your dogs?  Did you put them on an elimination diet?  What worked, what made it worse?  When does it come out in your dog?

I'd love to hear what others think.  Smile
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Pugge Grande
Pugge Grande

Joined: Oct 15, 2004
Posts: 4413

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:25 am Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

I don't have any advice. All I wanted to say is you have a great heart. I can immagine that this girl must be in bad shape when you first saw her; and I am sure you must have done all you can to  help her. She is lucky to have met you.

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Pugge Grande
Pugge Grande

Joined: Sep 19, 2007
Posts: 3524
Location: Tidewater Virginia

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:15 pm Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

One of my girls has allergies. I don't know to what yet, but I'm fairly certain it's mostly seasonal with a little food in there too. Hers manifest in hot spots, but her first real episode was a nasty session of hives.

Since I don't know what her triggers are, I can't really prevent exposure. I make their food and treats, using human grade ingredients. Lots of whole grains, vegetables, proteins. Both girls also get a dog vitamin, brewer's yeast and garlic tablets, cod liver oil gel caps and vitamin e gel caps daily. I have done extra vitamin c and echinacea when I think they need an extra boost. That has done wonders for them.

Treatment just depends. I use a variety of homeopathics for the hot spots. Benadryl, both liquid and cream, as needed. I've also used Gold Bond powder and lotion.

I have a great book on homeopathic remedies, if you are interested.

I started last year with homeopathics, cooking for them, using home remedies, etc. So this spring and summer will see how I've done with preventatives.

Stitch had allergy testing recently. Hopefully Erin (StitcheesMommee) will post about it. I'll ask her about it today.
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:48 pm Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

We have seasonal allergies here...my youngest begins scratching late summer and will scratch until bloody.  It lasts approximately a month give a few more days.

During the first episode, we attempted a food fix and some meds.  Ended about a month later, we assumed the food culprit had rid the body and voila, fixed.  Next year at summer's end, itching bloody pug again.  Realized at that point, seasonal and used the same meds and waited it out.

We have now dealt with the 3rd year.  We anticipate it a bit now, watching for signs to avoid infection.  Treat with Triamcinolone in a descending administration and note little issues.  We have decided to not specifically find out what the allergen is as we have learned to handle it.  It is a month of meds once a year for us.

The other trick we learned with our youngest is that he would not itch if we put one leg in a toddler/infant sock.  It seemed to calm him enough to not cause the itching one can see in high stress dogs and it helped keep the infections from extreme scratching at bay.

Our oldest also experiences slight issues at the same time.  His are manageable at times without meds so that leads us to believe it is an airborne allergen that is worse certain years than others.

Although yours may not be food related at all, one thing to consider is the variety you are feeding...much harder to pinpoint which may or may not be the culprit.  We found considerably less issues once we stuck to a pretty simple menu.  In our case we use duck and potato kibble.  We even ended up removing a lamb treat that began to cause digestive issues.  Now the only treat is a small salmon training bit as needed and cow tails to chew.

Wishing you the best in solving this itching issue.  We have great faith in you and know that with your experience you should be able to find the best solution for this new angel.

Please do keep us posted and hopefully what someone else shares may help give you another angle to consider.

Good luck!
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Pugmas'08 2nd
Pugmas'08 2nd

Joined: Jul 25, 2008
Posts: 627

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:09 pm Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

Hi Anne,

First, my hats off to you and the great rescue work you do.
I hope you can find something to comfort this little girl soon.

My clan seems to get itchy pads mid-summer.  I feel atopic dermatitis is inherited and triggered by contact or intake allergens. In my experience, stress seems to aggravate the condition any time of the year, (odd, as to a trigger allergen).

I have had great results using pine tar soap and topical pine essential oil. Sorry, I can't resist climbing upon my soap box to sing a little praise for pine essential oil.  Organic.  Antifungal.  Antibacterial.  Analgesic.  Antiseptic.  Kills mites.  Repels fleas.  As an aromatic, I find it energizing; and if you will let me be a little hokey- removes anxiety and nervous tension.  A word of caution, internal consumption can be dangerous to the kidneys, however the taste is almost sure to stop any licking.  When my guys get the annual itchy pads, they stop chewing and heal quickly with just a few applications.  I find the oil is a great fix for the ears, mites or fungal.

If anyone would like to give it a try, please make sure the pine tar soap is creosote free.  For the  oil, I have a topical human product available to me in Mississippi, however there is a pet product available called PINEOLENE (just go google).

BTW, I've raised 5 human boys, (and YEP!), the oil kills head lice and cures athlete's feet!  

I look forward to reading other members thoughts on this topic.  

Keep us updated on your little girl.

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Tail Chaser
Tail Chaser

Joined: Aug 18, 2004
Posts: 256
Location: NSW

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:00 pm Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice, experiences and opinions.  

allyzabethe - thanks.  Everything I feed is human grade and home made (well, I don't acutally grow the animals for the meat but you know what I mean  Laughing )  I only feed raw.  I try to base their diets on what, as a mother and one who lives a healthy lifestyle, I based the diest of now adult children.  Fresh, nautural and with the least amount of preservatives and addititves.  Th eonly commercial product my dogs get is a small handful of kibble.

I would love to hear of the results you get using the homeoptahic route this year.  I think homeopathics complements traditional medicine really well in most cases and any advice would be appreciated.

baxy - great point abut the variety.  I had not considered that.  If we can't get her to settle we are going to start her on a food trial.  The way in which a food trial for allergies is conducted is that they are put on a protein source diet of something they have never had before, such as lamb or plain fish.  She will have this and nothing else.

We are currently in Autumn and our Summer only finished 2 weeks ago so we still have very warm days with lots of humidity which I don't think is helping her any either.  The humidity can bring out skin irritations is the healthiest of dogs.

Roger, thanks for this info.  I will investigate pine oil.  I have not heard of it?  I have heard of pine tar soap however and we have a few varieties here in Australia.  I will google the pet product.  If it isnlt available in Australia, I usually find the cost a bit prohibitive to ship things over for the US.  The exchange rate is pretty bad at the moment and running a rescue, I have to try for local sources where I can to keep costs justifiable.
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Pugge Grande
Pugge Grande

Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Posts: 3906
Location: Springfield, Ohio

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:56 pm Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

Sounds like she's in great hands - I'm sure you'll track down the cause eventually!!

We also feed raw whenever I can.  Right now I'm in tax season, so they have to suffer with grain-free kibble till I can get back down to the big city to fill my freezer back up.  

Out of all our dogs (breeding, rescues, etc.), I've had 3 with mysterious itchies.  One was in poor conditions during a hurricane and it turned out that he had systemic parasites in several places other than just the intestine which was found through saliva testing.  A treatment with a human product called paracleanse relieved him of the problem.

Another had a c-section and very strange reaction afterwards.  After battling what I thought was candida, we've finally figured out that the culprit is fungal in nature, so I've just put her onto the colloidal silver and am waiting to see how that goes.  

A third has a hyper sensitivity to fleas, but now she's starting to be itchy all over even when there are no fleas, so I'm getting ready to work with someone to find out what her core issue is so I can start her on a program to resolve it.  

I can say that the first one doesn't care for raw food, but his issue seems resolved.  The other two love raw food and do so much better when they are on a totally raw diet.  Their issues flare up when they are on kibble.  So I'm still feeding them as many meals raw as I can manage.  

So basically just sharing experiences in case any of this sounds like it might be something you're up against, too.  

I can introduce you to a practicing homeopath in the UK who charges very reasonably and is superb in her abilities.  She's been giving me advice here and there on some of the dogs I have and I'm getting ready to officially sign up for her assistance with the two above to see if it can help get them cleared up any faster!  

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Tail Chaser
Tail Chaser

Joined: Aug 18, 2004
Posts: 256
Location: NSW

Status: Offline
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:33 pm Post subject: Re: Itchy Pugs - Atopic Dermatitis Reply with quote

Thanks Jayne, I appreciate you sharing your experiences.  I have heard a lot about colloidal silver over the years but must confess to never trying it.

Any bacteria (fungal or otherwise) is being treated with the Malaseb shampoo and the antibiotics.  I guess all in all, considering that we are yet to treat her with cortisone, we are managing to see some results.  The hair growing back and the lack of any redness in her skin means we are getting somewhere at least. Perhaps I am too impatient for results?  

The main issue I guess is that she still scratches constantly.  Some of this may be habit I would think?  Even non-itchy Pugs love a good scratch around their tail and back legs.  Maybe she has learned fabulous ways of fixing her itch and she has now decided that using every part of the house as a scratching post is therapeutic even though she may not be actually itchy???  Just musing.....

I also think that now that she is on a good healthy raw diet that we might see some improvement over the long term.

She really is a lovely little dog, a real character.  She has spunk too and the devil in her ... in fact, you'd swear she was a black Pug she can be that cheeky!  Laughing   She has a tongue that is too big for her mouth and looks adorable with it poking out of the side of her mouth all the time too.  She'll certainly melt even the most hardened heart this one!
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