Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell
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Thread: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

  1. #1
    Junior Member boots's Avatar
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    Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    Since I accidentally found this forum yesterday when I was paranoid and anxious about my mini-schnauzer's spaying (she's acting far better today btw, thanks for all the encouragement yesterday, I was so worried!) I thought I'd take advantage of this new venue and ask another question in case anyone has any experience in this.


    My 5 yr old Jack Russell has skin allergies. My vets' answer is just giving her a cortisone shot periodically when it gets bad or sending me home prednisone pills. I don't allow her to have fleas, but we live in a heavily dog/squirrel/cat populated neighborhood and I think she might interact with fleas outside, but they don't live on her because I use topical treatment on her. I heard the skin allergies are a common reaction to the fleas. The vet can't find any when I bring her though despite going through her fur with the flea combs.

    I did some extended research last summer and put her on a gluten free diet around the same time as her last cortisone shot. I thought it might be helping.

    BUT this last week I see her chewing herself again, and red rashes under her collar, on her belly and the bad spot on her back in front of her tail again. It makes me sad and I'm worried if I should bath her more? Use a special shampoo? I'm frustrated and I hate shoving steroids at her all the time it seems like there should be a more natural or healthy treatment?


    Does anyone else have any experience with this or found something that worked?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member stevenham's Avatar
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    Re: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    My JRT as some type of allergy as well. He's been gnawing at his paws and had some rashes on his back. He's been on a prescription diet for about a month now with fish oil. He's also on benadryl pills and was on clavmox for 2 weeks. The chewing hasn't gone away completly, but I am starting to notice that he does it less often. I've been giving him a bath once a week (recommended by vet) with oatmeal shampoo and conditioner. I've read that steroids should only be used as a last restort when the iching get really bad.

  4. #3
    Junior Member boots's Avatar
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    Re: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    I've been wondering if I could find a vet that would be more interested in natural remedies. She doesn't get bad until this time of year (I suspect the heat turning on inside or something? I'm not sure?). This was the exact same time last year that she had to have the cortisone shot. The vet didn't mention diet changes or any kind of shampoo washes. The vet was more pre-occupied with being positive there must be fleas on her! I swear she spent 5-10 min combing intent on finding fleas!

    Where do you buy the oatmeal shampoo?

  5. #4
    Senior Member TxRider's Avatar
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    Re: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    Have you tried a totally grain free food for a few months?
    'There are two choices in life-Take it or leave it !' Deb Ben


  6. #5
    Senior Member InkedMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    Quote Originally Posted by TxRider View Post
    Have you tried a totally grain free food for a few months?
    Just what I was going to suggest. A grain free food, IMO a fish based one is what I'd try, for one mid size bag, may tell alot

  7. #6
    Senior Member hbowen87's Avatar
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    Re: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    My dog has what our vet diagnosed as a seasonal allergy. Our vet put her on an antihistimine (Clemastine) and gave us fish oil capsules. He said even though the fish oil wouldn't cure the issue, if used daily it does improve the health of skin to make her better able to cope with issues when they do pop up. You can get fish oil though at petstores, or even the human ones work. Just get the capsules, and oyu can cut them and squirt the oil over his food daily.

    Our vet wanted the steroids to be an absolute last resort, and had us try the antihistimines for two weeks first, because apparently many dogs don't react to them, but wanted to put off steroids as much as possible.

    My understanding is that Jack Russels are fairly prone to skin issues, my dad's breeder he got his Jack Russel from told him they get dry skin easily so maybe it could be something to do with the heat. She told him to be sure to always use a moisturizing conditioner when he bathed his JRT because of this. We also noticed for our pup that giving her a weekly bath with oatmeal shampoo and a good conditioning (rubbing the conditioner into her skin and letting it sit for 5-10 mins) seems to help her as well. The oatmeal shampoo we just got from our local petstore.

    Quote Originally Posted by boots View Post
    I've been wondering if I could find a vet that would be more interested in natural remedies. She doesn't get bad until this time of year (I suspect the heat turning on inside or something? I'm not sure?). This was the exact same time last year that she had to have the cortisone shot. The vet didn't mention diet changes or any kind of shampoo washes. The vet was more pre-occupied with being positive there must be fleas on her! I swear she spent 5-10 min combing intent on finding fleas!
    It does seem a little weird to me your vet didn't suggest other things it could be. Our vet's first suspicion, too though, was fleas. He said even though we keep her on frontline it still takes the flea biting her to be killed which could still have time to cause a reaction. Since he had seen 6 other dogs that morning with flea allergies he immediately assumed fleas until he started talking to me, and then thought it could be ragweed or some other sort of allergen, although if this just started recently it may be a little late in the season for it to start up, although I'm no expert and don't know when your area's ragweed season could be. Star started around early/mid sept and is just now starting to wind down.

    This is a bad time of year for fleas, and assuming what my vet said is true it probably is pretty natural that your vet would assume fleas first, but I still think I'd like her to at least try something other than steroids first.

  8. #7
    Junior Member boots's Avatar
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    Re: Skin Allergies on my Jack Russell

    thanks so much for all the suggestions!

    I'll look for the oatmeal shampoo. The gluten-free dog food I switched her to is sweet potato/salmon based I think? I'll have to check the bag again now. I think its grain-free though because the gluten/grain that I was reading can aggravate skin allergies. I think I read about it on DogtorJ's stuff or something? He's almost convinced me to drop gluten from my own diet ^_^ But its a huge hassle!

    I take fish oil supplements myself, so if I understand you right, I can just open my capsules and disperse it on the dog food? I'll be doing that as well!

    I'm really excited with all the new ideas! Thanks so much!

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