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Food Allergy or Environmental Allergy?

788 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Lillith
Hi everyone. My dog is 9 years old now and never had skin or ear issues up until this past June. He had minor hair loss and itching in June, got progressively more annoying for him so we took him to the vet in July where they chalked it up to seasonal allergies and sent him home with apoquel. That worked but it came back after his last dose, so took him back to vet in November, they again gave him apoquel and said seasonal allergies should calm down in December. Still no ear infection at this point.
Got much worse in December into January(I live in the Northeast where it's cold and snowy). Biting on legs, hair loss due to biting. Got a bad infection in his left ear within the last 2 weeks. Made appointment with the dermatologist and he went yesterday. Here's where I hope someone can help me out.

Zero fleas, zero ticks. Other dog and cat in house are perfectly fine. They said it's likely a food allergy because it is uncommon for a dog at his age of 9 years to all of a sudden develop a seasonal/environmental allergy, especially since we have never moved since having him (had him for 9 years). How true is this? I've always heard allergies become worse the older a dog gets or that they can pop up any time. They did skin tests and all came back negative for bacteria and yeast....just the ear swab came back positive for both so he is being treated for that. He is now on a trial diet of hydrolyzed protein for two months. They also gave him a shot called cytopoint to stop the itching while on his two month food trial which has already helped. My question is, how can this be a food allergy when I have rotated his proteins literally every bag of food I'd buy for him over the past 7 years? He has only ever eaten high quality grain free foods both canned and kibble such as Nature's Variety Instinct, Fromm, Merrick, Orijen, Acana, Earthborn, etc. I've given him so much variety over the years including pork, salmon, duck, chicken, rabbit, lamb, venison, beef, turkey, even kangaroo. I always thought a rotational diet was supposed to prevent allergies from happening! Any thoughts or experience on this? Thank you for reading.
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Suspect that is wishful thinking. I thought I developed allergies to tree nuts after I ate a box of pecan cookies but probably what happened is that I finally recognized the reaction. My first dog was itchy her whole life mostly because of fleas but when I started cooking for her the mild anal sac issues mostly stopped. Itching did not. Anal sac irritation can be due to allergy. Her itching did get worse as she aged and after going through the usual antihistamines one by one for weeks at a time ended up putting her on as low a dose of steroids as I could.

Of course it could still be environmental allergies. Molds, mites and so on. Those are present year round. I'm sure you have already thought about cleansers, detergents and all that? I hope it is food allergy, that is much easier to deal with!
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Hi Kathyy. Yeah I have completely ditched any scented detergents/fabric softeners for his bedding. I have only used the free and clear soaps as well as a vinegar and water rinse for his all his bedding for the past 6 months. As surprised as I would be if this is food allergies, you're right, I am hoping it's food related rather than environment because I would hate to have to give him a shot every 30 days for the rest of his life, but I will do it if I have to. If it turns out to be food related, I will first try an all raw complete diet with him such as Answers raw or Primal raw, see how that works, then home cooked if raw doesn't work.
Allergies can pop up at any time, at any age. And they get worse with age. They can be allergic to dust mites, mold, and other environmental agents that are present year round, just like humans. My own dog has environmental allergies that worsen in the summer months, and mild allergies to something year round that will sometimes spike with increased itchiness and red eyes. Luckily, Benadryl takes care of the symptoms at this point.

Some things that I do to help is keep dust to a minimum. I also suffer from some mild allergies, so when I start to get a bit stuffy in the house, I know its time to do a bit of cleaning and change the filter to the furnace or A/C system. We get a filter that is supposed to help filter allergens from the air. I vacuum and dust regularly, at least once a week, more if needed. I make sure to wash the dog's bedding once a month, and I vacuum it with the upholstery attachment every week, and spray it with a homemade fabric refresher made with alcohol and essential oils that helps kill icky things. It certainly helps both me and the dog feel more comfortable, but dust mites exist no matter how clean your house is, so if its a severe allergy it may still require medication.

Some other things I do are give the dog salmon oil with his supper, which helps reduce inflammation. I also try to give him a bath with anti-itch shampoo once every 2 months (he stays very clean), and the rest of the time I just wipe his paws, and I also spray some 'dog refresher' spray that I made (basically water and essential oils) on his brush and run that through his coat.
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