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Hi, new member here.

We have a 4-year-old female pitty (Gemma) that is suffering from allergies and nonstop itching, licking her feet and chewing her paw pads. We have done everything we know to do and our Vet(s) have run out of suggestions. I'm hoping someone here might chime in with some suggestions.


Sorry for this long story but I just want to give some background on our girl.

So we got our girl, Gemma, when she was 10 weeks old. She was on Pro Plan puppy when we got her and at the time we weren't Purina fans but, she did well on it, had a silky coat, no itching everything was great so we kept her on it for her first 12 months. When she turned 1 we transitioned over to Adult food and started feeding TOTW, we rotated out the protein source every couple of bags and she did well at first. Then her coat started to thin out and she started developing blisters on her feet. The Vet removed the blisters and applied some type of salve, we had to keep her feet wrapped and put a fabric inverted cone on her to keep her from getting to her feet and went back every week for several weeks to have more salve applied and her feet re-wrapped. After that cleared up, a short while later she hurt her leg and would not put weight on it. We took her back to the Vet and he manipulated her leg and said he thought it was a torn CCL and recommended Laser Therapy and told us that Laser Therapy has cured every case he's had, so we did that twice a week for 6 weeks,( BTW this Vet has his own TV show on a major network so we trusted him - He's a total fraud) there was No improvement so we changed Vets. Our new vet immediately took X-Rays which the prior Vet never did and we were told our dog has hip dysplasia and it was a Torn CCL and Meniscus, and to plan on having the other leg operated on within 18 months as it would probably tear with her compensating for the bad leg. We then were referred to a Vet Surgeon. We also explained the itching and blisters and the Vet suggested having our dog allergy-tested, so we did that and was given a print out showing she had 19 allergens including Barley, White Potato, Pork, and Soybean. We were also given an Rx of allergy injections that were formulated by the allergy lab that did her testing that we administer once a month that contains some of the allergens that's supposed to help her build up immunity. We were also given an RX for Apoquel and Remedyl that she has to take daily for pain and allergies for the rest of her life. We also immediately transitioned her to Nature's Logic which was 1 of the only "Premium" foods that offered a couple flavors that does not contain those ingredients and we started giving her Nordic Fish oil capsules and glucosamine chews. We had the Surgery and she had a speedy recovery. Her coat started to look better and we continued to rotate proteins in the Nature's Logic brand. Then she tore her other CCL and we had surgery on that a short while back ( less than 6 months ago). Now again, she is non stop itching, licking and chewing her paw pads creating open sores. We read that goats milk has great anti-inflammatory qualities so we have even started supplementing with that. But she still has these problems. She also hurt her leg (the one that recently had surgery) again and was limping or completely not putting weight on it so we waited about a week to see if it was a sprain, It did not improve so we took her back to the vet yesterday morning to have the surgeon look her over. He said that he doesn't believe the implant was torn and basically just said lets see how it plays out.. I aslo told him about the itching and chewing her feet and he suggested to completely take her off the Apoquel and Remedyl right now and start a steroid and then return to Apoquel and remedyl. I also explained to him that we switched food and have been on it for quite a while, that we also only have 1 treat that she gets and its an approved treat from the list given to us by the lab company but she is still miserable and I feel like I'm throwing away $100 a month on dog food that isnt helping her. He didn't really give an answer or suggestion as to what to do, just said, unfortunately, this will probably be something that she deals with her whole life. I remember when the FDA posted about DCM and the link with certain dog foods and ingredients and remember a lot of people who admitted to switching to Pro Plan (even though they thought it was inferior) because it was 1 of a very select few that was AAFCO approved and even said that their dogs seemed to thrive on it. So this morning I decided to get a bag and start the transition, I'm hoping this may help or at the least not make her any more miserable. She did great on it as a pup and it sure would be nice to get the same amount of food at half the price of her current food. Also,we tried to wipe her feet down with a wet towel whenever she came in from being outside because she also has numerous weed, tree and grass allergies, but that did not seem to help. I guess we will start back doing it again.


Sorry for the long rant but I felt like I needed to give the background and state what we have already tried in order for people to understand our situation. I hope someone here has some suggestions.

Thanks!

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Poor pup.

Have you consulted with a dermatologist? If not, then it would be worth a try.

Concerning food, you might have to try a very strict limited ingredient food or a prescription diet with hydrolyzed proteins.

That said, my GSD has environmental allergies, and does well on the Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice formula, along with Apoquel.
 
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I'm sorry to hear about the problems your and your pup are having. She is absolutely adorable, and she's lucky to have owners who care about her so much and work so hard to keep her happy and comfortable!

I have a dog who has had allergy problems her entire life, too. I switched her to raw food a few years back. She still gets some seasonal itchiness on her paws. She is allergic to grass, so it's kind of unavoidable, even though I try to keep booties on her as much as possible when she is outside.

If it's something you are willing to consider, you may want to look into switching her to a raw diet. You can do this DIY (home made) or purchase a completely balanced food either online or through a pet store or co-op near you. It can be daunting when you first switch - you could research for years and still find more to learn! But you get the hang of it and it becomes easier. There are also several certified canine nutritionists I could refer you to who can formulate a balanced diet specifically designed for your dog.

If you don't like the idea of raw, you could always do a home cooked diet, too. I guess my point is that when you have a severely allergic dog, kibble and carbohydrated in general can instigate some of the problems. You never really know what is in kibble - you just have to trust the bag and hope they are telling the truth, and that even if they are, it wasn't contaminated by something she is allergic to by accident.

Also, as far as the goats milk goes - it's raw goats milk you want to help with allergies, not just regular goats milk for human consumption.

If you want to stick to kibble, that's fine too. Raw or home cooked isn't everyone's cup of tea and I don't judge anyone for feeding their dog what works best for them and their dog. I just suggest it because it has made a big difference in my dog and her allergies and arthritis and overall condition, and I am very pleased knowing exactly what is in my dogs' food and that it is balanced and bioavailable to them.

For her paw allergies, with my dog I 1) have her wear booties when she is on grass/outside and 2) I fill a kiddy pool of the bath tub with a few inches of warm water. I then add a mixture of apple cider vinegar and Zymox leave in conditioner, stir it together until somewhat bubbly, and then I add a bit of hydrogen peroxide. I make her stand in it for about 5 minutes several times a week so her paws can soak.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies!

Thank you LeoRose for that suggestion. We have not seen a dermatologist. We may very well need to track down one soon. I also heard great things about the sensitive skin formula but unfortunately,it contains Barley as the 2nd and 3rd ingredient for the 2 flavors they have, and she's allergic to Barley. You would be surprised at how many brands contain Barley.



Thank you, sydneynicole, we try our best to do everything in our power to make her comfortable. We have thought about Raw many times but it's honestly so confusing and I think we are both a little afraid of messing up and giving too much or getting the portions wrong. Thank you for suggesting home cooked, I believe we will for sure look into this as an option. Oh, and thanks about the goats milk. We were buying the powdered formula made by Honest Kitchen from chewy. We have fed it just as a broth and have also made frozen treats where we mix the goats milk with blueberries or pumpkin and freeze them in little trays. We will definitely try the bath tub soak that sounds like it should really help her paws and We have tried booties but she always pulls them off, always.. We have a spray that the vet gave us that we spray on her feet once a day, I forget the name.
 

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I can only say good luck, and I hope you find a solution for your girl. I too have an allergy case, although her problems were less severe than what you're facing. Story had constant hot spots, cruddy but not infected ears, and runny eyes.

I could only find one limited ingredient kibble that had only one ingredient she tested as sensitive to - alfalfa, and since it's a supplement and would be used in very small quantities I tried it. It did take the hot spots from constant to occasional, but it also gave her a very dry and dull coat.

So in the end like Syndneynicole I went to raw. The hot spots are now only one or two a year, Story's ears cleared up, and her eyes improved. Her coat improved but still never really shone the way my other dogs did. To my surprise and delight, switching part of her supplementation from fish oil to phytoplanton finally gave her a shiny coat.

I understand the problems with feeding raw. After the first couple of years of it, always wondering and worrying about whether I was managing to give her every nutrient she needed and in the right ratios, I've started using the one base mix I could find that doesn't have anything she's sensitive to in it. It's a very expensive way to do it, and I'm lucky I can manage it, but it's less stressful for me, and she continues doing well.

So I hope you find something that works for you and your dog. It's a challenge for sure.

Oh, and I second the canine dermatologist recommendation. I've had good luck with orthpedic, dental, and now dermatology vet specialists and now run to them whenever my regular vet starts flailing. One of my other dogs had a strange hair loss where she'd been shaved for surgery right after the hair had grown back. The regular vet was stymied. After initial testing, the dermatologist couldn't figure out the cause either and the next level of tests would have been very expensive, but she came up with a treatment that worked without the extra thousands in additional testing.
 

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If you can get Tucker's raw food, start there. Not to pricey, limited ingredients and no confusion.
Also might look into Pet wellbeing supplements for allergies. Their products are great.
 

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Hi, did you try switching back to Pro Plan? I don't see mention of this anywhere. From the description, everything seemed to be hunky dory before switching away from Pro Plan. Before moving heaven and earth (too late, I know, fully excavated), switching back to what worked would be the very first, no brainer, logical step that I would try.

If it works, don't fix it.

And if you want to supplement the kibble, this could then be done methodically, slowly adding one item at a time to guard against any potential reactions.

Whatever one's feelings towards and/or indoctrination against Pro Plan, if a dog was healthy and happy on Pro Plan and unhealthy/unhappy on other food, my dog would stay on Pro Plan, end of story. Hopefully with some quality real food additions.
 

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of Purina as a company, but my dog does great on Pro Plan and it's consistently available in my area, so that's what he eats. It is what it is.
 

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You don't have to be a fan, because your dog does well on it, i'd switch back and suppliment it if you wish. My dog also does really good on the vets best seasonal allergy support
 

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I've had good luck with Kinetic 26 for my dogs. (Chicken Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Sorghum, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat (mixed tocopherol preservative), Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Egg Product, Dried Beet Pulp, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Flavors, Potassium Chloride, Yeast Culture, Fish Oil (mixed tocopherol preservative), Sunflower Oil, Choline Chloride, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Citric Acid (a preservative), Rosemary Extract, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Yeast Extract, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, L-Lysine Hydrochloride, Dried Chicory Root, Betaine Hydrochloride, L-Carnitine, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Ginger Root, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Calcium Carbonate, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, and Folic Acid.)

This may have already been checked, but is she being treated for fleas? My dogs had never had fleas until the last couple years, and while there weren't very many, a couple of my dogs were miserable. Took care of fleas and the itching stopped.
 

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My basenji mix will lick the fur right off her paws if we don't keep up with her. We have her on hydrolyzed protein food, and that helps immensely. Basically, the proteins in the food are pulverized so small that the immune system doesn't recognize them, so there is no allergy reaction. If you're having trouble finding the right food, that may be worth exploring. Blue buffalo and royal canin both have versions, but I think you have to get them through a vet. It doesn't sound like it would be any more expensive than what you're doing now to be honest - we spend around $50-60 a month for a 45 pound dog. We can't switch her off it - the minute we do the licking comes back.

We've also gone through rounds of apoquel, although she is prone to cysts so we try to keep that infrequent (apoquel blocks the part of the immune system that also recognizes and destroys certain cancers, so we are better safe than sorry even if the risk is small), and we had her on shots of cytopoint for around a year or a year and a half. She is much better now, and she's been off the shots for awhile. Basically, the shots block the part of the immune system that is "itchy," so that helps break the cycle of irritating the skin by licking, which then makes the skin itchier, etc. and allows the skin to heal up. Then if you can address the underlying allergy issue (for us, it appears to be certain proteins, although we never had any testing done), you can get them on a maintenance diet/schedule.

Best of luck! There is nothing worse than seeing their little feet all beat up from licking!
 

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Oh, and I should say that the apoquel and cytopoint were both covered by our pet insurance, which greatly helps to offset the cost. We have Pet Plan. I wouldn't be able to have pets if we didn't have the insurance. It's not cheap (about $700 per year for our dog, $400 for our cat), but over the years we've gotten so much back in claims that I think we've gotten more reimbursed than we've paid in overall. Like, I am about to submit a $1200 claim for my cat, which covers this year's premiums plus some.
 

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Before believing any hype about Cytopoint, please read the first hand experiences of all these people whose dear dogs suddenly became sick and died after receiving Cytopoint:


Twelve pages of tears (and counting) don't lie.
 

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I don't really have to believe any hype - cytopoint worked wonders for my dog. Stopped her licking entirely and we had zero side effects. Even a lot of anecdotes still don't equal data.
 
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