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Dog allergies
May 25, 2005 10:43 AM   Subscribe

My dog appears to have summer allergies, much like his master. I've owned him for about 2 years, and every summer he develops a rash of sorts on his tummy. Vets haven't seemed to help.

Last time I took him to a vet for this, the doc gave some sort of anti itch pill, perhaps a steroid. The reaction cleared up about 4 weeks later, but I suspect it had more to do with time of year than the pills.
I moved to Arkansas from Oregon 2 1/2 weeks ago, and I just noticed today the series of angry red bumps on his stomach and lower side.

What should I do to clear this up? Can I bandage him up at all? (He's a Rotty/shepherd mix and ridiculously hairy, so I don't know what would possibly stick to his skin.) Should I try again with the vet?

Oh, I should mention, he's neutered, and the reaction seems to be somewhat centered around the area where he had the surgery 2 years ago. I assume that's just a coincidence.
posted by Happydaz to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
 
This is a real shot in the dark... not even sure it's possible, but could it be poison ivy? I've never had the problem with my sister's dogs, but ivy tends to be picky with people, so why not dogs? Also, the genital area has less protective fur than the rest of the body, as well as most of the underbelly, making it more exposed to such things.

What kind of dogs do you have and what kind of area do you live in? Can you describe the rash more?

Hope this helps.

Peace.
posted by Neosamurai85 at 11:02 AM on May 25, 2005


Our old lab would get spring/summer allergies and would develop a "hot spot" on her chest that she couldn't stop itching, eventually causing an open sore. The vet recommended to put hydrocortisone cream on it (which she licked off) and give her Benadryl caplets. The Benadryl seemed to actually help. Maybe you could bring that up with your vet so you can find out the proper dose to administer.
posted by zsazsa at 11:25 AM on May 25, 2005


Happydaz,

I have a terrier who struggles with allergic dermatitis. Dogs like this sometimes develop secondary microbial skin infections on top of the dermatitis; I use Malaseb Shampoo or Malaseb Flush when this happens.

My vet prescribed her Temaril-P, which is a low dose predisone combined with an antihistamine.

We humans get most of our allergy symptoms in our respritory tract or whatnot...dogs get their symptoms on their skin.

My vet said the cadillac route would be to get allergy testing. It's not too awful expensive.

There's also a new medicine, which, unlike a steroid, acts on the dog's immune response.

I don't recall the name of it...I have a brochure around here somewhere.

Doc said that the response was better for younger dogs. I guess as a dog ages, his/her immune system is harder to turn around.

Anyway, steroids, over time, can be harmful to your dog's kidneys and liver.

My dog only needs her pill a few times a week. Doc said if she's on that schedule then I don't have much cause to worry.

Anyway, with my terrier, sometimes I bathe her to wash the allergens off. Without testing, it's hard to tell what causes the reaction. One thing with my dog is fleas. She's very allergic to their saliva. I have to maintain her on frontline, sometimes along with sentinal.

Also, I have given her flaxseed oil to help with her skin. Right now, I'm trying a new dietary supplement called Canine Dermal Support.

Cleaning their skin helps...Sometimes I just take a washclothe and clean off her belly, where it touches the grass...

But always try and ask a vet if you can. If you have to, seek another's opinion.

On preview:

zsazsa: I've tried liquid benadryl with my terrier before...it does work in some cases.
posted by drakepool at 11:42 AM on May 25, 2005


Echoing drakepool: A friend's vet told him he could just give the dog Benadryl. It might've been baby/kids dosages.
posted by librarina at 11:46 AM on May 25, 2005


Every summer, my mom's dog would get a rash like you describe, which she would then proceed to gnaw on to the point of scarring. Luckily, her vet quickly determined the source of the allergy. The dog was allergic to flea bites. Strenuous attention to flea medications has completely deterred the rash. To keep the rash from appearing in summer months, we have to start applying flea medication in early spring and continue through the fall.

It seems to me that the best course of action would be to find a vet who can figure out what the dog is allergic to so that the rash can be avoided rather than treating the rash on a yearly basis.
posted by xyzzy at 12:06 PM on May 25, 2005


My first guess is flea bite dermatitis, and it's just easier to see the rash on his belly. You should definitely get him on the back-of-the-neck flea treatment and try some Benadryl, as well, to see if that will calm the reaction.

I have had several vets recommend 1mg Diphenhydramine HCl per 1lb dog, but that has generally felt like way too much to me except in the wake of an emergency (bee sting) or very bad rash. I give Children's Benadryl fastmelts (12.5 mg, hard to spit out and actually pretty tasty) to small dogs, or as maintenance doses for larger dogs. I will give something like the 1:1 dose if I want the dog knocked out and resting for a while.

IANAV, so clear the Benadryl with your vet, of course.

One other thing to check - if your dog likes to cool his belly on a tile or cement floor, you might be dealing with a reaction to a cleaner or microabrasions from the floor surface.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:31 PM on May 25, 2005


drakepool's mention of a medication that acts on the immune system maybe referring to Interferon for treating IgA deficiency. IgA is the immunoglobulin that protects the skin and mucous membranes (gut, nose, mouth, etc.). Apparently research is showing that IgA deficiency may be behind a lot of canine allergies and mystery skin problems.

Our dog is being treated for this. The testing isn't cheap--you'll probably have to see a dermatologist, but the Interferon is $30 a bottle and depending on the dosage, a bottle could last you several months. Her dosage is down from 4 drops to 2 drop a day. You just put it on their gums. Since being treated--no more mystery bumps on her cheeks/jaws, no gut problems, no diarrhea, very little itching ever, and her inner eyelids aren't irritated. She didn't have huge problems before, but now she's tip-top and this will help prevent her from developing food allergies, etc.
posted by lobakgo at 2:14 PM on May 25, 2005


Neosamurai85 - My dog is a Rottweiler, German Shepherd mix. (Thank God no hip dysplasia.) The bumps on his skin are really hideous - angry red marks the size of his nipples, maybe 6 of them, plus inflammation in the general area. It's never been this bad before. Then, behind his front legs (are those his armpits? legpits?) the fur is much thinner and there's red irritation there, but it's just minor inflammation with a few scabs. Those of you who mentioned flea bites, yeah, it might be that. I'm about a month overdue on the Frontline (and so is he.)

I live in Northwest Arkansas. The dog's on a run-line during the day and when I take him off it's for a walk. We definitely haven't gone through any poison ivy, if that's even around here.

Librarina, I could just give my dog kid's Benadryl? Is that safe? My dog weighs ~ 75 pounds.

Drakepool: Dermatitis seems like it's an overall skin condition, whereas my dog only has it in specific areas.

Lobakgo: That's really interesting. I'll probably be taking him to the vet this week ... I'll ask about that.
posted by Happydaz at 2:35 PM on May 25, 2005


yeah man...it starts with her above her tail, in her armpits...on butt...
posted by drakepool at 2:42 PM on May 25, 2005


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