(Closed) My dog has scratched himself bloody :(

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
Member
638 posts
Busy bee

What kind of dog food do you feed him? One of Fi’s dogs used to scratch all the time, especially his ears. He would also get ear infections and was in general a really cranky dog. I started doing some research on dog food and we switched from Pedigree to Taste of the Wild. The ear infections stopped, his itchyness stopped and he stopped being cranky all the time. Also, he got bigger even though he was almost 2 years old. I think that dog had some kind of grain allergy. Do you know what he is allergic to? 

Post # 3
Member
1296 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

We use Benedryl on our itchy pups. Poor thing ๐Ÿ™

Post # 4
Member
533 posts
Busy bee

I second KandyKane’s advice to look into food allergies. Also just switching to a very very high quality food can help, even without food allergies. You might want to ask about coal oil baths. Also has Puppy been checked for thyroid issues?

Good luck. 

PS, If the vet prescribes allergy meds, ask if a human grade version is available, sometimes it is less.

Post # 5
Member
3307 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Have you taken him to the vet? Had a skin test run to determine if parasites are involved? Cortisone, topical and p.o. for any swelling? Antibiotics for infection? 

Post # 6
Member
327 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Presque Isle

Kandykane:  +1

 

My dog used to do the same. It only begun in recent years. She’s 12 now and it started when she was 10. We finally figured out it was her food with the help of the Vet. By process of elimination, we found she was allergic to chicken/chicken meal and grains. We feed her a salmon/sweet potato/pea based food from Nature’s Best Grain Free line. I’d also add fish oil to his diet, it’s helped Stormy’s skin and itching tremendously. Also, remember most dog treats have chicken etc in it so they can also cause reactions. 

Post # 7
Member
1457 posts
Bumble bee

loudsilence99:  YES, omg, my dog has the worst allergies, and for some reason they’ve been really bad this year. We’ve taken her to the vet 4 times now because she’s chewed all of the hair off of one leg, and ALL of the hair off of her tail. We came home from work and her beautiful tail looked like a bloody cord :(. She’s been on 2 rounds of prednisone, and she just got an allergy shot that’s supposed to last a month, and we put her on new food. The vet gave us a pump thing of fatty acid oil that we squirt in her food once a day. And I give her benadryl almost every day. 

If it’s any consolation, the vet did say that they’ve been treating about 5 dogs a day for severe allergies, which is a huge increase from last year. There’s something about this summer that’s been bad for allergies.

And a pic of my goofy dog in her cone because she’s a goof. You can see a patch of hair she chewed off by her leg

Post # 10
Member
1296 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

loudsilence99:  oral. I’d Google for the proper weight ratio, but we just gave 1 of the small round pink ones to our 50 pound beagle. 

Post # 12
Member
1042 posts
Bumble bee

loudsilence99:  With him being lethargic, monitor him for vomit or diahrrea. If he gets both take him to the emergency vet ASAP. I have one dog that has severe food allergies, and it makes her skin break out, and it causes GI issues…. ๐Ÿ™

Post # 13
Member
196 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I’m in my last year of veterinary school and will be graduating this coming May so I would feel terrible if I didn’t chime in on this and give you some information.  It sounds like your dog has atopic dermatitis.  This is typically a rule-out diagnosis (this means that the way to diagnose it is to rule out all the other possibilities that could be causing the itchiness).  So a couple of questions: do you put a monthly flea/tick preventative on your dog, like Frontline, Parastar, Advantage, etc? I’m sure you’re aware that if your dog has a flea infestation, it would make him extremely itchy.  However, your dog doesn’t have to be infested with fleas in order to be itchy because of them.  Dogs can have something called flea allergy dermatitis.  This is an overreaction of the dog’s immune system to the proteins in the flea saliva.  If this is what your dog has then all it would take is one bite of one flea for it to set off a hypersensitivity reaction in your dog’s skin to make him extremely itchy.  The treatment for this would be rigorous application of flea/tick preventatives monthly as well as immediate control of the itching with anti-histamines and possibly other drugs such as prednisone.  Increasing his Addison’s prednisone dose would not be my first inclination for controlling his itchiness because steroids are not benign drugs and they carry their own list of side effects.

Flea allergy dermatitis would be the most likely diagnosis for the presentation you’re describing for your dog especially since it sounds like it is seasonal but I’m assuming that your vet probably already discussed this with you and ruled that out.

A lot of lay people these days are insisting that their dogs have food allergies and grain intolerance or gluten intolerance in dogs has recently become a new fad in the last few years due to a lot of pet food company marketing and misinformation.  The vast majority of dogs that have allergies DO NOT have food allergies and I have yet to see a dog that has a true gluten/grain intolerance. The reality is that people have allergies to gluten and we like to project our medical conditions onto our pets.  The vast majority of true food intolerance in pets (we’re talking 99.9%) is caused by an allergy to the protein source in the food, not the grains.  This is why if you go to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist (they exist, I promise!) and they are concerned about a food intolerance, they will do a food trial with a novel protein source like rabbit, venison or hydrolyzed protein rather than tell you to buy a grain-free food.  Of course when people come to the vet swearing that switching to the grain-free Blue Buffalo $50/bag dog food and their dog all of a sudden stopped having diarrhea, teling them that its not because of the food doesn’t make us any friends so most vets will just let it go instead of explaining to them that they are wrong. 

So that brings us to atopic dermatitis.  This is a condition that is caused by environmental allergens. Its a very itchy condition and its difficult to manage since you probably can’t limit your dog’s exposure to the individual allergen (especially if you don’t know what the allergen is- it could be dust mites, grasses, weeds, molds and even humans)  And no, that is not a joke- your dog can actually be allergic to you.  So you probably imagine that its a frustrating condition to treat.  There is allergy testing that can be done to identify the individual allergens that your pet is most allergic to and develop allergy shots to desensitize them to those allergens.  This is a long treatment course (generally at least a year) and it takes at least 6 months to a year to see improvement. This is similar to the allergy shots that people would get for the same purpose.  Another option is a immunomodulatory drug like cyclosporine that would likley be fairly effective to decrease his itchiness but is not a totally benign treatment and can cause vomiting in addition to the fact that it is a fairly expensive drug. Another option is Oclacitinib (Apoquel) which is extremely effective at controlling the itchiness but is relatively new so therefore we don’t have a lot of information yet about long-term side effects.  This drug can also currently only be obtained through a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. 

I hope this information helps you understand what might be going on with your dog and I highly recommend bringing him to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist for treatment.  Seeing a veterinary specialist is more expensive than your local vet but its worth it for a severe dermatology condition like this.  Good luck!  Feel free to shoot me any other questions!

Post # 14
Member
1051 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

My German Shepherd has environmental allergies and Apoquel has been a life changer for her. Seasonal allergies have been brutal this year for humans and animals alike, she was miserable. We had a long wait on the waiting list to get her rx, but it stopped her itching almost instantly, I’d say within an hour or so. No more chewing on her thighs and tush or scratching, she’s a much happier girl now and we haven’t had any side effects.

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