Author Topic: A bit about allergies  (Read 15432 times)

Stephanie

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A bit about allergies
« on: March 25, 2010, 05:22:33 PM »
Allergies!

There are so many postings about allergies that I thought I would write up one post so people have a reference point to work from.  This post is not conclusive – far from it!  There are so many types of allergies nowadays that it would reckless of me to suggest that this provides all the answers to every known allergy there is!  It is intended purely to offer some insight into the topic based on my own personal experience of the subject.   

Now some legal stuff – I can’t be held responsible for any of the advice below if it doesn’t work with your dog, blah, blah.  I am not promoting one form of treatment over another etc, I am not a vet or a herbal practitioner, nor do I hold any qualifications as such.  I am simply offering a view into how I am trying to deal with this problem – hope that’s all clear and sorry to have to write it but we live in such a sue-sue society!

Jake’s allergies/immune issues manifest themselves in the over-production of black smelly ear wax – initially in one ear, now both.  These used to regularly flare up and develop into yeast infections.    In the last 3 years, his under belly also regularly flared up and looked it bright red and inflamed.  He would then bite the underbelly until it wept, leaving sections of sore open skin.  He would also bite along the front of his paws.  Whilst his condition now is not cured, it is, through a combined approach of bathing, diet and holistic medicine, manageable.  We have maybe 2 or 3 outbreaks a year, a decrease from having it as a constant major problem the entire year round.

See how bright red and inflammed his tummy was, poor boy.


So the story begins:

To start with we went back and forth to our conventional vet, and did the usual, cleaned his ears out regularly and treated him with either surolin or otomax [for the ears] and courses of steroids and antibiotics.  However, as common with most allergies, it cleared up for a while and then a couple of weeks later, re-started all over again.

So our first was an ELIMINATION DIET:
An elimination diet involves excluding EVERY food your dog has EVER eaten in it’s life and finding a BRAND NEW FOOD SOURCE and sticking to that ONE food source for a period of 3-4 months – no treats, no snacks, no vegetables – just the one food and that’s it.  Jakey was raw feed and had eaten all the [raw] meats I could buy in the supermarket, the only remaining meats were really out of price range, so I put him onto a well know vet-prescribed diet which was ultra allergen low.  We did so for 3 months and initially his ear seemed to stop over-waxing.  We then started adding back ONE food item per week to see if he would react to it.  The first week we added runner beans all fine, the second week broccoli – BANG - his ear started waxing again.  We were right back at the beginning, but, this time, his ear wouldn’t stop over producing wax – we can only summarise that he had become allergic to the hypo-allergic food!  So, our conventional vet suggested allergy testing.

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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2010, 05:24:26 PM »
ALLERGY TESTING:
This is a simple blood test, which in our case was then sent off to the States to this company -  http://www.vetallergy.com/pages/petowners.html .

Jakey was tested for a variety of things including dust mite, feathers, pollens, trees, various food stuffs.  His test results came back showed high positive reading to meats and vegetables, as well as medium-high results to other things.  We had to eliminate most meats from his diet.  Our conventional vet suggested we try a course of Hypo-sensitization Injections – the idea behind these injections is to introduce an incredibly low dose/dilute form of the things he shows a reaction to in order to desensitize the immune system to them.  The concentration of the allergic items are increased over time to the point where he should be able to accept them in a very high concentration.  Well, that all sounded quite logical at the time.  So, that is what we did for well over a year – result – no difference at all.  Maybe we were just ‘unlucky’ as reading around the subject, it seems to work for some people. 

We changed vets a number of times to try and get different views on what to do. The only thing vets would suggest was either steroids or a treatment called atopicia.  http://www.ah.novartis.com/products/en/atopica_dog.shtml

Steroids are well known for their long term side effects.  My own research on atopica does not impress me but rather raises too many questions in my mind about its long term use.  However, many people have their dogs on atopica and are delighted with the outcome, e.g., for an itchy-free dog!  It’s all a question of balance – how bad are your dog’s symptoms now -vs-the potential long term side effects of the drug?   In a similar vein, many people have their dogs on low/intermittent levels of steroids to combat the problems and are happy with this.  It’s all about decisions and what is right for you and your dog.

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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2010, 05:27:36 PM »
HOLISITC/HOMEOPATHIC VET
We had a very long and interesting appointment with one of the best homeopathic vets we could find in London.  A homeopathic vet will look at the whole dog – his personality, his behaviour, his likes/dislikes, his temperature preferences, as well as ultimately his condition.  All these factors are tailored into a homeopathic consultation.  Jakey was put on a cycle of 3 different treatments based on his personality/condition - arsen alb 200, thuja 30, and lycopodium 200, 1 tab morning and 1 tablet night ½ before food [dosage - 4 days on L, switch 4 days T, 4 days AA, 2 days off].  12 days on, 2 days off of Morgan Bach 6. We tried this cycle for around 6-8 months and initially we had some success, but then, as with everything else, it stopped working too.  We were also supplementing his diet with a variety of tablets including zinc, propolis, Vetri-DMG liquid, Vit C - 100 mg per 10lbs of body weight  &  Vit  E - 100 iu per 10lbs of body weight 1 a day. We also tried colloidal silver in his ear and gave him some orally – reading around some people rave about CSilver –unfortunately none of this worked for us.   More info on c.silver can be found here: http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/health/collsilver.htm

After nearly 2 years of trying various different treatments, the homeopathic vet admitted there was nothing else he could suggest.

It was at this point that I started questioning the essence of what I wanted for Jakey. The only thing that ever seems to work are the steroids so I spent hours trying to find a natural/herbal tablet that would work in the same fashion as a conventional steroid.  I spent a lot of time researching this and finally found someone in the USA whom I felt could help.  At this point, I have to point out that if you are based in the UK and reading this – none of what I am about to suggest is available in this country to save the time of trying to source it! I also warn you that the cost of this treatment is not covered by pet insurance either.  Plus, once the medication arrives in the UK you have to pay tax on collection.  It’s not cheap!

After much e-mailing back and forth, Jakey was put on the following medication - again I cannot say that these would be suitable for your dog and his/her condition, but at least it gives you an idea of what is out there and available.


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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2010, 05:30:26 PM »

Quote
Tibetan allergy support - which will help the root causes of why the body is having reactions in the first place by helping to rebalance the immune and adrenal systems;

AllerDMG - this formula decreases the histamines and inflammation as well as helping the immune system. The adrenals are often stressed out and weak with this problem and therefore can't keep up with the cortisol levels demanded by the body so the other remedy we give is called

Beta Sitosterol - This is made from plant extracts so it will help the body rebuild the cortisone supply and at the same time decreasing inflammation. I am using this one now instead of the Beta thym as I have found it to be more effective. These remedies are not currently listed on my site.


She recommends the use of steroids to start off with in order to

Quote
get the circulating hormone back to where the body needs it so it gives the adrenals/immune system a break so it has time to heal with the remedies. Then very slowly we can reduce the amount of cortisone given as the adrenals will be able to compensate and usually able to come off the steroids completely. However a small amount is needed then - it is like giving hormone replacement therapy as we are giving exactly what the body cannot produce and so no long term problems occur.

Phytosceptic - This is herbal but it is not harsh or drying like some formulas. It is anti fungal; bacterial and microbial and is very effective.

Internally I also give a Chinese herb called Picrorrhiza -This helps the body to truly help to kill the yeast infection from the inside out.


Jakey has been on this treatment now for the past 4 months.  He has had one bad breakdown which makes me think that the combination is not quite right, but at present his ear appears to have stopped over producing wax and his belly is as clear as it has been for a long time.  We have just reviewed this medication and are adding some adrenal complex and some liver support too.  Here is a copy of his review notes:


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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2010, 05:33:26 PM »
Quote
Well, I would continue to clean the ears with the Phytosceptic and I would like to continue the Picrorrhiza as well as these types of ear issues are stubborn. I also suggest we keep the AllerDMG as a base but then add Liver Drain to help balance the liver to help maintain the overall system’s regulation and also Adrenal complex which is specific to help stabilize and heal the adrenal function.

Further info on this way of treating please contact Marina through her website: http://www.naturalrearing.com/coda/index.html#landing.

I have also read some good reports on yucca, but haven’t tried it with Jakey.  It also claims to work in a similar way to steroids without any side effects. It helps to regulate the immune system and is a natural anti-inflammatory.  http://www.1800petmeds.com/Yucca+Intensive-prod10850.html

So, THINGS TO TRY:

ELIMINATION DIET:
First of all look carefully at your dogs’ diet.  Most [but not all] allergies are in some way diet related.  The most common allergens are: beef, wheat, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, fruits, tomatoes, carrots, yeast and various spices and additives. The most common food allergies are red meat or meat by-products, dairy, wheat and yeast. Although, reading around chicken also seems to be a common culprit too. A plain diet of boiled white fish and sweet potatoes can be tried. Many people change to raw and from the research I have done, this approach seems to work for some, but not for all!

The following are recipes you might want to try:
From: Home-prepared Dog & Cat Diets by Donald R Strombeck, p206 - 207
Cooked meals: enough for adult dog – one meal
½ cup cooked rabbit, 3 cups potatoes, 2 teaspoons canola [veg] oil, 1/10 teaspoon salt, 4 bone meal tabs [or equavalent], 1/5 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet [made for humans]

Alternatively,
venison 4½ ounces raw weight, then cook, 3 cups potatoes boiled, 2 teaspoons canola [veg] oil, 1/10 teaspoon salt, 4 bone meal tabs [or equavalent], 1/5 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet [made for humans]

From: Dr Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, p298

Enough for 3 days for medium/large dog:
4 cups brown rice [dry weight], 3 pounds [6 cups] raw lamb or mutton, 2½ tablespoon bone meal, 2 tablespoons veg oil.  He recommends a daily vitamin/mineral tablet for dogs [one without yeast] and Vit C – sodium ascorbate – 500 milligrams daily.

Instead of rice you can use 4 cups millet [cook for 20-30 minutes with 12 cups of water], or 8 cups dry oats cooked for 10 minutes with 14-16 cups of water.  Rice, millet or oats must be cooked really well, until they are ‘soft and mushy’.

Alternatively:
3 pounds [6 cups] raw turkey, 6 cups millet, 2½ tablespoons bone meal, and ¼ cup veg oil.  Boil the rice or millet – but leave the meat raw – mix together with veg oil, crunch in the vit pills/supplements just before serving.

Here is another link to a cooked elimination diet
http://www.mckeevervetderm.com/documents/Homemade%20Elimination%20Diet%20for%20Dogs.pdf

More info on elimination diets:
http://dogtorj.tripod.com/id38.html

If you want to try RAW, there is a ton of info out there - here is a link: http://www.barfworld.com/html/barf_diet/barfdiet_specific.shtml

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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2010, 05:36:27 PM »
REMEMBER ON AN ELIMINATION DIET - YOU MUST CHOOSE a food item that YOUR DOG HASN’T EATEN BEFORE AND STICK TO IT FOR THE ENTIRE 8-12 WEEK PERIOD.

If after the 12 week period nothing has changed, your dog most likely does not have a food allergy problem!  If your dog’s condition improves, then, at the end of the 12 weeks, start to add one food item back per week, e.g., for 7 days, add green beans to his food – if s/he shows no reaction then you can assume beans are fine, the next week add something else – it usually only takes 2-3 days for your dog to show any reaction to something s/he is allergic to.   

PLEASE NOTE:  once you have found a menu that suits your dog – you must NOT stick to it everyday – this is how many allergies start up in the first place, through dogs eating the same foods day after day.  You must VARY their diet – change the protein source at least every 2-3 weeks, and use 3-4 different types of protein types on a rota – fish, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey etc, depending obviously on what your dog is allergic too!

Further reading:
http://dogtorj.tripod.com/id38.html


ENVIRONMENT:

Parts of Jakey’s problems are environmental – the grass and partically the mud seem to trigger off his skin issues.  To this end – Jakey is bathed after every single outing whether the day or ground is dry or muddy – the human eye just cannot detect spores, pollens and seeds all of which I believe aggravate Jakey’s underlying condition.  I also use Vaseline or baby oil on his belly before we go out –both are to provide a barrier to the skin.  If you don’t want to do this or can’t, put your dog in a t-shirt or a jumper! 

Bathing – use tepid water – not hot or cold, do not rub with a towel – dab the area and do not use a hair dryer – the heat aggravates the sore areas!

Here is a recipe I found for a shampoo for itchy dogs.  I’m not sure that I totally agree with the comments made, especially this one  “........since it’s totally natural, there are no side effects...” I think dogs can be allergic to anything, even oatmeal! So you need to judge for yourself whether it helps your dog or not.  I can’t say I have tried it on Jakey, we use just plain water.


From: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/oatmeal-bath-for-dogs.html

Quote
Oatmeal Bath for Dogs: Recipe

There are a few oatmeal bath for dogs products available in the market, but you can also prepare an oatmeal bath for dogs at home. Preparing a homemade oatmeal bath for dogs is really quite simple ....as all you need is oatmeal and water. Since it is all natural, there are no side effects that it can have on your dog's skin, instead it will only rid your dog of its various skin problems, a major one being itchiness. Now, if you are wondering how to make an oatmeal bath for dogs, here's how you can go about it.

Ingredients
•   1 cup uncooked, unflavoured oatmeal
•   Lukewarm water

Method
Grind one cup of plain oatmeal in a blender into a fine powder. Fill a bath tub with lukewarm water and add the oatmeal powder to it while it is filling. Stir the oatmeal powder well into the water till the water appears cloudy. Make sure that the oatmeal powder has dissolved in the water well and has not clumped up at the bottom of the bath tub.

How to Use Oatmeal Bath for Dogs
Place your dog in the oatmeal bath water and pour some of the water on its back and head. Make sure that its eyes do not come in contact with the water, else it may cause some discomfort. Let the dog soak in the oatmeal bath water for around 15 minutes. If the dog is furry, you will need to massage some of the oatmeal bath water into its coat, so that the water comes in contact with its skin. Once it has soaked well in the water, remove the dog from the bathtub and rinse off its coat with lukewarm water and pat dry.

If your dog is suffering from severe itching and dry, scaly skin, you can use this oatmeal bath recipe twice a week to bathe it. For better results, you can also use a homemade oatmeal shampoo when the dog is soaking in the oatmeal bath.

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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2010, 05:41:21 PM »
ENVIRONMENT & DUSTMITES:

Replace carpets if you can with tile or vinyl or any easy clean surface.  If that’s not possible, make sure your hoover has a good HEPA filter, and vacuum the rooms your dog uses thoroughly on a daily basis including any sofas, couches, curtains, etc.

Use a damp cloth to remove dust from all surfaces, plants and furniture.

Check what is in your dogs bed – cedar chips, any type of feather  are not advised for allergic dogs. 
Wash your dog’s bed and toys every few days with an unscented hypo-allergic washing powder. 

Cover sofas/human beds with removable washable towels or hypo-allergic sheets, and change them daily too. 


WHAT TO DO TO EASE THE REDNESS & SORENESS - a few suggestions

Itchy paws – use Selsun blue shampoo [anti-dandruff]– ask at chemist – a small drop onto each paw, lather in leave for 5-10 minutes then rinse off thoroughly – calms the whole area down for a while.

Dab  on a little Listerine mouth wash – sounds bizarre I know – don’t use on broken skin, but it works on red inflamed skin, use undiluted – the gold colour bottle.  Provides short term relief from the itch, itch, scratch syndrome.

Bag balm is good very soothing to raw itchy areas. 

Calendula oil or cream is very comforting and healing to itchy, irritated skin.

100% Aloe Vera cream is also soothing and healing.

Apply Milk of Magnesia to the red area. It contains Magnesium Hydroxide, which will help reduce the itch and irritation. You can dab this on throughout the day.

Witch Hazel has a cooling effect on the skin, killing bacteria and preventing infection, and also soothes inflamed skin.  If your dog reacts to it, mix 4 tablespoons of Witch Hazel in 2 cups of cool water, after soaking or washing the paws dab some on. Don't rinse it off. You can use Witch Hazel 4-5 times a day.

Black tea for itchy hot spots – contains tannic acid and acts as an astringent.  Soak a t-bag in hot water, let it cool and apply the BAG to the sore areas for 5 minutes – 3 or 4 times a day.

Melt some Shea Butter and add a drop or two of tea tree oil, let it cool and then rub it on dogs belly. The Shea Butter is soothing for allergies and the tea tree oil is a great natural antiseptic.

Itchy waxing ears can be kept itch and infection free with a solution of 50 percent apple cider vinegar to 50 per cent water – clean every other day.  It won’t stop the wax building up but prevents any infection and ceases the itchiness.

& FINALLY A QUESTION TO THINK ABOUT:

Do you regularly vaccinate your dog? – this is a very controversial one – I AM NOT SAYING DON’T VACCINATE – that is YOUR decision to make, not mine.  However, the research I have done shows that repeated yearly vaccinations may [and I stress the work MAY] also be linked to allergy and immune depletion issues in ADULT dogs.  More info here: http://www.dogsadversereactions.com/pressOvervaccinated.html  and here:  http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/petvacc.htm.   

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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2010, 05:47:03 PM »
Further reading on allergies:

http://www.labbies.com/foodreactions.htm
http://home.ivillage.com/pets/dogs/0,,2v83,00.html

PLEASE NOTE:

[1] I have written this post especially for boxerdogforums, however, allergies are so prevalent and affect so many poor dogs that I am quite happy for, and grant my permission to anyone to cross-post any/all of the info I have written here elsewhere – on your blogs, face books or whatever else it is you do!  Better still; link this post up to the forum here – the more info we can share with each other on this topic, the better!

[2] As I said at the beginning, this list is far from conclusive and it is really about Jakey’s journey.  I am not a vet or a herbal practitioner; I am just one person trying to deal with this in the way I think is best for my dog.  While I hope the info here helps you in some small way, it is by no means a substitute for a proper veterinary consultation.

[3] I have tried to state sources where possible, but I have been accumulating these ideas over the years and sometimes sources have got lost amongst all the info I have.  If I have failed to acknowledge any principle idea in this post, I apologise, please let me know immediately and I will amend accordingly.



Please feel free to add any info about allergies onto this thread – your stories, what you tried, what worked, what didn’t , etc.  
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 03:48:05 AM by Stephanie »

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Brig

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 10:35:28 AM »
shanks has a gluten and wheat allergy, he also suffered really bad with colitus. we found that on WainWrights food from pets at home his symptoms almost cleared up after a few days and so did his painful colitus, he will still go off his food every 2 weeks or so and his stools can look a little mucusy but no where near what he was like before we changed his diet to wheat and gluten free.
Mummy of Shankley aka Shanks

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2010, 08:36:19 PM »
Wow! Great info! Thank you so VERY much!!

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2010, 07:47:23 AM »
Great article Stephanie!!  We also deal with allergies here. I will add that the blood test and the scratch panel are never 100% accurate. We tested our girl 3 times. One blood test and two sctrach panels and they all came back with different results. Save your money and do an elimination diet. Only 10% of dogs suffer from both food and environamental allergies.  The other 90% suffer from one or the other.  If you do a food trial and do not have any results then you can rule out food allergies and know that you are dealing with environmental ones instead. Grass, pollen and dustmites being the most common.

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2010, 10:05:37 PM »
What a phenomenal thread!!!  :D Great info!!! I have made a note of a few things mentioned here to ask Daizee's vet about Wednesday!  :D

Without going into too much detail; Daizee was diagnosed with chronic allergies, she has been allergy tested & bless her heart, she has a "book" of allergens.  :-\ I am looking into  holistic health for her. Your info is very helpful! Thank you so much!!!  :D This is the kind of stuff I have been searching for, for a year now! I'm sorry it took me so long to find you guys!

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Stephanie

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2011, 03:39:32 PM »
From "Dogs Monthly" magazine, February 2011, page 71.


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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2011, 07:23:52 PM »
     Wow, thanks Stephanie!  So much good info!
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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 12:57:09 AM »
I have two wonderful boxers- Jewelbug and Kane . They are 1 and 5. The five year old female- BUG we call her has the black ear wax and rubs her ears on the carpet until they are raw.Our vet perscribed a medicine for a yeast infection that cleared it up in 2 days, and believe it or not vagisil and over the counter monistat cream is what we use for the itching and redness when it gets to be too much for her and it clears up almost immediately, with a little help from us by cleaning the black stuff from her ears with a gauze pad soaked in baby oil.

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Re: A bit about allergies
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 12:57:09 AM »