View Full Version : Cavalier Skin Problems

17th May 2007, 10:42 AM
Can someone please give me some advice, I have a nine year old King Charles called Ellie, she has had skin problems all her life but as she is getting older it's getting worse. Ellie licks and scratches all day and she is driving herself and my family insane. She has no coat left on her paws legs, neck, chin and she is red raw on her underneath, she also has an awful smell. I have had her to the vets on numerous occasions only to be given steroids on repeat prescription, not to mention the money I have spent on different things. I am very stressed with Ellie's skin problems as she is such a lovely dog, can anyone help please. :(

17th May 2007, 10:55 AM
Do you have a dermatology vet in your area?

I have had 2 dogs with skin problems and taken them to a derm. vet. and both times she diagnosed the problem and was able to put them on the road to recovery.

In one case it was food allergies/intolerances and I changed what she ate and the scratching went away. In the other instance, my dog was losing all his hair and it turned out to be sebaceous adenitis and he had to take certain medication to substitute for what the sebaceous gland no longer made. In the sebaceous case, I went to the vet for 3 months and my dog kept getting sicker. Nothing the vet tried worked. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. Then they referred me to the dermatology vet. And she figured out what was wrong with him in the first consult!

17th May 2007, 10:58 AM
Sorry cant really help as Sam has sort of the same probs, he goes mental scratching his belly he has that raw at times. Same as u, i have brought him to the vets and tried countless things. the only thing that seems to work is an injection the vets gives him, it lasts for about 2 months. I know its not the answer but at least it brings him some relief.

17th May 2007, 12:13 PM
My breeder told me about salmon oil for the coat and skin, I think it helps moisturize if it's a case of dry skin.

17th May 2007, 01:27 PM
I feed my puppy on a hypoallergenic dry food called Arden Grange It's free from wheat gluten, dairy products, beef and soya. They contain no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives but has chondroitin and glucosamine extracts added for joint health. It apparently reduces the risk of dietary intolerances and allergies that can cause digestive disorders and skin complaints.I have no idea if this is actually the case, but it's what the breeder fed her before I got her and my vet agrees that it's an excellent food.I'm hoping that she won't develop any skin or dietary intolerances but only time will tell.I think if your current vet can't solve the problem, then I think the advice to get to a vet with dermatology experience is essential. I hope you get it sorted soon.

17th May 2007, 03:14 PM
I would strongly recommend you talk to your vet about food allergies. I have no personal experience with skin issues but from everything I've read most skin issues can be traced back to food allergies and/or yeast infections.

Poor baby...I hope you can find a solution soon.

17th May 2007, 03:38 PM
My sister's dog was losing his hair and after hundreds of dollars spent at the vet my sister figured out he was allergic to chicken and now on Evo REd Meat his hair is growing back.

I'd try to find a vet dermatologist but in the meantime I'd also try changing his diet. There are some good diets out there for dogs with food allergies - if you have a good full-service pet store with premium foods, they should be able to recommend some and may even give you samples. Fish and Venison are popular allergy diets and my sister's dog really loves the venison.

Good luck - btw, did the vet have you give him benedryl or anything to reduce the scratching and make him more comfortable while you are searching for a longer term solution?

17th May 2007, 03:47 PM
I have a similar problem with daisys skin, it gets very dry, flaky and itchy. I have tried her on zinc tablets (didn't work) and oil which i put on her food every day (didn't work). My vet said that it is obviously something we can't change as it is in her system, HOWEVER.......

I speak to a lady called Diana who has a cavalier called Flossie with Dry eye/curly coat (daisy has this as well) and i would strongly recommend washing her with a sensitive shampoo and then rinsing, then apply Aqueous Cream (you can buy a huge tub in Boots for about £2.00) smother her in the cream (under tummy - everywhere!) and really rub it in, then rinse. I was a bit dubious at first, but it really really helps. After i have done it, daisys fur is more shiny, and her skin is not flaky anymore at all (it was really bad before). I do this with Daisy every Friday and it is very good, plus it doesn't cost that much. You should try it.

17th May 2007, 03:54 PM
Geez, I am so sorry. It's just an awful feeling to watch your baby tear themselves apart and not be able to help them. I always feel so helpless (my shih tzu has horrible allergies as well).

I concur with taking her to a dermatologist. If this has been happening her entire life, then there is not going to be an easy fix until you know what is really going on. It is such an easy way to get answers, whether it be an allergy test or skin diagnosis. The upfront cost will eventually balance out in comparision to the frequent vet visits that don't do squat.

May I ask, what are you feeding her?

18th May 2007, 10:59 AM
I have 2 cavaliers with allergies one is chronic and the other low grade. My advice as was suggested before is to find a dermatologist. I really feel you need an accurate diagnosis to be able to treat the problem effectively.
Have you got a vet training university or specialist centre near you?

When treating this problem you usually end up having to take a holistic approach, meaning you may need to look at diet, environment and cleaning regime, not just try one thing.

I would start by making sure your little one has a diet high in fatty acids, I give three fish oil caps a day (each as directed by dermatology). I would switch to an oatmeal based shampoo and conditioner (good quality) and bath every 2 weeks (unless otherwise instructed by your vet) to remove pollens, dust mites and other allergens, make sure when bathing you rinse really well. I would look at the bedding make sure it is cotton and gets washed at least weekly. Check your plants if you have not already done so make sure non are toxic or poisonous. You could try doing an elimination diet, talk to your vet about this. There is so much more it could be but obviously it is too much to list all which is why you really need to know what your dealing with.

For me Harry has had 2 years of trial and error to finally stabilise him best we can. His treatment includes and has included
elimination diets
intradermal skin testing
skin scrapes
12 months of desensitisation vaccinations
regular trips to dermatology for reviews, his regime now we know what we are dealing with is a bath once to twice weekly with a special oatmeal shampoo and conditioner to remove the pollens and dust that cause this part of his allergy/skin irritation I use virbac episoothe shampoo and resisisoothe conditioner.
Application of repellent for insect bites, monthly flea treatment for flea allergy, fish oil in his diet daily, special ear cleaner used once weekly to keep imflammation down, and a baseline medication (non steriod). I am sure there are other things but I can't think as it is just second nature now.

I think once you find a dermatologist this will become easier for you to manage. If you do not have this as an option you may need to try and direct your vet to at least liase with a dermatologist for advice as I don't think long term steriod treatment should be an option unless all else has failed. Just my opinion though due the nasty side effects long term.

good luck with this, keep us posted.

18th May 2007, 01:05 PM
I believe Royal Canin do a prescription diet for dogs with Skin Allergies - has your vet suggested diet. I read somewhere that diet is quite a high factor when contributing to allergies.

Don't know if that helps or not:paw:

18th May 2007, 02:32 PM
I would definitely change diets, but also look for the closest vet teaching hospital in your area. After many dollars and numerous vets, I finally took my 9 year old to the closest vet teaching hospital. They did an endoscopy and found the problem w/in a couple days. It is a good idea; however, to have tried a number of alternatives before heading to a vet hospital, so they can eliminate as many options as possible.


18th May 2007, 02:49 PM
Thanks for you reply, I have made an appointment for Ellie to see a vet that specialises in dermatology. I hope they can help as her skin is so bad at the moment.

18th May 2007, 03:20 PM
Please let us know how she does!! I would love to know the underlying cause of her allergies.

18th May 2007, 06:05 PM
Jax76, so glad to hear that you have a dermatology vet available to you. I agree with MonieChris, please let us know how Ellie does.

18th May 2007, 07:38 PM
Our lab was given steriods from may till oct every yr. they made her think she was hungry and made her a bit more sleepy that time of yr. I didnt need to use it all yr - grass allergy :rolleyes: cant avoid that one! she lived till 15 so they obviously had no ill affects on her - but that doesnt mean another dog woulld NOT have troubles getting them that often. For inbetween periods they said to try over the counter allergy meds deemed safe for dogs (they gave us a list) but personally they didnt work. For Kodee I use an oil mixture supplement which is supposed to work great for what you describing. look here. http://www.drmaggie.ca/

20th May 2007, 08:21 AM
Tibby started having really severe skin problems a few years ago. She has no hair on her tail, her hind quarters, etc.

We had her on a medication that contained prednisone for a long time - without the results that normally come with a steroid. She looked like she was starting to become Cushinoid last summer so we stopped the steroids.

She has been allergy tested and given the injections with no positive results.

If there is an odor as you say, the vet should be able to tell because of his experience if it is staph or yeast. A skin scraping should give a definitive answer. Tibby had yeast-y skin and we were advised to bathe her weekly in malasorb shampoo. That hasn't helped much either. Benadryl doesn't touch her.

I'd be hesitant to continue the steroid therapy for too long because of the risk of Cushings.

I'm very interested in what the dermatologist has to say. Maybe little Tibby can be helped by what you are told!:)

28th May 2007, 08:10 PM
Hi, just to let you all know, I decided before I went to see the dermatologist vet I would go to see my own vet who has treated Ellie since she was a pup. Unfortunately she was horrified at the sight of Ellie's skin and how bad she was scratching, because of the long term steroids she now has cushing which I had never heard of until now. This means she is loosing her coat on her back aswell as everywhere else, she is also loosing weight. I told her about the dermatologist and her advice was that they would take our money do all the test knowing that they probably could'nt sovle the problem anyway.

I appreciate eveyones advice but we have tried most things that you all have suggested from diets to shampoos, herbal tablets, sprays, creams, you name it. Ellie also has problems with her kidneys which is persisting after having her on a special diet for six months.

The vet suggested 3 year ago to have her put to sleep but we have persisted and we can't watch her suffer anymore. It is heartbreaking having to type this but upon our vets advice we have made an appointment to have her put to sleep on 7th June when my parents come back from holiday.

Thanks again for all your suggestions this forum was my last resort.

28th May 2007, 10:00 PM
My heart goes out to you. It's so sad that it has come down to this, but after seeing the way my dog scratches and looks so miserable I can understand completely.:(

I hope that the support of your friends here at CT can help you through this. There are plenty of strong shoulders here that you can lean on, cry on, or talk to.

Don't be shy about expressing how you feel. If you need to talk, please feel free to PM me.

:flwr: :flwr: :flwr:

28th May 2007, 11:30 PM
Its been four years since I lost my darling Dizzy to Cushings and I still cry every time I hear of another dog with it. I know it hurts like hell at the moment but you are doing the right thing. Even if you had started the drugs for the condition, at this stage you would not have seen much of an improvement, more of just slowing the disease down to try and prolong Ellie life in the condition she is in now.

Treasure the days you have left with her and spoil her like mad. I always planned to do that with my Dizzy in her last days but regrettably she died one night because of the hot weather, so I never got that chance.

8th June 2007, 01:13 PM
I'd change diets.

We used to be on pedigree chum, and both Tarmac (rest his soul) and Guinness had skin problems time to time.

Now on a raw diet - with plenty of offal - and additional oils - cod liver/flaxseed/evening primrose - he only occasionally has a problem. At these times I up his oil and liver - and it seems to sort him out.

Good luck.