View Full Version : Itches

11th March 2009, 06:18 PM
As I posted earlier, we took little Albie into the vet about two weeks ago for a yearly check up and with some questions about the ammount of itching he does in his arm pits, neck, behind the ears and general head area. He also was licking at his paws and back legs. After our chat with the vet, she suggested switching food to a Lamb based diet instead of Chicken. We chose to switch over to Blue Buffalo Lamb & Wild Rice which immediately showed some promise. Albie has always had overly watery eyes and staining. They are always clear tears and never were gunky but shortly after easing them onto their new food his tears really slowed up. Now (about two weeks later) he is on his new food completely and still has the itchies. I know it can take awhile for a food switch to truely show its benefits, but how long until we should see a change? His tears are still not as much as before but not as great as they were when we first changed. I am just looking for some advice on what to do now. I know I need to be patient but I want him to feel better and less itchy. The vet said he has no signs of mites or a skin infection, but it was a little irratated in his arm pits and he had a few scabs on his head and behind his ear. Any thoughts, suggestions etc?

I am just one worried mumma!

11th March 2009, 08:23 PM
I presume he has been checked and treated for parasites just in case? That's usually the first thing vets want to rule out.

After that, with regard to switching foods in case it's food allergies, you need to feed ONLY the new food, no treats or anything else at all for at least 8 weeks before you can expect to see any difference.

The vet may take some skin scrapes too - or possibly refer you to a dermatologist.

Once everything else has been ruled out, then sadly you may perhaps be looking at symptoms of Syringomyelia :( You may want to read Karlin's info site on this, also to print off information to take into your vet if they are not familiar with condition. http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/

Suspicions or even a diagnosis of this is NOT THE END OF THE WORLD - many dogs live a very good quality of life even with the condition.

Hoping for the best news for you - please keep us posted.

11th March 2009, 09:06 PM
Yes, parasites have been ruled out. I guess I didnt even think about not feeding treats. We rotate around quite a bit on different kinds of treats but I guess I will have to stop that too. They love their treats so they are not going to be happy with me! I have discussed my worries/suspicions of SM with my vet and unfortunately she is not incredible knowledgable about it but wanted to make sure we rule out everything else first.

Its good to hear that we need to wait 8 weeks. I guess I just want to see results now. lol.

Kate H
11th March 2009, 09:32 PM
Allergies are a pain - there are so many of them! Albie's itching could be something as simple as dust mites, as he's scratching in most of the places where he comes in contact with a carpet - or the cleaner you use on the kitchen floor, or grass in the garden, or a million other things. Give the new food time to work, and if the vet's still stumped, go to a dermatologist. Part of the problem with SM is that in its early scratching stages there are so many other things it could be, and while bearing it in mind, you do need to explore other possibilities as well.

Hope you and your vet together can sort it out.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

11th March 2009, 09:41 PM
Thanks for the support! I sure do hope we can figure it out! I feel so bad for him when he itches. Its hard to wait but that is what I have to do.

12th March 2009, 12:09 PM
it would be sensible to avoid scented cleaning products, carpet shampoo etc - if possible get a steam cleaner {eg a Polti}, or switch to the Ecover range - more environmentally friendly too :thmbsup:

Avoid grooming sprays, shampoo etc unless your vet has given you something like Malaseb to use.

You want to try to rule out everything..

12th March 2009, 05:43 PM
We are a green friendly home and use very few scented things. I guess I never thought about his shampoo although my two go very long without baths. Surprisingly they are clean little boys. Do you have a suggestion on what kind of shampoo we are supposed to use? I dont use any grooming sprays on them.

12th March 2009, 07:46 PM
I use Johnsons baby shampoo on Maddie, as I found it soothed her skin more than most dog shampoos do. Also I found it easier to rinse out. Someone did suggest using an oatmeal based shampoo though, which I haven't tried yet. Also I often see a shampoo called ExmaRid in the pet shops. It has a picture of a Westie on the front, probably because they are prone to skin conditions. I haven't tried it myself though.

12th March 2009, 08:43 PM
Currently I use an oatmeal based shampoo.

Its strange though because the vet checked his skin and said it looked fine. It was a little extra pink under his front arms and she did see a few scabs around the top of his head.

12th March 2009, 09:44 PM
Currently I use an oatmeal based shampoo.

Its strange though because the vet checked his skin and said it looked fine. It was a little extra pink under his front arms and she did see a few scabs around the top of his head.

The extra pinkness and the scabs may be a result of the itchiness/ scratching, rather than the skin being the cause, if you see what I mean. Maddie's allergies are probably inhaled pollens, rather than ones her skin comes into direct contact with, so the itching is caused by the inhalation of the allergens and the body's production of histamine as a response. So when she first starts scratching there's nothing to see on her skin, but after a while she gets red patches and scabs.:(

I hope you get to the bottom of things and find a while to manage poor little Albie's itchiness. It drives them mad on occasion, doesn't it?

13th March 2009, 09:00 AM
Everyone said everything I could add. Our Mags is allergic to grass, of all things. It can be tricky to do all the elimination work but a good dermatologist will be so much help. Ours felt that the blood test is really useful for inhalant and contact allergies but a waste of money and time for food allergies.

The redness and scabby skin can definitely be a sign of allergies, especially if the scabs are someplace they can't easily reach to scratch...

good luck!

Cathy Moon
14th March 2009, 10:31 AM
India's dermatologist recommended making home made dog treats from canned dog food for dogs with food allergies.

In your case, you might want to get some canned California Natural Lamb & Rice, then use this recipe for making baked treats:

Another thing that would work is grinding up kibble and adding water to make a dough, then bake on a cookie sheet. This was suggested by the dermatologist. It might take a little experimentation, but you could make your little guy very happy.

Here is a prescription shampoo for allergies: Douxo Maintenance shampoo - it contains moisturizer and conditioner, so you don't need anything else. We get it from the dermatologist for India, but our vet said they'd order it for us in future.

14th March 2009, 11:08 AM
Thanks for that canned food recipe -- interesting!

In the caring for your Cavalier part of the Library there are quite a few homemeade treats recipes too. :)

On this:

Another thing that would work is grinding up kibble and adding water to make a dough, then bake on a cookie sheet.

Wouldn't it be easier just to use the pieces of kibble itself as treats? I would think double baking it might remove nutritional content too.

Cathy Moon
14th March 2009, 11:19 AM
:) Yes, I guess this is just for people whose dogs have severe allergies with dietary restrictions, and maybe they want their dogs to have treats in a biscuit shape. :)

I would just give them kibble as 'low value' treats, and they are happy!;)

21st March 2009, 02:02 AM
Somebody mentioned "malaseb shampoo" and that is what the dermatologist gave me yesterday. I was told to bathe her twice a week and leave it on her for 10 minutes before rinsing it out. I did it today for the first time. I'm ready for some changes.