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Bentley02
24th December 2012, 05:08 PM
Our 4 month old puppy has very itchy skin and has lost furr in patchy areas where her skin is dry and irritated. We've had to put a cone on her because she itches her face and cuts herself.

After our vet had ruled out mites, fleas and fungal diseases, we have assumed its likely a food allergy. Her puppy food was good quality (Fromm Puppy Gold) but we are thinking maybe the chicken and/ or dairy in it may be the problem. We have switched her to the food our 10 month old is on, a grain free all ages food called PureVita, which only has fish for protein, and then fruits and veggies. We will see if thst helps (fingers crossed). Even our other puppy had an intolerance to chicken and grains, it gave him runny poop and increased tearing.

Has anyone had these issues with food allergies or intolerances?
Somehow BOTH our dogs (who are both otherwise very healthy) have had nutritional issues... So to us it feels all too common.

Alicia

Furrfoot
24th December 2012, 06:53 PM
Been there...are there. Rose is allergic to pretty much any common grain or starch (corn, wheat, potatoes) and chicken and...buffalo. Yes, buffalo (???). She does tolerate oats though, thankfully, since she needs the fiber. We have her on Back to Basics Turkey and it has done the trick for her. A friend has Rose's sister, and her other Cavalier (not Rose's sister) has bad food allergies too. She switched to BtB and it has helped her dog too. She has to mail order it where she lives, but, after trying another food locally, she went back to ordering it. I promise I don't work for the company, lol, but it is the only food (short of going to a raw diet) that I have found so far that has none of the starches that make her itch, and the bonus is that it is relatively affordable (same price range as Blue, Core, etc.). Rose is 2 years old, about 17-18 lbs, and only needs 1/2 cup (plus some Merrick canned tripe- about 1tbsp and 2 tsp of oat bran). We just got done with a round of steriods and horrible hot spots, thin hair places, etc. a few weeks ago because she found some butter cookies when someone wasn't looking...*sigh*

Hope she's feeling better soon- we figured out Rose's issues by switching to the BtB, and adding in canned food that was 96% pure (chicken, tripe, buffalo, etc.) for a couple of weeks each. It usually only took a couple of days to figure out which proteins were the culprits, and the same with adding a starch back in at a time. We are still working on seeing which starches (if any) we can add back in since so many of them were "with chicken", but the butter cookie incident set us back :/ .

Bentley02
24th December 2012, 11:47 PM
Good to hear we aren't the only ones! We are pretty happy with the "Pure Vita Grain Free Salmon" for our older puppy, so we have just switched her to that for now, to see if that helps the problem, then we will go from there. My only concern with the back to basics turkey is that it looks like it still contains chicken, which we are trying to avoid all together at this point (just because research shows it as being the number 1 most common culprit in food allergies in dogs). But yeah, it might be a long road trying to figure out what exactly she is, and isn't allergic to. I SOO do not want to do food trials :( its such a long process and it would not be fun for my poor puppy. I just feel like, if we find a food that's working, we'll just stick to it. I am hoping if we stick to high quality food with unique proteins sources, and none of the common culprits like wheat, corn and dairy, things will get better.
I will let you know how it goes!

Furrfoot
25th December 2012, 10:19 PM
It does still have a little chicken, I forgot about that. The duck does too. I have thought about switching to this one: http://www.backtobasicspetfood.com/dryfood#page_page_dryfood_open-range that just came out because it has no chicken, but so far, she is doing okay with a little bit of chicken in her diet and after Rose's hot spot fiasco and Emma's pancreatitis, I'm taking a break from the food circus! :P I do wonder if I switched all the chicken out if she would no longer need the oat bran. I'm doing a few common ingredient food trials so I can get low fat treats that both Emma and Rose can have (brown rice, sweet potato, etc.), but beyond that, I'm good with the Back to Basics. I already know that wheat and corn are no no's, so that's 2 I can skip. I will check out the Pure Vita- I don't think I've heard of that one.

Do let me know how it goes, I hope it goes well!

Furrfoot
25th December 2012, 10:23 PM
Oh, sweet potatoes. Darn. This one is low fat enough that I think I could feed it to both girls, too. I'll have to run it through the "actual fat" algorithm (or whatever it's called, lol) and if Rose can handle sweet potatoes, I may be able to use it in the future- thanks!

Furrfoot
26th December 2012, 03:23 AM
This has also helped Rose (it's kinda pricey, but we have had a 16 oz. bottle for over a year. You can use it either full strength or dilute it- directions are on the bottle. I dilute unless she's reallllly itchy): http://www.kvsupply.com/KVVet/productr.asp?pf_id=70217&gift=False&HSLB=False&mscssid=D7BCF49AAD8249219A8918D0D720D8A7#.UNprxHed 8sw

And this spray (after the first small bottle, I bought a gallon of it, lol, and I put a "fingertip spray bottle" in her stuff when we travel ;) ): http://www.kvsupply.com/KVVet/productr.asp?pf_id=70219&gift=False&HSLB=False&mscssid=D7BCF49AAD8249219A8918D0D720D8A7#.UNptLXed 8sw

Karlin
26th December 2012, 04:41 PM
Hi Alicia -- one thought: as this sounds rather severe for such a young puppy, has she had the DNA test for dry eye/curly coat to eliminate this as a possibility? One possible sign of DE/CC is hair that falls out in patches and the dog has irritated, itchy skin and this generally will start from puppyhood. It would be really important I think to rule this out as diet will not be the issue then, and she would need a range of specialised care over her life, if she has this.

It is very fortunate that there is now an easy DNA test to definitively diagnose or rule out this condition, so you would know right away.

Did your breeder test for this condition in both breeding dogs? About 10% of cavaliers are carriers so this is one of the important (and easy, one-off) things to test for in all breeding dogs.

MomObvious
26th December 2012, 06:00 PM
I second Karlin's opinion about curly coat/dry eye as a possible connection. Curly coat cavaliers have severe skin problems, sometimes they may not have the "official" curly coat look in early puppyhood or perhaps its a mild case now....either way I think it may be worth finding out. I hope it is an allergy but better be safe than sorry especially before you drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what food works all the while not improving her condition,

Bentley02
27th December 2012, 05:56 PM
Thanks! I will look into this, so far (on the new food, she hasn't gained anymore itchy spots but we havent seen any huge improvements, still early though).

Bentley02
27th December 2012, 05:59 PM
Thanks for the info. this is not something we have heard of and we have taken her to the vet regularly over this issue and our vet has not mentioned it either.
We will do our research. We were rather disappointed in the lack of help we got from our vet, they focused on doing testing on things we were pretty sure it wasnt (fungal diseases, mites).
Alicia

Bentley02
27th December 2012, 06:15 PM
Okay so I did some research on Curly coat/ dry eye syndrome and it doesn't sound very likely, at least from what we are seeing thus far. She has no other symptoms, her eyes are good and she's checked out to be otherwise very healthy, normal coat. Just itchy. I will keep my eye out for any developing symptoms though.
Don't get me wrong, she doesn't have bald patches, she just has a couple little areas on her face where the furr is thinned, which I believe is mostly from itching (which is why we're putting a cone on her now). She never did develop any of these patches anywhere else on her body, but she does itch a little bit.
We are definitely keeping our eye on it.

Bentley02
27th December 2012, 07:02 PM
This has also helped Rose (it's kinda pricey, but we have had a 16 oz. bottle for over a year. You can use it either full strength or dilute it- directions are on the bottle. I dilute unless she's reallllly itchy): http://www.kvsupply.com/KVVet/productr.asp?pf_id=70217&gift=False&HSLB=False&mscssid=D7BCF49AAD8249219A8918D0D720D8A7#.UNprxHed 8sw

And this spray (after the first small bottle, I bought a gallon of it, lol, and I put a "fingertip spray bottle" in her stuff when we travel ;) ): http://www.kvsupply.com/KVVet/productr.asp?pf_id=70219&gift=False&HSLB=False&mscssid=D7BCF49AAD8249219A8918D0D720D8A7#.UNptLXed 8sw

These look great, I think we will give them a try!

Karlin
28th December 2012, 01:06 PM
Vets do need to start from the basics -- such things as skin fungus, mites (rabbit and ear mites very often are a problem with puppies and can cause frantic scratching), flea allergy etc. It is very important to definitively eliminate these far more likely causes of scratching before moving to far less common (especially in a very young puppy) causes like food allergies or more serious disease. Every responsible vet will want to eliminate those possibilities before taken you down the far more extensive, time consuming and often costly route of allergy testing, or looking for other conditions. :thmbsup: So I think they are doing exactly the right thing. :)

Vets, especially in a region where cavaliers are not a common breed, would be very unlikely to know about specialist breed conditions like dry eye/curly coat, which ONLY exists in cavaliers and is not commonly seen, though it is carried in one out of 10 dogs and any responsible breeder should be testing both breeding animals for it. Many vets over here -- where the breed is extremely common -- would never have heard of DE/CC either!

I do think you'll need to keep a number of possibilities in mind. Any time a cavalier owner is seeing itchiness at the head and body, then syringomyelia unfortunately has to be one thought, especially if the itchiness is not addressed by other means -- keep in mind many things a vet may prescribe to calm itchiness for other reasons will also at least initially be likely to relieve SM scratching too,making it hard to diagnose at first. Allergies are the most common mistaken diagnosis.

If allergies don't seem to be the issue, and hair is thinning/being lost, then I think I would get the DNA test for DE/CC -- very easy to do and you will definitely know. If the breeder can verify (and show negative certs for) testing for this, then that would also be definitive without you needing to test. Ideally the breeder should also have done MRI scans on both parents, with a good grade, so that you have some assurance that SM is less likely to be the issue in a young puppy.

Bentley02
28th December 2012, 06:20 PM
Vets do need to start from the basics -- such things as skin fungus, mites (rabbit and ear mites very often are a problem with puppies and can cause frantic scratching), flea allergy etc. It is very important to definitively eliminate these far more likely causes of scratching before moving to far less common (especially in a very young puppy) causes like food allergies or more serious disease. Every responsible vet will want to eliminate those possibilities before taken you down the far more extensive, time consuming and often costly route of allergy testing, or looking for other conditions. :thmbsup: So I think they are doing exactly the right thing. :)

Vets would be very unlikely to know about specialist breed conditions like dry eye/curly coat (which ONLY exists in cavaliers and is not commonly seen, though it is carried in one out of 10 dogs and any responsible breeder should be testing both breeding animals for it), especially in a region where cavaliers are not a common breed. Many vets over here -- where the breed is extremely common -- would never have heard of DE/CC either!

I do think you'll need to keep a number of possibilities in mind. Any time a cavalier owner is seeing itchiness at the head and body, then syringomyelia unfortunately has to be one thought, especially if the itchiness is not addressed by other means -- keep in mind many things a vet may prescribe to calm itchiness for other reasons will also at least initially be likely to relieve SM scratching too,making it hard to diagnose at first. Allergies are the most common mistaken diagnosis.

If allergies don't seem to be the issue, and hair is thinning/being lost, then I think I would get the DNA test for DE/CC -- very easy to do and you will definitely know. If the breeder can verify (and show negative certs for) testing for this, then that would also be definitive without you needing to test. Ideally the breeder should also have done MRI scans on both parents, with a good grade, so that you have some assurance that SM is less likely to be the issue in a young puppy.

Yes we know the vet has to go through the basic things but after that she hasn't been overly helpful with other suggestions.
Anyway we are just watching it closely for now, as at this point it is very mild and she is showing no other symptoms. If it becomes more severe or she shows other symptoms we will do further testing. We don't want to put her through test after test when there's nothing overly concerning to us or our vet at this point.

Allergies are very common and the minimal symptoms she has fit the description of allergies perfectly, so that is a likely cause at this point.

Thanks for all your help! Will keep you posted.

Ali

Karlin
28th December 2012, 06:42 PM
Actually there is little evidence that allergies are common in either people or animals. :) UC Davis Vet School, one of the world's leading vet schools, for example does not consider allergy to be common -- affecting perhaps 5% of dogs, which is pretty low:


“Dr. Stephen White, a professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, answers this week’s questions about food allergies.

Question: What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?
Answer: Food allergy denotes an immune response to a food; food intolerance presumes no immune response. In veterinary practice the difference is difficult to distinguish, and probably not clinically important in most cases, and the more general term cutaneous adverse food reaction (CAFR) is often used.
Question: How common are actual food allergies?
Answer: This is debatable, as many cases are probably noted by owners (particularly if there is vomiting or diarrhea involved with the feeding of a new food) and never reported to veterinarians. A rough estimate would be around 5 percent of dogs, probably the same in cats.
.

Having worked with several hundred rescue cavaliers over the years, I actually only had one or two ever show signs of an allergy -- which was probably not actually an allergy per se but a food intolerance (sometimes classified as an allergy). Of course new homes might never have reported back to me if these developed later, either, so it's hard to know but still wouldn't see allergy as a common issue.

Flea dermatitis (an allergic reaction to fleas) is probably the most common. Environmental causes are more common than food allergies.

Here's the full article that I quoted from above -- it has lots of very useful info on various allergies in cats and dogs, and how to diagnose and care for them. :)

http://seattletimes.com/html/tailsofseattle/2017274985_veterinary_qa_food_allergies.html

One concern is that allergies to food or environmental causes like molds etc generally take time to develop -- to have something like this showing in a 4 month old puppy would seem pretty unusual. That's why I suggested considering DE/CC for example, if the breeder failed to test her breeding stock, because DE/CC symptoms do tend to show early in puppies.

Bentley02
30th December 2012, 09:51 PM
Actually there is little evidence that allergies are common in either people or animals. :) UC Davis Vet School, one of the world's leading vet school, for example does not consider allergy to be common -- only affecting perhaps 5% of dogs, which is pretty low:

.

Having work with several hundred rescue cavaliers over the years, I actually only had one or two ever show signs of an allergy -- which was probably not actually an allergy per se but a food intolerance (sometimes classified as an allergy). Of course new homes might never have reported back to me if these developed later.

Flea dermatitis (an allergic reaction to fleas) is probably the most common. Environmental causes are more common than food allergies.

Here's the full article that I quoted from above -- it has lots of very useful info on various allergies in cats and dogs, and how to diagnose and care for them. :)

One concern is that allergies to food or environmental causes like molds etc generally take time to develop -- to have something like this showing in a 4 month old puppy would seem pretty unusual. That's why I suggested considering DE/CC for example, if the breeder failed to test her breeding stock, because DE/CC symptoms do tend to show early in puppies.

that one study contradicts many other studies i have read that have shown allergies in dogs to be very common. We do a LOT of research on our own and have consulted several professionals as well as people very familiar and educated with the breed, so we aren't blindy making decisions regarding her health. We just don't believe in putting our dog through test after test because she has a couple small itchy spots for a few weeks. It's being monitored and everyone we have consulted has agreed that allergies are a real possibility. If a minor health concern can be dealt with nutritionally than that's what we believe is the best option... I feel the same way about us humans as well. So we want to try that first before jumping to things like testing for genetic diseases or medicating her.
I can't sit here and say I believe my puppy is likely to have a genetic disease when my vet and several other vets (a friend and the breeders vet, as well as another vet at the clinic we go to) have said that she is healthy and havent suggested that we be concerned that its anything serious. On top of that we bought her from a reputable registered breeder who does several health tests/ screening in breeding dogs, making it even less likely. She is also getting better so far, she hasnt gotten any worse in 2 weeks - and like I said, she has no other symptoms at all.

As for DE/CC, I have done the research and she has none of the common symptoms of that disease so at this point that seems pretty unlikely.

I agree allergies are less common in young puppies because as you said, they take time to develop generally, but they can and do appear in young puppies as well - in which case it is likely to be a food allergy and not an environmental allergy. I have read several message boards where people have experienced food allergies in pups.
At this point we will be giving her a couple months to have time to improve on the new food, if she doesn't we will explore other possibilities with our vet and do more testing if necessary.

We are in Canada as well so that may vary the research and commonalities we are each speaking of as I assume you are from the UK :)

Bentley02
31st December 2012, 10:12 PM
This has also helped Rose (it's kinda pricey, but we have had a 16 oz. bottle for over a year. You can use it either full strength or dilute it- directions are on the bottle. I dilute unless she's reallllly itchy): http://www.kvsupply.com/KVVet/productr.asp?pf_id=70217&gift=False&HSLB=False&mscssid=D7BCF49AAD8249219A8918D0D720D8A7#.UNprxHed 8sw

And this spray (after the first small bottle, I bought a gallon of it, lol, and I put a "fingertip spray bottle" in her stuff when we travel ;) ): http://www.kvsupply.com/KVVet/productr.asp?pf_id=70219&gift=False&HSLB=False&mscssid=D7BCF49AAD8249219A8918D0D720D8A7#.UNptLXed 8sw

Just thought I would let you know that we purchased a similar shampoo and spray for her, this one is not sold in Canada so we had to find the next best thing. Thanks for the advice! So far we are seeing improvement since the change in food and using this. :)

Furrfoot
1st January 2013, 06:51 AM
Oh good- I'm so glad she's feeling better :) !

Karlin
3rd January 2013, 10:57 AM
Hi Alicia, I would hope a professor at UCD vet school would not base a prediction of allergy on a solitary study but on knowledge and experience generally. :) I know that vet school very well -- grew up there actually. My understanding is that allergy treatment is actually one of their areas of international expertise? But I know opinions will differ on the issue of allergy. personally I rarely see it in dogs -- having worked in rescue for a decade and taken in a couple hundred cavaliers in my own! :D

No one is trying to insist your puppy has a genetic illness -- BUT as you raised a list of possible symptoms in a young puppy, where allergy would not be very common at that age, and sadly, this breed has a very high rate of health issues, it is important for every owner to at least be fully aware of these issues and have them as a consideration. You asked for suggestions about what might be going on and several people gave them. People are only trying to help you and make sure you have all the info you might need! :)

There aren't any differences in the genetic predisposition of cavaliers across the world so you won't see local variations between cavaliers in Canada, the US, the UK or Australia. There has been plenty of genetic work already to show this isn't the case; the breed all goes back to just a dozen dogs at the start of the 1950s, and all dogs are extremely closely related to UK stock (check with your breeder -- most Canadian dogs descend from UK imports over the past decade or two, and many use direct imports). I am actually quite familiar with a lot of the work that has been done on cavaliers in Canada because this board has helped fund many of the scans that went into grading dogs for the genetic research that is being led in Canada -- and over the years, I have been in regular contact with club members and health campaigners in Canada. (FWIW, I am also Canadian-born though I now live in Ireland -- but also know plenty of breeders in the US as well :) and have a home base in California as well as Ireland).

If your breeder is responsible and fully tests (a 'registered' breeder doesn't mean much -- no more than assuming a driver with a license is therefore a great driver) -- then you should be able to very easily evaluate some likelihood of genetic illness -- if your breeder had done the basic health tests for the breed? Then you won't need to be wondering at all about the risk of DE/CC and will have a much better idea of the likelihood of risk for problems like SM (though pretty much every cavalier has CM which can cause similar symptoms).

Any responsible breeder should do the DNA test for EFS and DE/CC on both parents -- that's a no brainer for good breeders, and the tests have been available for long enough and discussed widely enough by breeders, and cost so little for them to be well aware of them -- so this will be easy to check if the breeder is indeed responsible and has done the needed testing. The breeder should also have been able to show you the results of MRI scans on both parents. Puppies from unscanned parents have a risk level approaching 75% for SM, the largest study of several generations of scanned litters has shown. These are just some obvious, easy things to check that could give you greater comfort and automatically eliminate some suggestions. :) It does not cast aspersions on a puppy, an owner or a breeder to simply make sure all possibilities are being considered when trying to determine the cause of such symptoms in a pup.

Hopefully whatever is causing excessive scratching and hair thinning/hair loss will be easily determined and you will have no further problems. :) But as a responsible cavalier puppy owner, it's good to have gone through all these possibilities, and you definitely will want to be fully informed about the genetic issues and always to have those as a possibility in the back of the mind if certain symptoms show up -- as vets know very little about these issues and almost all of us have found we have had to be very proactive and self-informed to get proper diagnosis when symptoms remain persistent. On average it takes nearly two years for cavaliers to get a proper diagnosis for SM, for example -- mostly from misdiagnosis of allergies and lack of knowledge in vets about cavalier genetic diseases.

Bentley02
8th January 2013, 02:27 AM
Hi Alicia, I would hope a professor at UCD vet school would not base a prediction of allergy on a solitary study but on knowledge and experience generally. :) I know that vet school very well -- grew up there actually. My understanding is that allergy treatment is actually one of their areas of international expertise? But I know opinions will differ on the issue of allergy. personally I rarely see it in dogs -- having worked in rescue for a decade and taken in a couple hundred cavaliers in my own! :D

No one is trying to insist your puppy has a genetic illness -- BUT as you raised a list of possible symptoms in a young puppy, where allergy would not be very common at that age, and sadly, this breed has a very high rate of health issues, it is important for every owner to at least be fully aware of these issues and have them as a consideration. You asked for suggestions about what might be going on and several people gave them. People are only trying to help you and make sure you have all the info you might need! :)

There aren't any differences in the genetic predisposition of cavaliers across the world so you won't see local variations between cavaliers in Canada, the US, the UK or Australia. There has been plenty of genetic work already to show this isn't the case; the breed all goes back to just a dozen dogs at the start of the 1950s, and all dogs are extremely closely related to UK stock (check with your breeder -- most Canadian dogs descend from UK imports over the past decade or two, and many use direct imports). I am actually quite familiar with a lot of the work that has been done on cavaliers in Canada because this board has helped fund many of the scans that went into grading dogs for the genetic research that is being led in Canada -- and over the years, I have been in regular contact with club members and health campaigners in Canada. (FWIW, I am also Canadian-born though I now live in Ireland -- but also know plenty of breeders in the US as well :) and have a home base in California as well as Ireland).

If your breeder is responsible and fully tests (a 'registered' breeder doesn't mean much -- no more than assuming a driver with a license is therefore a great driver) -- then you should be able to very easily evaluate some likelihood of genetic illness -- if your breeder had done the basic health tests for the breed? Then you won't need to be wondering at all about the risk of DE/CC and will have a much better idea of the likelihood of risk for problems like SM (though pretty much every cavalier has CM which can cause similar symptoms).

Any responsible breeder should do the DNA test for EFS and DE/CC on both parents -- that's a no brainer for good breeders, and the tests have been available for long enough and discussed widely enough by breeders, and cost so little for them to be well aware of them -- so this will be easy to check if the breeder is indeed responsible and has done the needed testing. The breeder should also have been able to show you the results of MRI scans on both parents. Puppies from unscanned parents have a risk level approaching 75% for SM, the largest study of several generations of scanned litters has shown. These are just some obvious, easy things to check that could give you greater comfort and automatically eliminate some suggestions. :) It does not cast aspersions on a puppy, an owner or a breeder to simply make sure all possibilities are being considered when trying to determine the cause of such symptoms in a pup.

Hopefully whatever is causing excessive scratching and hair thinning/hair loss will be easily determined and you will have no further problems. :) But as a responsible cavalier puppy owner, it's good to have gone through all these possibilities, and you definitely will want to be fully informed about the genetic issues and always to have those as a possibility in the back of the mind if certain symptoms show up -- as vets know very little about these issues and almost all of us have found we have had to be very proactive and self-informed to get proper diagnosis when symptoms remain persistent. On average it takes nearly two years for cavaliers to get a proper diagnosis for SM, for example -- mostly from misdiagnosis of allergies and lack of knowledge in vets about cavalier genetic diseases.


As I mentioned, we are very responsible dog owners and have done a great amount research on the breed, both before purchasing and throughout ownership - that, combined with working with various professionals, we are very informed. Please don't get me wrong, I didn't post because I was uninformed or uneducated on the topic, it's just nice to hear similar personal experiences and pass on advice. We are very aware that most vets aren't very familiar or even aware of some cavalier diseases but we have educated ourselves. She is doing better, has had no more loss of hair and still isn't showing any other symptoms at all. She's still itchy on her legs but her face has cleared up.

As for the breeder, once again we did much research and asked many questions before deciding on a breeder... As I mentioned before, it's a responsible registered breeder who take measures to ensure they are doing what they can to reduce the common cavalier diseases (through screening etc.). They are dedicated to the well-being of the breed. Being registered does mean something, at least in Canada, because they are required to meet the standards of the CKC (by registered I also mean CKC registered).

Anyway I don't want to debate back and forth too much, as I said, that's not why I posted. I appreciate the guidance.