Hi All, This is my first post outside of the introduction section so please let me know if this a repeat question or violates any other forum rules. Winston has been scratching at his ears, chewing at his paws, and scratching and chewing at his sides for the past several weeks. I assumed that these were all symptoms of allergies which are common at this time of the year. When he chewed the area between his paws raw I immediately took him to his vet who said that he has... allergies! He suggested a prescription for Temaril-P (an antihistamine and steroid) which I declined because of the side effects. He gave me a medicated shampoo instead which I used but didn't see much improvement. About 2 weekends ago, I took Winston to a horse show with me and we stayed in a hotel for several nights. Of course, he didn't scratch, itch, or chew once. I brought him back to my apartment and he started itching again. This weekend I boarded him and he came home without and signs of itching or chewing (the mats and chewed patches of hair he usually gets after a full day of itching) and his coat had actually significantly improved in just 4 days. I'm now convinced he is allergic to something in my home. His food has been the same during this entire time (Orijen 6 Fresh Fish which is a grain free food- he has been tested for food allergies and is allergic to chicken and beef but does well on venison or fish so I alternate between the two protein sources). He also had a full CBC and chemistry panel done recently that did not show anything abnormal and he doesn't appear to be in pain so the vet doesn't think the itching is a symptom of a health problem. The hotel and boarding facility were both fairly close to my home so I don't think the environmental allergies were too different from what would be found at my home. Is it possible that he's allergic to something inside my home? What are common in-home allergens? If I can't isolate what is causing the itching, what else can I do for him (as the shampoo doesn't seem to be working)? From what I understand, the Temaril-P treats the symptoms but won't have a lasting effect once it is discontinued. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I look forward to your replies and thank you in advance for your help! ~Alex
It definitely sounds from your description that it is something in the home, if he was fed the same diet when away (what about treats?). In the home it could be your washing products (bedding or floors), fibres in rugs, something in your grass or garden... it is tough to isolate. Your vet can likely advise on what to try removing. Often people find it is a chemical they are using for example.
Thank you for your response Karlin! I have all hardwood floors in my apartment which I wash with Murphy's Oil Soap. I'm going to stop using it right away and see if that changes anything. Unfortunately, the only allergens my doctor mentioned were chicken and wheat, two things which are not included in his diet.
Also, I forgot to add that Winston was MRI-ed by a board certified neurologist (Dr. Curtis Dewey at Cornell University) last summer and does not have CM or SM. I know that some of these symptoms are also symptoms of SM but, based on the results of his MRI, my vet does not suspect SM.
In addition to Karlin's suggestions, he could be allergic to dust, dust mites, or even the type grass in your yard or neighborhood, wool oriental rugs, any kind of carpet or rug, and anything with a perfume, etc. Do you use Febreze, or anything like that? Room fresheners/plug-ins? Since your dog does much better when he's away, you're definitely on the right track in your suspicions. Up in Mass., it could even be (fallen leaves) leaf dust/leaf mold at this time of year.
Did your dog use his own bed while away? If so, you can eliminate that from the suspect list. Do you use a perfumed hand lotion that might transfer to your dog when you pet him? Since he was also away from you . . . it could be something on you, like perfume.
Our Sophie has finally calmed down from all her itching & scratching now that the grasses have gone dormant. I suspect Bermuda grass is the culprit. She's also highly sensitive to flea bites, but K9Advantix helped a lot with that. She spent most of the summer on Temaril-P (I hated to do it but it was our only salvation).
Have you tried an OTC antihistamine? Benadryl did nothing for Sophie but generic Chlor-Trimeton seemed to help when I was finally able to wean her off the Temaril-P. We had no side effects from the Temaril-P. I'm very glad (and relieved) she's finally off it, but the alternative was worse.
FWIW, I mop our wood floors with vinegar & water. It's really better for the wood because it's got an acidic pH, and doesn't leave a residue.
Thanks Waldor for the excellent suggestions. I never even thought about potential allergens being in his bed. I'm also thinking that dust/dust mites/ mold might also be part of the problem since the building I live in is over 100 years old (although I'm not sure if there's anything I can do about this).
I'm glad to hear your dog did well on Temaril-P. Did Sophie experience excessive thirst and urination? That is my main concern about Temaril-P. I spoke with some owners with dogs on Temaril-P and they said that their dogs needed to urinate at least once an hour and frequently had accidents. I could care less about having to clean up an accident in the house but I know that Winston would get stressed if he had "to go" while I was at work and no one was there to take him out (I work 8 hours a day but I have a dog walker take him for a 30 min walk in the afternoon). Did you experience anything like this? Did you find that your dog's allergies came back after discontinuing the Temaril-P? I have tried one dose of Benadryl and didn't notice a major difference. Maybe I need to try it for several days? Is it safe to give a dog Benadryl over an extended period of time (I know my mom's vet has suggested Benadryl 3x daily for her dog's seasonal allergies)?
PS: Thanks for the suggestion about vinegar and water- I had no idea what I was going to wash my floors with!
Thanks for everyone's help in "brainstorming" about Winston's allergies.
> Did you find that your dog's allergies came back after discontinuing the Temaril-P?
Yes. When I tried to wean her off it, the itching returned so she had to stay on it all summer, still at 1/2 pill every other day. I tried again to wean her off, in early to mid October, and was using 1/2 Chlor-Trimeton tablet, daily at that point, in addition to the T-P every few days. We finally were able to get off the T-P then, and that's why I suspect grass pollen. She's mostly off the C-T now, too. I give it if I see her itching & scratching. Some of that bermuda pollen is still out there.
Bendaryl was useless with our Cav, although it's my vet's favorite. If the C-T didn't work, I was going to try Tavist next.
> I'm glad to hear your dog did well on Temaril-P. Did Sophie experience excessive thirst and urination?
I did not notice any side effects at all, possibly because the dose was quite weak. Come to think of it, though, she doesn't seem to need to pee quite as often, and here I thought it was her bladder finally maturing because she's coming up on her first birthday .... hhhmmm..... something to ponder. Maybe a little of both.
She is not drinking any less water after coming off the T-P, so I can't say she had any thirst issues. It was a weak dose, but helped us survive.
In September, we also switched her to Oma's Pride (frozen) raw mix http://www.omaspride.com/products.htm because it has no potatoes or carbs or any of the other exotic ingredients in it, just in case those were contributing to the allergies. It also has less other ingredients than other brands. I never knew if the herbs or what-not were contributing to the allergy/immune system issue. There are two local vendors, so I'll keep her on it and see how we do next summer.