• If you're a past member of the board, but can't recall your password any more, you don't need to set up a new account (unless you wish to). As long as you recall your old login name, you can log in with that user name then select 'forgot password' and the board will email you at your registration email, to let you reset your password.

Constant itching



One of my dogs seems to have developed an allergy and he's constantly scratching or biting at himself. The vet gave him some evening primrose capsules and some eye drops but they had little affect.

I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions of things I could try without taking him back to the vets? (I will take him back if I can't find another solution)

He sleeps on a fleece blanket on the sofa, only gets bathed at the groomers every couple of months (unless after a very mucky walk). They eat Iams dog food and they have scruffy bites treats but only a couple a day.

Thanks for any suggestions.
One of my dogs seems to have developed an allergy and he's constantly scratching or biting at himself.
You will have to try to determine what he's allergic to. We are in Autumn here (you don't say where you live) and the weather has been rather dry. Sophie has had a few itchy-scratchy spells so I bathed her yesterday and washed all her bedding. No more scratching since then. That's always the first step I take whenever she starts scratching. There is a lot of ragweed pollen in the air and the cars and patio furniture are all quite dusty due to that and the dry weather.

If none of that works, then it could be a food allergy, or allergy to one or more ingredients in the food. Last year, for some crazy reason, I started putting olive oil on Sophie's food. She itched so badly that she was given prescription antihistamine that did not help one bit. Finally (!) my brain kicked in and I remembered the only change was adding that little bit of olive oil. As soon as I stopped, she stopped itching. Now when I read dog food ingredients (because she likes a bit of kibble now and then), I know to avoid the ones that list olive oil as an ingredient. I was surprised that some dry dog foods actually include it.
Determining an allergy can be quite difficult but a good vet can take you through the proper approach to testing or elimination diets. IAMS is actually not a great diet for many dogs, and could be the culprit -- grains like wheat or corn often are the problem, or common meats like chicken, and these are some of the IAMS ingredients. The same problem ingredients are also often in commercial dog treats.

However, given the breed, you also need to be sure you and your vet are aware of the various symptoms of syringomyelia which unfortunately is (too) common in the breed. It is typically misdiagnosed, sometimes for years, as allergies by vets. If the scratching, biting or other symptoms is of the type you see on some of the videos here or on the symptoms list -- especially if the scratching is in the air and not actually making contact -- I'd ask for a referral to a neurologist. :thmbsup:


You want to carefully eliminate any other possible cause but I think if the behaviour continues you'll want to see a neurologist. Just NB if the vet gives certain meds to help a misdiagnosed allergy, many will also dampen down SM symptoms, and most vets are very poor at diagnosing SM as it is a specialist condition.

Many of us here have cavaliers with SM (I have 5) so can answer any questions you have if you and your vet are not able to address the scratching and you need to do further investigations.

Theres good CM/SM info for owners and vets at Dr Clare Rusbridge's website: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/Syringomyelia/ and also at www.cavalierhealth.org

Let us know how things go.