Dog Site - Dog Stuff
Dog Forum | Dog Pictures

Go Back   Chazhound Dog Forum > Dog Discussions and Dog Talk Forums > Dog Health Care


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-10-2007, 09:45 PM
Shahrazade Shahrazade is offline
Puppy Dog
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 48
Default What's Making My Dog Itch (and how do I get rid of it)?

I have a Corgi/Border Collie mix who turned one on July 24th. For almost two months he has been itchy itchy itchy! I thought it might be his food, even though he has been on a rotation program with super premium foods and some raw since he was a pup specifically to prevent food intolerance, so we switched foods. No change. I tried kiddie Benadryl- one tab in peanut butter in the morning- no change or very little change. I know he has some environmental allergies in the spring which make him sneeze, but Benadryl fixes that very easily. I'm getting a HEPA filter for the bedroom where he likes to sleep to get pollen and allergens out of the air, but I don't think it's airborne allergens since it is just itching and butt-chewing, not sneezing like he does in the spring.

I did notice that the development of the itching coincided with the arrival of our latest batch of foster kittens, who have been with us almost seven weeks (and who just might not be leaving... *stands up and says 'My name is Shahrazade and I'm a foster failure*). They were from a crowded municipal animal shelter where they were neglected after being orphaned at three weeks old (mom died IN the shelter) and were quite unwell. It was a long ordeal getting them healthy- all but one cat of the rest of the litter in another foster home died- but they are okay now. They took fenbendazole for 14 days as part of our guesswork about what might be wrong- it is still up in the air what sickened them and killed most of the other kittens, but the dewormer did help even though both tested negative for all worms and Giardia. Anyway, with all the care they needed, the last thing on my mind was fleas or ear mites. I don't see any now and the cats are only as itchy as normal playful kittens, but I wonder if they had them when I got them, and when their immune systems improved they were kind enough to offer improved living accomodations on one mid-sized dog to their buggies?

The thing is, I'm in Colorado and our altitude usually kills fleas, especially this time of year. I've never had a critter with fleas! I see nothing, but he's very hairy and it takes a heck of an effort even to see his skin under all that fur- border collie length with the coat thickness of a corgi. The cats are shorthaired, but again I've seen nothing on them. I see nothing in his ears. He scratches his neck, ears, ribs, and chews his rump. How do I tell if he has fleas or ear mites? What do I do? I don't want to use chemicals, especially with the fragile kitties who may have lifelong trouble with their immune systems depending upon what exactly the mystery illness they recovered from was.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-10-2007, 10:02 PM
Buddy'sParents Buddy'sParents is offline
*Finding My Inner Fila*
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 25,373
Default

Having battled allergies myself and going through an elimination diet for food allergies, the best advice I can give is to get allergy testing done and then do an elimination diet if necessary. Allergies are a big pain in the butt and hard to help a dog with, especially since most vets just want to hand out steroids like they are bully sticks.

Good luck.
__________________
"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave". - Mohandas Gandhi

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-10-2007, 10:09 PM
Shahrazade Shahrazade is offline
Puppy Dog
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 48
Default

I really have my doubts about whether or not it's allergies, though. If it is, I seriously doubt food allergies, because every other sign says his diet is working great for him. His ears are always clean, his eyes are clean, his coat is long and shiny with minimal shedding for his coat type, he is very soft, his skin has no redness or irritation, with hot spots only when he has been actively scratching and causing friction. Stool volume and elimination frequency is good, and there was no change in the scratching when we switched to a totally different protein and carb source. Allergy testing is very expensive from my vet and I'd rather not do it without eliminating any other potential causes of the itching first. So, of course the first thought is just dab him with some Frontline (which is what the vet told me to do when I said I suspected the cats gave him fleas) but the chemicals are definitely not something I want him to have- I don't even do annual vaccinations except as required by law without doing blood titres first to make sure they need them to keep up immunity. Is there any for sure way to tell if a dog with a thick coat that would hide fleas has them, besides shave him? Skin scrape or ear swab maybe? My roommate says he has woken up with small bug bites once or twice since the kittens have been around, but he has contact allergies to some things like detergents and fabric dyes which cause bumps just like bug bites, so it might not even be bug bites.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-10-2007, 10:11 PM
Lizmo's Avatar
Lizmo Lizmo is offline
Water Junkie
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: AL
Posts: 17,300
Default

Is there ANY type of spots, bumps, ect?

My dog, a BC/ES, had about the same type thing your dog is having right now. We took her to the vet she was put on meds for two weeks and bathed twice a week in a calming shampoo. She's not scratching as much anymore (NOTHING like she was).
So, I'd say vet trip.
__________________

l ~Jennifer~ l
l Handler for Team Blazin' l Photographer at Joy Photography l Nikon D40X with 35mm 1.8 Nikkor Lens l
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-10-2007, 10:15 PM
Buddy'sParents Buddy'sParents is offline
*Finding My Inner Fila*
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 25,373
Default

No bumps at all? Dandruff from the itching? Any kind of effects from the itching?

Hmm..... what about a good brushing a bath in oatmeal/aloe shampoo? Do the kittens have fleas?
__________________
"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave". - Mohandas Gandhi

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-10-2007, 10:21 PM
misticaleclipse's Avatar
misticaleclipse misticaleclipse is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: london, Ontario
Posts: 1,544
Default

Ear mites as far as I know only reside in the ear, when I got my cat
she had them badly.

Is sounds like your dog is itchy all over and not just in the ears?
It if just the ears ear mites are easily seen; however, it could
be something else like an ear infection.

As for food, sounds good, but what foods has be been switched
to? Maybe something with to many fillers and he needs a system
cleaning...

This may sound strange, but what about clothing? Some detergents
can cause skin irritations, we all know dog lovers with their
clothes

Of course there is the third option fleas, I would sit him down
for a good half hour and try to go through his hair to check for
them. They like to go to some of the warmer places I find like
under the arms.
You can get something like revolution or frontline for him
which is not harmful to the cats, but please research it
to make sure there are no any conflicts with something
you are giving him now.

I would then bring him to the vet and if he cannot find
a cause look at allergy testing.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-10-2007, 10:23 PM
Shahrazade Shahrazade is offline
Puppy Dog
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 48
Default

I see nothing on the kittens- but they sleep snuggled up with him and the itching started when they came. Could my dog be allergic to CATS? That would be a first! I've never had a critter with fleas because of the altitude, so I don't even know how to reliably check for fleas! I parted their coats and didn't see anything, and their ears look clean. They did scratch their ears a lot when they first came home. I wonder if they had fleas and while sleeping with the dog shared them with him, and the fleas decided to all go live in dogland instead of hanging onto careening crazy kitties?

I've felt a couple spots where there was a tiny bit of dried blood, whether it was from scratching or flea bites I couldn't say- all on his neck. He has chewed off a small amount of fur on his hips, but not enough someone who doesn't know him VERY well would even notice. No dandruff, no dry skin. I wouldn't even know what a flea bite looks like- I've never even seen an animal with fleas in this state! I think my vet would have noticed fleas when she saw the kittens, but maybe not since in CO we see so few that even the vet might not be looking for or notice a small number of fleas.

I did bathe him at a self service dog wash in the hypoallergenic EarthBath shampoo last week and blew his coat out with no heat in case it was just dead hair that the brush didn't reach getting to him. He was better for that day, but when we went home and he slept in the bedroom he itched again. I am at a loss! I have one allergy dog already and have raised this pup carefully with protein rotation and raw meaty bones as a supplement specifically in hopes of preventing any allergies- the springtime sneezing is one thing, but this itching seems different. My gut feeling is something is biting him and it came from the cats, but I don't know how to tell for sure, and I see nothing!

EDITED TO ADD: There was another post while I was typing so responding to that-

He is on the new Blue Buffalo Wilderness (it's sort of like Evo though not totally grain free, but very high meat 42% protein from chicken, fish, and turkey) right now, switched from the Red Meat Evo. The only common ingredient seems to be potatoes. It could be potatoes, but so suddenly and so much itching, with no skin redness? Maybe do only raw for a week, and something like rabbit that he's never been on and see?

Do I need a special comb to look for fleas? What the heck do they even LOOK like? How big are they? It's not just the ears, definitely more places than that.

He rarely wears clothes- he has a LOT of hair- and I wash all my laundry in a detergent free of perfumes, fragrances, and additives- it is hypoallergenic for people, so hopefully for dogs too. I don't use fabric softener and I use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a color safe bleach.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-11-2007, 07:56 PM
misticaleclipse's Avatar
misticaleclipse misticaleclipse is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: london, Ontario
Posts: 1,544
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrazade View Post

He is on the new Blue Buffalo Wilderness (it's sort of like Evo though not totally grain free, but very high meat 42% protein from chicken, fish, and turkey) right now, switched from the Red Meat Evo. The only common ingredient seems to be potatoes. It could be potatoes, but so suddenly and so much itching, with no skin redness? Maybe do only raw for a week, and something like rabbit that he's never been on and see?

Do I need a special comb to look for fleas? What the heck do they even LOOK like? How big are they? It's not just the ears, definitely more places than that.

He rarely wears clothes- he has a LOT of hair- and I wash all my laundry in a detergent free of perfumes, fragrances, and additives- it is hypoallergenic for people, so hopefully for dogs too. I don't use fabric softener and I use diluted hydrogen peroxide as a color safe bleach.
Your food sounds really good, though just like people I believe dogs can develope allergies they never had previously, but I doubt its a coincidence it started when the cats arrived...

I know you said you did not want to put chemicals like frontline on him, what about trying a flea collar for a bit instead? (on the cats to if they are old enough now)

Honestly I have never heard of anyone getting rid of fleas without chemicals...., sure you can bathe the dog and treat your house with vacumming and so on, but fleas have a strong resilience to most things.

If its fleas the rugs and bedding would need a real cleaning as well, but
at this point obviously we do not know. I believe you can buy "flea combs", but i have heard of using a regular straight come and putting the down on a white sheet for brushing him and then checking for residue.
Putting tape in contact with the skin may help to detect it was well, but
would be hard with a thick coated dog.
The blood you found could be from fleas, but also as easily from an injury due to itching.

Fleas are tiny little black things that move, they don't fly but they can hop. They are very hard to kill, even if you catch one in your hard its extemely hard even to squeeze them to death, whenever I found one as a child we used to have to drown them in the sink. If you dog has them you may notice bites on yourself as well, its harder to detect in the summer because of flies, but of course bites in the winter make it more obvious (at least where I live)

You have another dog who has allergies? Is there nothing else that could be causing it that they are around? bedding, clothes, blankets, stuffed toys, etc
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-13-2007, 06:28 PM
Shahrazade Shahrazade is offline
Puppy Dog
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 48
Default

The other dog is a shelter pup who pretty much came with his allergies, though they got worse the summer he turned two- he's had blood tests and injections and is doing much better now on a restricted diet and with regular bathing. He's five, so he's been on and off different therapies for the allergies for three years before we finally did shots, which were the only thing that have helped long term. Also, my other dog lives with my parents because he did not adapt to apartment life when I moved out, so I doubt they are connected at all. We go visit three times a week (I'm lucky enough to live and go to college 1/2 hour from the house I grew up in!) but Gus itches all week.

I went through his fur pretty well with a brush and comb yesterday and saw nothing but a little irritated skin where he's been scratching, but I noticed two small bites on my arm- sounds like some kind of bug to me.

Now, the problem is, we have... you ready for this? Two fragile kittens with lousy immune systems, one dog, 13 rats, and a hedgehog at home. Everyone is going to have to be treated, right? Some of the ratties are too young to have Revolution yet, but it makes no sense to use it on some if I'm not going to treat all of them, since I'd then just have to do it again. Also, the hedgehog is a senior who is going to have to have surgery to remove a lump on his testicles soon, so I don't want to traumatize him too much.

Does anyone know anything about diatomaceous earth used to treat carpets and upholstery and bedding as well as the animals themselves? Are there any potential side effects to critters? Anyone used it on non dog/cat critters like ratties? I really do not want to use any chemicals around the baby cats- they are only 11 weeks and still recovering from the unknown illness. They seem all the way recovered but are still small for their age and may have permanently damaged immune systems because of what they went through being orphaned at three weeks and then being severely ill.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-13-2007, 07:35 PM
Beth82's Avatar
Beth82 Beth82 is offline
Puppy Dog
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 73
Default

Fleas can be very hard to find. It's easier to find flea droppings; use a fine-toothed comb to go through every inch of his coat and look for tiny dark specks (especially near the base of the tail). If you find any, put them on a white piece of paper and drip water on them - flea dirt will run red, because it's basically digested blood.

Honestly, I would use a topical treatment like Frontline. If it works it will bring relief quickly, because the fleas will all be dead in a day or two. You may only need it once, because of your climate. I live in Texas and we battle fleas for most of the year. I understand not wanting to use chemicals - I don't like it either. Still, Frontline or Advantage is the easiest and least stressful way to keep the fleas away, and they are about as safe as any pesticide can be. Before they were available it was a never-ending round of treating carpets, vacuuming, setting flea traps, flea combing, baths, etc. Nothing really did more than keep it down to a bearable level.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:41 AM.


1997-2013 Chazhound Dog Site