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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My dog Romeo is affected by some kind of mild allergy. He goes through random outbreaks of inflamed skin and stained hair on his front legs, under the base of his tail, lower abdomen and inner thighs due to excessive licking. He also gets gunky ears once in a while, and has constant runny eyes and tear stains.

He's been on PMR since August and the symptoms still randomly flare up, so I don't *think* it's food related, as I know that allergies to raw proteins are extremely rare. I don't feed any grain-inclusive treats, just occasional pure freeze-dried meat bits.

I can't pinpoint any one thing that causes flare-ups, I just try to stick with natural cleaning products, fragrance free detergents, shampoos, etc.

We went to the vet today because his left ear was bugging him more than usual (generally I clean it for a few days and it clears right up) and a few days ago he was actually screaming everytime he'd shake his head. The screaming started on Thursday and stopped on Friday (the day I made the appointment) but the shaking continued.

Well, the vet said that his ears were both clean on the inside with no inflammation, although there was some visible irritation along the outer edge of his left ear where he'd been scratching, so obviously it was bothering him. He wanted to give him a steroid injection, which I declined, and some drops. Hopefully the drops will clear up whatever is bothering him.

The vet wants to test for allergens. I expressed that I will not get into the cortisone injections and all of that. He said that wasn't a part of his game plan, but what they'd do was send an allergy test off to the lab and then make a "vaccine", so to speak, of the allergen(s) that are affecting him, then inject him starting twice a week and gradually decrease the frequency over a pretty long period of time. This isn't something I've heard of or looked into before, but I'll certainly start now. I told him I'd think about and get back to him.

I don't use chemical flea products, they receive limited vaccines and I try to use alternative meds as much as possible, so the thought of injecting my dog with stuff multiple times a week for a long period of time makes me INCREDIBLY uneasy. Should I be? What are my other alternatives? I don't want him to be uncomfortable, either.

I could also try taking proteins out of his diet one at a time to see if it IS in fact a food allergy. Of course, my vet believes that's what it is, and suggested that I try the hypoallergenic Hill's prescription diet. I'm all set with that, thanks. I expressed that I was pretty positive it wasn't food related, and he asked why. Not wanting to get into the great raw debate, I just said "Because I've tried a limited ingredient diet for months with no improvements, and the symptoms seem to appear at random" which is actually the truth! It's just not the limited ingredient diet that I'm sure he'd prefer I use!

Should I at least do the tests?
 

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Was it the Hepska I think it is called test or maybe that is the shots after the test.

My friend had the allergy test done on her Corgi and it came up with all these grasses so she was giving these shots several times a week and they never really did anything for the dogs symptoms, that same dog is now on pred. which is horrible but her symptoms were so severe. That particular test and shots didn't work for her dog.

Good luck with something that might work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The vet also said it would be very expensive... So if I decided to go for it and there were no improvements, that would surely suck. Then I'd be right back at square one! Just with a lot less money in my savings account :p
 

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Allergy tests are notoriously inaccurate. If you think its a food allergy, here is what you do.

Feed nothing but chicken for 2 months. No treats, no nothing that has chicken in it. Not one bite. For 2 months the dog gets nothing that didn't come from the body of a chicken.

Either one of two things will happen. Either the symptoms will go away or they won't. If they go away, you know he has a food allergy. Start adding back proteins at the rate of one every two weeks. When symptom returns, you have your culprit.

If symptoms don't go away, stop feeding chicken and feed anything else but chicken. No chicken is eaten for 2 months. Nothing that came from the body of a chicken goes in the dog's mouth. If the symptoms go away, he was allergic to chicken. If not, he doesn't have a food allergy. At least not an allergy to animal protein.

You have to be very careful to feed only what you should during this test and it's not as easy as it sounds. Particularly if you feed treats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not convinced that it's a food allergy, but may do this just to rule it out. I'm thinking it's more like atopic dermatitis. Could be a dust mite allergy for all I know... And then what are my options besides keeping the house vacuumed and rinsing him off frequently?

You know, the more I think about that vet visit, the more irritated I am by the fact that he saw NO inflammation at all and still wanted to give Romeo a steroid injection. Why? He also seemed less than thrilled by the end of the visit, not like he normally is when I bring animals in. I'm not sure if it was because I expressed my doubt in his food allergy opinion and dismay toward all those nasty injections, or what. It was pretty uncomfortable, though. Sucks, because I do like the guy.

I wonder if I should just bite the bullet and start to look for a vet who's more in tune with my thinking. Sigh...
 

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Uggg

I'm on my way to starting the raw diet for my dogs, but all your symptoms, minus the ear thing - sound just like my baby! And that allergy "test" they want to perform - I was told - is like $400!!!! I was also told that it could come back as a dust, grass, or unknown allergy. All of which are NO help! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the PMR thing works for him! Also that you come to a quick fix for your baby, because I know what it's like to watch them chew and itch and when you can't help them. Keep me posted, I'm very interested in what you try and what your results are!
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you!

Yeah, I was really hoping it was a grain allergy that would magically disappear when I started raw but he keeps getting the flare-ups :(

I'll definitely keep you posted. One thing I tried the other night seemed to help calm his skin; organic apple cider vinegar diluted with cool water to make a rinse. You can either put the dog in the tub and pour it over him, working it into the coat and skin, or just wipe it on liberally with a wash cloth. This is something I'll now do regularly. Apple cider vinegar in their drinking water is also suppose to help. Salmon oil daily also helps to keep the skin supple.

I hope going raw solves your pup's issue, though!
 
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