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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
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I have a six year old Wirehaired Dachsund,fed mostly on lamb
I have a six year old Wirehaired Dachsund,fed mostly on lamb with some rice He has been treated for flees,bot still has an irritated condition. Please help.........He is a country Dog
Not on Burns feed at the moment
3 years ago.
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replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Stanley is so miserably itchy.
Allergies are the most common cause of itchy skin and can give him a skin crawling, all over itchy type effect which many dogs find irritating. Unfortunately Dachshunds as a breed tend to be highly allergic dogs, much more likely to develop allergies then some other breeds. I'll give you an allergy rundown of likely causes for skin troubles. He may have more than one allergy given how symptomatic he is now.
Dogs that have one allergy often develop several with time. The effect of multiple allergies aren't additive, they actually compound one another.
Even if you don't see fleas I do recommend using protection, because they are the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog scratch. I am glad to see flea protection has already been started. I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. Frontline Plus, Advantage II or Advantix are excellent products. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic.
Other allergens can be inhaled (like grass pollen, dust mites or molds) and they are more commonly seen in young, middle aged dogs like Stanley. You can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those (they also help with the symptoms of flea allergy). In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If in time you notice that his symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of his problem.
You can try:
1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with acetaminophen or decongestants as they can be toxic) at 2mg to 4mg per kilogram of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 8 to 12 kilograms of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 12 kilograms of body weight once or twice daily.
OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 2mg per kilogram orally every 8 hours.
OR 4) Chlorpheniramine (piriton) at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.
Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. You'll have to see which one works. Pick one, give it a week trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use
Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg to 40mg of EPA per kilogram of body weight per day. For example an 20 kilogram dog could take 400mg to 800mg of EPA per day.
Cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin.
Food allergy is very possible with him. Dogs can develop allergies to any protein or carbohydrate so even if he is only fed one thing that can be what he is allergic to. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" can be affected. I know that you have changed his diet but it may not have been restrictive enough. Many over the counter hypoallergenic type foods are contaminated and aren't truly restrictive enough in a food allergic dog. Lamb and rice isn't magic, they are just found less frequently then chicken, beef or corn and so work for some dogs because they haven't been exposed to them before. You could try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. You should see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks though.
Another option if the antihistamines and omega 3's aren't enough is a product called Atopica. It suppresses the immune system a bit so it decreases allergic symptoms but it doesn't have as many harmful side effects as systemic steroids. Another option is a brand new drug called Apoquel (generic name oclacitinib) which interferes with the allergic pathway. It works very quickly to stop the symptoms of an allergy. Most dogs are reported to be much more comfortable in a day or so. If you are interested discuss these medications with your veterinarian as they are prescription products.
If he has never had a skin swab, deep skin scraping or skin biopsy to look for skin mites then your veterinarian should look for parasites like cheyletiella, demodex or sarcoptes as they can lead to very itchy skin and the secondary inflammation they cause can quite a bit of irritation thus making him itchy.
If your veterinarian seems stumped ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist, they specialize only in skin diseases and may be able to get him more comfortable more quickly.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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