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Itchy Cavalier?

(21 Posts)
thebestpossibletaste Wed 20-Feb-13 21:36:01

I have a four year old ruby Cavalier. She's a rescue dog and was one and a half when we got her.

She came to us very itchy and on rubbish food. She now has Vets Kitchen salmon flavour dry food and nothing else. The only treats she has are dry fish skin twists from PaH which are 100% fish skin.

She is still very itchy. The vet can find no reason for this, nor can the groomer - it's mainly her ears that cause problems but they don't have any discharge in them or any sign of mites.

I did try PaH sensitive dry food before switching to Vets Kitchen, no difference.

Any ideas what else I could try?

(Should add we keep her clean but use only a tiny amount of organic baby bubblebath without parabens or SLS and that maybe once a month, she goes to the groomer generally about every three months because keeping the fur around her ears short helps a bit and I use Front line against fleas and she has never had fleas.)

digerd Thu 21-Feb-13 11:12:11

Dogs should not normally need bathing every month and not supposed to be good for them. But if it's mainly her ears, it could just be that the hair is itching . Mine does that sometimes and have noticed that with the ears she is very gentle with her scratching. She also has lots of hair in her ears. So long as her scratching is not causing skin damage, I wouldn't worry too much.

thebestpossibletaste Thu 21-Feb-13 12:03:41

No, I do only bathe her when she needs it, if smelly or muddy.

I'm not sure it's just the ears, although keeping the hair short there certainly helps. But she also loves rubbing her chin on the carpet and grass in summer as if it is relieving a terrible itch - or is this just normal for any dog?

The problem with her scratching her ears is (as she's a spaniel and they get a bit shaggy at times!) she gets her claws caught in the hair and can't free them easily and yelps like mad, frightening us all!!

Whippoorwhill Thu 21-Feb-13 12:09:59

Both my old dogs and the new puppy have been allergic to fish. It is always recommended for itchy skin but was the cause in their case. Is it possibly that?

Another thought is that one of my old dogs was also sensitive to any carbohydrate including the safe ones in prescription foods. She ended up on a raw meat and bones diet, mainly chicken and that sorted all her problems unless she stole something forbidden.

Good luck, it's horrible when they are itchy like that.

thebestpossibletaste Thu 21-Feb-13 12:23:02

I have read about BARF diet but am trying to avoid that as I can't cope with the blood and mess in my kitchen, in my fridge, etc.

I hadn't thought about a fish allergy. You are right, most foods for sensitive dogs contain salmon it seems. Maybe I should try something else, something gluten free but not fish based. Will have to have a good look around - any recommendations?

yesbutnobut Thu 21-Feb-13 16:42:14

OP, has your vet ruled out ear mites? Or a skin allergy?

Sorry to also mention it but have you also looked into syringomyelia which a lot of cavaliers have? It's your description of your dog rubbing her chin on the carpet as if she has an itch that makes me wonder.

I have a cavalier and joined a couple of breed specific forums - there is a wealth of advice on these from experience owners and vets. If you look at the cavalier club website you'll find links to health related information as well.

Hope you get to the bottom of this. I feed my cavalier barf by the way and there's minimal blood and certainly no mess involved. The main reason I do it is that she loves it (chicken wings especially).

thebestpossibletaste Thu 21-Feb-13 18:48:02

Thanks yesbutnobut I'll look into that. Don't know much about it.

what do you feed your cavalier on a typical day? where do you get your barf food?

thebestpossibletaste Thu 21-Feb-13 18:50:03

Forgot to say, the vet ruled out mites, wasnt sure about allergies, told me to change food and keep her ears clean.

thebestpossibletaste Fri 22-Feb-13 10:24:28

Just been reading about syringomyelia and am very worried.

I will keep an eye on her for a couple of days (just starting new part-time job today, also working tomorrow morning so can't get to vet until Monday) and will then ring the vet on Monday to see what she thinks. Can't bear the thought of my pup being in pain all the time sad

Irishmammybread Fri 22-Feb-13 19:11:50

You could try a prescription hypoallergenic diet from your vet but though food allergy is a possibility ,dogs can be allergic to a lot of other things.
If you use frontline regularly fleas are unlikely to be an issue,make sure you wait at least 2 days before/or after bathing the dog to apply, and if the dog is washed or gets wet more than 4 times be aware that it becomes less effective. Comfortis is a flea tablet dogs take once a month, it has the fastest speed of kill of fleas of anything on the market and isn't affected by washing etc so it's ideal for dogs with allergies/skin problems,you could ask your vet about it.
There are some shampoos that actually have soothing and anti-itching properties, your vet may recommend something like Epi-soothe.
Atopy is an allergic condition that affects a lot of dogs. It is often diagnosed by ruling out other things like parasites/skin infections/food intolerance though you can have blood tests done to check what allergans may trigger it or be referred to a dermatologist for intradermal skin testing.
Treatment can vary and depends on the severity of the symptoms and whether it is something that flares up occasionally or is constant.... antiinflammatories like steroids or antihistamines, steroid sprays such as Cortavance, a drug called Atopica helps in some cases if the problem is ongoing, or if you pinpont the triggering factor with blood tests sometimes you can have an autogenous vaccine made up to inject the dog with to control the problem.
So many things can cause itching ,it probably is worth going back to your vet and expressing your concerns.

thebestpossibletaste Fri 22-Feb-13 20:54:26

Thanks Irishmammy, I've had a poorly cat for the past half year so wanted to sort that out but now we are getting there and I will take the dog- although to be fair I've been a few times and the vet could find nothing wrong but I haven't pushed it as much as I could. I thought we'd seen an improvement with short hair around her ears and a change in food but she' s still itchy so I'll try and get to the bottom of it.

thebestpossibletaste Fri 22-Feb-13 21:31:06

It's definitely not fleas but I will ask the vet about the flea tablet anyway.

stillsingingintherain Sat 23-Feb-13 20:40:54

I have a Cavalier, and every time I take her to the vet, re. anything, the vet starts talking about syringomyelia. I would discount everything else, eg ear mites, food allergy etc etc... (what do you feed her on, out of interest?) and only then would I start looking into the signs and symptoms of syringomyelia. Many Cavaliers have it some have it very mildly, but obviously there are different degrees. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is by having an MRI scan. Any questions feel free to ask..

stillsingingintherain Sat 23-Feb-13 20:44:53

Sorru you said she's on Vets Kitchen - it looks natural enough and hypoallergenic. My cavalier is on a pre-packaged raw food (natural instinct) and has been since she was a puppy but many users report that changing to a natural diet has eliminated or reduced previous health problems / ailments.

When she scratches does she always make contact with the actual ear, or does she ever do 'air scratching'?

yesbutnobut Sat 23-Feb-13 22:03:07

Hi OP, some great advice here. You asked me about how much I feed my cavalier on the barf diet and it's basically worked out as 3 per cent of her body weight. I feed her raw chicken wings and necks, and also buy ready made raw food from a firm called Honey's - though I know from threads here that it could be done cheaper and I do intend to look into this.

I also hope it's not SM for your cavalier. You're doing the right thing by going to your vet and, armed with lots of questions, you will hopefully get to the bottom of this and will be able to help your dog. You may even want to get a second opinion if you're not satisfied as some vets will be more familiar than others with cavalier health. SM is known as the 'air scratcher's disease' as often the scratching isn't actually in contact with the ear or neck. Does this sound familiar or is it the actual ear your pooch is scratching?

Wishing you the very best of luck.

thebestpossibletaste Sat 23-Feb-13 23:15:21

Thanks for your replies. I've been watching her closely and the scratching is both sides and does seem a genuine itch, she doesn't seem unhappy or in pain and I think I have only seen her air scratch once in the garden. I will speak to the vet but may try her on some raw food.

So do you just give the raw chicken wings as they are and can they be the cheap supermarket ones or do you buy special ones for pets? Where do you get the other food from and if online is it delivered frozen? I tried this before for my cat and it arrived semi defrosted which worried me. Also what are the risks of salmonella from raw chicken wings? Are there any supplements she would need too?

btw she weighs about 8 kg- quite small.


thebestpossibletaste Sat 23-Feb-13 23:17:23

Sorry didn't answer properly. It is her actual ear or neck she scratches and she loves rubbing her chin on the carpet.

digerd Sun 24-Feb-13 09:17:58

Is it the insides of the ear or the outside? And is the neck below the ears?

thebestpossibletaste Sun 24-Feb-13 10:17:51

I'm fairly sure it's the inside. I don't think the neck scratching is probably excessive, I'll keep an eye on where she' s scratching- at the moment she's asleep.

thebestpossibletaste Mon 04-Mar-13 08:54:52

I managed to find a local supplier of raw food and went there on Saturday. My cavalier had her first raw food yesterday and loved it! I'm introducing ruit gradually to avoid upset tum!

thebestpossibletaste Mon 04-Mar-13 08:55:31

Damn phone, that should say' introducing it gradually'!

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