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Desperation - itchy dog

(21 Posts)
worriedowner Sat 10-Feb-18 11:05:52

Hi all

I am struggling so much with what to do for my eldest dog. He is 9 and a Golden Retriever. Hoping fellow dog lovers will be able to empathise!

I have tried to cure and manage his condition so much over the years. It started when he was nearly 1. He's had blood allergy testing, skin allergy testing (no allergies apparently), saliva testing. I've fed him on the best dry foods, wet foods and I have raw fed him. He reacts to vaccinations so doesn't get those anymore.

His day to day standard of living was OK. We were off medication and just on supplements but I phased those out too and he was OK for the most part. When he is itchy he chews at himself and causes sores, he's not just a bit irritable he will cause harm so I have to put him in a buster collar or similar.

We moved house last summer, and he has been worse ever since. They did all get fleas so we treated the house and I have since rug doctored to get the treatment out of whatever carpets we have as best we can but it hasn't really helped. He was put onto a medication called Apoquel and was better, it's the only thing that's offered true relief but I do have to double dose him for periods.

Problem is, I hate Apoquel. It's not the price, I'll pay anything to have him well. But it states that if they have cancerous growths it will, in effect, promote the growth of cancerous cells by stopping the body from destroying them or attempting to. Given his age I am fearful of him getting very poorly from cancer, largely from the Apoquel if we can cope without it, but I know his quality of life needs to be the best it can be. I know Apoquel won't cause it directly, but it will speed up the growth/stop his body potentially killing off early mutated cells.

I am quite literally devastated that I am unable to manage his condition as well as I have previously and unsure of what to do. I think most will think it's easy just stick him on the Apoquel, but he is my world and even in vet wrap and a buster collar at the moment he is generally a happy chap, but I have eczema so I know he must still feel quite pants. He's been my best friend for so long and I don't know what I'll do without him. I did bring it up at counselling I was attending once and they said they can't really help until he's not here anymore, I just need to enjoy him as much as I can now. That's not what I want advice on really but just in case people tell me to get a grip etc!

Any words of wisdom/ideas of what else I could try before I get the Apoquel back out the cupboard? sad

Elphame Sat 10-Feb-18 17:18:47

My breed is prone to itchy skin. Other owners swear by a fish based diet and Omega 3 supplements but I suspect you may have already tried that.

FoamRoller Sat 10-Feb-18 17:25:11

If you've tried the best diets this probably won't help as many of them have it in but I've known Salmon oil be a miracle cure for so many dog skin issues. It's better than cod liver oil as it is a cleaner fish!

Wolfiefan Sat 10-Feb-18 17:28:39

My girl has been itchy. I was told by the dermatologist that blood tests etc were unreliable. You need to do an exclusion diet. Ideally choose a protein your dog hasn't had before and stick to only that for a month. Eg rabbit.
See if there's an improvement.
I add apple cider vinegar to her food. (You can wash them or spray them with a diluted solution.)
Avoid chicken. Grain fed and often an issue apparently.
Try something like stinky stuff?

knitknack Sat 10-Feb-18 17:37:10

Just wanted to post in solidarity really.... we’re going through the exact same thing with our youngest bedlington (she’s 2). We have tried eliminating everything - as you have, but nothing has an effect and she’s currently COVERED in spots and scabs on her back, neck and top of head (never tummy).

She too has apoquel each night, which we buy online (with a vet’s prescription) and we try to manage the rest with various creams and an anti-bacteria shampoo.

Does your poor doggy get problems with their ears? I have to clean her ears regularly and they often smell awful (checked by vet, part of her unknown allergy apparently).

When it first started we hoped it was seasonal but here we are almost a year later and no real change 😥 the pain of not being able to help them is terrible 😢

Sending doggy hugs

Pinkywoo Sat 10-Feb-18 17:46:20

My last lurcher had a similar problem, the skin on his back would get so dry it looked like he'd been snowed on, and would get sore patches all over his tummy. The only thing that kept it under control was being on James Welbeloved senior, salmon oil on his food, and putting e45 on any sore bits the minute they appeared, good luck.

Dancinghorses36 Sat 10-Feb-18 18:31:52

I feel for you, my saving grace was colloidal silver, my Hungarian Vizsla had horrendous itchy skin for years, after trying all the different diets and going through numerous tests, it was my new dog groomer who recommended it and after researching it I gave it a try, it was a life saver, he is much more comfortable and no more paw chewing and itching, best of luck

Farfel Sat 10-Feb-18 23:58:25

My terriers (Welshie and Westie) have been on Atopica and prednisone, both helped but I don't know if they're for long term?

What also helps my dogs is cetirizine (antihistamine), just the human stuff, I asked my vet and she said it's safe and may help (sometimes it does, on other dogs it has no effect) - 0.5 mg per pound. But check there's no xylitol in there!

And to my surprise because I was sceptical - oatmeal baths! Instead of using dog shampoo, make a paste of oatmeal, baking soda and water, massage it in, rinse. I don't have a blender so used my coffee grinder for the oatmeal. Or mix it all in the tub, seeing your dog is large. grin No scratching, no nervous post-bath running around - it's really soothing and their coats are gorgeous too.

worriedowner Sun 11-Feb-18 08:37:21

Thanks all! It's nice to have some solidarity too thanks

I've just put him into Yumega which is an Omega supplement from Lintbells, should see results in 4-6 weeks apparently but I think we are nearing that window and as yet haven't seen any.

Interesting how so many of you know people who found fish foods have helped. White fish is one of the things he had a mild intolerance of, but I could try salmon or even give him a whirl of a white fish one again. One of the vet's theories is that he has lots of sensitivities and the longer he is on a protein the worse he gets, so I rotate and try to only give single sources (so now he's on duck and potato, but I wouldn't give him one that was duck and turkey for example, I try and elongate the time away from other protein sources so we can rotate onto at some point). We have done exclusion diets and he's had the hydrolysed protein foods from Royal Canin and one from Hills and he still had problems on those too.

He also does have ear issues! Surolan is our best friend blush his smell like honey when they are too waxy and sore, I don't find it unpleasant but you can tell from the scent. Have you tried Thornit? For some reason I stopped using it but I think I will go back to that for his ears. Otherwise I use a lot of Vetzyme powder for his sore spots. Flea'd him again yesterday (got Advantage currently). Might try him on a flea and wormer in one next, the vets sell one beginning with B in tablet form but I can't remember the name! You never know.

Thanks for all the posts. I have another golden (18 months) and she is an itchy girl too. Will likely start her on Yumega. They all get limited protein sources, eg. Their treats are their kibble so they don't get a lamb food and chicken kibble it has always been very restricted given the eldest's problems. Youngster came on chicken and has since had lamb, pork, duck and venison and has been itchy on them all. She doesn't cause sores generally but the itch for her must still be unpleasant. They are all grain free foods but I am tempted to try a rice based one next. Feel like they might be allergic to me!! My third dog also chews but she is an anxious little thing (rescue dog) and exhibits quite a few other anxious behaviours so I'm not convinced she is genuinely itchy. We've always used the same kinds of washing detergents and never had a problem but I might do some googling in case. Thanks everyone. Any more inspiration feel free to throw it on this thread smile

Wolfiefan Sun 11-Feb-18 08:59:30

I was also recommended calendula.
The ear thing sounds like my girl. It was a yeast issue. Took her off kibble and onto raw and problem solved. Also no shop bought treats. I got a dehydrator and dehydrate liver and lung and Turkey!

Tootyfilou Sun 11-Feb-18 11:12:33

Another itchy golden retriever here! Mine is 3 and has atopic dermatitis.
I feel exactly as you do about Apoquel, even though it has good results. i tend to only use it sparingly. We raw feed and although there has been a slight improvement it was not the magic bullet I was hoping for.
what does help is frequent bathing, I am trying to do this 3 times a week and we have seen an improvement.
i am also considering asking for cytopoint as that is now licences for us in the uk and has fewer side effects than Apoquel. Good luck, its awful watching them suffer.

worriedowner Sun 11-Feb-18 11:52:07

Oooh would you mind telling me how you know about Cytopoint and why you think it may be better than Apoquel? I know most think Apoquel is at least better than Atopica which we never tried. I have rung the vets and they're going to look into it and call me back, they haven't heard of it before or at least the nurses haven't.

Bathing is a problem here. He HATES it. He had specialist care under Queens in Cambridge and has been to the AHT. I was bathing him in hibiscrub twice weekly at points. He point blank refuses to go in the bathroom these days. You have to persuade him to let you pick him up and take him in, he and DH have had cross words about it before, his tolerance threshold is very low for bathing these days. Not so bad in summer because I can hose him and he's more tolerant of that. I think he has had enough of baths, but I've got another new shampoo so he will be having one in a few days.

Feeling a bit more optimistic this morning after reading everyone's posts. My youngest has gone and chewed a sore on her rump since I said she doesn't do it to that extent, poor girl. Off to hunt out the clippers sad

Anyone got photos of their itchy beasts?

wombatron Sun 11-Feb-18 12:08:14

I'm quite concerned about Apoquel. I had no idea. My girl is an itchy girl and though I've halved the dosage myself (partly because of cost but mainly I can see half a tablet once daily seems to have a positive effect on her itching). She's previously suffered mast cell tumours. WHY would a vet give these???

Could you try coconut oil on the effected areas? I'm stopping apoquel immediately and looking for alternates. She has a chicken protein allergy found in dog foods that I know about, but even removing that doesn't help.

MimsyBorogroves Sun 11-Feb-18 12:13:23

Keifer is meant to be good, as is golden paste.

My previous hound was a very itchy, allergic dog. Raw food made a slight difference. I'm sure there was something else I used too, but I can't remember...will get back to you!

Tootyfilou Mon 12-Feb-18 09:17:31

Sorry not to get back until now. Are they both yours? They are beautiful! We have two as well ( crazy)
This is what they say about Cytopoint

Zoetis has launched Cytopoint (lokivetmab), a novel once-monthly injectable treatment for the clinical signs of atopic dermatitis in dogs and the first monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy approved in the European Union for veterinary use.
Zoetis says that Cytopoint works by mimicking the activity of natural antibodies which selectively bind and neutralise canine interleukin-31 (cIL-31), a key cytokine involved in triggering itch in dogs.

The company says that because of the precision and specificity with which Cytopoint acts to target and neutralise cIL-31, it has been shown not to interfere with the immune response, meaning that it does not induce unintended immunosuppression or enhancement.
I am on an Apoquel uses forum, most posters are from USA, and they seem to report good results from Cytopoint.
Many people say that Apoquel has decreasing efficacy the longer it is used.
My boys HATE the bath too but luckily mr itchy is small enough to be picked up!

Chickenagain Thu 15-Feb-18 13:28:26

One of my bulldogs had a terrible skin condition - itchy, flaking, bald patches and nothing worked. In desperation I used Wrights Coal Tar soap on him and it worked straight away. Put towel/mat in bath, soak dog all over, lather him up, leave a few minutes rinse & dry.
Antihystsmines can help with the nibbling and break the cycle. Raw diet is excellent too.

Praisebe Fri 16-Feb-18 01:32:09

Could you afford to try feeding him raw fish ? Since you tried the raw diet previously you could do it again but sub the meat for salmon unless he reacts to the offal and organs too
We feed a high quality fish kibble because ours is allergic to all meats and organs etc
Its worked wonders on his itchy dry skin and on his digestion. I also bathe mine after each walk to remove any pollen or contaminants that could irritate his skin and we use a coal tar dog shampoo along with coconut oil massages

Namethecat Fri 16-Feb-18 01:47:29

1/2 a piriton tab for a small dog or 1 for a larger one.

worriedowner Fri 16-Feb-18 21:37:47

I spoke to the vet about Apoquel and the cancer thing and he said how I phrased it isn't right but basically he would be wary of giving it to a dog who has had cancer given how it can interact with the body/immune system.

Thanks for all the ideas everyone, they are being noted down and I will start working through them all.

Tootyfilou - thank you SO much for mentioning Cytopoint! Its bloody expensive (£130 every 4 weeks) but I think we will give it a whirl. I've just got a new job so this will wipe out a big blooming chunk of the pay rise, but its got to be worth a go. I had not heard of it until you mentioned it, and I am so grateful that you have. It sounds absolutely amazing if it works for him, what we have been waiting for his whole life. I am so grateful, thank you very, very much. Jus need the vet to hurry up and get hold of it!

muttmad Fri 16-Feb-18 21:43:43

One of ours was itching and developing sore spots, vets treated with steroids which did nothing, by chance i saw an advert of facebook for a product called stinky stuff, with nothing to loose we tried it and apart from him stinking to high heaven it worked a treat! He's fine atm so not using it but it usually starts again in the spring so we've got some in the cupboard on standby!

JohnThomas69 Sat 17-Feb-18 16:32:08

A member of my family has a dog that has a skin issue that causes it to itch. Permanent medication was the only solution. I watched him last summer and if I was an hour late with his tablet the scratching started.
He would have no quality of life but for his daily dose.

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