Dogs/Bloodhound & severe recurring skin issues
QUESTION: Hi Roger,
I just came across a question & answer from you dated 7/22/2010. Couldn't have come at a better time! My Gracie, just 2 yrs. since puppyhood has had skin issues. Starting with Puppy Mange which needed to rounds of treatment. Within 6 mos she started with the constant itching and scratching as well as having trouble maintaining weight and/or loosing weight. She has been treated pretty much every 6mos since usually with antibiotics. She also has entropion lower lid both eyes, which also become infected at the same time. Otherwise, her eyes are fine. I clean with warm water multiple times daily and apply erythromycin ointment 3xs daily. All it does is somewhat control it. One other point which was recently discovered her grandmothers litter was allowed to drink stagnant water which was tested positive for giardia. The entire litter contracted and were not treated. Some of which were bred, most of those litters seemed fine. But Gracie's litter, most have medical issues.
This episode definitely is worse than before, usually is contained to the trunk, now is from chin down neck, on legs. She does break out in hives and sneezes quite a bit. Not a big eater (she's free fed) I was just gifted beef liver 80lbs, great quality. I've been cooking, cutting mixing with the grain she's almost always had (Purina Adult). Did try grain free for a month, don't remember the name, didn't make any difference.
ANSWER: Hi Cathy,
Sorry to hear you are having so many issues all her life. That's tough on the little girl.
I'm glad you read one of more of my posts. Then you will not be surprised at what I'm about to tell you.
First, we have to get Gracie's immune system back up as strong as possible so she will be able to fight off most things naturally herself.
To do this we need to change and add a couple things:
First, you need to get SO far away from feeding anything with the name of Purina on it. This stuff is and will continue wrecking her immune system. Any commercial grain based foods will be extremely hard on her. The grains, wheat, corn, soy all contribute to weakening the immune system. These processed grains are stripped of nutrients so they act as a filler for commercial dog foods. They have no nutrient value. Not to mention the chemical process they undergo is also contributing to her problems.
Many commercial foods also put in by-products, artificial coloring's, and chemical preservatives. You will have to start looking at the ingredients in everything you are feeding her if you want success. Get to know what should be going in her and what shouldn't.
I didn't see that you mentioned her breed. If she is a small dog, you can get by without feeding any dry foods. Feed her only premium grain free canned foods. If she is a bigger dog and a budget is of concern, you can feed a little dry but it HAS to be grain free without any other bad stuff in it.
Dry foods are hard on a dogs kidney's as it takes a lot of effort for them to process the proteins from dry foods. Dry foods have no moisture. So this is also hard on her internal organs and her skin and coat.
Dry foods take up to 12 hours to digest. The digestion process takes a lot of energy away from her trying to heal herself.
Dry foods can have their place if you have big dogs, a lot of dogs and/or on a tight budget. But even the best dry food in the world is still the worst diet for any dog. They were never meant to eat a highly processed cooked diet like this. When you go against nature, something is bound to give.
If you can, feed nothing but premium canned foods that are grain free until she can get over some of these issues. Good ones would be like from Merrick, Instinct, Before Grains, Evanger's and so on. Look for these in the small natural pet food stores.
I know you mentioned trying a grain free food for a month. It may have helped some but with so many other things going on and in her, it's tough to tell anything in just that short of time. Something chronic like this may take longer to get out of her system. And if it was just a dry grain free, that is just not going to be enough in cases like this.
You also mentioned free feeding. Never do this. This leads to a dog becoming picky at what they eat and their digestive system is always having to work. Again, the digestive process takes a lot of energy. We need that energy to go towards healing.
Feed twice a day, morning and evening. Get her excited about eating again. The grain free canned should help as it is much more palatable than the crappy dry she has been eating.
Next we need to add in a couple supplements. The most important one are enzymes and probiotics. You can get these in powder form and just sprinkle a little on each meal. Animal Essentials makes a good one we sell a lot of. But there are many good ones out there. Look to the local natural pet food store for help. They are also available in other vitamin and mineral mixes. These would all be good to help build her immune system up.
The enzymes and probiotics will help build her immune system again. The enzymes help break down any foods she eats small enough to pass through the small intestine and into her blood stream. If foods are not broken down far enough, she can actually be malnourished as most nutrients are going strait through her.
Probiotics help fight off the bad bacteria causing the problems. The antibiotics she is constantly getting are killing the bad bacteria but they are also killing good bacteria. That is not a good thing. This will keep her immune system weak.
There are some natural alternatives to prescribed antibiotics, like colloidal silver. But you would need a holistic vet to work with you on any changes like that.
That would be another suggestion is for you to take her to a holistic vet for an evaluation. They are much better at treating from the inside out. And that is what she needs.
I would also look to get in some type of fish supplements into her diet. These are antioxidents that will help fight off free radical damage.
As for the liver you have, I would only feed a small portion of that a day. Too much can cause harm. It has a lot of vitamin A and other good nutrients but too much of a good thing is bad.
Feed no more than probably 10% of her meal with this liver. If you can freeze it, you can use it for a long time.
If you can add any green powders to her diet, that will help build her immune system back up. Ones like Pet Kelp or spirulina or wheat grass or other.
So take out any type of grain from her diet. No wheat, corn, soy, by-products, etc. This alone will help tremendously.
Get good quality grain free moist type foods in her.
Add the essential supplements mentioned above to help her digestive system.
Then allow nature enough time to help her build her system back to a normal dogs again. It may take some time, a little extra work on your part and some patients but most of the time we have success at doing this.
I know this is a lot of info so once you have read through it and if you have any more question or things you would like to add in, please feel free to write back and we can talk some more.
Make these changes as soon as possible to start the process.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Update: Say the vet yesterday, she suspects she may have an allergy to protein. Definitely infection going on, she's now on prednisone and cephalexin for 28 days. She is now on Hill's Prescription Diet "Skin/Food Sensitivities" canned and dry for 2 months to see how she does. Absolutely nothing else. She seems to like the food so far. Now I'm on the hunt for something more reasonable in price. 8lbs of dry is $38 and $3.70 a can. Time will tell, but so far so good, I will update. If you can think of anything less expensive...very much appreciated...
Thank you so much !!
Sorry to hear you have to go on Hills Prescription foods. They are expensive and they are crap. I told you what I would do. I'm not a vet and cannot ethically tell you to not do what they are telling you. I can only inform you as to what has worked for me and many of my customers.
The prednisone will suppress the problem but will not make it go away. Period. That's why you are getting the impression that things are already getting better.
I've seen many dogs have allergies to certain types of proteins usually caused by feeding a dry food only diet and never switching foods. Feeding the same thing all the time can lead to a dog becoming allergic to it. I've never seen a dog become allergic to all protein. That just goes against nature.
My last advice would be to do your OWN research and if possible, talk to a holistic vet. They can heal and not just treat the symptom. I would also recommend researching a raw food diet for your dog. We feed exclusively raw to our dogs for many years. We have healed many dogs by converting them to a raw food diet.
I don't agree with what your vet is prescribing. It only lines their pockets with money. But they do not know healing through nutrition, only through medicine. Your dog will do fine temporarily while her system is being suppressed by the prednisone. But then when she's off it, things will probably return. You need to treat the cause, not the symptoms.
But it's your dog and your choice. Best of luck.