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Since we get so many questions on hot spots, missing hair and allergies I thought I would do a thread on how to properly figure out what is going on. Many owners get too impatient to find out what is causing the allergy and change too many things at once and never figure out what was causing the irritation. Tempest suddenly has an allergy issue and is 5.5 years old. We need to rule out what type of allergy it is to properly treat it. It could be a contact allergy, seasonal, or food related. I wanted to document what I did and the results to show how to figure out what is going on. I think if we can refer to a thread like this we can save some typing since this is a common issues for so many dogs. This is not a thread where I want input on what to try, if I get to that point I will post another thread, this could turn into a 8 page thread if we discuss that. ;)

Tempest is losing hair on her rear end and scratching her neck, belly and sides bloody. This started about a week ago and I know it is high allergy season so I am hoping it is just seasonal.

What to try

First we rule out a contact allergy
  1. Give her a bath with Dawn dish soap to remove dirt and oil from any irritants
  2. Clean crate with Dawn and warm water
  3. Wash any blankets or bedding she uses with a hypoallergenic detergent or baby detergent
  4. If the reaction is really bad you can use cortisone cream to help with itching
  5. Start on a course of Benadryl

I gave her a bath with Dawn, cleaned her crate, washed her bedding with detergent I have for my baby that I gentle on the skin. I washed her blanket 3 times because she is a dirt ball and I wanted to remove all the dirt.
I started her on a heavy dose of benadryl for a week straight twice a day.

Benadryl dosage
1mg per pound of body weight is the normal dose but you can give up to 3 times that amount for acute reactions. Tempest weighs about 45-50lbs so normally I would give her 2 Benadryl pills, each pill is 25mgs so a total of 50 mgs. For this reaction I gave her 100mgs and will do that every day twice a day for a week then back off to 50mgs twice a day.

I have some cortisone cream I got for her and will try that as well. For severe reactions oral steroids can be used but you should get that from a vet. I have dosages but if not done correctly can be dangerous so I will not even post it. I know she is allergic to the straw I put in the dog houses in the winter so it could be seasonal or contact. One note about using the Dawn dish soap, use it only once to remove the dirt and oil, any baths given after the initial one should be a good oatmeal shampoo. Dawn will strip the good and bad oils from the coat so it will dry out some for a few day and may get flaky. Any more than once and you will really dry out the coat and make the dog itch worse.

If that does not work and I do not see improvement in a week or so I will move on to seasonal allergies.
For seasonal I will keep her on the Benadryl and if seems to get better with Benadryl I can assume it is seasonal allergies. This may be something you just have to spot treat as the seasons change. If your dog has really bad seasonal allergies or just sever allergies in general you might want to consult a specialist vet. They can do a skin scraping test to find out what they are allergic too and give them a weekly serum to take by injection. It really helps in the long run but is expensive.

If all this does not help then I have to consider food allergies. I will stop feeding a grain food and switch to grain free diet like duck or salmon. I like TOTW but that is JMO. You need to cut all grains and treats out of your dogs diet and feed only grain free kibble for at least 3 weeks to cleanse the system. Some irritants can build up over time and stay there for a few weeks. Once the dog has had no grains and treats see if the allergies improved. If so it was an allergy to food. Add things back one at a time but give it 2 weeks before you add something else back in. Make a list and keep track, if a flare up happens write down what it was. Clear up that reactions before starting another food to add back to the diet.

If the allergies still occur then seek a vet that deals with allergies.

I will post pictures when I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes dreft is what I use for my baby and what I used on her blankets. Dreft is made for sensitive skin and works great. You can also get the cheaper version of dreft at Babies R us, it is the store brand but works the same.
 

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Fat-Dogs-R-Us
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most def. contact allergy because it's not a feet/neck/ear issue. Good luck getting to the bottom of it!
 

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Lisa for a food allergy do you have to change the brand of food or is switching the formula sufficient enough to determine if it was a food allergy or not. For instance can I just switch from TOTW Sierra Mountain formula to the Pacific stream formula or do I need to try a different brand altogether?
 

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Lisa for a food allergy do you have to change the brand of food or is switching the formula sufficient enough to determine if it was a food allergy or not. For instance can I just switch from TOTW Sierra Mountain formula to the Pacific stream formula or do I need to try a different brand altogether?
If you are already feeding grain free I would look at other things you give her. Like treats can have hidden grains in them. Is there a thread about this I can look at?
 

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If you are already feeding grain free I would look at other things you give her. Like treats can have hidden grains in them. Is there a thread about this I can look at?
no sorry I didn't start a thread on it because the vet told us it was allergies two weeks ago and to start with changing food because it's the easiest to diagnose. So we stopped all treats and changed formulas of TOTW, but we are still having the itching problem and minor hives. So I just wanted to make sure that changing the formula was a sufficient change to diagnose the food allergy. We'll try what you wrote about seasonal allergies now though. thank you.
 

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I would start where I did in this thread, food allergies is the last place I would start and if you dog has hives then I would bet it is seasonal or contact allergies. This thread will help you get started and if you are feeding a grain free already I would just cut out any treats till you figure it out. If you need more help let me know.
 

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grain free is a good way to go, but you need a single source protein based food. TOTW is not going to cut it for ya, sorry bud. Also if it was only two weeks ago it is too premature to say if the food change was effective or not because your dog hasn't had time to completely kick any previous infection from the vet visit that gave you antibiotics.
 

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Hi All!

I am looking for some feedback about allergy. I have a 1 1/2 year old pit-bull that developed severe allergy when she was about 5 months. I have been dealing with this for about a year now and still looking for solutions. She itches all over her body and has hives all over her body too when she gets pretty bad. Her hair has become thin and dry. After taking her to several vets I decided to do the blood test to find out what she was really allergic to. It turns out she is allergic to 19 different allergens. I started her on immunotherapy and hope to see a change in the coming months. I would like to know if anyone has try immunotherapy and if they have had any success? I am exhausted to say the least and would like to receive some encouragement that there would be some light at the end of the tunnel. She is the life of the house and I love her deeply and would do anything to make her better. Any suggestions are highly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I was wondering about distinguishing allergies from mange. If the areas of the rash are on elbows and chest/tummy is it allergic reaction and not mange? Because I was under the impression mange started around the ears, eyes, and snout? Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi All!

I am looking for some feedback about allergy. I have a 1 1/2 year old pit-bull that developed severe allergy when she was about 5 months. I have been dealing with this for about a year now and still looking for solutions. She itches all over her body and has hives all over her body too when she gets pretty bad. Her hair has become thin and dry. After taking her to several vets I decided to do the blood test to find out what she was really allergic to. It turns out she is allergic to 19 different allergens. I started her on immunotherapy and hope to see a change in the coming months. I would like to know if anyone has try immunotherapy and if they have had any success? I am exhausted to say the least and would like to receive some encouragement that there would be some light at the end of the tunnel. She is the life of the house and I love her deeply and would do anything to make her better. Any suggestions are highly appreciated. Thanks!
I think you had a thread about this right? I think you did and we talked about it there if not start one and we will help out.

I was wondering about disinguishing allergies from mange. If the areas of the rash are on elbows and chest/tummy is it allergic reaction and not mange? Because I was under the impression mange started around the ears, eyes, and snout? Thank you.
Yes you are right, Mange will normally start out around the eyes, ears, and muzzle. It also will start with hairloss vs a rash.
 
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