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I have noticed within the last week or so that Phin has been rather itchy. Some days I dont notice it at all, and others (like tonight) he has been crazy itchy. He has been on the same food (even same flavor) for months (wellness turkey and potato). Yeti and Phin get Spot Farms treats. They finished their last pack of turkey meatball and I got them a bag of chicken nuggets. Besides those two things, they hardly get any table scraps, and when they do its usually fruit, meat, or peanut butter. Phin is on an antibiotic currently for a staph infection. He gets a pepcid with a pea sized amount of PB and then I either mixed in a very small amount (tablespoon or less) of PB with his meal or a hard boiled egg. Besides that, his surroundings have not changed much. We did get new carpeting a week or two ago. I, for the life of me, cant figure out why he would be itchy.  I am curious if your dogs have every been itchy, and if so what was going on!

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Fish oil wasn't good for my boys guts either.  We switched to EPO.

Just wanted to keep everyone updated! Phin is still itchy, has 2 open (small) wounds on his belly that I assume he scratched open. While rubbing his tummy tonight I noticed his skin is SOO red. We have an appointment for Saturday morning (earliest they could get us in). Should I expect them to perscribe a cream, another antibiotic, spray? I’m so sad for my sweet guy.

I'd like to see them refer you to a veterinary dermatologist. I have found that GP vets are not very good at diagnosing or treating allergies.

What they should be doing is a skin scraping, and then depending on what that shows, perhaps recommending an antihistamine and a topical lotion or spray. Antibiotics are not going to do a thing for the itching, although they may be necessary if there is an infection. He may need steroids. If so, ask for a tapered course of oral steroids, NOT an injection. 

Haley, how old is Phin? Allergies typically show up between their first birthday and before the age of three; not always, but usually. 

The red skin? Henry has the same, it shows up on and off through out the day and is especially noticeable on the belly and groin area. The skin is normally a pale pink and will flush to a bright pink, we were told after Henry's allergy testing that this is his bodies inflammatory response to the allegens. It's funny (not really) but I pointed this out to his vet when he was just 5-6 months old, but before all itchy/scratchy started after his first birthday and she didn't have an explanation or seem overly concerned. As Karen has pointed out, a veterinary dermatologist looks very specifically at the skin, allergens, etc and has far more expertise in this area than a normal vet. I have to chime in and also agree with her regarding the antibiotics; unless there is a secondary infection they are not necessary and just one more thing Phin's system has to deal with on top of whatever possible allergen his system is fighting against. 

I feel you on being sad for Phin...it made my heart ache every time I would watch Henry scratch or lick his paws, all I could imagine is the feeling of ants crawling under his skin and his wanting to rip his skin off to get rid of them. Thankfully the immunotherapy is helping and we are down 60-70% in scratching and paw licking is almost gone.

Let us know what the vet says Saturday, I'll keep Phin in my thoughts.

I took Phin to the vet on Saturday and he did agree there is definitely an irritation. It has been very dry here the past few weeks and our vet said we were probably his 20th client that week in for allergies. They prescribed us with Apoquel to help stop his itching. We have been keeping a t-shirt on him so even when he does have the itches, hes not irritating his skin as bad. Also I'm hoping the t shirt helps deter an allergy that he is possibly getting into outside. All in all after 3 full days on the medicine, he has been way less itchy. Thanks to everyone for your help. We greatly appreciate it!!

Okay, so the T-shirt is not going to do a thing to "deter" the allergies, because an allergic reaction is not from the substance coming into contact with the skin, it's from the allergens being inhaled through the air. The allergens are things like pollens, dust mites, and molds, and they get into the bloodstream through inhalation. It's important to understand this, because i have known of people who thought that by cutting down trees or tearing our grass they could avoid the allergy symptoms, and that's not a possibility lol. Pollens travel hundreds of miles on the air.

This is the time of year when the weeds start pollinating, and those are some of the worst allergens around, particularly ragweed. Fall was always JD's worst time for his allergies. That's likely why your vet is seeing so many dogs lately. It is not because it's been dry in your area. In fact, dry weather is typically better for allergies than rainy weather. 

Apoquel is an immunosupressant drug. The allergy symptoms are caused by an immune response, so if you suppress the immune system, you also suppress the symptoms. It's fine for short term use, but like all immunosuppressant drugs, it does have major side effrects, including an increased risk of cancer. I would keep the idea of a veterinary dermatologist in mind for the future. 

Haley, I have to concur with Karen, her knowledge of canine allergies is superior and helped me tremendously with her education and experience.

Henry's allergies were pinpointed to grasses after having allergy testing. It would have been easy if it was just a matter of keeping him off of grass; our backyard is all concrete and aggregate surrounding our pool, his dog park is cedar bark and his favorite place, the lake, is all sand. Unfortunately, it's not simple because the pollens that cause the allergy travel for miles and here in CA Bermuda grass which is Henry's highest allergen is always in the high danger zone almost year round. That 5 acre park in back of our home that was a big factor in buying this house? All Bermuda grass, rye grass and crab grasses the source of Henry's allergies. I have the most beautiful view and the source of my boys misery all in one. It's almost an oxymoron.

We started immunotherapy two weeks ago and the difference is amazing; itching/scratching reduced 80% and the paw licking that caused the secondary yeast infection is almost zero. Henry's vet offered Apoquel and/or Cytopoint injections along with the immunotherapy to get the itching under control; I declined. Apoquel has benefits, you can start and stop it without issue or side effects; however, as Karen pointed out it is an immune suppressor and long term it has an ability to cause more harm than the itching it is supposed to control. Also, it might work in the beginning but in speaking with other dog owners whose dogs have taken it for long periods of time or on again off again scenarios it was less and less effective each time they went back on it. Plus it is expensive, more expensive in the long run than the immunotherapy! By the time Henry is in maintenance mode and receiving one shot every 10-21 days one vial at $160 can last months while a month on Apoquel is well over $100 based on Henry's 70# weight. Again, as Karen says, immunotherapy is the healthiest way to gain control over allergies, the benefits are huge and the health risk to the dog is zero (assuming they have no reaction to the serum).

I couldn't have said it better myself, lol! 

Your experience and insights have been invaluable for me along with all of the info in the Atopic Dermatitis Group. Allergy testing was hands down the best thing we did, no guessing, no process of elimination and it taking months if ever to find out the root cause...because I certainly never in a million years would have guessed that he was allergic to grass because he has almost no physical interaction with it. I swore it was the cedar bark at his dog park and guess what? He scored zero for cedar! 

Wow, your Apoquel is expensive.  I pay less than 1/2 of that for mine.  We just use it on an as needed basis in conjunction with Lucy's immunotherapy drops.

It is! $48 (vet price) for just 14 of the 16mg tablets and the vet was recommending twice per day for the first 14 days and once per day afterward to get the scratching under control so that would have added up to $144 for 28 days! I am so glad that the immunotherapy has worked wonders in reducing the itchy/scratchiness in such a short amount of time.

Jasper has seasonal allergies around this time every year and in the past I have given him Claritin for a couple weeks before switching over to Vanectyl P in order to control his itchiness.  He is on Vanactyl P for 1-2 months max, so pretty short term.  This year I was thinking about trying Apoquel instead.  I am aware of the side effects, but given the short time period, would this be a better choice than Vanactyl P?  

Thanks!

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