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Hello,

I just moved and switched to a different vet and need some advice. My dog has had a sensitive stomach and has been having some itching problems. Since the beginning of summer until recently, she had been on Performatrin Ultra Limited chicken and sweet potato and done relatively well on it. In November she started having some itching problems. My old vet prescribed her an antibiotic because of a hot spot from itching and prescribed Apoquel. The old vet told me that the itching was from her anal glands being full and expressed them. When the itching didn't go away, the old vet wanted to keep her on Apoquel but I was not interested. So I started giving her Zyrtec and EPO to see if that would help combat the itching. But when the itching continued I switched her to Acana Lamb and Apple (Mid/Late Dec). She has also had some ear issues, but just redness no infection. The itching has improved but gets worse in the morning right before I give her the Zyrtec. The new vet is concerned about a food allergy but lectured me for 15/20 minutes about how prescription foods are great and how great Iams, Purina, etc are. He was not familiar with Champion Pet Foods and lectured me on how I need to make sure they do feeding trials and need to ask them to email me the results. Also, he said that if they are manufactured on the same equipment they can still affect the allergy. He said the prescription pet foods are not manufactured on the same equipment? My dog is doing GREAT digestive wise on the Acana Lamb and Apple formula. I really don't want to go the prescription route if I don't have to (I've been reading here and know they are bad). He also told me to stop giving the Zyrtec or I won't be able to tell if she has an allergy - I would rather not have her itch all day lol. So confused. Any advice on dealing with the potential allergy? Is Acana OK for dogs with allergies? 

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Replies to This Discussion

Others will respond but i’ll just say I think you need a new vet : ( 

Choosing the right vet is so hard :(. This vet has amazing reviews.. and the website for the vet didn't seem too commercial food-ish. I was totally surprised when he started lecturing me. Do you know if there is some sort of guide on this forum about choosing the right vet? I know there is one about breeders. 

Hi, can’t give comment on Zyrtec etc but know from our experience (never had a dog before) but my Doodle pup had a sensitive stomach when we got him and was itching and biting like mad but had no fleas, mange, dry skin etc..In fact his skin and coat looked good. So after trial and error we started him on Fish for Dogs fish, potato and pea kibble and a little salmon or trout. After just a few days he improved. Been on it months now and no further problems. It turns out he is allergic to meats. If he has it as a treat he itches loads again. Maybe worth a try. We are winging it on what I’ve read but it’s working so far. He absolutely seems to be allergic to meat bizarrely. The vets have tried to sell us all sorts of prescriptive food as an ‘alternative’ but they can’t find a fault in what we are doing so I’m sticking to it.

Here's the thing. Food allergies in dogs are fairly rare, (1% of all dogs are affected by food allergies) and when they do occur, they are very, very specific. it would be almost impossible for a dog to be allergic to all meat, because the way that a food allergy develops is from repeated exposure to a particular animal protein...eating chicken twice every day for a year or more, for example. It's very unlikely that your dog has eaten every single kind of meat there is, (goat? elk? rabbit? kangaroo?) and even if he has, he probably didn;t eat them every day. I can almost guarantee you that he is not allergic to every kind of meat, and there are probably many that he could eat without a problem. However, if the fish based food is working, that's great; fish is very rich in the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, both of which help a lot with itching and allergy symptoms. I just like to make sure that all of the info in this group is fact based on the topics of food allergies, because there is so much misinformation out there about them. 
Here's some info you may find helpful: 
https://doodlekisses.com/forum/topics/facts-about-food-allergies?gr...;

Thank you for your response.

I agree very strongly with F, you need a new vet.
There are so many issues here that I don;t even have time right now to address all of them, because Jasper's dinner is already late, lol, but the chances are 10 to 1 that your dog's itching has absolutely nothing to do with food. She most likely has Atopic Dermatitis, also known as seasonal allergies, inhalant allergies, and/or environmental allergies. The main culprits would be pollens and dust mites, judging by the timing here. The Acana Lamb & Apple is perfectly fine for her, and I would not change her food. 
This vet may get great reviews, but it's a documented fact that there is no nutrition curriculum in vet school, and what vets do learn about dog food comes directly from the salespeople at Hill's, Purina, & Mars...makers of the Rx foods the vets also sell. Ignore any advice about food.
GP vets are also not experts in allergies, just as your primary care doctor is not an allergist, a dermatologist, or any other kind of specialist. Your best bet here is to consult a veterinary dermatologist and have skin testing done, because the safest way to treat Atopy is with immunotherapy, and that can only be done by a dermatologist. Immunosuppressant drugs like Apoquel, Cytopoint, and Cyclosporine (Atopica) carry a risk of cancer among other side effects.
In the meantime, please read through this article carefully. It explains the situation and gives tips on what you can do to alleviate the itching in the meantime. There is quite a lot that can help. 
https://doodlekisses.com/forum/topics/some-basic-facts-about?groupU...;

Thank Karen, a very good and informative read. As I’m winging it as a first time owner I’m pleased I tick some of the ‘do’s’ Our pup is allergic to meat (not defined which but certainly chicken, & beef (possibly duck and lamb too) He has plenty of omega 3 as switched to fish food and fish treats etc. As well as veggies (carrot sticks and broccoli stems) We wash/wipe his feet each time he comes in and bath him weekly with either a oatmeal shampoo or a Manuka honey anti itch one. His frantic biting himself and itchy is almost gone, presume what he does now is just normal. He no longer rubs himself like mad on the carpet or towel or similar surfaces. He’s not bringing up his food anymore and his bowel habits are just perfect really. We are lucky we found out all by trial and error. I just knew as a new pup he was not right and things were not normal so I read everything I could find. The breeder even said he eats the less in the litter and was weaning him separate as he wasn’t getting on as quick as the others... it’s like he knew it was making him unwell.

Sounds like you are doing a great job caring for your guy.
If he likes the carrot sticks and broccoli, they are fine, but be aware that nutritionally, he's not getting much from them, because they are basically indigestible. Cooked carrots are actually more nutritious for dogs (and people) than raw, because cooking breaks down the plant cellulose walls of the plant cells and makes the nutrients more available. In either case though, they contain nothing that would help with allergies, but they are a good source of fiber. 

Thank you for the response. The article was great and I will try some of the things to eliminate her exposure to allergens in the meantime. I will keep her on the zyrtec, unless you feel like it could be harmful. I just did some research and ironically there is a veterinary dermatologist right next door to the vet I went to today lol. If I send you the links to the two different dermatologists that I found could you take a look? I don't want to screw up and waste money going to someone that isn't the best. I'm not sure if I can PM you or I should post the links to this forum? 

You can post the links here. 
There's no harm in giving Zyrtec if it's the right dosage for her. JD did better with generic Claritin, and he took it daily for years with no ill effects. If you do see a dermatology specialist, he or she may have some other antihistamine suggestions. 

Here are two that I found - 

http://www.lganimalderm.com/

http://aadconline.com/

Thanks again for the help. 

Both look fine, but I personally like the second one (AADC), based on the info on the websites. 

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