Help with pet question?

  1. I know there's more then a few a you that are very knowlegable about dogs and I remember someone on this board is also a vet tech so maybe someone can help.

    I have a 10yo black lab who has always had skin problems. Presently they have really exacerbated. She is sooo dry and flakey to the point of huge flakes of skin all over her coat so bad that it looks like she just came in from the snow.
    Her skin is not red or inflamed. She's a little itchy but she's not digging or chewing. I have tried diet suppliments for better coats.. She eats special food with no preservatives. I have tried all kinds of medicated shampoos not finding any that really work. It doesn't seem to bother her but it looks terrible and she does have an odor. My vet says she has allergies and I'd have to have allergy testing to get to the root of the problem, but I don't want to put her through that.
    I was just wondering if any of you had favorite shampoos or even if you can use human medicated shampoos like Head & Shoulders on dogs. Or any other suggestions. She's otherwise very healthy. I just feel bad for her because she looks so dirty with all these flakes nobody wants to pet her(except me) . I would appreciate any help you all could give for my poor baby!
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   aimeee
    I have a lab too who has allergies, but I don't know the answer to your question. Mine had terribly itchy feet and he is currently tapering off prednisone. It did the trick but he was absolutely ravenous for a while, eating and drinking and peeing constanting!

    I bought something off ebay recently, and the seller just happened to be a lab breeder and I saved the link to her web page. She talks extensively about allergy problems and there is a link to her email there. Perhaps she would have some suggestions for you.

    canine allergy problems
  4. by   kaycee
    Thanks for your response aimeee.
  5. by   Jen911
    My Sheltie-Terrier mix (aka my baby) has terrible allergies and has skin problems, too. The only shampoo I've found I can use is detergent-free oatmeal shampoo and conditioner. I've found it at pet stores. Just make sure it says "detergent-free"! I even tried the hydrocortisone shampoos, which seemed to make her itching even worse than ever. Ginger does get the flaking like you describe, but it seems to only happen once or twice a year now, and only when she has a major shedding event.

    I also give my dog prescription 3-V caps (replenishes the oils), hydroxizine, and benadryl. My dog takes almost as many pills as I do, but it seems to make her more comfortable.

    Good luck!

  6. by   craff1
    O.k. I'll do my best, I'm not a registered, tech, but I've been in the industry for a few years now. I agree w/ the vet. Probably allergy is the root of the problem, but sounds like a staph infection secondary to the allergies. Did they try steriods short term, or an injection? Sometimes if they can take the itch out for a while, they can calm the skin down enough to start healing, although you said he doesn't seem especially itchy, just flaky and stinky - the smell is your key, definately a sighn of no good. I'll bet they give him a round of antibiotics.

    As far as food, have you tried any hypoallergenic stuff, like rice and venison, i.e. change the protien source? You usually need to take about a week switching (while combining the two) and then up to 8 weeks to see if chng makes a difference. Then if you switch back and problems arise, you know it was food and not environment.

    Allergies in dogs usually come w/ itchy ears (can lead to ear infections secondary to allergies, so keep those ears clean w/ otomax or equivalent, ask the vet), and licking feet, in addition to general scratching.

    Scratch testing is expensive, and sometimes it just turns out that the dog is allergic to everything, like people... grass, trees, carpet fibers, dust, you name it. Then you go through the desensitization process w/ shots. (Also expensive and may or may not be very effective, some do well, some it doesn't help much). This usually entails the vet administering the injections whenever dosage is changed (to respond to possible anaphalactic - sp- shock) - which adds to the expense of the shots.

    Most of the over the counter shampoos like you buy in the grocery store, are crap (same for the flea products). Speaking of fleas, could be allergic to fleas and develop staph 2ndary to that reaction. One flea can be a real killer to a dog that's allergic, invest in some Advantage, or if near tick territory, Frontline is your best bet. Also, advantage will wash off w/ baths, and you are probably bathing frequently because of the smell - could also irritate her. I like the oatmeal conditioner by EpiSooth, a very popular manufacturer makes Sebolux medicated shampoo (also from your vet) for mild seborrhea. These products were sold by all 3 vet offices I worked in.

    For coat conditioners, I like DermCaps brand. You can get a liquid which you pump onto their food, or capsules (looks like vitamin e caps). I find the liquid the easiest. It contains concentrated fatty acids, and should help the flaking.

    Well, sorry to be so windy, hope this helps. But bottom line, since it's gotten worse lately and because of the smell, I'd get him/her in to see the vet so they can get her some immediate relief.

    Hope this helped, pm me and let me know the update.