Here's Dana's story:
It all started in April, when Dana was 5 months old. One day, she just started scratching. Scratch, scratch, scratch. From the moment she got up in the morning, until she went to bed at night, she'd scratch about 40 to 50 times a day. Not intense scratching like she'll die of itchiness but lazy scratching. Like, it's itchy but just a little.
This started around the time we started agility so my first thought was: She's got a bunch of beach sand in her fur and it's making her itch. So I gave her a bath. Nope, still scratching.
So I put Dana on Revolution, which is a monthly parasite prevention. Revolution prevents and treats against fleas, ticks, scabies mange, demodex mange, ear mites, heartworm and a bunch of intestinal worms.
Dana's been on Revolution for 4 months now, and she's still scratching. (2 to 3 months is the length of time it usually takes to get rid of fleas or mange with the Revolution treatment.)
My vet thought that maybe I was bathing her too often and drying out her skin. (I usually bath Dana about once a week or so.) So, I toughed it out for a whole 5 weeks, no bath. Still scratching.
Dana has been slightly itchy for approximately 5 months now. She's not more itchy or less itchy. She's the same kind of itchy. Plus, her ears are very waxy. I know she's a poodle and all, but... she's still a pup. One of the symptoms of food allergies are gunky ears.
There are no lesions or rashes on the skin which are usually present with mange for example. Her skin is healthy and clear. No scabs, no rash, no dandruff, no visible dry spots.
There isn't a specific itchy spot on her body. She's itchy everywhere. She scratches her neck and her ears with her hind legs, she nibbles on her feet, her legs, her sides, and her groin with her teeth.
And, like I mentioned before, it's not intense itching. She won't scratch if she's doing something important like sleeping, eating, or playing... but if she's just laying there, or if we're doing something she's rather not do, like obedience training, then she's scratching. Every 5 to 10 minutes or so, she scratches.
So, if it's not a parasite, if it's not dry skin... is it allergies? My vet is thinking allergies. My friends tell me it's allergies. I look at my itchy dog and I think: allergies. :(
So now, I've put Dana on this (EXPENSIVE!!!) hypoallergenic dog food. She is to eat this food and this food only. No treats, no table scraps, no chewies, no cookies, no nothing!!!! Except this allergy food.
Dana will be on this exclusive diet for 6 weeks. The idea is that she should stop scratching around week 3 or 4. At week 6, if she's still itch free, I can start introducing other foods to see if she's allergic to them. If she's allergic, I'm told that one single mouthful can cause itching for 3 weeks!! So then, only after the 3 weeks of itching are over, can we introduce another food to see if she reacts.
My vet says it can take from 6 to 12 months to get food allergies under control. Dana and I are on week 1.
The only other thing is: If Dana is still itchy after being on the allergy food for a whole 6 weeks, it's a seasonal allergy.
The only thing we can do for seasonal allergies is steroids.
I HOPE it's NOT seasonal allergies. I'd hate to have to choose between an itchy dog or a dog on steroids. I've seen dogs on steroids. The side effects are murder.
So, I hope I haven't bored anyone with my long ramble... I started this thread because I wanted to know if anyone else has gone through this. I think poodles are a breed susceptible to food allergies. Is it hereditary?
If anyone else has an allergic dog, have you figured out exactly what
your dog is allergic to? Like bigpoodleperson already mentioned, there are allergy tests, but everyone tells me they're useless.
Is my dog going to be itchy for life??
A big thanks in advance from:
Concerned Salukie and Itchy Dana
The food Dana is on: