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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all! Long time lurker, first time poster! (I think lol). First would like to give a major thanks to the community! It was here where I first learned about poodles!

My 3 year old baby boy Nelson has had skin issues for going on 3-4 months. What started as a small brownish blemish at the end of his back has progressed almost across his entire back. He has also has noticeable hair loss/dry scabs in his tail. The skin is visibly dry and flaky, and the hair is brittle. I took him to the vet, where they gave me an anti fungal shampoo and performed bloodwork.... His thyroid numbers came back very low, but still in normal range.

I did not feel like the shampoo was working, so I took him back again, where I was prescribed Simplicef (anti-fungal) and Apoquel (anti-itching) pills AND a prescription for Hills Allergen free dog food.


—it’s only been 2-3 weeks, but I feel like I’m not seeing any improvement, and that this 2-3 month (very expensive) dog food diet is going to be a waste of time.



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I’m going to follow through with the diet, as suggested. But is there any educated guesses on what this could be? Any at home remedies for his dry and flaky skin? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Concerned Papa.
 

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Hi!

Nice to meet you and your handsome boy!

What does the vet think it is? They seem to be treating symptoms in a kitchen sink sort of approach, but they must have some sort of diagnosis in mind.

I'm way out of my element here but has he been checked for sebaceous adenitis?
Was his food changed before this started?

I'm sure some others will drop by soon with personal experience in this.

Hope you and Nelson get some answers soon.

Stay in touch, please.
 

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Yikes! That's rough to deal with. Your boy is lovely. Given that your vet hasn't really diagnosed the issue, I would first take a look at the fatty acids in your boy's diet. They are important for skin and hair health, and can definitely cause dry flaky skin. Many kibble diets do not adequately supply them. If you aren't already supplementing them, krill oil is the ideal dietary supplement, but fish oil will do if you can't get krill oil. Alternatively, canned sardines in water can be added to the diet up to around 15% of the diet to provide these oils naturally. After a few weeks, if there is no improvement, it will give you another thing to rule out.
 

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I'm surprised and disappointed they didn't explore the low thyroid further. I know humans can feel mighty sick in the low range of normal, and I don't imagine dogs are any different. Dry skin and hair loss are classic symptoms of impaired thyroid function.

I'd request a referral to a specialist for your beautiful boy. Or contact a holistic veterinarian for a second opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the quick responses/love! Such a welcoming community!

I believe my vet is leaning towards a food allergy, hence the prescription diet. I was feeding him Crave, a grain-free, chicken based protein kibble. I have been feeding him that for nearly a year. Previous to that he was eating a frozen Bil-Jac kibble. Iswitched b/c it was very hard to find (his breeder fed him that, so I tried to continue), and it apparently wasn’t very high quality according to my vet

I just feel like there has to be a faster/more direct way of finding the allergens than an elimination diet. The vet had an additional thyroid testing done when the thyroid came back low (I believe Free T4). She said it came back fine

Vet performed a skin scrape and looked for yeast months back, no yeast was found.

The sebaceous adenitis Rose n Poos mentioned looks very similar!!! I hope it isn’t that but it’d be nice to finally put a face to what’s going on to start an appropriate treatment plan. I will mention this to my vet! I’m unsure if he’s been tested for that. She has never mentioned it by name.

I will definitely look into the krill/fish oils! Is this something I could get from the grocery store, or pet supply?

I will keep you guys posted on Nelson’s progress! :)
 

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I will definitely look into the krill/fish oils! Is this something I could get from the grocery store, or pet supply?
Yes, it should be available at both but human grade supplements are generally preferable due to more stringent quality checks. I have had the stuff by vet prescription (to treat dry flaky skin) but it's the same thing available at the store or on amazon.

For fish oil, a maintenance dose is 100 mg per 10 lbs and a therapeutic dose (which I would advise in your case) is 300 mg per 10 lbs.

For krill oil, it's in a bit of a different form and you only need 1/3 the amount for the same benefit, so a therapeutic dose would be 100 mg per 10 lbs. If you can find it, krill oil is preferred over fish oil as it is more easily absorbed and easier on the digestive system.

It is recommended to use the gel pills rather than bottled oil because the oil can easily go rancid. Freezing the bottles can also be done to preserve them if bottled oil is preferred. The gel pills come in 500-1000 mg doses (check that it's per pill because often they list per serving which is two pills). So, for example, if your dog is 50 lbs you would give him one 500 mg gel pill of krill oil per day.

The gel pills can be split open and added to food, though I suppose you could also feed them whole if your dog doesn't mind.

Here is an excerpt of interest, which highlights why I think this is a good idea for your dog:

The most common signs of fatty acid deficiency are:
• Dry skin and dandruff.
• Coat issues, lots of shedding and thin or greasy hair.
• Allergy symptoms, itching and eczema.
• Slow wound healing.
• Ear infections
• Inflammations
 

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I just feel like there has to be a faster/more direct way of finding the allergens than an elimination diet.
I followed the link from the Hill's site to this on the Tuft's University Veterinary Medical Center site:


It doesn't look like there's a faster way but it does look like you and your vet are going to get to the bottom of this. I also hope it's not SA.

Your vet feels that thyroid levels aren't likely to be the cause. Yeast infection can be secondary to SA so if yeast got ruled out, that's encouraging. Part of the treatment plan for SA is Omega-3 supplementation so the only thing I'd say there would be to check with the vet to see if they think checking for SA is warranted and if so, should you hold off on starting those supplements?

Tossing in a few more links to various medical sources. The SA specific links also mention other conditions which produce similar symptoms, so worth looking at. Sort of fortunately, the other conditions which might cause the skin and hair issues are testable. Food allergies are the ones that take time to rule out.

SA specific

General list of known conditions

One more SA specific
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Took Nelson to my primary vet today. For the past week or so, I’ve been giving Nelson krill oil, and occasionally adding tuna to his kibble (once every 2 days). Additionally, I’ve used coconut oil directly on his dry patches in the morning, and at night I wipe him down with some pet-friendly vitamin-E wipes.

I was originally going in intending to receive a skin biopsy. But they informed me yesterday that due to corona, the procedure isn’t doable at the moment. Instead, they took him in and just gave him a look over. According to my vet, Nelson has “tremendously” improved since the last time she’s seen him (This is my primary vet, she hasn’t seen him in 3 months).

She told me that if I really want the biopsy, they can do it... but she strongly feels like it will be negative for anything. She also mentioned allergy shots, but was also weary on that because he doesn’t seem to scratch that much. She recommended Missing Link and Dinovite supplement powders.

She even brought up the possibility that his coat could be changing/becoming darker, and that she’s seen similar things in cream colored poodles.
 

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Took Nelson to my primary vet today. For the past week or so, I’ve been giving Nelson krill oil, and occasionally adding tuna to his kibble (once every 2 days). Additionally, I’ve used coconut oil directly on his dry patches in the morning, and at night I wipe him down with some pet-friendly vitamin-E wipes.

I was originally going in intending to receive a skin biopsy. But they informed me yesterday that due to corona, the procedure isn’t doable at the moment. Instead, they took him in and just gave him a look over. According to my vet, Nelson has “tremendously” improved since the last time she’s seen him (This is my primary vet, she hasn’t seen him in 3 months).

She told me that if I really want the biopsy, they can do it... but she strongly feels like it will be negative for anything. She also mentioned allergy shots, but was also weary on that because he doesn’t seem to scratch that much. She recommended Missing Link and Dinovite supplement powders.

She even brought up the possibility that his coat could be changing/becoming darker, and that she’s seen similar things in cream colored poodles.
Glad to hear it's going well! Hopefully he will improve over time. The one thing I would comment on is that tuna is very high in mercury so may not be best to give that often. Sardines (in water, not oil) would be the best if you can get them, or alternatively salmon. Just to keep the mercury low. I will look at those supplements when I have time (mainly out of curiosity).

From the pictures, it does not look to me like he is changing coat color. Poodles do change color but typically it's from dark to light. Cream poodles can get darker patches if their skin is damaged in some way, but that would be a symptom and not a cause.
 

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Very glad your boy is getting better. I would only add that if you have Lavender essential oil, that you put a drop here and there where it looks bad. Also, I would get Thompson's buffered Vitamin C. There is no standard set for C, but 1/2 teaspoon twice a day, on his food, should be fine. It will support his body and help him to recover faster.
 

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Others have provided good advice - just wanted to pop in and say Welcome. Your boy, Nelson, is precious and I hope you can get him back on track soon.
 

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Answer’s fermented fish stock is another incredible source of Omega 3s. It has the added benefit of also having great probiotic properties as well. Not sure if any pet stores near you carry it. If you’re able to find it I’d also suggest picking up some of their goat’s milk as well. The goat’s milk has anti-inflammatory properties and helps support the immune system.

Also, my local Walmart sells canned sardines in water with no salt added. I haven’t seen unsalted ones anywhere else...
 
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