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Old 02-13-2017, 02:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Itching Mystery

I need some help solving this Basset hound mystery, so pop on your detective hats and get ready.

I've had my little Cletus for 5 months now. Cletus was abandoned with a free puppy sign in mid September and my girlfriend at the time's dad took him home and was going to take him to the pound in the morning. I had just begun the process of adopting a rescue basset, so I decided to take Cletus in. Boy, was he itching when I got him. Thump thump thump. He's been dealing with pretty extreme itching ever since.

Cletus was always itching his side and face with his back leg and biting at his groin area. First thing I did was give him a bath with some anti-flea shampoo I got from kroger. No effect. I also tried some apple cider vinegar on his itchy spots to no avail. He thumped away all day and all night. These days I'm very aware of where he is itchy, but at first I had no clue this was going to be such a big and long term problem. The spots I rubbed and scratched that really got him kicking were his chest and belly.

First vet I took him to put his age at 5 months, making him about 10 months old now. He got his rabies shot, distemper vac, and dewormer, a few weeks worth of Cephalexin 250mg, BNP-H antibiotic for his eyes, and 3 days worth of predisone. They also did a skin scrape that came back negative for mites. I also got flea meds for him. I'm an idiot and don't remember what the brand was, it was either frontline or advantix. I haven't been super diligent with it (maybe being 2-3 weeks late on treatement), but Cletus was sleeping with me, so I'm pretty sure I'd know if it was fleas

A week later I got 20 more days worth of prednisone because his itching flared back up. The steroids stopped his itching completely. He wouldn't even kick when I scratched him. However, it made him pee all the time and steroids are something that neither I nor the vet want little Cletus to be on.

A month after the first visit, I went back because the itching flared up when the steroids ran out. Cletus was given 50 Apoquel 5.4mg, a month worth of Cephalexin 500mg, Hill's K9 Duck hypoallergenic food, and some lime sulfur dip. Another skin scraping was done and came back negative, but I used the lime sulfur to treat the "mites" just in case. Vet said to start on 2 apoquel a day and move down to one a day in a week, but Cletus continued to need 2 a day or else he was absolutely miserable.

I moved after this, so now we're on environment number 3 with constant itching. Lime dip hasn't produced any results. His new hypoallergenic food hasn't done anything. Still needs 2 apoquel a day. I go to a new vet now a month after this last visit. The first vet was pretty dead set on it being mites. New vet gives me 30 more apoquel and 3 doses of Ivermectin for scabies.

Another month goes by. No improvements. Still needs apoquel twice a day to keep him from tearing himself up. I've switched from the Duck Hill's food to Salmon. Same brand. By now he's been on the Hypoallergenic food exclusively for two and a half months. I get a refill of apoquel and a referral to a skin specialist.

before going to the skin specialist, I notice that now his ears have really started to get itchy. He's always shaking his head and they're SUPER itchy in the mornings. Switched his bedding. Used really gentle detergent. Nothing. His bedding is polyester, so I may try to sleep him on cotton or something.

Skin specialist takes Cletus off apoquel and gives him an injection or the itching. Zoetis MoAB immunotherapeutic. She notes that a dog under 1 year of age shouldn't be on that much apoquel. We ran bloodwork and urine analysis which I've included at the end of this post in the images. The injection is supposed to last about a month, at which time Cletus will have been on the Hypoallergenic food for 3 and a half months and I'm supposed to test him with chicken, which is what I was feeding him when I first got him. She says his coat looks great and his ears look fine.

The injection works like a charm for a while. After a little more than a week his morning ear itching comes back. In the early days, his ears used to get super dirty and they were really greasy. At this point, I don't ever see a whole lot of wax buildup and his ears are pretty dry while the very inner parts of his ears are mildly greasy. At this point I just let him shake his head and itch his ears.

After about a month after the injection his itching has started to come back. I feed him some chicken and nothing dramatic happens. His itching just slowly starts to creep back up. I've started investigating under his fur and took pictures yesterday of all the spots I've found on him. Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet . He Also has a spot near the base of his tail where a small tuft of hair attached to skin is barely hanging on and the hair there is a little crusty. Some of the spots are kind of scabby. It seems like he might have dandruff in these areas or it's just the scab getting broken up. He also scratches at his face frequently. This morning his chest was all red and inflamed which wasn't present yesterday when I took the pictures.

I've thought about yeast infection, but the symptoms don't seem quite right. I fed him some garlic anyway, but I haven't really been able to find a clear answer on how to treat yeast infection. He's also quite obviously a pure bred basset hound so I've been thinking maybe it's genetic seborrhea. He used to be pretty oily, but no so much anymore. He seems to have very mild dandruff, but it could also just be old scabs getting torn up. I ordered some medicated shampoo anyway and it should be here by tomorrow, so I'll update on that.

I'm really at a loss. I can't stand to see him itching all the time and the vet is starting to get really expensive. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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you need allergy testing While blood and skin tests are ineffective of food allergies they work for atopy.


Yeast Infection of the Skin - Mar Vista Animal Medical Center
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Most people think food allergy first, but most allergies are environmental true food allergies in dogs are rare. That said, mites can be VERY difficult to get rid of. Agree with Mikey, get some skin tests done. Also, have you tried Benedryl or other OTC allergy meds? Ask you vet about them and dosing. Worked for Polly, she was allergic to everything topical and food allergies, we managed with OTC and occasional steroids for bad flare-ups. Good luck....BTW don't bathe your pup too often, can dry out the skin and make itching worse....and be sure to RINSE well.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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"BTW don't bathe your pup too often"

depend on the shampoo etc many skin conditions require frequent bathing like seborrhea, the important thing is rinse.

yeast infection require frequent bathing as well I recommend not using a single antifungal shampoo all the time but rotating on an every two to three week basis between two or three different antifungals to minimize the risk of the yeast developing a resistance to the treatment. my main two are Keto-clor based shampoo (Ketoconazole and chlorhexidine) and metconazole based.

Shampoo therapy: making sense of all of the choices (Proceedings)
" Contact time is of utmost importance when using shampoos. The shampoo needs to be on contact of the skin for 5 to 15 minutes. The contact time allows for proper hydration of the skin but provides sufficient time for the penetration and action of the shampoo ingredients. It is also important that shampoo be thoroughly rinsed off so that no residual shampoo is present which could irritate the skin.

...Depending on the condition being treated, some pets require twice weekly until adequate control of odor, grease and scale are achieved (usually 2 to 4 weeks worth of therapy). After that time, depending on the individual's response to the shampoo therapy, a maintenance shampoo as frequently as once weekly or as little as once monthly may be required. It is important to realize that the maintenance shampoo therapy may need to be adjusted depending on seasonal influences (i.e. variations in heat, humidity) since changes in environmental influences can affect dryness, greasiness, scaliness and the tendency to develop bacterial infections."
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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had a bad bout of this recently with blondie..... all told, lasted 3 or 4 months with
numerous treatments.

began with what seemed like "hot spots" on her belly. Hit them as before with
topical hydrocortisone cream. No relief. Got worse.

became wide spread over the course of a couple of weeks or so. she was digging all the time. Entire belly grossly inflamed to the point it appeared a secondary infection was setting in.

treated at vet with steroid (pills) and antibiotic for the secondary infection.

(we tried flea bath, oatmeal bath, etc in the mean time)

saw some relief but as soon as meds done, it returned with a vengeance.

back to vet. tried apoquel. No response/relief to that.

back to vet. steroid and antibiotic again

Had been no change in food but began to suspect food allergy. Wasn't that.

Continued to keep area clean and coated with topical steroids.

We did give her benedryl regularly in between treatments just so she could get some relief. That may have done as much good if not more than the other treatments

Just gradually began to improve and now it is gone.

Wish I could tell you what it was.....??environmental allergy from outside??? who knows but it did resolve.

Last edited by 3kbasset; 02-14-2017 at 09:01 PM.
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