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please help Marvin's itch

3915 Views 16 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  biscuit
Marvin is 8 months old and has had a chronic rash on his belly since 8 weeks old. The vets can't figure it out they prescribe antibiotics which clears it up but it comes right back. We are now scheduled for a dermatologist at the end of the month. I have changed laundry detergent, put up all the rugs in the house put fresh sheets on all the furniture watched his diet. We are going nuts trying to figure out what he is allergic to. The only relief for poor Marvin and his constant scratching has been Benadryl. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions???
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Our German Shepard had several different alergies. One was a specific type of grass/weed. Nearly every time he would be out for any lenth of time he would brake out. Marvin may have something similar and being that he is close to the groud comes in contact with it more and thus is broke out all the time.

Bottome line: Max had to get steriod injections (to help relieve the itching) and we had a cream we routinely applied to his belly & lower legs. I think he liked all the extra tummy rubs.
Could also be food.... has anyone suggested a food trial? The first thing I would try is to find a kibble (dry dog food) without any corn or corn products in it. That helps nearly all the foster bassets I get who have shedding/itching/rash problems....

Some corn-free kibbles:

Nutro Natural Choice Lamb and Rice (available at Petsmart/Petco)
Flint River Ranch (
California Natural
Chicken Soup for the Soul (available at most pet food stores now)
Absolutely! Our german shepard was having allergic reactions to corn in his food as well. He was mostly allergic to everything! :roll:

Nutro Max (found at Petsmart) has very little corn base in it.
Marvin is still on antibiotics and the rash is gone (for now) he goes to the doggie dermatologist in 1 week, in the mean time we have changed him over to Nurto rice & lamb. We will see if this helps Thanks for all the replies we will keep you posted
Our basset Nelson had an itching problem as well. Not only was he itchy and red in the stomach and chest, but he also showed the same symptoms in his front "armpits" as well.

Initially, the doctor gave an antihystemine, but that didn't do the trick. Last week, we got some prednisone, a steroid, which has relieved the itching and is resulting in his skin clearing up. He's on a reducing dosage for 15 days, at which time we'll follow up at the vet.

The vet thinks it's allergies (I've never heard of a dog with allergies before this). It may be seasonal, in which case, the steroid treatment will not be a full-time necessity. If it comes back, we will run him through a battery of allergy tests to identify the culprit and if we can, remove the culprit.

Good luck in your endeavors!
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I too have a pup who was scratching 24/7. I tried the diet changes, even went to preparing her food myself , salmon, (cooked, very very important!) whole grains etc. Nothing stopped the constant itch. Last month took her to an allergy and skin clinic that tested her for most things and have found she's allergic to grass, wool, and various trees! What's a pup to do? Allergy shots. We won't see a change until next year on those. But what has changed her little life is being diagnosed with erythema, that is what causes the little red bumps on the undersides,paws, and finally the root of her stinky ears! It's called pruritus, Malassezia yeast to be specific. She ges a tab of Nizoral daily and once a week is bathed with Malaseb shampoo. She is a new dog !!! She is happy and itch free ! The initial tests are expensive but I cannot stress the change in quality of life for all of us.
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I just had the allergy testing done on Molly, she's allergic to mold and dust mites. Guess I have to find the vacumn! Any suggestions from anyone? Take care, Belinda.
A maid???

Alice :D
I just had Murray tested for allergies too. I am hoping for improvement with his skin problems, but after talking with the vet and others who have been through this, it seems that it is generally a life-long situation which just must be dealt with on an on-going basis. A friend of mine who has 4 Rhodesian Ridgebacks removed the carpet from his home because testing showed that one of his dogs was having a reaction to it; there is some improvement but the dog still is having pretty severe problems. He has resorted to prednisone at times when this dog is having serious problems, but tells me he only uses that as a last resort.I have high hopes for the allergy shots.

[ December 06, 2003, 08:50 AM: Message edited by: murraysmom ]
OK - I know this is an old thread, but Sadie is continuing to have nearly life-long problems with her "arm pits", and the skin on her throat. Red, irritated - even raw at times. We've get it at bay somewhat with regular washing and cortisone spray. Recently, we changed from Pedigree to Purina One dog food, but this seems to have exacerbated the problem. I was curious to see how the various approaches -especially the changes in diet - have worked out since the discussion sort of petered out 2 months ago. Appreciate anyone's thoughts! (BTW, we going to try the Nutro Natural Adult Lamb and Rice kibble starting this week to see if it helps.)
If switching foods made a difference (albeit a negative one) then it would certainly be a good idea to try different ones and see how she reacts. My own allergy dog turned out not to be able to eat kibble at all (lord knows I tried, kibble is easier than homemade). I ended up having to make his food myself. It took about a year of experimenting with different ingredients, but I finally got his skin cleared up and not itchy, without medication.

[ February 01, 2004, 03:01 PM: Message edited by: Soundtrack ]
In the meantime, while trying different food trials and such... our Hector is allergic to certain grasses. So obviously, certain times of year are worse than others. We give him Benadryl tablerts during "itchy times" - up to 4 a day, of the 25 mg size. Our vet aproved this - Benadryl is just a simple anti-histamine. It works wonders for him. Turns him from a cranky whiny itch-monster, to a happy, mostly itch-free boy. :)
While it is most important to get to the source of the problem, I have found that gold bond powder is very helpful comfort wise, in the interim, especially in armpits and in the skin folds around the neck.
Our basset had itch problems. We tried steroids, and oatmeal baths. Our Vet finally suggested Selsun Blue Shampoo.........just like the one people use. We were told to leave it on for about 5 minutes(I know.....good luck). Low and more itches!!!!!! Everytime he starts showing red around his belly/armpits we lather him up!!!!!
When conducting a food trial, also known as an elimination diet, it's critically important not to give the dog anything other than the new food (no treats, chews, etc.) and not to administer unnecessary medications. Here are some discussions of eliminaton diets.

Food Allergies (Mar Vista Animal Medical Center)
Please consider the following clues which contribute to pointing us towards the food allergy as a diagnosis.

FOR FOOD ALLERGY (see illustration at top of page). [Includes facial itching, foot or limb chewing, belly itching, recurrent ear infections.]

Any of the above findings or observations warrant pursuit of food allergy.
It is important that during the diet trial no unnecessary medications be given.  No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones) should be given. Treats must be based on the same food sources as the test diet.  (Beware of Rice cakes, though, as wheat is commonly used as a filler.) Chewable heartworm preventives should be replaced with tablets.
Dogs Can Develop Food Sensitivities (
Whatever diet you choose for your dog, it should be the only food the dog ingests during the elimination period. This means no table scraps, dog biscuits, dog bones, rawhide chews, vitamins, minerals or chewable heartworm pills.
From Update on Food Allergy in the Dog and Cat
The length of the elimination diet is somewhat controversial, however, our observations have justified a dietary trial of eight to 12 weeks. Persistence of some pruritus [itching] at 12 weeks into the diet trial may indicate the need for continuing the diet, but may also indicate the presence of concurrent hypersensitivities [coexisting allergies]. In cases where antibiotics are given to treat secondary infections, or oral corticosteroids for severe pruritus, the diet must be continued for a minimum of two weeks past discontinuation of these treatments, in order to properly judge its efficacy.
[ February 05, 2004, 12:25 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
Actually, I was wondering whether giving Benadryl might mask any positive or negative effects from diet.

I just went through a very tedious process of trying to determine what was driving my blood sugar up. It was very, very frustrating, and required me kind of separating out everything I was eating, waiting these ridiculous lengths of time between eating, and poking myself a lot, to measure blood sugar. :mad:

Not fun and very tedious. But it was worth it, as I suddenly realized I'd stupidly started adding milk - not a dab, but a mess of milk - to the coffee and tea I drink all day. :mad:

Enough to drive my blood sugar to record highs (for me). :eek:

I could have masked the effects by saying darn! and running to get medication to keep my blood sugar at what is for me normal levels.

Instead, I went through this very tedious and frustrating process, discovered the problem and am now back to normal.

So the tedium etc was worth it. And I would imagine the process I just went through is really no different than an elimination diet.

So yes, I think Betsy's onto something here.
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