I have no idea how much my dog's vet visits cost; I don't want to know. He has had a nose job - he's a pug; we widened his nostrils on the advice of the vet to see if it would help his breathing. Thankfully, it worked so we didn't have to reconstruct his entire nasal passage. He has had a bone on his front surgically altered because his elbow joint wasn't lining up correctly. He has spent the night in a doggie emergency room after eating something (we think a mushroom or cigarette butt based on how he seemed like he was on acid after eating it) at about 6 months.
There is no way I would ever give the OK to feed my dog food that cost $5 a day. Which is why I will never ask and my wife will never tell.
That's what a specialized vet (dermatologic issues) at Arrowhead Animal Hospital in Westminster diagnosed our 4-yr-old smooth collie with. Same symptoms you described in your pup, but add incessant shedding. Vet thinks it could be an allergy to beef. He's almost always been on a salmon & sweet potato blend of food. Apoquel didn't seem to do much for him when we tried it, and the Prednisone worked off and on. We started him on Immunotherapy. Unbelievable drug. Forget the name. Works great. $150 injection. We have pet insurance. Thankfully.
1/2 human claritin a day plus 2 benedryl in the morning and 2 at night.
Cleared the hot spots up and avoided the steroids. Our original vet kept prescribing prednizone. The prednizone only treated the symptoms, didn't treat the root cause which was an histamine reaction to something.
The brand I use for my wolfdog puppies is "Answers." It is 100% raw, organic, sustainably farmed, grass-fed animals. A mixture of organ and muscle meat, 10% ground bone, and fermented vegetables. The stuff is incredible. My puppies went from regular digestive issues to perfect health in 2 days after switching. They've been on it several months now, and I get constant comments on how healthy they look.
It runs about $5/lb. My pups eat 14-15oz per day, each. But outside of growing puppies and really large breeds, most could get away with about 12 oz per day. It comes in wax-wrapped tubes and smells atrocious. Enjoy.
Initially, there was a loading dose twice a day (for the first two weeks, I think), then the dosing went down to once a day. That was later able to be cut to half a tablet, once a day. We worked with the vet to get to the lowest dose that would be effective, because it's an immunosuppressant. Over two years or so the dog has had one UTI, possibly related to the Apoquel, but other than that no noticeable side effects.
As to the source of the allergies, you can get the dog tested. That may help you avoid certain specific foods, rather than just going by trial and error. We eventually settled on one variety of Taste of the Wild food, with occasional treats of chicken, and Cinnabone dog biscuits, and a marrow bone once a week or so. That was the result of a combination of the allergy testing, and trying things out.
As in your situation, we adopted our dog (she's a Border Collie) as an adult. The itching was pretty bad initially, but it's considerably better now.
It's pretty expensive though. I think that's why a lot of vets try food changes first.
My golden retriever has had hot spots throughout his life, at times almost continuously (we'd treat it, he'd be healed for a couple of weeks, and then get another one.)
Four or so years ago, I got tired of the perpetual vet visits and we did go to a specialist vet in Pittsburgh for testing. They gave us some treatments that our regular vet hadn't prescribed or suggested, and did the skin prick tests. I think they also sent his blood out to check for food allergies, but I forget now. What they ultimately wanted to do was allergy shots, but we decided against it for time and money reasons. We kept managing his spots as they occurred but were able to manage them at home some of the time with the topical medicines they prescribed.
Oddly enough, he's 8.5 now and has only gotten 2 spots in the past 7 months, both of which we've caught early and been able to treat at home without antibiotics or steroids. I don't know if it's because he's older and spends more time lying around the house, less time rolling around outside, or because we moved to a different house and installed a whole-house humidifier (not for him, but maybe he benefited from it) or what. We're down to a hypoallergenic bath every couple of weeks (instead of every few days), and no Apoquel, though we still feed grain-free, chicken-free food.
How long was he on the steroid and why was he on it?
I think he was on it for his skin condition -- he was malnourished and very dry and itchy, and missing patches of fur.
Salmon's not a bad protein choice, as far as allergies go. You can also try duck, bison or venison (I'd keep him grain free). Taste of the Wild is a good option.
3X a day seems high, for Apoquel - it's usually one or two, I think. It's also a temporary med, and you should see results quickly. The fact that you're not, leads me to believe the allergen is still present. Food is the most likely culprit, so I'd start there. Remember that treats count too, so make sure they're grain-free and duck or one of the alternate proteins as well.
Watch the scratching, and put him in the cone of shame, if necessary.
I don't think we'll continue to see this vet.
The Apoquel is 1.5 pills, twice daily. He's a big boy (110 pounds or so). We did see immediately improvement in the itching, just not in the hives themselves.
You can email if you don't want to post it.
of problems with allergic type skin problems. He would develop a rash from time to time that would progress to focal skin irritation and infection. The vet would put him on a course of prednisone and antibiotics that would clear things up. That would last for up to 6 months, then recur.
About 2 1/2 years ago we got another golden retriever pup. The breeder encouraged us to use a raw diet for him. We decided to switch both of them to the same thing. We've used a couple of brands but have been feeding them Primal for almost 2 years now. We give the older one a Claritan tablet each evening. His skin and coat have been the best they have ever been for the last 2+ years.
I can't tell you if it is the diet or the Claritan. One old part time vet who we've seen intermittently when he fills in for our regular vet says it is the diet. He also works the Iditarod. He claims that the number of dogs with allergy problems has increased dramatically over the time he has been in practice which he attributes to the food.
I have no idea whether he is correct of if there is any science to back up his observations. Obviously our experience is a series of one. But it has been noticeable and a relief for us.
Forget the vet. There's a store in your area called Hero's Pets. That's where I go to get the raw food I feed the mini monsters. It's incredible. More importantly there is a gal there named Raven who knows every natural remedy for every condition in dogs. She's been a life saver. I'll give you her cell phone.
I'll give you a shout later today. In and out of meetings.
So $150, tops.
Seriously, though. Not sure you need to do that route long term. But might be good for a few months to let your pup get healthy, then you could maybe go half raw, half kibble.
They also have a raw fermented goat milk supplement that is great for allergies.
my wife handles all of it so I am clueless to the cost.
Raw duck for breakfast. Some organic (?) kibble in the afternoon.
Has helped with GI symptoms (reflux, diarrhea, ...) that are likely allergies. We already had him get an x-ray and tryied pepcid and carafate.
As you say, raw is supposed to help with allergies in general.
tried the goat milk as well (forgot why we gave up on it - maybe becuase it was grosser than the raw food?)
but I assume the vet also ruled out other skin conditions (mange, ringworm, insects, etc.). There are other diets the dog can try (raw diet, etc.). I wouldn't ordinarily think of Purina as the highest end hypoallergenic food. Also, make damn sure whatever he's eating isn't made in China.
Do you bathe the dog? If so, what sort of shampoo do you use? Make sure it is also hypoallergenic.
Also, if the dog is outside a lot, make every sure to keep him off of any grass that has been treated with pesticides. You may want to check your house as well. Chemicals on the rugs, floors, etc., can really bother a dog. Even the stuff used to clean their bedding.
It does say on the package "no poultry by products" so maybe that's why. I've hear good things about Taste of the Wild, so may try that.
We were using an oatmeal shampoo designed for dry itchy skin. The vet also gave us a medicated shampoo.
Dog spends some time outside, but no pesticides have been applied.
It's shocking, really. Their recommendations are always foods they make a money from. So...not that shocking after all, I guess.
Did you know those Glade Plug ins can be toxic to dogs? As for the food, we use Taste of the Wild. It is very good. Our one beagle had an irritable bowel condition that nearly killed her. The right food made a huge difference. She is also on a very low dose steroid (Prednisone) that helps.