Hello, my little pug has had a skin issue for a little while that seems to be affected by his diet. We’ve switched him a while back to a UK branded wet food (included below), which has no wheat and artificial flavourings etc. He’s got really bad skin again and I want to know how we can help the little guy. He itches a lot and scratches his ears. It’s worrying for us. We’ve taken him to the vet before but he’s just been given steroids and antibiotics and we’ve been on our way. £75 a time, but doesn’t seem to be fixing the issue. Anyone experienced this before? https://ibb.co/c64Dom https://ibb.co/nn5KTm
02-01-2018, 08:00 PM
Hi & :welcome: I don't have any experience with skin issues, thank goodness, but I know plenty of people on here do, so I'm sure they'll be along soon to help you out. Can you post a picture? Did your vet do a skin scraping to make sure he doesn't have mange or something? If it is food allergies, I think you have to try to find out what food will work for him. They can also have seasonal allergies, etc. Please keep us posted, and good luck.
02-01-2018, 08:06 PM
Thanks for the reply! I hope so, I’ve included a link to the image hosting website that has the photo along with what he currently eats. Pugs are awesome.
02-01-2018, 08:37 PM
Lu Ci and Ri Ki
Hello and :welcome: to PugVillage. Glad you have joined us. A scraping at the Vet's to rule out mange (which is common and easily treated) would be the first step. Then I would consider food allergies. My Pug, Lu Ci, is very allergic to poultry and if she gets even a little bit she itches like crazy. I hope you can find some answers.
02-01-2018, 09:16 PM
OMG poor baby ... It looks awful.
When did the skin issues start?
Did the Vet determine it is food allergies and yes did they do a skin scraping to rule out mites/mange?
It could also be a contact allergy. I had a Dachshund reacting to my carpet shampoo once.
I hope he gets relieve soon.
02-01-2018, 09:22 PM
Is this on his tummy the only area where the allergies are showing up? Not in the ears or the folds? Seems allergies are a mystery just by themselves. I've had two that have had severe allergies - our big girl is on apoquel right now and while it mostly works there are times she is still itchy BUT she is not sad, uncomfortable and hurting itchy. If you can afford it have a blood test that will tell you what he is allergic to - our big girl is allergic to grass, dust mites, mold, mildew and other environmental things - not food. We live where there is much dust and as soon as it rains (not often) there are spores of mold and mildew - this is a scratchy time for her. Lets start with some shampoo. I use Malasab on our big girl - its pricy. I looked at the ingredients and will be trying one that costs less. If you can shampoo (or just wash that one area) once (at least) or twice a week you will notice improvement. You need to leave the shampoo on 5/10 minutes but it really worked for our puggy girl fast. Second, try some coconut oil on the area in between times to sooth the itch. The other part is to keep his ears and folds clean. I would clean our girls ears almost daily and wipe down her folds too. This kept the gunk out of them and didn't allow any type of yeast to start forming. As things clear up you can let up a little but be ready to pounce back on it when it starts up again. There is a start......maybe Nina will chime in as she has had to do some creative things for allergies too.
02-02-2018, 12:57 AM
The vet just said it was a sort of bacterial infection (they gave him some anti-biotics), it went for a while but came back which worried us. Not immediately after but at least 4 months later. We thought it maybe his food, so we swapped it and he enjoyed it better and he wasn’t having issues. The one thing that I think has triggered it, is that he’s managed to eat either a cat treat/food and that’s triggered it again. I think a trip to the vet will be best.
02-02-2018, 01:01 AM
It’s usually just on his belly and groin region, he did have a spell under his arm pits but that hasn’t come back. He must be irritated by it because he’ll sometimes just scratch and scratch. He has been scratching his ears but we clean them quite often too. I’ve got to be honest we haven’t cleaned his folds as we haven’t really thought about it (makes comeplete sense thinking about it now) but thanks for the tips! I’ll deffo try these!
I also forgot to mention sometimes he’ll just lick his paws for ages, he realises what he’s doing then stops, also tries to bite his hind legs
02-02-2018, 02:20 AM
Belly/groin/armpits are all classic allergy locations, and can mean contact allergy, but can also just mean any allergy. Licking paws is also a sign of allergy - itchy feet.
This isn't a fast road from here. My little pomeranian was extremely itchy, so bad he couldn't sleep, and his whole chest became an open, weeping hot spot twice.
Have you tried the gentler allergy medications? Something containing Chlorpheniramine maleate, sold as allergex here, can be given routinely and sometimes helped. It did little for us.
A topical steriod also helps, ask your vet for a cream and apply it often.
You guys need to start an elimination diet, here's a good description: Food hypersensitivities: Performing an elimination diet trial
Talk to your vet, they should be able to help you with this. This helped us track down that my Vim is allergic to cooked chicken, corn (holy cow this one is bad) and we suspect wheat, peas, and potato - though we haven't tested those, they haven't been included back into the diet yet. This is not a quick thing. We'll include one of them next month, March, when the current diet hits three months.
If it's contact allergies also, which for us, is definitely part of the trouble (pollen, and we suspect a certain kind of mite, but again, we're not sure), then regular baths (with an appropriate medicated or hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner) can really help control the reaction. A topical cream if something pops up helps too, as does wiping down feet and face if they've been charging about outside.
In the end, my Vim's allergies were so severe and unending that we put him on Atopica. It's cyclosporine - in other words, it literally kills off part of the immune system. Given that allergies are an immune response, though, this also lowers the allergic response - it doesn't cure it, it just reduces it. There's a newer product, Apoquel, that works in a similar way but has less severe long term effects (still bad ones, just less bad) if you can get it, that works in a very similar way. Both are safer than long term steroids. This was in the end our 'golden bullet'. As long as Vim gets bathed often (my dogs generally bath weekly, but Vim can bath as often as three times a week), and we avoid the foods we know he is allergic to, he lives his life now totally itch-free.
02-02-2018, 03:30 AM
I think you’ve got two main choices here on how to proceed. You can go the food allergy route by trying elimination diets,but as Nina has said it’s a long process that to do effectively you’re probably going to need expert advice (it takes approximately 6 weeks for antibodies to a specific food allergy to clear). Having said that, some people have had near miraculous results just by switching from a kibble (dried dog food) to feeding raw. So you could well be correct that your dog was ok on the wetfood (Naturediet or Forthglade maybe?) but it was triggered again once he got at the cat food/treats. Having said that raw feeding cannot be thought of as a cure for all skin allergies since they aren’t all food related and may well be environmental which are so difficult to deal with and treat
Malaseb shampoo that some find helpful (is expensive though) can only be obtained from a Vet in the U.K. as far as I know, but some find this product very useful.
Definitely people are reporting that coconut oil added to the food and/or rubbed into the skin is beneficial.
The other route is to have blood tests taken that your vet then sends off for laboratory testing - you’d obviously need those tests carried out within the six week period of the dog having eaten the suspect food for the antibodies to show in the test results. These are complex tests though and if you want the full spectrum of everything that can be tested for done, it takes about two weeks to get the results and costs in the region of £700-800. That would also include testing for yeast infections that can cause similar itching issues. I’m sorry but I am totally sceptical of these internet tests that ‘analyse’ a sample of your dog’s fur for £40 and come up with a list of what he’s allergic to. From the blood test results it is then possible for a serum to be made for your dog. If you’ve got a good pet insurance they will cover the costs of all of this. Some owners report that once their dog is regularly given the serum they never have a problem again but I’d strongly advise if you consider this route that you insist on a referral to a specialist consultant Vet as there is a risk here of allergic reaction to the serum.
Apoquel as Nina has stated, is a useful drug to combat severe allergy. Again it’s expensive if you don’t have pet insurance cover, and as much as some vets are now handing it out like Smarties, because it isn’t without some potentially damaging side effects, I agree with her that you’d only want to be using it as a last resort when all else fails.