Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yellow Labrador with Intense Itching - part II

Subject: Yellow Lab with Intense Itching

From: Jamie (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Allee

To read the first part of this e-mail visit: Yellow Labrador with Intense Itching - part I

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hi Jamie,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Let me apologize for the delays in my responses. I receive so many e-mailed questions that is does take me some time to answer all of them. I do get to talk to some great people though, and I see many photos of some wonderful Labrador Retrievers.

Thank you for sending the photos of you Lab girls, they are beautiful! How old are they? You can share as many photos as you would like with us. I do post all photos to the Labrador Retrievers Picture blog. If you have a flickr account, you can also add photos to our group, Our Lovable Labradors. Congrats on having Allee's photo published in Just Labradors mag. A belated Happy birthday to your daughter.

With the information you have supplied in you e-mails, it sounds to me like Allee is suffering from yeast infections.

Paw licking and chewing is an allergic response to something. Causes can be something in the environment, coming in contact with something, or food. When your Labrador Retriever comes into contact with one of these allergens, it makes their paws itch, causing them to begin licking and chewing at them, which can cause some serve itching. As your Labrador continues chewing and licking, moisture builds up from the saliva and causes bacteria and yeast to grow. This will cause even further itching and chewing. You may notice a strange smell to the paws, that being similar to corn chips (Fritos), which is a smell indicative of yeast.

Two question I didn't ask were: do you notice any discharges from her vaginal area and if Allee has frequent urination problems. Most of the time, a genital discharge is a sure sign of infection. There is also the possibility of Vaginitis. Here is a site to you learn more about it. Vaginitis in dogs

Moist skin infections in the fold around the vulva can lead to Allee's scooting and licking.
Continue Reading...
Yeast infection - when Allee's immune system is healthy, her body is able to destroy the yeast. But if her immune system is weak, yeast may produce in large amounts causing toxins. These toxins prevent the immune system from working properly, which causes the immune system problems destroying the yeast, leading to may health problems.

I would definitely recommend a visit to your veterinarian a least for the scooting condition along the vagina area, especially since it has been occurring for so long.

Here are some things I can recommend you try:

Feed a high quality based diet. Remember, when doing a food trail to determine food allergies a "hypoallergenic diet" should be fed for a period of 12-16 weeks, to monitor Allees's response.

It is important that during the diet trial nothing else is eaten. No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones), no table scrapes, no teats unless they are based on the same food sources as the test diet. NOTHING

I have never personally used the Canidae foods but know many who have great success using them. Here are some dog foods I recommend:

Eagle Holistic Line -

1st Choice Adult Dog Hypoallergenic -

Wellness -

These companies also offer treat based on the same food sources as their foods.

One thing that I make sure I use with my Labradors is probiotics and digestive enzymes, which helps in keeping the pH balance of the stomach in proper balance, helping to prevent yeast infections. Probitoics are live cultures found in yogurt which will help out in maintaining and increasing the good flora (bacteria) of the gut.

You could also supplement Allee's diet with regular, non-flavored yogurt with live cultures daily. Make sure there are no sugars or sweeteners in it. You could add it to her food, or your can use it in the Kong toys if you use them. One reader of this blog stuffs it into the Kong toys and freezes it.

Some places to get probiotics and digestive enzymes:

Health and pet food stores: Acidophilus for dogs

1-800-PetMeds - NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics

Only Natural Pet Store - they have probiotic products and a Candida Yeast Infection kit -

Pet Enzymes -

You may also want to add garlic supplementation to Allee's diet as this helps kill bacteria, fungi and infections in the system. Just a little heads up on this Jamie, it could get a little stinky when using garlic because of flatulence. :)

Supplementation with the essentials fatty acids can also be of great help to Allee.

To establishing the correct pH balance in Allee's system you can use apple cider vinegar. You can check Allee's pH balance, with pH strips, and help to re-establish the correct balance (6.2 - 6.5) with the apple cider vinegar. Two teaspoons per day in her food or water will help keep the ph balance correct.

You can also use the apple cider vinegar for itchy skin by putting it in a spray bottle and spraying on infected areas. A would not use it on open sores though.

Bath Allee in a sulfur based shampoo. After bathing with the shampoo, use a baking soda rinse as this will be helpful with itching. Take two teaspoons of baking soda and mix with a gallon of water, making sure it dissolves completely. Pour it over Allee's body and do not rinse off.

As for Allee's ears:

The best preventive measure against ear infections is performing regular ear inspections. Both your eyes and your nose can help detect a problem. Your Labrador retriever ears should have a clean, light pinkish color and should have no foul smell to them. Puss like substance discharges, waxy discharges and foul smell to ears are signs of a problem in your Labs ears

Here is the recipe for the "Blue Power Ear Treatment", which is what I use with my Labrador girls.

"Blue Power Ear Treatment" Ingredients:

16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, and then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess, which you can wipe with a cotton ball (never clean with a cotton swab, as debris can be pushed further into the ear canal). Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2 xs per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears

Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks

Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I like to use witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, to prevent the cold water "shock", but you can use it either way. There is also a commercial version of this solution called Gentian Ear Treatment.

I was also told about a vitamin E based ear infection tonic used by one of the readers of this blog, who stated this tonic worked wonders for their Labrador Retriever's ears. I had never heard about it before, but they swear by it. To learn more visit -

I hope this information will help you and your Labrador girls out. If you don't understand anything or need further help, please don't hesitate to write.

Please also keep me updated on Allee's (Frankie also) condition, and what methods you use, be it successful or unsuccessful, as this will be of help to the other readers.

Take care of yourself and your Labrador Retrievers,

Reader's E-mail - Jamie's Response:

Hi Fay,

Still absorbing all of this, although we haven't been able to use the ear solution you provided because she is very raw and sore. My husband went back to the vet again this week because the meds he gave her weren't working, she seemed to be getting worse. He made them give us the Otomax which we know works, but she still isn't getting better.

Her hearing seems to be on the down low!!! We keep testing her and can't fully tell but she seems to be having a hard time hearing and they are so red and nasty inside. Is there such thing as a dog ear specialist? The thing is we moved up here five years ago and have tried about 6 vets since then and haven't been thrilled with any! Our vet down south was fabulous! I am going to do some online research right now, but wanted to check with you first as I am very worried.


All About Labradors Blog Response:

Hi Jamie,

Sorry to hear Allee's ears are getting worse. Yes, there are veterinarian specialists to help with the ears. They are veterinarian specialists of dermatology. If you want to let me know where you are located, maybe I can help find one for you.

What is the vet saying about the ears; infection, ulcerated, mites?

Talk to you soon,

Reader's E-mail - Jamie's Response:

Thank you for getting back to me! I spent an hour on the Internet today, I found some great ear clinics, but of course they were all in Michigan, Illinois, etc. I called them for CA recommendations but they said they didn't know. I finally had one tell me I needed a dermatologist. I found a big one in Los Angeles, and called them for San Diego referrals. There were two down South. One said they had a satellite location right by us but they aren't there until Weds. I told her I couldn't wait, so we are going tomorrow down to San Diego and hopefully my poor girl will get some relief, she is really unhappy!

I will let you know what they say. My husband thinks it is the new food, Lamb & Rice Canidae. I will probably let them test her for everything.

Thanks again,

All About Labradors Blog Response:


It very well could be the food. Many people believe (and recommend) Lamb and Rice foods for dog food allergies. Our Labrador Retrievers had never eaten lamb and rice before, thus they never had time to develop an allergy to it. There was nothing special about the lamb and rice except as I said, our Labs had never eaten it before.

The problem is that many of the lamb and rice-based foods also contain many other ingredients, and if your Labrador Retriever has a food allergy to any of those ingredients, the lamb and rice food will do nothing to treat the food allergy.

I really think that you are going to have to strengthen Allee's immune system, with some of the things (probiotics or yogurt, etc) I mentioned in the last e-mail, especially with more antibiotics that Allee will be receiving from this veterinarian visit.

Let me know what happens at the specialist, and we will work from there.


Reader's E-mail - Jamie's Response:

He said she probably had a bad reaction to the medicine the vet gave her. They flushed it out in both ears and gave us three different pills including steroids with a schedule to go with it. Pretty crazy. Poor girl. She said she will need to be off the steroids four weeks before they can allergy test her. So I guess we have to wait about six more weeks to know anything more.

Thanks again,

To see some wonderful photos of Allee and Frankie visit: Allee and Frankie 03/15/08

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