Monday, June 30, 2008

Yellow Labrador Retriever with a Seasonal Itch - part II

Subject: Yellow Labrador Retriever with a Seasonal Itch - part II

From: Christine (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name:

Reader's E-mail - Christine Answers:

Hi Fay,

Thanks for your reply. Dobby is a big boy and yes he is a purebred. We could not have gotten a better dog for our daughter, she just turned 5 and loves him to pieces.

His itch is seasonal, it has been since he was a year old and begins in the spring and goes till around October November.

Our vet has seen him a couple of times and put him on Temeril-p which works great for him. We have talked about doing allergy tests but he has to be off the Temeril-p for 8 to 10 weeks and there is no way I can do that to him during the itch as he would rip his face off. Our vet hasn't said it is a specific allergy just that it is something seasonal he gets into. The other vet in the office said that labs are known for their skin problems. They have both said to try different foods and I have gotten the Science Diet and Nutra from the pet stores and no difference. I talked to the vet about using Benedryl and Prednisone since the Temeril-p was so costly and that did not work. I did some research on the internet and found Clemastine 1.34mg and got that. It seems to work but not when he is having such a big reaction.
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He is mainly licking the front paws and right now his right front has a spot on it and he has opened but it is healing. His paws are not red or raw and I have not noticed a specific smell. Although I have said he has had an all around "Dog" smell for the past couple of years. But it isn't a seasonal smell it is year round. Even after bathing he has a smell.

His mouth on the left side is inflamed and a little puffy and pink and has always hung lower than the right side. Although it is much better since he went on the Temeril-p. He has been on it since June 13 as the Clemastine 1.34mg wasn't working. I did see that for his size the recommended amount is 2.68mg so I was doubling up and giving him that twice a day.

I feed him Alpo Chop House Originals, Filet Mignon, Roasted Chicken and Ribeye flavors. I can twice a day and 2 cups twice a day of Old Roy dry kibble. Also we get a bag at Petco from the Bog bone bar once a month and a bag of old Roy bones usually the basted ones. He usually doesn't get alot for table scraps, but he does get some, meat or green beans or the last bite of a sandwich.

He has not has any eye or nose problems aside from the itching around his eyes a little.

This year the itch has been different from last year. Last year it was mostly the right side of his face and around his right eye and in his groin area. This year it has been his left side mainly around his muzzle and a trail up to the bottom of his left eye and not on his groin area.

One big thing that happened in March was I let him out about 11pm before bed. I checked on him and told my husband he was going to have to let him in because I thought he was vomiting. A few minutes later he let Dobby in and I could hear him repeatedly shaking his head as his ears were flapping and flapping. My husband got me and said he thought there was a problem. Dobby was running around the room itching and itching he face. He then began to get hives all over his face and head, his eyes were swollen and shutting he was panting non stop and the hives were starting to go down his legs. All this was happening as I was talking to the emergency vet. I had put him on Clemastine 1.34mg twice a day and gave him one when the hives started. Benedryl has never been a help for him. We rushed him to the Emergency vets and they have him 2.50 Diphenhydramine 50mg/ml and 6 Dexamethasone 4mg/ml. He immediately looked 100 times better. When the Dr came out she asked if we were the parents of the Sharpei/Lab mix. That is how horrible he looked. She said he didn't have any puncture marks so it wasn’t a snake and thought it was either a frog or lizard he got a hold of. We figured it was a frog as we have a lot of them in our back year and he always chases them. We guessed he got one this time and it urinated in his mouth and he had a reaction to it. But we are not sure.

Even though he has been on the Temeril-p since June 13 he is much better but his face is pink and he is still itching somewhat. Definitely not like he was but he is still bothered by it. I feel confident it is something outside as he is better in the am since he has been inside all night.

I know I should have him tested for allergies but it is expensive and once we found out I don't know what we could really do, as I can't keep him indoors. Fay thanks for any suggestions you have I really appreciate it.

All About Labradors Answer:

Hello Christine,

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

Thanks for the answers to my questions.

Allergies are very common in Labrador Retrievers. They can have allergies to certain ingredients in food (food allergies), to substances they come into contact with in the environment, such as fertilizers and chemicals (contact allergies) and to airborne allergens such as pollens, mold, house dust (atopy, or inhalant allergies).

The itching caused by allergies can affect your Labs whole body, although certain kinds of allergies ( food and pollen) tend to affect the paws. Some common Labrador allergy symptoms to look for include chronic ear infections, rubbing of the face, and excessive chewing and licking of their paws.

I do recommend you get allergy testing done on Dobby as this will aid in the proper treatments for Dobby's condition. I am listing some further medications as well as other things you can try to help Dobby now.

Since many Labrador Retrievers do suffer from allergies in the spring and summer, what you can try to do if possible is to keep Dobby in during the early morning and evening hours, as this is when the pollen counts are at their highest.

It's also a good idea to wash Dobby's feet after he has spent his time outdoors.

Here are some other things you can do to help with his itching:

A nice cool bath can be helpful to get offending allergens off of Dobby, since the water will assist in relieving the itching. Add a little colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) to the bathwater, which will help to soothe, or your veterinarian can prescribe an hypoallergenic shampoo. Make sure you rinse Dobby thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

You can also soak Dobby's paws for five minutes, four times a day, in cool water. Add a sprinkle of Epsom salts to the water as it will also help soothe the paws. A compress applied the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

Another method that you can, which seems to work well, is Aloe Vera applied to the paw. You want to make sure its 100% Aloe Vera not the mixture. This will not hurt Dobby if he is to lick at it.

Here are some other medications that may be helpful:

Chlorpheniramine - Chlor-Trimeton (Antihistamine)

Diphenhydramine (Antihistamine)

Hydroxyzine Pamoate (Antihistamine)

Methylprednisolone (Corticosteroid)

Some supplementation you can try:

Omega-3/Omega-6 fatty acids

Aloe Vera food supplementation

As for the swelling of the mouth, it is most probably also a result of allergies, but swelling can be caused by infections. Some signs of infection can include warmth at the swollen area of the mouth and/or bad smelling breath.

In regards to your switching of dog foods, I don't know for how long you switched for, but this must be done for more than a couple of weeks. For food allergies, a special diet "hypoallergenic diet" - a changing of his food to something he hasn't eaten before, which is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food) can be done to help to determine if this is the cause. It is important that Dobby not be fed ANYTHING else during this trial period (treats, table scrapes, etc) for this to work.

I am not a big fan of the Old Roy products, as they are of very poor quality and probably just about one of the worst dog foods and treats available. Also, just curious as to why you feed both the canned and the dry food.

I can recommend some foods to you if you want to try again, just let me know.

You also asked "Is there a grass that labs are more susceptible to". Bermuda grass is the most allergenic grass as it releases so much pollen into the air.

I hope this will be of some help to you and Dobby. If you don't understand something here or have further questions don't hesitate to e-mail me. Also, please keep me up to date with Dobby's condition.

Take care of yourself and Dobby,


To read part I of this e-mail visit: Yellow Labrador Retriever with a Seasonal Itch - part I

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