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IN HOUSE SURVEY What is your irish setter "allergic" to?

Seems this is epidemic among all breeds in recent years. I'm convinced my dog's "allergy" is environmental. I was hoping a number of us could relate results of any allergy testing and maybe come up with some heavy hitters so we all could start looking at our homes/yards for these triggers. Alex has suffered from breakouts and itching since June 2013. We did the food allergy testing to no avail. He started with a painful front paw, developing a rash that ran up both front legs and chest in the 6 hours before our vet appointment. I think something got into his system. It is a staph related infection. Lab cultures indicate Zenifren is the best antibiotic but he doesn't clear completely.

Anything you can relate will be helpful. We will undergo the allergy tests after the first of the year and I can report back my results. I live in St Augustine FL, use no chemicals in my garden/yard and several other dog owners here have skin issues with their pets as well but have not tested. Thanks all.

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Our current redhead has issues with grasses.  She has gotten so bad at times, she's developed infections.  She will itch and chew.   A little over two years ago, she developed MRSA.  We got her through that.  But now we give her a weekly hexadene bath per her dermatologist.  To control the itching, the dermatologist has her on clemastine.  I'll tell you these allergies are a nightmare.  The male we had (lost him in 2008) had wheat issues.  But that was a lot easier to deal with than these lousy pollens.

Thank you Judith! I was using Ketachlor for bathing. I might try to switch since that doesn't seem to be working. Alex is on zyrtec for itching, 3 10mg tabs 3x day. It's a lot of antihistamine and doesn't seem all that effective, certainly not like prednisone but i'm so done with that and all the side effects, especially the weight gain and thirst issues.

Grasses are a big deal here too. I looked up what Florida has that provokes allergies and there are many. Big dog, needs lots of exercise, where else will he get it except outside on trails and our private dog park? Did you ever get allergy shots for either of your dogs? That might be my next move. I'd rather he have a strong immune system but i think that long bout of MRSA really compromised him.

With the clemastine, the dermatologist has Belle Anne on 2 1/2 tabs of 1.34 mg.  That really seems to help.  If she's having an issues we usually will put the cone on her to keep her from licking/chewing herself raw.  If she has a patch that's bothering her, we will wash it off 2X per day, the leave on lotion, then a medicated pad, and finally some mupirocin.  In regard to her MRSA, it was a nightmare.  The dermatologist originally had her on chloramphenicol, but after one round had to discontinue it because Belle Anne was diagnosed with chronic liver failure.  From that point on, everything had to be done topically.  It took longer, but it worked.  She had a minor flare up on one patch on her front leg this past October.  We caught it very early, so it did not take long to clear it up.  At this point, we have not had the allergy shots.

Thank you once again for replying with your experiences. I too find catching these spots early is critical. I try to give Alex the zyrtec later in the evening to get him through the night but he's still awakening around 3-4AM with scratching and a need to go out. We've had licking and biting but not to the extent of the scratching. I'm switching him to a raw diet and have noticed 2 things in 2 days: his coat seems like it's growing back and his stools are perfect. I have a book coming recommended by my breeder with recipes for raw diets that will cover all the needed nutrients. I'm hoping to bolster his immune system as it now seems his antibiotic (Zeniquin) is essentially useless.

Re dust mites, reduce indoor humidity and increase ventilation apparently. Lots of vacuuming with Hepa filter vacuum cleaner. Pay especial attention to dark places, nooks and crannies, and dog bedding . Hot wash dog bedding regularly. Lino, wood floors, tiles all better than carpeting. Use steam cleaner to destroy the mites. Use damp cloth to dust.

Sorry I've no actual experience to call on though....(well I'm not sorry for me and mine, as it sounds like hell!)

Re aspergillus, any demolition/building/decorating going on is bad news apparently. Our grandson picked up the fungus in his lungs, probably on a hospital visit. The hospital was being re-vamped. Sadly, due to a bone marrow transplant for leukaemia, his immunity was nil and he died. So try to avoid that sort of environment.

Re food...is Alex currently fed raw? A lot of people who were on here would advise that and it would avoid the dry food problem obviously.

Also dermataceous earth may help? I think you'll be able to track down something on the forums using search.

Good luck. 

Thank you Sue. I am so sorry about your grandson. What a nightmare. You'd think we'd know more about aspergillus, it does seem to be everywhere1  After all my efforts yesterday, Alex is worse than ever this morning and has that "horsey" smell back plus new red bumps all over him. He also had MRSA but the vet feels he's overcome that.

Interesting you mentioned ditamaeceous earth; i have the food grade and had put it on his food before this all ever started as one setter owner here swore by it for keeping off fleas and ticks. I might try that again. As you can imagine, the raw food diet for a 85 lb dog is a lot of work but I'm getting there.

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