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Excessive tummy/groin licking and skin problems

Haven't been here in a while but know you guys will have the advice I need to help poor Bailey.

Bailey is almost 4, had GDV 2 years ago and apart from when he was recovering from this, has been on Purina Pro-Plan Chicken & Rice or Lamb & Rice since a pup (He does not like the fishy flavours!)

In the last 2 months Bailey has had 4 trips to the vets. I noticed his tummy/groin was very red and he was licking it excessively. Couldn't tell if it was red from the excessive licking or he was licking it because it was red and sore. At the same time, his eyes were very gunky. He looked like he was allergic to something. He looked miserable.

Vet thought it might be a harvest mite allergy and gave us Piriton, Maxitrol eye drops and an anti-bacterial shampoo. Symptoms improved and then flared back up as soon as treatment stopped. In the meantime, Bailey started licking his bottom/base of tail excessively and I discovered a bald patch on his neck with scaly, flaky skin. Another trip to the vet, this time for antibiotics, more eye drops and again, symptoms improved during treatment and then flared up again as soon as treatment stopped.Bailey is now only wearing a collar when he goes walkies in case it was irritating the skin on his neck. We've been at the vet 4 times in total and I've just rubbed Sudocrem all over this tummy because it was so red and angry looking again.

I don't really like to keep him on Piriton long term. Do you think it's ok to do this?

Do you think this could be a gluten allergy? Can anyone recommend a gluten free dry dog food we could try that isn't fish based?

Any other ideas?

Many thanks for any advice you can give.


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Great advice your getting here.  I know that my Cash had a skin rash right after he was neutered, he came home that night with it.  It was treated with oral antibiotics.  He came back about a year later again, sores on his neck and inner thigh area.  Again oral antibiotics.  He never got it back again.  Did your vet take a look under a microscope at the skin scrapings?

Quick update on poor Bailey. After a raft of allergy patch tests by veterinary dermatologists and switching to various hypoallergenic dog foods, we did a thyroid function test. Bailey's T4 level was normal but TSH levels were sky high. Repeated his blood test today just to be sure but it looks like we finally have an answer to Bailey's itchy tummy rash - hypothyroidism. If only the vet had suggested checking his thyroid first, we could have saved Bailey a lot of itching and scratching. Looking forward to seeing him being a happier setter.

Great news that you have found the source of the problem and letting us know. Poor Bailey hope your itches end soon.

Excellent Cornelia.  Also with regards to hypothyroidism in Setters. which I have FAR TOO much experience of.... there is a problem, and the problem appears to stem from malabsorption issues.  I have been discussing this issue with an integrative vet who has treated my hypo T dogs in the past from a conventional angle.  She holds "without a shadow of a doubt" that there is a malabsorption issue in Setters.  Knowing what I know now, all my dogs are fed raw, lots of organ meat, and added digestive enzymes. These are NOT probiotics as many people believe, enzymes assist with the absorption of food.  I am now getting reports back from other owners who are going down this route who are experiencing amazing results.

I will also add, that one of my dogs who had a real problem eating any food, to the point that his nic name become "Mr. Picky" now eats almost anything, and for a whole year now his bowl has been licked clean on  a daily basis. Also all symptoms of another red (from the same line I may add) going down the hypo thyroid route have disappeared.  In fact he he not seen the inside of a veterinary surgery for just over a year now..... since I started adding the enzymes to his diet.   Thanks not only to Dr. Jean Dodds for identifying the problems in the first place, which our UK vets couldn't, and thanks to Dr. Karen Becker too for identifying the absorption issues.  Another thing to add is that is was expected that Tallulah would have been dead by last Christmas, as with her peripheral neuropathy, there is no dog who has been known to survive a year beyond diagnosis from that condition.  Well there is now.  Her, and she is still chasing squirrels 18 months after her diagnosis.  I have had to increase her thyroid meds again recently, due to her age quite likely (coming up 9), but she is still racing around and enjoying life almost to the full.  Without those enzymes, she wouldn't have survived.  I am pleased now that we have found a good integrative vet in the UK who is supportive of me and my dogs too.  Please, please check out those enzymes, and getting your dogs onto proper species appropriate food.  This information is LIFE SAVING!!!!

Thanks for this info on enzymes Fran. Kerry is on probiotics and now eats all his meals but still is not chubby. I have done a little research and it may be some thing to try with him.




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