My dog has a cotton allergy. It began by seeming like mange. The vet gave steroids which worked for a couple days back during the mange diagnosis.
Lowering the immune system with allergy shots seems a bit much. What can I do?
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If your veterinarian suspected Mange you would need an anti-parasitic such as Bravecto. Steroids will not kill parasites.
To rule out food allergies your dog will need a diet with a novel or hydrolyzed protein. A veterinary diet is best when determining food allergies as there is no risk of cross-contamination. It can take up to 12 weeks to see a difference, the pet cannot have any other food items while doing the trial (no treats allowed!).
If you cannot determine the source of your dogs allergies there are a couple options for you.
Steroids - the cheapest and highly effective way of getting rid of that inflammation. It is safe short-term however being on steroids long-term is hard on the body and can bring out illness in your pet (such as diabetes, cushings, obesity).
Apoquel - This medication targets the "itch" receptors in your pet, it is an expensive drug but is much better tolerated for long-term use. It is VERY effective and our go-to if the owners can afford it.
Diphenhydramine or Cetirizine - these over the counter medications work great for low-grade allergies. We recommend Cetirizine first as it can be given once a day and does not make your pet drowsy. Contact your veterinarian for a proper dosing. Be sure that whichever you choose does not contain any other medicinal ingredients besides Diphenhydramine or Cetirizine.
Allergy injections - We use Spectrum Labs for this treatment. Essentially a blood sample from a pet is taken and sent off to the lab, they run a test on the blood sample to figure out what your dog is reacting to. Once the test is complete they create a serum specific to your dogs allergies which will then need to be injected subcutaneously into your dog over a set amount of time. The "medication" works through hypo-sensitization towards the allergens. Typically allergy testing in dogs isn't overly accurate and is only recommended when doing the allergy injections.
Douxo Calm Shampoo or Sprays - This product works great when it comes to strengthening and soothing the skin barrier by having Phytosphingosines and Pseudofilaggrins in the product. There is a protocol that needs to be followed and that will depend on your dogs state.
First of all, when an allergy is found to be present, more tests are needed to see if any similar allergens do trigger the immune response (the body often reacts to other plants in the same family); in your dog's case, cotton.
The next thing is to try to avoid the allergen. This can be hard in your case, as cotton is very common in the environment.
If avoiding the allergen is impossible, the vet might give steroids for short time relief. However, this is not a lasting solution so you might need to start giving systemic allergy medication. Your vet will help you finding the right type and dosage.
And last, try to keep the floor and furniture clean to limit your dog's exposure to the allergen. Carpets and fabric do trap a lot of dust, so try to keep them clean.