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I have a 9 year old pit bull that I have had since he was a puppy.

He has very bad allergies to something. And I mean very bad. He is losing fur everywhere, his paws are swollen and red, his stomach has red spots where it looks irritated, and one side of his face and chin are extremely swollen and red. He scratches so much that his neck skin has stretched to look like a chicken giblet and is scabbed over. His paws are losing fur, his eyes are red; he is miserable.

I love him and would do anything to fix this. Unfortunately I have taken him to the vet 3 times trying to solve this. I got him an allergy test, paid 500 bucks for it and they told me he had some minor allergies but nothing major. I isolated him from his minor allergies and things are still getting worse. So that means its something uncommon that people don't normally test for.

After talking to my sister we are starting to think it may be something in the carpet, like polypropylene, because its primarily present on the parts of him that might come into contact with the floor. I just don't know what to do. When I take him to the vet now, I basically am paying money because they have no idea what to do either, "Oh let's see if it's bacterial"... it's obviously not an infection and the antibiotics did nothing... thanks.

I constantly worry about this and like to inspect him for new marks or swollen spots to try and to gain understanding. Now it appears he is afraid of me. He shakes when I lay down with him to snuggle, is reluctant to play with me, and is reluctant to take treats from me (I imagine this is all because my constant inspections make him nervous).

Any ideas on how to treat him and how to gain his trust back? I am desperate at this point.

  • Do you wear cologne, perfume, or use soap or shampoo with strong perfumes? In other words is it possible he is allergic to you or something on you? – James Jenkins Nov 28 '14 at 9:22
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    Can you arrange to have him stay someplace else for a week (e.g., a kennel) to see if his condition improves? That should help you determine if it's something in your house. – mhwombat Nov 28 '14 at 12:49
  • What about food allergy? I've read some stories about dogs getting much better after being fed "human" food. Like chicken and rice. – Failed-community Nov 28 '14 at 16:09
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    He was tested for allergies and has no food allergies. I had him on hypoallergenic food for a while and there was no change. My sisters came by today and we covered the entire carpet with sheets, in case its that. I really just realized it could very well be something in the detergent I use and was his blankets with as well. So I went to the store and got dye and perfume free detergent. As for me I don't wear cologne or anything. Got the number for a vet that specializes in animal dermatology and going to see him ASAP this week. – user3355098 Nov 29 '14 at 7:23
  • It is probably not that he does not trust you but rather when you touch his inflamed spots it is painful. He needs a vet and possibly a specialist in pet allergies. – Critters Nov 29 '14 at 14:26
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It had turned out to be the new detergent that I had bought. I went back to the non-perfumed original detergent and washed everything and his symptoms got better almost overnight.

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Are you feeding an allergen free food? Start there and give him nothing else. Also cut out use of perfumes in laundry detergent and use around the house until you get this figured out. The vet should be able to give you a steroid that will GREATLY reduce the itching and irritation. It's not a forever solution but should help you get it under control. You can give a daily oral allergy pill that will help produce less histamine.

How long has this been going on? Go back to when it started. .. did anything change? Did you change where the dog sleeps or eats? Did you start walking at a new place? Did you start using something different on your lawn or carpet? Did you get new carpet? Did you get a new car that he rides in? Did you change your laundry detergent, purfume, shampoo? Does someone new live in the house?

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    He has always had very very minor allergies. This severe bought started about 2 months ago or so. I think it may be the detergent I bought so I just switched that out for perfume and dye free stuff today. Rewashing all his blankets as we speak. Gave him some Benadryl and he just slept most of the day. Sister came over and we covered the carpet in case its something in that. – user3355098 Nov 29 '14 at 7:25
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Poor puppy! I am not a vet, but if this were a human, the first thing I'd do is to put your poor dog on a tapering dose of prednisone (dirt cheap and will help). I would also start a limited course of a topical steroid in the worst places - if he licks, probably a gel (though they tend to be expensive). Benadryl is helpful. If you want to decrease his drowsiness (but why at the moment? He'll just scratch and suffer.) you can use a second generation antihistamine (more costly).

As a dog owner, I would have the dog treated for mange/scabies regardless of if the vet thought the dog had it or not. A dog with mange is constantly scratching, losing hair, and is miserable. If you've ever had scabies (I have), you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. It's not a cleanliness issue, it's a thing a dog can contract from any place another dog with mange has recently been. And it does not go away unless treated specifically.

Some allergies in dogs are due to food. An elimination diet isn't pleasant, but it would help a lot if this is food related. An elimination diet usually starts with just rice (no proteins, no preservatives, no additives), then you add things one at a time (especially careful when introducing protein) and you might as well try to avoid gluten, though allergies to this aren't common. Your vet should be able to give you an elimination diet.

Washing laundry with a low allergy detergent and double-rinsing might help.

Watch for infection. Have his nails short and rounded off. It won't help the itching, but it will decrease the damage he can do with them.

Dry skin is the leading cause of itching in humans and in dogs. In his furry areas, look for dandruff. It it's there, running a humidifier, washing him with a hypoallergenic, mild soap or shampoo (I would use handmade soap, which is easy to buy on the Internet), that is all or mostly olive-oil, no coconut oil - also called sodium cocoate on soap labels - and following it up with a hypoallergenic moisturizer can help a lot. Pat dry, don't rub, with a clean towel each time. So can giving him omega-3-fatty acids and a good-quality probiotic. If he's nervous when you handle him, do it after a dose of benadryl, or even a short-acting benzodiazepam.

Finally (and here I leave dogs behind) the vet should be looking for disease. Bloodwork at a minimum. I would think about a punch biopsy, but that might be going too far. Also, when a doctor can't figure out what's going on in a patient, they refer them to specialists. If you're going to throw money at a vet, see a different one! A veterinary dermatologist sounds like a decent choice.

Good luck with your pup. (Oh, and here's a pretty good article from PetMD.)

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My recommendation would be to put your dog on hypoallergenic diet. One source of knowledge you may find here: hypoallergenic pet diet . It written for cats but it is the same with dogs. I know because I used to solve similar problem and this article was pretty helpful.

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