Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stinky Itchy Dogs!

How  Scottie Dog SHOULD look!
via the Westminster Kennel Club

Today I had an epiphany! Poor Scottie Dog has horrible spring allergies. He's only three, but for the last three springs (out of four), as soon as that yellow blanket of pollen descends here in the deep south, he starts scratching. And I don't mean gently! The first year, it was a bloody mess by the time I realized what was going on and got him to the vet. The second year, the steroid shot I used as a last means worked except he got a little stinky. Then last year, it all went up in smoke. The steroid shot was useless as was the Benedryl and Chlor-Trimeton! Finally, after about two months of hair/dust bunnies running away every time I passed his bed, he calmed down and life went on as usual.

It's gotten to where I dread spring in a way, even though it's my favorite time of year. It's so frustrating watching him scratch and knowing I don't know what to do to help (not to mention Hubby isn't much of a dog lover... especially of itchy, stinky, EXPENSIVE dogs!).  There is also the most unpleasant odor emanating from Scottie and his bed when all this is going on. No amount of bathing, baby powder, perfume, etc. seems to make him smell good.

"Ugh! Dude, take a bath!"

Have I mentioned how I would rather eat worms than have a house that smells like "dog"?! I don't mind the work to keep it neat, clean, hairless, and free of "eau de doggie" because the boys and I love our dog. But when NOTHING seems to work, I start to border on losing my sanity and my heart just breaks for my little, itchy, stinky companion.

So, all that to say, today I stumbled upon some info that finally connected all the dots... anyway logically. The verdict is still out on actual proof, but I'm almost sure it's a shoo-in. If you already knew this... where have you been all my life!? No, really. Just bear with my ignorance and new found information. I'm giving it the old college try and if works, you'll be hearing about it!

The initial process started like this: Scottie is itchy and stinky again. Not to mention shedding fiercely (and we thought Scottie's didn't shed!!!). This year we tried Atarax and it kept the itching in control. No steriods, no walks in the pollen, and lots of baths. But, darn it all! He's still itchy, his collar constantly plays "Jingle Bells", he STINKS and now he's got "goopy" eyes!!!!! Take him to the vet, right? Well, let me tell you how well that has worked in the past: "Scotties don't do well here in the south. This allergy problem will only get worse." then steroid shot that didn't work. I love my vet and he's good, but sometimes there comes a point when we have to be proactive for both our pets and our own health, roll up our sleeves and figure it out on our own!

I would have taken my own picture of Scottie Dog, but I value my camera more than that!

Time to hit the internet and see what I can dig up. One thing led to another and suddenly I think I know what the problem is, even though the pollen has pretty much died down and we're still stinky, itchy, goopy, and nearly hairless due to Mommy getting fed up and shaving him (Oh, my! What a pretty mental picture!).

No, that's not him (his legs aren't that long) but I let out a belly laugh when I saw this!
via extremefunnyhumor

It starts with allergies, but all that scratching leads to Malassezia (i.e. topical yeast infections)! Almost all dogs get it at some time, but Scotties and a few other [long hair] breeds, are more susceptible... especially in humid hot weather. If they start scratching for whatever reason (ie. allergies!), they open up the chances of getting yeast infections on the skin, particularly if their immune system is not up to par. So, I came up with a plan of action based off the linked articles and others. It is as follows:

1. Bathe him 2x a week (until he's healed up, then only as needed) with Selsun Blue shampoo or a shampoo with:
    Chlorhexidine 1%, Benzoyl Peroxide or Sulfur Ketoconazole on the affected areas,

2. Give Omega 3 & 6 capsules (reduces inflammation and itching),

3. Clean ears 1-2x daily with garlic oil drops or cold pressed extra virgin olive oil that has had a few cloves soaked in it overnight (smells MUCH better). This is if the infection is in the ears. I'm not sure it is, but we're doing it just to be safe!
* another cure for yeast in ears is with eucalyptus, tea tree and Neem Oil (never heard of this till now, but it's even at Lowe's!) in glycerin done after a vinegar misting and/or wipe down to clean - not poured in deep. It's in the linked articles somewhere.


4. Take/give probiotics and/or give 1/2 to 1 tsp of plain (NOT sweetened) yogurt on food daily (dog dose).
5. Find a dog food that is gluten free and it's first ingredient is a crude protein. Scottie Dog has always used Purina Dog Chow because that is what the breeder used who we got him from. I looked today and it's first ingredient is wheat/carbohydrates - i.e. sugar/food for the yeast! I found a fairly cheap one called Lassie that was at Ingles to try. It's gluten free and has a crude protein first.

6. Lastly, if that doesn't get it, I'll give him an oral antifungal like ketoconazole, fluconzole, or itraconazole (also called Fish Fungus Tablets? Thinking I saw that online somewhere but don't quote me!). I imagine I should be able to get these at the feed and seed, but if not, I know you can order off the internet.


I feel like I'm having a flashback to school - writing research papers!:) Regardless, I thought I'd share my findings because I know I'm not the only one dealing with this on a limited budget. I'll keep you posted on if any of it seems to work!

Oh, and the real irony to all this is... I got a phone call yesterday asking if I'd be interested in entering him in a dog show! They've obviously not seen him since his lovely haircut/shaving!

If Scottie Dog could, he'd leave me a note that goes something like this:
"I'm going into hiding until my hair grows back!"
via Scottish Terrier Love

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  1. Dear Miss Bee: I have had these same issues with my dog, a Lasa who is now 14 years old. There are truly no words to describe the smell of a dog with a yeast infection and the constant scratching can drive a person crazy!! We have tried many of these tricks, even many years of trying to find the "right" dog food, to no avail. What has finally worked, (and would have worked sooner) was to put her on Prednisone 1/4 pill a day. I fought this for years because I know this is not the best for her health, but neither is frequent yeast infections and antibiotics and you know the rest of the drill. We also found a great shampoo for her that can be used up to 3 times a week by SynergyLabs called "Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic" Medicated Shampoo (for dogs) which we found online(although now that she is on the Prednisone, we only have to bathe her once every two weeks, yeah!) Good luck with finding the right things for your beautiful dog, I hope this does give you some info. You know if we could cure these little poochies and market the cure we would be wealthy women.

  2. I have a Westie that has some of the issues you stated, except for the ears...well, she did have that a few months ago and the vet cleared it up...she is now going thru a skin infection and the vet put her on antibiotics and an antihistamin...I recently started her on Omega 3's but I have also given her N-Zymes (check it out on the internet) and she was doing will with them but them I stopped the N-Zymes when I put her on the Omega's and she broke out with the infection..I put her back on the N-Zymes. Although I did not think they did much for her I now feel that they were since after stopping them she broke out with the infection and hot spots...she still scratches but not as much....also we were in FL and it was flea season...we keep her on Frontline....good luck with your Scottie...I use to have a Scottie before we purchased the both of these breeds...

  3. Thanks for this post! Our yellow lab suffers with allergies. We finally found an allergist for dogs and he was able to help get her under control. We are getting ready to move to Florida in the next few months and I was dreading what the change in the climate could do to her. I think we will start your suggestions prior to our move so maybe we can nip problems in the bud! By the way, we suspected that with the allergies, Lucy was also scratching and licking from boredom. We got her a "friend" last year, to keep her company. It was the first year her allergies were not so intense!

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