Posts filed under ‘Supplements’
I notice that the blog entries about Boogie’s skin issues get the MOST visits and comments compared to everything else on this blog. This “hair loss” post is many years old, and so are all the posts tagged Skin, but the comments and questions keep coming in. Lots of questions from parents of suffering dogs who want to know which remedies worked and which ones didn’t.
I don’t have answers for other people’s dogs, but here is an update for Boogie….
After spending $$$$ on vet bills, products, and visits to the dermatology clinic over the past 5 years, I decided NOT to go the path of allergy testing and lifelong injections. Our pet insurance doesn’t cover this stuff because anything skin-related is considered a “pre-existing condition”, so I have been focused on more cost-effective solutions.
2015: Boogie’s skin is not great but it is SO MUCH BETTER. In fact, over the past 12 months, Boogie’s skin has been at its best, and looks pretty good compared to previous years. The summer of 2014 was the first time in 5 years that he did not go on a long course of antibiotics and lose most of his hair. He also had no crusty bits.
- Darwin’s pet food – Beef and Veggies (I always cook the meat so it’s not 100% raw)
- Nordic Naturals Pet Cod Liver Oil
- 1 benadryl pill, crushed and mixed in food.
It took roughly 8 months before I saw the difference with Darwins food and the Pet Cod Liver Oil. Boogie’s coat became fuller and shinier; not rough and dry like before.
Benadryl was recommended by our vet. It seems extreme to be giving this to him every single day – but he is less inclined to scratch, and scratching is the FIRST STEP to infections. In warmer/itchier seasons, he gets 1 benadryl per day. In cooler seasons, he gets one every other day. He still scratches, and is still itchy… but I think it would be much worse without the benadryl.
I also bathe Boogie with Vet’s Best Allergy-Itch Relief shampoo, and occasionally soak him in a tub of diluted Vet’s Best Hot Spot Spray or I wipe him down with a cloth that I put some spray on. Especially after he has been rolling around in the grass.
Boogie still gets red and raw spots… especially on his face and in his armpits. I have found that the Virbac Resicort lotion (from our vet) helps with his armpits, but unfortunately this is a recurring problem.
P.S. I tried the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar… these didn’t do anything.
Every time I bring out the ear medication bottle (even before I touch or look at the bottle), Boogie KNOWS what is going to happen. He can read me like a book. He makes himself very small, like a turtle, and creeps very low to the ground, slinking away under a chair or into his crate.
I have tried counter conditioning with treats. Things went well (the bottle ceased to be ‘scary’) up until the moment that he realized that liquid dripped inside his ear… and then he stopped wanting food and would back off as soon as he knew what would eventually happen. So I always ended up administering ear drops “by force”, while Boogie endured the ordeal. And then off he would go, escaping to shake off, before returning for the consolation treat.
I have started watching Lori Stevens’s Tellington TTouch For Dogs DVD, and yesterday I decided to try something new.
Of course,as always, Boogie predicted the worst so he pulled his ears back really tight as soon as I touched them. I didn’t pick up the ear meds. First I did some touches on his head and around the outside ear area with the back of my hand (Chimp TTouch). Then I used my whole hand on top of his head to move the base of his ears around, before doing direct ear strokes… and soon I could feel his ears and his whole body relaxing.
(By the way, I had already done these same TTouches the night before, and I knew Boogie enjoyed them, so it wasn’t like a completely foreign experience).
When he seemed sufficiently relaxed, I added the ear drops into his infected ear, massaged this in, and waited for him to escape.
Miraculously, Boogie did not move. He just stayed where he was and looked at me, so I continued doing slides on both his ears and massaging the base of his ears. When I removed my hands to see if he had had enough, he turned around to look at me again: “Why are you stopping?”
It was pretty cool.
I was ready to gloat but then things did not go so well this morning. I went through the same steps as yesterday. I did Noah’s March along his back and some Chimp TTouches around his face and ears… I stroked his ears until his head was resting on the couch and to me, he looked perfectly calm and relaxed. I stopped from time to time to make sure he was still fine… he was.
Then as soon as I unscrewed the ear drops bottle cap, Boogie jumped off the couch and ran away into the bedroom.
I went to get him and slowly he returned to the couch, with not his usual sad-faced ears-pinned-back look that was usually associated with ear medications. Boogie’s ears were up and his eyes were bright. He looked at me, looked at the ear drops bottle on the table, looked at me…
THIS DOG IS NO FOOL.
What happened on New Year’s Day 2014: We were out walking when…
When you have a ‘reactive dog’ , this sort of thing is a BIG DEAL! :) The one and only verbal cue I gave to Boogie was “Yes!” I didn’t prompt him, I didn’t even ask him to sit; he offered the Sit himself. We had been practicing Sits on busy streets, though. We also participated in two dog-dog BAT set-ups this month… I may share our experiences in another blog post.
The other thing I am happy about is Boogie’s skin and coat! Let’s see, back in July 2013, Boogie’s skin was totally dry and inflamed and his hair was falling out so much that you could see the black freckles showing through the white parts of his coat. After months of antibiotics and steroid medications, the crusty bits and hot spots went away but he was still balding. Boogie wore lots of t-shirts and sweaters in the latter half of 2013.
I started feeding Darwins Pet raw food (lightly cooked) around August last year. Boogie did well on the new food but I didn’t see any skin and coat improvements and the Dermatology Clinic had him back on antibiotics and steroids again for another month which still did nothing for his coat.
Since November, I have been adding one Zyrtec (Aller-tec) pill and Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil to Boogie’s daily Darwin’s Pet meals. I don’t know which of these products are making the difference but there has been a difference! Perhaps it’s also the seasonal change. A few weeks ago I noticed that Boogie’s fur has grown back and it is lush and silky like never before. In fact it has been MONTHS since Boogie’s coat has ever looked and felt this good!
This weekend is Clicker Expo and I am really bummed that I could not afford to attend this year. However, I am driving to Long Beach tomorrow (Saturday) and will be meeting up with Lori Stevens and Emily Larlham for lunch. Very excited about this!
I always crate Boogie before I go out and I have been doing this for years. The main reason being that he used to relocate or destroy stuff when I was out, and the second reason – I didn’t want him getting into the habit of barking at people outside the window when I am not around to divert him from these triggers or to help calm him down.
About a month ago when Boogie was on his recent course of Temaril-P (side effects: extra thirst & restlessness) I felt bad about keeping him cooped up for up to 3 hours at a time. I thought it would be more comfortable for Boogie if he could move around, so for those couple of weeks, I stopped crating him.
Everything was fine at first. I would come home to a Boogie curled up in his open crate, on his bed or in my bed. He’s a bit deaf so sometimes he doesn’t even hear me enter the apartment.
And then one night when Nathan and I were out to dinner for only 30 minutes, this happened….
Yes, Boogie was on my computer keyboard and I don’t know what password he entered. And that trash can is actually twice his height and heavy! Of course, the steroid meds had made him so hungry and he was so obsessed with finding food that he was prepared to do anything! I felt I had no choice but to start crating Boogie again because there was no way on earth I was going to risk him eating something dangerous from the trash. (coffee grounds and Darwin Pet’s ‘raw meat’-lined plastic packets – eeeuughh!)
However, the temperature in LA has been 100+ degrees. It has been so unbearably hot that Boogie has been flopping down on the floor – changing locations throughout the day – in order to keep cool. And once again I wonder if it’s cruel to keep him enclosed in a small space even with the fan and AC on. It can’t be comfortable in that crate when all he wants to do is spread out all over the floor.
I am pleased to report that I have come up with a no-crating management solution for when I am out of the apartment. Before I step out, this is what I do…
- I still call Boogie to his crate and give him a treat. (He usually runs in there by himself anyway when he sees me pick up my keys) But I don’t shut the crate door.
- I move Boogie’s water bowl out of the kitchen and block off the kitchen with a baby gate. (no access to any food or trash)
- I fill the bath tub with some water so if Boogie is hot he can go cool down his paws (this is his Summer thing)
- I still lock my PC keyboard.
Everything has been working out great. I can’t believe I never thought of blocking off the kitchen before. When I come home – all is as it should be. Trash is safe. Boogie is sleeping in one of his many beds. He may still bark out the window but oh well…
Masked Dog is a character from Mucha Lucha. I designed him over 10 years ago and I can’t believe I have never owned a Masked Dog plush toy until now. Boogie was very excited to meet Masked Dog but I will have to keep these two separate because Masked Dog is MINE :)
Last week I was sent a free packet of Bionic Biotic by Pooch & Mutt for Boogie to try out. Poor Boogie still has skin issues – his coat is thinning very drastically – he is getting so bald you can see his black freckles showing through the white parts. He will soon turn into a black and grey boston terrier :(
And now that he is no longer on antibiotics, I am seeing the dreaded return of red (bumpy and crusty) spots on his skin. From what I have been told, it could be a few weeks before I see a result with Bionic Biotic, and we only just started a few days ago so it is too soon to tell if this will help. I really really hope so! I will keep you all posted. I am also bathing Boogie with Cortisoothe and Hexadene shampoos – and still adding Brewers yeast and garlic to his food. I have a suspicion that these medicated shampoos may be contributing to his hair loss… I don’t know for sure. It seems that the more I bathe him, the more hair he loses… But I can’t not bathe him when he is so allergic to grass and pollens.
What antibacterial shampoos do you all use?
Recently, a client suggested that I cut out POTATOES (including sweet potatoes & yam) from Boogie’s diet. These are carbohydrates = sugars which contribute to yeast infections. Yeast infections lead to itchiness and possibly also bacterial infections.
I had no idea about potatoes and it saddens me that the giant boxes of The Honest Kitchen food in my kitchen contain potatoes and honey. Yep, honey is also a sugar. As are rice, wheat, corn, and ALL CARBOHYDRATES…. usually found in treats too.
Today I found this extremely informative video about treating and preventing yeast infections by Dr. Karen Becker. It’s long but worth watching!
Some anti-yeast tips from this video:
- Anti-fungal foods: Oregano, garlic
- Clean and disinfect yeasty parts of body every day- especially ears and feet, armpits, groin area…
- Foot soak: Gallon of water + 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide + 1 cup white vinegar/lemon juice. Astringency = anti-fungal
- Ear solution: Witchhazel & cottonballs. Clean out debris!
- No Oatmeal shampoo! (Oatmeal is a grain/carb and will feed the yeast!)
- Use Anti-fungal shampoo – tea tree oil based or herbal
- Post bath rinse: Gallon of water + 20 drops of peppermint oil (do not get on head), or astringent solution (see Foot Soak). Towel-dry without rinsing.
- A supplement to support the dog’s immune system.
One of the most popular posts on Boogie’s Blog is Hair loss and crusty dry skin… What is it? Many other dog owners are experiencing the same troubles, have spent as much money as I have, and feel as desperate as I do.
I have written about Boogie’s recurring skin problem many times, every summer, when we get the same Staph infection diagnosis and another whopping course of antibiotics. Yes, the cephalexin clears up the skin issues but Boogie’s immune system gets messed up at the same time so I have never been 100% happy with this solution. Some blog readers have shared their own success stories with me so I want to re-share them here.
Oh I can help you with this! Went through the same with my ridgeback. Spent a fortune and FINALLY found the answer. I wasted time with the specialists. My local RR Club hooked me up with an old school vet who had the solution. It is a staph infection and antibiotics won’t help long term because it’s so hard on the system and this whole thing is caused by a compromised immune system to start with. You need to start WEEKLY baths of chlorohexadine shampoo and add PB–8 probiotic to the diet. Basically treat the staph topically and bolster his immune system rather than tear if down. Also, I feed Honest Kitchen Thrive. It’s best for allergic dogs. I wish I could go on at greater length but I’m typing from my iPhone lol thumbs are sore Lol. But I found your blog by chance and wanted to help. Email me for more info as I have lots to share. We spent 2 years and spared no expense to fine what works. Silly thing is the solution isn’t even expensive. Ay! Best of luck!!
Today, this comment came in from Lawrence:
Thanks for posting this blog post. My BT, Buster 4mth old Male, had that weird scaly hair lesions with resulting patchy hair loss too this summer. At first it was only one patch on the side of his belly, then it really spread around to the point where it was embarrassing.
I followed the advice of Carolyn&John (which lacked specific brands/products). I looked up pro-biotics and chlorohexadine shampoo and just bought what was popular/highly rated on amazon.
Here’s exactly what I used:
-Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
-Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Micro-Emulsion Spray
–PharmAssure – Acidophilus Capsules (this is the probiotics)
–Nature’s Bounty Odorels Fish Oil 1000mg (purified of Mercury PCBs and Dioxins)
I bathed my BT up to 3 times a week (also whenever dirty like after a dog run/day at the beach). I would spray him w/ Cholorhexidine spray once a day (a good 3-4 sprays around his whole body).
Then I would feed him the two supplements twice a day with meals.
It actually cleared up within 2 weeks completely in the middle of summer. The first week there was very noticeable results.
I added the fish oil for the fatty acids and omega 3 benefits.
I’m a doctor and understand the biochemistry/pathology behind this fungal infection. Its basically lack of absorption in the gut resulting in the fungal/bacterial lesions in the skin due to a bit of immunosuppression. Carolyn’s advice as scientifically sound.
The probiotics reboot the guts natural bacterial flora/fauna to normal, the fish oil provides nutrients specific for the rebuilding of skin layers (amongst other things like heart benefits), and the clorohexidine is basically a disinfectant/sanitizer that kills off the bacteria/fungus at the skin level.
Thanks again for posting your dogs skin infection and plight with pictures on your blog. It really helped me out and also helped me avoid going to an over zealous vet who might have put my puppy on long tern antibiotics that was not needed.
Hope this works for your guy as well.
Thank you, Carolyn, John and Lawrence!
I did order a big ol’ bottle of green Chlorhexidine solution to make a spray but when it arrived, I wasn’t sure what % to use so I have held off on using this. The instructions offered by one Amazon customer was 2 tablespoons of chlorhexidine solution to 1 gallon of water, and I tried this – but the result looked just like plain water. It was super diluted and gut instinct tells me I may be better off just ordering the bottled Duoxo Chlorhexidine spray.
At the same time, I am bathing Boogie once a week… Perhaps I need to bathe him more often. He is also getting Canine Immune System Support twice daily in his meals (The Honest Kitchen and Stella & Chewys) I should get some probiotics too.
Question on the probiotics: Are these the kind that humans take? How do you calculate how much to give a 26lb dog?
UPDATE: I received an email reply from Lawrence that this is the same kind of probiotics that humans take that you can buy from Rite Aid. You can’t overdose on it. There is also this very helpful footbath video:
No, I didn’t bring Boogie. Though when I look at the photo that my friend Christa sent me while I was away (of Boogie curled up in Butch’s tiny bed) I’d like to believe that Boogie was telling us: “Look at how small I really am! I can fit underneath an airline seat!”
Boogie is a whopping 26 lbs. Too big to fly.
In Seattle I had the pleasure of visiting the huge and impressive Ahimsa Dog Training Center where I met up with Grisha Stewart (author of the BAT book that I illustrated) and her amazing Peanut, a dog of many skills and tricks.
I also finally met Jen and Gigi whom I have known for YEARS on the internet. I have drawn Gigi the doxie girl, many times and she is so much tinier in real life than how I always imagined her! My drawings of Gigi also appear on the labels of Jen’s custom-made lipbalms: Your Lips But Better.
We had breakfast, walked the dogs, visited the Fremont Troll under the bridge, and took photos. It was fun!
A photo with Grisha and Jen –
It’s great to be back home with Boogie.
After a week on Temaril-P, he is less itchy but I am still concerned about the hair loss… there are bald spots and some areas where his coat is scary thin. Back to the vet on Friday.
Thanks to everyone who has been recommending supplements and holistic treatments! I really appreciate it! The tricky part is knowing what to choose… there are SO MANY products out there…
In other news, the MALL DOGS documentary that I hope to be working on, has not met its Kickstarter fundraising goal so if you have backed this project – THANK YOU! – You won’t be owing Kickstarter any money. We are now asking for support over at www.dogparent.com Please spread the word and chip in if you can.
Last but not least, I am registered to attend Clicker Expo 2013 in San Francisco! Three days! Woohoo. I have also already picked the seminars that I want to go to. :) Anyone going to Clicker Expo next year?
I would also LOVE to go to the Bob Bailey/Sophia Yin event in November, but alas, unless a miracle happens or a very high-paying job comes in soon, there is only so much travel that I can afford to do this year.