German Shepherd Allergy Treatment And Management
Unfortunately, German shepherds are one of the breeds more susceptible to many allergens. Though all allergies can be treated, not all can be cured .
Like everything else medical, allergy treatment depends on the type of allergy.
Two general methods exist: medicinal treatment and environmental control. Sometimes a nice balance can be found managing between the two!
Types Of Canine Skin Autoimmune Diseases
About one-third of all canine autoimmune disorders are pemphigus, making it the most common dermatological autoimmune disease. With pemphigus foliaceous, symmetrical lesions usually appear on the dogs ears and face. Hair loss, vesicles, pustules and erosions with ulcers might be observed. Their feet will become affected next and, if it progresses without any treatment, the groin area and trunk may be affected. The pustules tend to be large and fragile. After they break open, crusted lesions cover the open areas.
Dogs with severe cases may lose their appetite and appear depressed. Some dogs will have a fever. It generally first appears in middle-aged dogs but has been diagnosed in dogs of any age. While any dog can develop pemphigus foliaceous, Akitas and Chow Chows are common victims. Other breeds that seem to show a higher incidence include Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd dogs, English Bulldogs and Cocker Spaniels.
This disease primarily affects parts of the head such as the nose, face and ears. It is the mildest form of pemphigus. Collies, German Shepherd dogs and Shetland Sheepdogs may be predisposed to this skin problem.
This is the least common member of the pemphigus complex. It produces proliferative lesions, not the erosions and ulcers seen in the other forms.
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus
How To Treat German Shepherd Allergies
To treat German Shepherd allergies, you will need to remove the offending allergen as much as possible and then treat the symptoms. Treatments will depend on the type of allergy and your dogs symptoms. They can include a special diet, medication, and skin supplements.
Here are some allergy treatment options for your German Shepherd:
- Medications. Antihistamines or corticosteroids can be prescribed to block the allergic reaction and help relieve symptoms. Immunosuppressive agents are also an option, but they need to be used wisely due to possible side effects. Antibiotics can also be given for secondary bacterial infection.
- Supplements. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish oil, have effectively treated skin allergies as they can improve the response to steroids and antihistamines. They are also good for your German Shepherds general skin and coat health. You can try chew treats such as Zesty Paws Omega Bites from Amazon or Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil that you squirt on your dogs food.
- Medicated shampoo or cream. These can help with severeitching and inflamed skin. Some therapeutic shampoos also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agents to help your dog. Frequent bathing can help to remove allergens from the fur.
- Holistic medicines or natural treatments. Some dog owners opt for alternative therapies such as essential oils like chamomile or aloe vera. Always consult a vet familiar with their use if you wish to try these.
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German Shepherd Health And Osteoarthritis
Hip dysplasia isnt the only joint issue to watch out for in German Shepherd health. Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease caused by the deterioration of cartilage, leading to limb dysfunction and pain.
Osteoarthritis is not uncommon in any breeds senior dogs, much like arthritis in humans can happen at any stage in life but is more common in the elderly.
Large breed dogs like German Shepherds are at a higher risk for osteoarthritis at a younger age due to the wear and tear on joints.
Osteoarthritis symptoms are stiffness, lameness, limping, slow to rise, tender to the touch, not wanting to jump in the car or climb steps, abnormal gait, a loss of interest in food and play.
Most people assume that with age, their companion is simply less active and taking things slower. Its best to have a vet take a look to rule out osteoarthritis.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but much like hip dysplasia, there things to manage the condition like medication and physical therapy.
A Case Of German Shepherd Pyoderma
Ulcerating lesions on inside thighs. Furunculosis of German Shepherd Dog Pyoderma
Ulcerating lesions on outside thighs. Furunculosis of German Shepherd Dog Pyoderma
Early lesions of GSD pyoderma on trunk
GSD pyoderma furunculosis on lip fold
After total body clipping, swabs were taken for cytology from the discharging lesions to be stained and viewed under our powerful microscope. Swabs were also sent off for bacterial culture.
Cytology GSD Pyoderma. Eosinophils and neutrophils with intracellular bacterial rods.
Cytology from GSD Pyoderma. Eosinophils and Neutrophils containing bacterial cocci
The results of the bacterial culture and sensitivity was a profuse growth of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E.coli amd Enterococcus. They all had differing antibiotic sensitivities but luckily they were all sensitive to Pradofloxacin which happens to be one of the antibiotics of choice for deep pyodermas due to its excellent penetrating properties and and its low mutant prevention concentration for many bacterial species that lowers the risk of antibiotic resistance developing.
Boo was there for treated with oral Pardiofloxacin in conjuction with regaukr shampooing with a Chlorhexidine based shampoo to keep the skin clear on dried discharges and attack the bacteria on the surface.
Within 3 weeks there was a dramatic improvement.
After 3 weeks oral Pradofloxacin and topical Chlorhexidine
GSD Pyoderma after 6 weeks treatment
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Learn About German Shepherd Scratching From A Canine Veterinarian
In this YouTube video, you can watch a canine veterinarian examining a German Shepherd dog patient who is struggling with ongoing itching and scratching issues.
As you will notice, the veterinarian takes a look at the dogs skin and paws and talks with the owner about possible issues with pests, fleas, saliva allergies, seasonal allergies, and also signs of other skin issues like mange.
If you have tried to identify what might be causing your dogs itching and scratching and you cant see any visible triggers, it is definitely time to call in the pros to help diagnose your dogs issues and get the right treatment.
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How Is Dermatomyositis Treated
Dermatomyositis is best considered a condition that is managed rather than cured. Most dogs with dermatomyositis can be managed at home, rather than in the hospital. It is important to avoid activities that could traumatize the skin or muscles of affected dogs. Ultraviolet light exposure may worsen skin lesions, so it is important to be mindful of the time these dogs spend outdoors.
“Dermatomyositis is best considered a condition that is managed rather than cured.”
If the chewing muscles are affected, the dog may need assistance eating such as hand feeding or forming softened food into meatballs. For dogs with an enlarged esophagus, food consistency and feeding patterns may need to change. Your veterinarian will be able to work through the details with you, individualized to the specific dogs issues.
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Are Skin Allergies Common In German Shepherds
We call this skin allergy atopy, and Shepherds often have it. Commonly, the feet, belly, folds of the skin, and ears are most affected. Symptoms typically start between the ages of one and three and can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most common signs.
Apply A Moisturizing Skin Spray Or Ointment
Moisturizing sprays keep your pets skin hydrated and bring more immediate relief to their irritation.
They are also convenient and easy to use throughout the day. Look for a spray that contains aloe vera and vitamin e, both of which moisturize the skin.
I use this spray for my itching German Shepherd and her skin felt moisturized and looked healthier after only a few applications. Spray on your dogs hot spots to reduce constant itchiness and provide soothing moisture. This spray was formulated for dogs with allergies by veterinarians, so its a clinical formula for home use.
For areas you think are infected or extremely irritated, try a thicker cream that also offers pain relief, like this Sulfodene ointment.
I wouldnt get caught without this spray and ointment, not only for itchiness and dry skin but for cuts and sores. My GSD immediately shows signs of relief upon application!
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Specific To Type Of Pyoderma
Surface infections are often best treated topically. They are not considered curable because the moisture and occlusive nature of folds predisposes toward recurrence. Surgical excision may be curative in some cases of vulvar fold pyoderma and tail fold pyoderma in English bulldogs.
Superficial pyodermas can often be treated exclusively with topical therapy , but frequent bathing is required . Bathing frequency can be reduced by the use of chlorhexidine leave-on conditioners, sprays, wipes, and mousses in between. The use of topical therapy seems to speed the rate of recovery, and we suspect topical therapy reduces the length of time a dog requires systemic antibiotics.
Deep pyodermas usually require prolonged courses of antibiotic therapy. While topical therapy alone is unlikely to resolve a deep pyoderma, it is an invaluable tool in the dogs recovery. Bathing helps to remove adherent crusts and sticky exudates, promoting drainage and drying.
Cad Or Canine Atopic Dermatitis:
Canine Atopic Dermatitis or CAD for short, is an inflammatory disease that is similar to eczema in humans. The cause of this condition is an allergic reaction to certain environmental elements such as dust mites, dust from human skin, pollens, soil fungi and more. When the dogs body comes into contact with one of these, otherwise harmful particles in the air, it overreacts and causes the skin to swell and or turn red.
Regrettably for German Shepherds, they have a predisposition for inheriting this skin disease. The condition is chronic and stays with the dog for the entirety of their lives. It is not completely curable but can be controlled using proper treatment. It is a Pruritic disease which subsequently results in an annoying itch in places where the eczema exists.
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German Shepherd Skin Allergies
German shepherds are susceptible to skin allergies due to their thick coats. They can develop skin allergies at any age in their lives, but they are more likely to do so from 1 to 5 years old.
Environmental factors like dust, mites, fleas, etc., play a major role in skin allergies of German shepherds. These allergies are triggered by allergens that are commonly present in the environment or food.
Genetic mutations are also a factor causing skin allergies. Canine atopic dermatitis is the most reported skin allergy among German shepherds. Some other skin allergies are also observed such as:
- Flea allergy dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
What Is Atopic Dermatitis In Dogs
Canine atopic dermatitis, or canine atopy, is the medical term for hay fever in dogs. It is often used to characterize a common form of dog skin allergy in which dogs are allergic to a wide variety of environmental factors . It can be hereditary, more often affecting purebred dogs, but mixed breeds are also susceptible. Breeds with a higher risk include:
In one large study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, researchers analyzed medical records of more than 27,000 dogs from the UC Davis veterinary clinic to compare the incidence of 24 genetic disorders in mixed versus purebred dogs. They found that the risk of atopy was significantly higher in purebreds. The breeds with the highest rates of atopy in this study were West Highland White Terriers, Coonhounds, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Tibetan Terriers.
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What To Do About Dull Coats And Skin Problems In German Shepherds
On a recent visit to my vet, I asked if there were something I could do to help, and the vet asked if I gave the dogs an Omega supplement. I explained that I gave the dogs a high-quality dog kibble that claimed to have a balance of nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids.
This is where I learned my first mistake.
My vet explained how dog food, even though it claims to contain Omega-3, rarely has any fatty acids that are biologically available to dogs. Biologically available? I had to have my vet expand on that one. Apparently, when dog food is processed, it is exposed to high heat. Omega fatty acids just so happen to be very sensitive to high heat. So by the time you pour Fido a bowl of kibble, the essential fatty acids are no longer in a state that is beneficial to your dog. In addition to dry, itchy skin and unhealthy coats, I was told that Omega-3 deficient diets also lead to:
Prolonged healing of wounds
Fortunately, my vet offered a solution. She recommended that I start my dogs on an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Sounds easy? Not so much.
I also learned that all supplements are not created equal. The ingredients that are used to derive the fatty acids is key. I think most people know that salmon is high in Omega-3s, but did you know that its also high in toxins, such as lead and mercury?
Treating Your German Shepherds Itchy Skin For Good
Its heartbreaking to watch your German Shepherd itching constantly, uncomfortable, and even in pain. Your GSD might just need a change of diet or a quick spray of anti-itch solution.
There are simple ways to help your German Shepherd from itching and scratching like crazy. Most of the treatments you can order from home and apply right away.
A solid skincare routine can help alleviate your German Shepherds itchy skin for good and doesnt cost a fortune.
Dont let your itchy dog lie around uncomfortable when therere steps you can take right now to help them!
Want more help with your German Shepherds skin and fur?
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How Do You Moisturize A Dogs Skin
Dietary supplements and humidifiers can help mitigate medical conditions and environmental factors. Several natural moisturizers can be used on your dogs dry skin and especially on exposed skin on the nose and paw pads, including coconut oil and olive oil. There is no need for your dog to suffer from dry skin.
How Do We Diagnose Pyoderma
Pyoderma is diagnosed by history and clinical examination, and supported by cytologic findings.
Cytology is important for several reasons it:
- Identifies coexistent staphylococcal and Malassezia infections in order to resolve the infections, both need to be treated
- Confirms the presence of bacteria and white blood cells
- Helps to differentiate pyoderma from other cutaneous diseases that mimic, or may coexist with, pyodermas, such as pemphigus foliaceus.
Samples can be obtained for cytology in several ways.
- Clear tape is an excellent way to collect materials from feet and skin folds, as well as from collarettes. See Step by Step: Using Clear Tape for Cytologic Evaluation of Pyoderma.
- Direct impression smears can be obtained from moist lesions and pustule exudate, allowed to dry, and then stained.
- A dry #10 blade can collect crusts from very dry lesions, which are then placed on a slide and minced into sterile saline. Once dried, the slide can be stained and examined.
Culture and sensitivity is recommended for all generalized deep pyodermas and if treatment with 2 different classes of oral antibiotic, repeated courses of a previously effective antibiotic, or one injection of cefovecin18 fail to resolve any superficial or deep infections .
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Top 10 Common German Shepherd Health Problems
All pets are bound to have health issues the older they get at some point in their lives. Many variables come into play with the type and severity of the problem.
German Shepherds are no exception to the rule. However, there are preventive measures you can take to avoid some conditions potentially or, at the least, catch the condition before it can progress.
Joint issues are a concern for German Shepherd health, but there are several other diseases and conditions that owners need to be aware of.
How Often To Bathe Your Dog
If you use one of the shampoos above, or one containing the recommended ingredients, youâll notice the dandruff will be gone as long as you wait for the recommended time of 10 minutes.
In normal cases youâll only need to bathe your dog in the anti-dandruff shampoo once a month or once a week, depending on severity of symptoms. The more regular you use the shampoo, the less youâll see the dandruff.
If the dandruff is severe, then you should bathe your pet every other day for a week or even 10 days. In fact, bathe him every other day until you have removed the majority of the debris and flakes on his skin. You can then bathe him twice a week for a month and then reduce to just once a week.
Once it is finally and fully under control, you can bathe him once a month to stop dog dandruff from building up again. Luckily, itâs not that difficult to treat if you get the right shampoo.
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Can Dogs Get Tested For Allergies
Prior to any treatment, your veterinarian will need a complete medical history to determine the pattern of your dog’s allergies. Some allergies are seasonal, such as mold, while others are year-round.
A complete physical examination is important in determining the best types of treatment. Your veterinarian will want to perform tests on skin samples from the affected areas.
Serologic allergy testing may be performed, which looks for antibodies in the blood, but the results are not always reliable. The quality of this kind of testing often depends on the laboratory that analyzes the results.
Intradermal testing may also be used to identify the cause of your pet’s allergic reaction. This is where small amounts of test allergens are injected into the skin and wheal response is measured.
Since these types of tests are very expensive, your veterinarian may recommend treatment instead of advanced allergy testing.