Sheba the Itchy Golden Retriever

By July 22, 2016Featured Pet

Sheba is lovely 9 year old Golden Retriever. She loves to swim and go for long walks with her family. Every summer, her owner Leslie notices that Sheba seems more itchy than usual and has a “smelly dog” odor.
Leslie brought Sheba for a visit at Headon Forest Animal Hospital. Dr van Monsjou examined Sheba from nose to tail and diagnosed her with an ear infection and a bacterial skin infection. Sheba is on monthly flea and tick preventative drops so Leslie was relieved to know that she doesn’t have fleas! Dr van Monsjou advised Leslie that Sheba likely has seasonal allergies (also known as Atopy) due to the recurrence of her itching and skin & ear infections every summer.
Allergies weaken the barrier on Sheba’s skin and make her more prone to infections. Similar to people, dogs can be allergic to grass, trees, weeds, mold, dust and other pollens found in the environment. The symptoms of allergies in dogs include itching, excessive licking, rashes (scabs, crusts or red spots) on the skin and ear infections. Some dogs have sores and hair loss from licking and chewing themselves because they are so itchy. These symptoms can be seasonal and occur in the spring, summer or fall months every year if they are caused by environmental allergies. Food allergies cause similar symptoms but can occur all year round or when a dog eats something she is allergic to such as chicken, beef, lamb, wheat, corn or dairy.
Treatment for allergies often includes short term antibiotics to help manage skin & ear infections as well as medications to help control itching and keep the dog feeling more comfortable. Medicated shampoos and topical skin treatments prescribed by your veterinarian can be helpful to soothe itch, remove crusts and help repair the skin barrier. Allergy testing bloodwork can be done to identify specific allergens and make patient-specific allergy serum to help reduce symptoms for environmental allergies. If a food allergy is suspected, a hypoallergenic diet trial will be recommended to eliminate any potential sources of allergens in the pet’s diet.
Sheba was successfully treated with 2 weeks of oral antibiotics for her skin infection as well as ear drops to treat her ear infection. Our technicians showed Leslie how to clean Sheba’s ears using a gentle ear cleaning solution to remove the smelly debris caused by her infection. Her itching is well controlled with medication during the warmer months when she needs it.
Does your dog get itchy or smelly during the warmer months of the year? Contact us to book an appointment with one of our veterinarians to find out if your dog needs treatment for allergies too.