Constant itching...

Discussion in 'Labrador behaviour' started by markclaxton, Apr 27, 2017.

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  1. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    Hi!

    Our labrador Charlie is constantly itching/biting himself, despite no evidence of fleas.

    I've read that there are other causes of itching and was wondering if anyone could help before I definitely need to take him to the vet.

    I'll explain a bit more on why we think 'stress' could be causing his itching, and if I'm correct, what is the best way to 'de-stress' Charlie.

    3 weeks ago my fiance was taken into hospital with pregnancy induced hypertension and for 8 days I was in an out of the house between hospital visits, during this time Charlie was looked after by a family friend and my sister. After these 8 days of frantic trips to the hospital and back, we brought home our son Isaac.

    Charlie has been brilliant since we brought Isaac home, he's been interested in him and has shown him a lot of affection but his itching/biting has continued and recently it's gotten worse.

    I've checked him for fleas and only a week ago he had his flea treatment. We also have 3 cats who sleep in the same places Charlie sleeps in, they have been checked for fleas and are clean too.

    If it's allergies, how do we determine what the allergy is?
     
  2. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Congratulations on your new arrival.

    My last dog (also a chocolate Lab) had itchy skin problems, though his didn't start till he was about 2years. You can have allergy testing done at the vets, but I didn't do this as the vet told me it would be very expensive and not very reliable (this was around 17 years ago). However I have read comments from other people saying it's not especially costly and is useful.

    Could it be a product somehow related to your baby -powder? Nappy cream?

    I eventually went through a process of ruling things out from my dog's diet and found he was much less itchy if we avoided wheat. I have read that chicken is a common food allergen too.

    I guess if it's stress then it will settle down as things get back to normal -perhaps make sure he gets his usual exercise?

    Speaking from my own experience, I would say don't let it get to the stage where he scratches so much the skin becomes infected as then he'll need antibiotics. My dog needed occasional courses of steroids to control his itching, but as time went on I became better at controlling his diet and responding quickly when he did get itchy so that he only needed a very low dose. He lived to 14 1/2 years so if your dog does end up needing medication it's not the end of the world.

    I hope his skin settles down of it's own accord.
     
  3. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Congrats on your new arrival! :)

    As Joy says it's really important to get on tip of itching before an infection sets in or permemant changes occur to the skin (thickening of the skin so it looks kind of like elephant skin).

    I would say that it's extremely unlikely that stress would be a primary cause.

    Food allergies are a possibility but another big possibility would be allergies to something in the environment (pollen, mould spores from decaying vegetation....). I would definitely take him to the vet to talk about the possible causes and, importantly, to get some relief for him. He is probably quite uncomfortable and some medication to stop the itching will help a lot.
     
  4. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    Thank you for the replies =) I really appreciate it.

    I've taken him to the vet and the vet couldn't find a single trace of fleas, lesions etc.

    She has given Charlie a steroid injection to determine whether the itching is allergy or stress related. So if he continues to itch during the next 24 hours it will mean he has an allergy or is developing an allergy.
     
  5. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Some Vets now think allergies, and their symptom of itching, are gut issues. With the 20/20 vision of hindsight it does seem to have been true of my dog, who started itching at age two. Apparently that is a typical age to start. Some years later, seemingly out of the blue, he was extremely ill, diagnosed with Lymphangiectasia, was one of the lucky ones to make a recovery, and now - Ta DA, not itchy. Going into year four of no itch, after ever increasingly stronger meds for the itch. Bloodwork that showed a too low blood protein, albumin, in the early years was a clue but we didn't know that then. Maybe ask your Vet about bloodwork and her view on the gut issue relationship.
     
  6. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    Hi! The vet did mention blood will be taken to do some tests if his itching isn't stress related, I will ask about the gut thing too.
     
  7. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I'd say it's the other way round. If it is an allergy to something in his environment, like pollen or something else he is coming in contact with then the steroid injection should reduce the itching. Steroids help with allergies.

    My dog has a pollen allergy and steroids (tablets) treat it very effectively and dramatically reduce his itching.
     
  8. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    Yes, I'd have thought that too.
     
  9. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    My partner agrees, I might have heard wrong.

    More than 24 hours has passed since his injection and Charlie hasn't itched much at all. An hour or 2 after the injection was still itching but not as much, and as of this morning, I don't think I've seen him itch like he was before.
     
  10. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Good to hear that he's itching less :)
     
  11. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    Update on the situation...

    Charlie started itching again on Sunday, roughly 36 hours after his injection and we've spoken to the vets who have told us it's likely an allergy.

    They said food might be the likeliest cause and with us changing his food 2 months ago and then the flavour of the food a month ago it's likely this might be the cause.

    I've changed his diet to a hypo-allergenic diet and will see how it goes.
     
  12. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    I hope the food change helps. I'd suggest looking at what it actually contains so that you can narrow down what Charlie is reacting to. Then if this food doesn't work, you'll have an idea what to exclude next. My last dog seemed to react to wheat but I've read that being allergic to chicken is very common too.
     
  13. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    Hello again! It's been a couple of months since I began this thread.

    We changed Charlie's diet and it seemed to have worked. His itching almost became non-existent. But...

    Just recently, he started his itching again. Every time he goes to itch himself we've inspected the area and found no fleas, his flea treatment isn't due for another few weeks too.

    We have 3 cats too that spent time with Charlie and they are clear of fleas too.
     
  14. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    It could be unrelated to the previous itching - grass mites are out and about and can cause quite severe itchiness.
     
  15. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Agree - you could be dealing with more than one cause here.
     
  16. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Registered Users

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    Since we brougt Harley home DH has complained that she itches herself. He is very sensitive to the sounds of animals scratching and itching, where I am not. So I knew that it wasn't very bad because I would have noticed that too. Harley and the cats were on top quality flea and tick treatment since the day she came home. Once her weight reached the ball park of what she will be as an adult we bought Bravecto, both for convenience reasons and I my friend uses it for her dogs and gave it excellent reviews and the vet recommended it too. She hasn't had fleas since the night she was brought home. She was COVERED in them at the breeder. We had also discussed the scratching and itching with the vet when she went in for vaccinations etc and the vet checked and found no fleas. Anyway, since she has been on the Bravecto the intermittant itching and scratching has disappeared. I don't know if the two things are related but I am going to say they are because we haven't changed anything else.
     
  17. markclaxton

    markclaxton Registered Users

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    Thanks for the replies. We're going to monitor him for the next week and see how it develops.

    So far the itching hasn't caused any sores or anything so hopefully, this isn't anything serious.
     

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