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March 7, 2013

Dog’s mystery allergy is to mites

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: We have a 10-year-old dachshund named Abigail. She had what appeared to be a rash with dried, scaly scabs for more than two years. She licked herself constantly.

We tried different foods, narrowing it down to individual proteins rather than food with several meat products. Our vet suggested we try making her homemade food and treats for dogs with allergies. We eliminated beef and chicken and replaced them with fish and veal. We started trying different high-quality pet foods, mixing dry with moist food. The vet ordered several tests, including thyroid activity. Nothing showed up in the test results.

She was put on multiple rounds of antibiotics, anti-fungal medications and prednisone. We shampooed her two or three times a week using prescription shampoo, and we also tried medicated oatmeal shampoo, Selsun Blue medicated shampoo and Head & Shoulders shampoo, all to no avail.

Finally, we decided to have her tested for the type of allergies she may have. The test cost about $300, but it was worth it. Abigail is allergic to several things. However, the test that shot through the roof was food mites. The vet explained that some stores keep dog food on the shelf until it sells, rather than until its expiration date. Abigail is also allergic to dust mites.

We moved all the old rugs and even had hardwood floors put down in the den and hallway (something we were planning anyway, but this result expedited the change). The few rooms with carpet, which she does not go into often, were shampooed and sprayed for allergens. We threw away her old bedding, and all bedding and blankets are now washed weekly with hot water.

Abigail was placed on another round of antibiotics, anti-fungal medication and prednisone. We switched her food to a Blue Health Holistic Fish and Sweet Potato (dry and wet). Abigail had no signs of rash or scaly scabs within three months. It has been more than year and a half without any signs of a breakout.

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