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French Bulldog - Allergies and Scratching

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by matt91, Apr 5, 2021.


  1. matt91

    matt91 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there,

    I have recently taken on a two year old rescue French Bulldog who has issues with allergies (unspecified which ones) and scratching.

    We started her out on Apoquel to reduce the scratching but that had mixed results. We were then advised by our vet to give her a shot of Cytopoint which she had nine days ago.

    After about a week of relief on the Cytopoint the scratching is back. It is much less often but she will have mad scratching episodes normally first thing in the morning. We are due to take her to the vet soon but I wondered if anyone has any home-based solutions?

    We have considered buying her mittens to stop herself from scratching her underbelly until it bleeds. Good idea? How about food? We currently have her on a raw food diet from Bella & Thorn. Has anyone used any other foods that are particularly good for allergies?

    Any insight or suggestions from others who have had similar problems would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. GB70

    GB70 PetForums Member

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    I have a 5 month old Frenchie and have been reading up on this. So far no issues (fingers crossed) but thought its best to know what to look for and be prepared worst case.

    There's a lot of contradictory information out there. Particularly for home based remedies, as these are almost always judged based on anecdotal evidence. Oat baths is one that comes up often. But on the flip side people suggest not to bathe them too often either.

    Mine had an episode of scratching and "fortunately" it turned out to be mites (something beginning with D, I can't remember the name of the top of my head). Apparently (the Vet said) very common with pups when they first venture out into the world but their immune system isn't fully developed yet. Vet prescribed Simparica Trio and fortunately it seems to have addressed the issue.

    Anyway I took the opportunity to discuss allergies with the vet. She advised using CLX wipes as part of her regular facial cleaning regimen. Apparently thats an area where they are most prone to picking up issues. Just be very careful not to get it in the eyes. She also said to use them on any spots if you see signs of allergic reaction. Apparently Paws are a hot spot.

    Our main Vet frowns on RAW, so she suggested moving her from RAW. But thats not a consistent position. We have another Vet where we pickup her RAW as they are the nearest stockist and they are fine with it (otherwise they wouldn't stock it). Both Vets advised sticking to a consistent source of Protein whilst she's a Pup. And then if we introduce others later, keep an eye out for allergies. If we see any revert back to the original source she grew up with. That makes scientific sense as Proteins can be a known common source of Allergies. Unfortunately it can also be environmental, which is harder to identify.

    I'm sure other more experienced owners will have more comprehensive suggestions for you. And there's no harm in consulting another Vet worst case.

    Good luck, Hope you find a solution.
     
  3. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    @GB70 the mites are demodex. It would be a wise man who said all dogs are demodex free, yes a fully function immune system keeps on top of them but occasionally they do return and some dogs have years and years of agony with them.

    @matt91 hopefully at 5 years old I don't think changing diet will make a difference. You could try anallergenic food but am guessing she's got various allergies that means she probably has a lot in the environment. So things like dust mites etc. So anallergenic foods are mainly dry foods which could mean storage mites too which again is another form of allergy.

    So as to the Itching. So the cytopoint worked, did as it should. However she either felt an itch, tickle then remembered oh I needed to itch. As the problem with an itchy dog is sometimes you don't know how much is the actual itch, and how much becomes an ocd type behaviour. Personally I would try to distract and give her another behaviour to do, a play session, a chew session a walk when she starts to scratch. Hopefully that will help.

    Now what else can you do?

    Look at your house as a whole. One major thing you can do is get a good spray flea treatment such as Rip fleas or Indorexx and treat your whole house from top to bottom. This should deal with dust mites for 6 months. Move furniture, it's a Turing job of hoovering all over before spray then hoover after but work it.
    Keep up with regular hoovering. Ideally your vacuum cleaner should have a hepa filter. Plus maintain these filters by cleaning them following manufacturers instructors.

    Next look at washing your clothes. Ideally use non bio on everything. You may say have to double wash things with bio if say we are getting urine, puke or any bodily fluid out of things because it's the best. Ditch fabric conditioner, it's fragranced

    Air your home.. Although this brings in allergens like pollen. It's a lot better and gives a fresh feel than having air fresheners, candles etc. So nothing can cause upset.

    Back to that pollen and outside. Pollen and mould spores are major allergies from the outside. We can't see them. So just using water, rinse your dog down after every walk just with water will do. She's a Frenchie pretty quick drying so not too much of a problem.
    Try also yo avoid long grasses, many grasses are allergens too so keep to paths and short grass. Plus bonus, due to Frenchie eyes it would be do easy for them to get a grass seed in them so health and safety all round.

    What else can you do? Think about perfumes and aftershaves, for the moment it's a no. Breaks my heart to say it because I love perfume. However the scent of my perfume can often transfer so easy to my dogs, so I wouldn't risk it.

    After all you have sacrificed, hopefully something will help. Sadly this is one of the main reasons Frenchies end up in rescue, that and not being tolerant of other dogs. You may never get to the bottom of allergies, or you may and more may pop up and it can be expensive to treat. However good on you for taking her on, warts and all
     
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  4. GB70

    GB70 PetForums Member

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    Thanks, that was it. She essentially said the same, they are everywhere. But the dog she probably picked it up from had them in check, whilst her immune system is still a work in progress.
     
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  5. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    When I first adopted my dog if she was awake she was scratching.
    I changed her diet to one that many owners of her breed recommended. I also check that any treats don't contain the items we avoid in her main diet.
    The only medication she's on for it is 3 piriton a day.
    Thankfully that pretty much keeps it under control but there are times when its worse than others.
     
  6. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Has the vet done tests like skin scrapes? I'm just thinking, if neither apoquel or cytopoint worked, maybe it's not actually an allergy.
     
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  7. matt91

    matt91 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all,

    Thanks very much for your responses and suggestions.

    No, our vet hasn’t ran any tests yet. We’ve been advised that we can have an allergy test but this involves placing the dog on a strict diet in the run up (the vet said a two month period) and eliminating certain foods for a two week period.

    The Cytopoint has worked to some extent. It’s just not the ‘cure’ we had hoped for!
     
  8. matt91

    matt91 PetForums Newbie

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    Wow, that’s great news. Piriton is fine for dogs? That sounds like a much cheaper solution compared to apoquel or cytopoint which are costing around £90 a month!
     
  9. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    My vet was the one who suggested it.
    I certainly wouldn’t have known otherwise.
    It’s likely not the cure all for many dogs but would hopefully help alleviate things.
    I’d probably ask your vet and if nothing else just so they’re aware of what you’re trying.

    When we first got her she was scratching all the time still but I put her on a diet just that I thought was a step up in quality from what she had at the rescue but boy was that a huge mistake. Her fur started falling out, particularly her head and she was red raw all over. Had to go onto antibiotics and that’s the time the vet recommended piriton.
    An experienced owner of her breed, shar pei, on this forum helped me by suggesting a health group on fb where they had a list of foods that tend to be well tolerated, that avoided the more common allergies that the breed is affected by.
    Chose one of those (Millie’s wolfheart hunter mix) and have to say Tilly is so much better. She’s not had to go to the vet for this problem for over a year now.
    Don’t get me wrong she still scratches but it’s a couple of short sessions in a day instead of what was constant and that’s not exaggerating.

    It’s quite possible that the main source of Tilly’s allergies is food related and so more easily managed, I don’t know. Environmental are likely more tricky to keep on top of.

    Hopefully those more experienced will come along too.
     
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  10. Lauraine

    Lauraine PetForums Newbie

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  11. Lauraine

    Lauraine PetForums Newbie

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    I got a 15 month old frenchie this time last year. Basically she came to me with massive bald patches and scratching herself til she bled.
    Had no formal diagnosis just dismissive " frenchie problems" and try this try that. Cytopoint does work and I found after 3 or 4 months on it it's more effective. It seems to get a hold of it after a few shots.
    1 vet also recommended Douxo Pyo a shampoo twice a week and they do a mousse and pads too. I found they helped.
    I also got a sensitivity test done on the internet by a lady called Rhiannon Manning . At BB HERBAL. The results were very interesting. The protein she was sensitive to was beef. But if I'd listened to hundreds of people on facebook pages I should've been avoiding chicken as all frenchies are allergic to chicken!! So it just goes to show dont listen to everything you're told.
    She was also sensitive to a lot of household cleaning stuff, dust mites, weed pollen and beet. Beet is in a lot of kibble food.
    The test was £55. Best money I spent. But I am thinking about getting the allergy testing with the vet too.
    They're a lovely breed but they don't come without problems. Good luck.
     
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  12. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Beef is actually known to be a common allergen hence why in hypoallergenic food beef is the one protein that's omitted. It was never seen in many pet foods for a long time, possibly due to hypoallergenic food being all the rage and also because beef isn't cheap as it was when originally put in dog food.

    I never get the sense of saying chicken is a common allergen. This is me owning 2 dogs who can't have chicken. Nothing proves this, unlike beef being proven. Then also people will say its because chickens eat grains, and grains are a common allergen. Again wheat maybe, its not in hypoallergenic food but grains as a whole no real scientific evidence.

    Then again people use the word allergen and intolerance as the same thing. They are not, even though the outcome is usually the same with food ie avoid a particular protein.

    @matt91 pirition is great to try for the first line of defence, and might be the only treatment necessary for some dogs. However if you have used Apoquel and now on Cytopoint then the vet obviously thinks pirition wouldn't be strong enough. A bit similiar to hay-fever sufferers who often need an antihistamine prescribed as what they usually get over the counter isn't helping any more. They need something stronger.
     
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  13. GB70

    GB70 PetForums Member

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  14. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I think with a situation like this, an elimination diet is a wise step.
    Knowing what foods your dog tolerates better than others is good information and will save you a lot of guesswork in the long run. It's not that hard to set up an elimination diet, start with proteins and go from there.

    As for the cost of medications, I think anyone getting a frenchie, particularly for the insane prices they're going for these days, should also budget for lots of medical costs along the way.
     
  15. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    Have you tried rubbing her down with a wet cloth after she’s been outside/on grass? Being a small breed dog she’s close to the ground so it would be easy for particles from the grass to transfer on her coat.

    mine is bad with grass and has her belly/legs rubbed with a wet towel after each walk and a quick rub down when she’s been on the garden. She also has piriton twice a day. (Might be worth asking the vet about)
     
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  16. matt91

    matt91 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, your situation sounds exactly like ours! Lola (our Frenchie) arrived with bald patches and was scratching herself until she bled. Thankfully the raw food and some antibiotics have allowed the fur to regrow but the scratching continues to some extent.

    I’ll definitely look into the test that you arranged with BB Herbal. And also good to know that the Cytopoint might be more effective after a few more shots. We have a vet appointment in two days time so I’ll try and get all the advice I can during that appointment!

    Thanks
     
  17. matt91

    matt91 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your response. I suspect the vet will advise trying an elimination diet at our appointment in two days time. I was just a bit worried that the allergy test would result in a massive list of allergies that will be difficult to manage / avoid!
     
  18. matt91

    matt91 PetForums Newbie

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    Good idea on rubbing down. We bathe her at the moment with special shampoo twice a week, but a rub down after every walk sounds useful. I’ll ask the vet about piriton too. Thanks
     
  19. adamantis

    adamantis PetForums Member

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    I would go straight for blood tests if it were me. My big lad was fine until we moved house 7 years ago, and then started coming down with peristant ear infections and yeasty feet. We did a lot of exclusion diets, meds experiments, everything the vet suggested, and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to his flare ups.

    So we had a blood done - he's allergic to most carbohydrates and grains (yay!), dust mites, storage mites, and a lot of grass/tree pollens (and their cycles is what was causing the sporadic flare ups).

    No issues with any animal proteins at all.

    He's now on apoquel full time, and gets an increased dose if he flares up (some of those grasses are evil). Raw fed, and we have to be careful about anything that isn't an animal product. But he's no longer in pain.

    I know that exclusion diets etc are the default suggestion, but it is worth considering blood tests just to get the answer.
     
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