Labrador with Itchiness and Hair Loss
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Katie Laventure (11 years old )
Posted on: July 24, 2008

I have a 4 year old Lab named Tobey. As a puppy he was fine, healthy and happy. Around the age of one, his ears started to get infected in the summer and he had red itchy skin in his ears, but stopped in the late fall. The next late spring the symptoms started again, and ended late fall.

Spring 2007 they started again and went all through the winter. This time the symptoms were different. His paws started to get red, and he would itch them a lot. Then they started to pus. Then around his eyes the skin started to swell, and the hair around them fell off, the hair on his chest and neck is also falling off. Also on his belly his fur fell off and it is all red and itchy.

He does not look good and is very unhappy and itchy and I don’t like to see him like this. Do you have any idea what he might have and how to treat it?

His old vet gave him prednisone but I didn’t see any improvement in him.

His vet did treat him for mange and I noted some improvement with the sores healing, but his skin remains scaly and itchy and flaky.

Could this be yeast infection or continued food allergies or environmental allergies? I also changed his food from Purina and to chemical and sugar free dog food with only lamb and rice called Natural Life from the USA.

What you describe often is the result of an allergic reaction to commercial dog foods. The best place to start would be to begin making Tobey’s food at home and see if his condition improves. There is a lot of great information on this topic (and recipes!) in books such as Richard Pitcairn’s, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst. You can also read further information by viewing previous postings on this website (www.richters.com). Look for such titles in the veterinary herbs section as "Dog Allergies", "Cat Scratching and Losing Fur", "Dog and Allergies", "Dog and Scratching" and "Pug and Allergies". The latter post also details a herbal rinse you can use to minimise itching whilst the potential underlying problem (diet) is being solved.

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