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ghardman
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14-06-2009, 06:59 PM

5 year old male german shepherd itching & scratching all the time

My German Shepherd male, 5 years old, keeps itching and scratching mainly around his ears, mouth and neck. Been to vets over the years, who has given him ear drops mainly, plus flea stuff etc., Dog has had problem with ear mites since he was a pup, but he scratches all the time. I was wondering if I should give him antihistamines.
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Ziva
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14-06-2009, 07:14 PM
Itching is one of those funny ones - as it's the body's largest organ it's usually the first thing to show signs of minor illness. Quite often itching gets suppressed by vets with steroids and other treatments which means that the illness goes within and finds avenues in other more serious organs, so that's something I would definitely advise against.

Antihistamines do occasionally help, but they too are often more of a band-aid than a long-term solution. If you do go down the ant-histamine route - get the active ingredient Loratadine one, it's most suited to dogs.

As a general statement it's quite often something in the food; a certain ingredient or antioxidant preservative (EEC permitted preservatives) that is the No.1 cause of skin issues. Sometimes it can be the spot on type flea preventatives such as Frontline, it can also be allergy to vaccines, or even household dust or cleaning chemicals.

First I would ditch any spot on treatments such as Frontline - it's a neurotoxin and is very bad for health as it can damage internal organs - much worse for health in fact than if he had fleas!

Unless he has alot of contact with other animals, it would be rare for him to get fleas anyway - if it's a concern, I give my large dogs 1/2 teaspoon of Neem Leaf Powder mixed into their food daily. Neem is wonderful for making the dog taste and smell bad to fleas so they don't hop on, and it is also good for skin health: http://www.neemgenie.co.uk/Merchant2...Category_Code=

For the itching, I would start with spraying him with aloe vera juice diluted 50/50 with water plus a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil (unless you have a cat around? - Essential Oils are very bad for cats). You could also add 25% Apple Cider Vinegar which is good at calming itching.

Another very good thing for skin is Salmon Oil - Kronch is a very good brand: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Kronch-100-Sal...3A1%7C294%3A50

What do you feed?

Are you into alternative therapies at all? I am sure that a good holistic vet would be able to help with this.
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Magic
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14-06-2009, 07:33 PM
You say he's been troubled with ear mites all his life? That can be serious as certain mites can burrow right through the ear and into other regions. My late friend had this happen with a gsd of hers - that's not to say that is what is going on with your dog, only that you really want to get on top of ear mites. It may also be an allergy and you really need some good veterinary advice, I've also found adding a little garlic to the diet can help with fleas.
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wildmoor
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14-06-2009, 11:35 PM
Originally Posted by ghardman View Post
My German Shepherd male, 5 years old, keeps itching and scratching mainly around his ears, mouth and neck. Been to vets over the years, who has given him ear drops mainly, plus flea stuff etc., Dog has had problem with ear mites since he was a pup, but he scratches all the time. I was wondering if I should give him antihistamines.
If your dog as allergies or adverse reactions it isnt only histamine that is released but also heparin, and proteolytic enzymes, that is why anti-histamines are not very affective in Atopic dogs.
If I was you I would ask for tesing against environmental allergies and se what shows the most common are dust mites, various grasses and pollens aswell as fleas, with adverse reactions to food it is more likely to be the protein source than anything else; you could try changing diet for 12 weeks and use a protein source that the dog as never eaten before.
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ClaireandDaisy
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15-06-2009, 10:31 AM
If you use Stronghold spot-on, that treats mites as well, so you`re removing 2 possible causes (fleas and mites).
I would also look at the dog`s food - don`t feed anything with colouring or additives - Burns and Arden Grange are good for this - and also cut out any treats as they may also contain some allergen.
I would also look at the environment - sometimes carpet cleaners etc. can set it off.
Oh - and cats!
GSDs are prone to this, it seems. You can get anti-histamines from your vet - my last GSD had a long-acting one in the summer which helped a lot.
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ghardman
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15-06-2009, 11:13 AM
Originally Posted by ghardman View Post
My German Shepherd male, 5 years old, keeps itching and scratching mainly around his ears, mouth and neck. Been to vets over the years, who has given him ear drops mainly, plus flea stuff etc., Dog has had problem with ear mites since he was a pup, but he scratches all the time. I was wondering if I should give him antihistamines.
Thank you so much to everyone for all you advice about my itchy & scratchy German Shepherd. We have already gone down the 'food' route with no change in his behaviour so I think you are correct in saying that he has some kind of alergy to something, its just a case of finding what it is. Our vet did recommend sending him to a alergy specialist but when I contacted her she wanted around 900 just to test him. I can afford to pay that much so really its down to us to try and find out what it is thats making him scratch. I will try some of the methods that you have suggested. I will keep in touch and let you know the outcome. Thanks again.
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Ziva
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15-06-2009, 11:45 AM
Another much cheaper option than an allergy specialist would be an experienced classical homeopath (around 100) - one of my shelter pups had inexplicable itching and homeopathy solved that for us within 3 months.

Treatment is based on symptoms rather than the cause so it's much easier for all concerned really.

Feel free to PM me if you would like some recommendations.
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ghardman
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15-06-2009, 07:57 PM
Thank you, I will try anything if it helps.
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ghardman
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15-06-2009, 08:01 PM
Originally Posted by ghardman View Post
Thank you so much to everyone for all you advice about my itchy & scratchy German Shepherd. We have already gone down the 'food' route with no change in his behaviour so I think you are correct in saying that he has some kind of alergy to something, its just a case of finding what it is. Our vet did recommend sending him to a alergy specialist but when I contacted her she wanted around 900 just to test him. I can afford to pay that much so really its down to us to try and find out what it is thats making him scratch. I will try some of the methods that you have suggested. I will keep in touch and let you know the outcome. Thanks again.
Sorry, spelling mistake, I CANT afford to pay 900!!
Just as a footnote, my dog seems to have a strong odour about him as well as the itching, I dont know if this helps.
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Merz
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15-06-2009, 08:50 PM
Hi-just a thought-would your vet not be able to take bloods from your boy and send them off to laboratory for testing to see just what, if anything, your boy is allergic to? You could always find out the cost first, and if you have pet insurance, contact them to see if you are covered for these tests and any treatment for allergies if this is what is found - good luck
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