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Finn
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Jan 09, 2016 at 01:21
Post 1
Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post

I am glad I found this forum as I have been struggling along a bit on my own with my Westies skin issues.  Finn (nearly 5) developed the following at around 3 yrs old; ear infection, scab on back, blackness and hair loss under front 'armpits' and general itchiness.  I took him to the vet who said they see this a lot in westies and said that it will only get worse and he will end up on steriods.  She gave him an antibiotic jab plus some cream to put on his sores.  I was upset with this diagnosis as I had been assured by the breeder that his parent's had no skin issues.    After a bit of experimenting with homemade diets I ended up putting him on Orijen six fish food as well as added coconut oil and fish oil to his diet.   I am pleased to say the scabs on the back have disappeared and we are now only dealing with itchiness on the back legs and blackness and itchiness around the ears.  Unfortunately the only time Finn has been to the vet is to get a jab so if he suspects anyone is trying to 'do anything to him' he goes really anti.  I therefore find it difficult (virtually impossible actually) to get ear drops in his ears so am doing the following to deal with the current itchiness and blackness;  bathing in Nizarol when needed followed by a vinegar rinse.  I also wipe ears with ACV and allow a bit to drip into the ears to help get rid of the yeast.  All the above have helped and are all things I have picked up off the internet.  I very much want to prevent/prolong him going on steriods so am open to any other things that may help alleviate/reduce the itchiness.  As the issues disappear in the fall (autumn) only to appear in spring they must be seasonal as he often sneezes around this time.  Thank you for any proven tips you can give me to help Finn live a healthy a life as possible.  Kind regards, Anne.


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NimbySue
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Jan 09, 2016 at 03:13
(United Kingdom)
Post 15631

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

I do hope some members will give advice here as I know some have had Westies with Skin issues,I have always had Cairns and no problems with their coats but we have recently rescued a Westie boy..a Big Boy and so far with no skin problems,he is quite an outdoorsy boy like the cairns  and hope a lot of fresh air etc  will prevent problems...will look back to see if others can help you....we hope maybe you can join here and we can see pictures of Finn...Love Annie  and Gang x

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Finn
Guest
Jan 09, 2016 at 03:37
Post 2
Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Hi Annie.   I appreciate your reply.  I live in a small town at the bottom of NZ so don't have a lot of access to products and vets who are knowledgeable about Westies so I have very much just followed my nose and tried different things I have picked up on the internet.

Finn's skin is not really bad but the the itch is there sometimes and the words of the vet 'It will only get worse' keep ringing in my hears.  I am glad that putting him on a good diet and washing him with Nizarol has meant that I haven't had to take him to the vet for his skin issues but I am sure there are other things out there that may help him and hopefully prevent him ending up on steroids.   His Westie friend who is the same age as him was put on steroids as soon as he showed skin issues and now has regular steroid treatment.  I may be naive but I am hoping that there are more natural measures that I can resort to before jumping onto this medicated route.

Regards Anne.  PS:  I am not sure how to go about adding a photo of Finn to this site but I have sent one to the email listed so hopefully it will appear.   I just realised I have one of Finn on my facebook page - I will paste this below and hopefully it will show :)


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Casey
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Jan 09, 2016 at 16:31
• Theo
(Canada)

Post 2914

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Will try to add Finn's photo for you.. He's a doll!! I'm surprised the photo was allowed, you'll just have to scroll across to see him.


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Finn
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Jan 09, 2016 at 18:18
Post 4
Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Thank you for adding photo - this was taken in his young 'hippie' days.  I have always groomed him and I didn't realise how long his hair was in those early days.  With practice I have now perfected more of a westie cut so he looks less like a 'hippe'.

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Mr.Willie
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Jan 09, 2016 at 20:11
• Sandra
(California)

Post 5949

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

What a beauty Finn IS! Funny how you call it his hippie days with his longer coat..looking just great!! Such a handsome boy!! Thanks for posting all the super pictures Theo...you are a TC image genie....coming through once again sharing those great memory pictures stored.

I do hope you get the answers to Finn's skin issues resolved. So many members have posted some most valuable info here. My westie Maddie-now at RB had allergies and skin conditions that required tests,meds,food changes and special medicated shampoo I ordered from my vet. All made a big improvement in her well-being and health.We also dealt with environmental seasonal allergies for her as well. My very best hopes that Finn gets the treatment that will help him.

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Iver and Sailor
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Jan 09, 2016 at 17:00
• David
(Washington)

Post 6257

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Theo Finn is a real cutie

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Finn
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Jan 09, 2016 at 03:41
Post 3
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Hmmmm.... that didn't work.  I have put him as my profile pic on my facebook page so if you go to:  https://www.facebook.com/anne.gorman.731  you will find a pic of him.

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Katy ^~^
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Jan 09, 2016 at 07:24
• Jennifer
(Minnesota)

Post 2212

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Hi :)

Katy our westie has struggled with allergies her whole life (she is 9) If you are on Facebook I strongly suggest the group "Westies Health from Ears to Tail".  There are so many great resources there (both people and articles) - even if you aren't on Facebook I would start a page just to join that group...

Have you had a blood work done?  There could be an underlying thyroid issue.  Also there could be food allergies that have not been worked out yet.  Ear and skin issues generally pop up because of that.  Environmental allergies can also be a factor.  We had Katy allergy tested and after we found out what she was allergic to (a long list) it took her a while to "detox" we gave her baths with Zymox shampoo (medicated) 3 times a week for a bit and then 1 time a week for a bit then every other week then finally now she only is bathed when she is groomed (6-8 weeks).

Lots of things to think about...I do highly suggest that Facebook page.  Many great resources from people that are going through (or have went through) what you are with your pup.

Hope this helps :)
Jennifer

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Gracie aka White Bullet
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Jan 09, 2016 at 07:36
• Ellen
(Connecticut)

Post 6355

  
Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Are you on Facebook? There are a few really good groups: Westie News; Westies Health from ears to tails (has over 6K members), I love my Westie and I think a few others. The Westie Health group is very helpful and there are people from all over the world that belong to these groups.

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Rebecca and Connor
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Jan 09, 2016 at 08:33
• Rebecca
(Alabama)

Post 2736

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Orejen is a great food for dogs with allergies because it doesn't have any grains.  It sounds like he has inhalant allergies as they appear in the fall.  You may try giving him an antihistamine in the morning and evening, not one with a decongestant in it.  My previous westie MacDougal had this and we were able to get it under control with his diet and shampoo and antihistamines.  He had a prescription for prednisone that he could take if the allergies got bad.  Good luck, I know how aggravating this can be.  It sounds like you are on the right track with him.


Hugs Rebecca and Connor


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Moshe & Levi
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Jan 09, 2016 at 12:31
• Yoka
(Florida)

Post 14240

Re: Finn Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

We have 2 Westies Moshe who is 14 years old and Levi who is 10 years old. Levi came to live with us when he was 19 months old. He has allergies and had yeast problems. I noticed on you Facebook page that your handsome boy Finn also has yeast stains around his mouth. The yeast also make them itchy. We use a special shampoo for Levi it is against bacteria. I brought it to my groomer so do not no the name at the moment. Next week he will be groomed again and will write it down for you.
Levi had even sores under my his legs and also on his belly. The anime character cream healed it all up and I no longer have to use that thank goodness.
I only use holistic grain free food and treats from Fromm food that we order on Chewy.com.
Both dogs are doing great on that food I always check all the ingriedients no wheat,corn, preservative our names I can not understand or know what it is.
English is my second language.
The Westie tips for the groups are awesome .Gracie's mom wrote them down and one is a vet.Her Westies are gorgeous and snow white.
She has advised and wrote a lot of advise. I know on Westie unite many had problems so a lot of people can help you. I will post on your web page on Facebook the best person to ask for help. Hope that will help your cute Finn.
Good luck and please come back to the fantastic I Terriers club here. It is the Best.
Moshe,Levi and Yoka

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Iver and Sailor
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Jan 09, 2016 at 13:32
• David
(Washington)

Post 6256

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

I would have Finn tested for environmental and food allergies
My first Westie had terrible allergies and eventually
chewed all the fur off of his legs.
I finally had him allergy tested to find he was mostly
allergic to cats. He grew up with two cats so that's where
his allergies came from
The vet who tested him put him on allergy serum shots
and Iver got a lot better
My second Westie Sailor has had bad ear infections
his whole life.
I finally found a vet who told me ear infections
are a result of food allergies.
I had Sailor tested and the test came back
with a long list of all the foods possible to feed a dog
Sure enough, his whole life I had been feeding him
foods he was allergic too.
The allergy test results also listed all kinds of foods
that were recommended that he wouldn't be allergic to
One of those foods is carried by my vet
I put him on the new diet and his ears cleared up right away.
I hope this helps your Finn

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Casey
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Jan 09, 2016 at 15:16
• Theo
(Canada)

Post 2912

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

An article by Westie Rescue Michigan.. I'll keep looking



http://westierescue-mi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2014-SKIN-ISSUES-THEN-AND-NOW-12714.pdf

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Casey
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Jan 09, 2016 at 16:23
• Theo
(Canada)

Post 2913

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

It might do you well to get the background on why Yeast infections occure, copy and paste this link  https://www.facebook.com/notes/westies-health-from-ears-to-tail/yeast-itchy-smelly-dog-yeast-may-be-the-problem/10151443946018719
You will then have the knowledge to communicate with your vet.

from WESTIES HEALTH --  FROM EARS TO TAIL
Here is more good info - copy and paste this link
https://www.facebook.com/groups/301577663718/?fref=nf
click on Index of Documents: R - Z and go to Skin or Yeast

Everyone should save this link to the Westie Foundation, 
look under Atopic Dermatitis

http://www.westiefoundation.org/westie-health-issues.html

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Finn
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Jan 09, 2016 at 18:26
Post 5
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Thank you all so much for your wonderful replies.  I woke up this morning to see all your lovely posts and I just cried when I read them because suddenly it didn't seem it was me against the world trying to help Finn.  Because I have not had much success with vets where I live and I have pretty much gone it alone over the last year.  I know that changing him to a grain free diet (Orijen Six Fish) and washing him in Nizarol (or equivalent) does keep on top of it.  However I know there is still room for improvement.  I will have a look at all the sites and info suggested over the next few days - it is so great knowing that others have walked this way with their dogs and have found real solutions.  

I will definately join the facebook page suggested also.  I can't thank you all enough for taking the time to respond to my post.  I think the worst part of all this has being feeling so alone with this 'battle' - but I don't feel this any more. 

 Thank you 

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Casey
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Jan 09, 2016 at 16:32
• Theo
(Canada)

Post 2915

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Finn on the beach


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Casey
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Jan 09, 2016 at 17:18
• Theo
(Canada)

Post 2919

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

I am also seeing lots of owners having success using a soap called NIZORAL which contains Ketocanazol

Here is a link to its side effects (copy and Paste) 
http://www.rxlist.com/nizoral-shampoo-side-effects-drug-center.htm

This was posted by Viki Deli on FB "This is Blanka. She was rescued on December 3rd 2015. She was given steroids for 2 (!) years to treat the symptoms of allergy. As a result, she has Hepatomegalia. According to the skin samples, she had bacterial and yeast infections, plus demodex. It's been a month, and she is recovering slowly. Steroids was the worst solution. (The owner wanted to put her down.) She is getting baths every 3 days (Nizoral), and antibiotics. her food has also been changed according to the test results. I'm not against steroids at all, but bacterias and yeast will only go stronger if steroids are given"  Unfortunately can't post  Viki's posted photo of Blanka but there is a very noticeable difference

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Deb, Emmie, and Angel Kelsie
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Jan 09, 2016 at 17:32
• Deborah
(Pennsylvania)

Post 8210

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Oh my, he's beautiful! Hope you find out what's going on with him!
Love, Deb, Emmie, and Angel Kelsie

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Diana
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Jan 09, 2016 at 20:21
(Australia)
Post 4100

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Depends on whether his allergies are food related or actual skin issues (Atopy). I have had a lot of experience with Atopy (skin allergies) and changing food never helped my girls. We went thru the gauntlet of  intradermal skin testing and their reports were long as they were allergic to so many things including grass, pollens, dust etc, they then had immunotherapy for 4+ years which meant regular vet visits as me giving an injection to 2 dogs was out of the question (I can't even look at a needle myself). After 4 or so years Kelsi went on to Atopica and she was on that until she passed away @ 16 years of age. Hannah was on low dose steroids for many years but I do think that is what caused her bouts of pancreatitis so I'd be reluctant to do it again. But at the time it was the only way to bring some quality to her life, she would have been miserable without them. I tried everything, I always used special shampoo, I washed their bedding etc in sensitive detergent. I cut grains from their diet even though they didn't have food allergies. Always had a bottle of ear drops in the cupboard, ear infections were a big thing especially with Kelsi. Although once she started on Atopica (I later switched to generic Cyclosporin as it was more cost effective) she had far less skin issues. Just a shame the new drug (well it's not new in some countries) Apoquel wasn't available here, sounds like it would have suited both my girls. My girls allergies were all year round. Hannah was bad for licking her paws, she would drive me and herself nuts over it.

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Finn
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Jan 09, 2016 at 21:07
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It sounds like you have a lot of experience with allergies in dogs.  Finn was totally fine until about age 3.  He had a not so good diet of supermarket food (whatever was on special), sausages which my husband would often cook for him and the odd gingernut my mother would give him.  Anyway this all must have caught up with him as early spring in 2014 his allergies appeared.  Needless to say his diet was radically changes to the strict grain free one it is now.

Because they only appeared around that age I suspect he doesn't have a food allergy as such as in the autumn/winter 2015 his skin was not an issue.  However in mid-spring 2015 the sneezing and itching started up again.

My plan at the moment persue as many proven natural remedies along with the regular washing in medicated soap.  If things don't improve or get worse next spring I will look at the antihistamines (but from what I have read they do not work for all dogs).  I have read good things about Aquopel (sp?).  The concern in the back of my mind is that the vet (and I have also read this) is that the allergies get worse and they end up being allergic all year round rather than just seasonally.  did you find this to be the case?

Thank you for you input - it is all appreciated.

Kind regards
Anne

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Diana
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Jan 10, 2016 at 00:23
(Australia)
Post 4101

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Anne

The very first thing we did was the food elimination diet to make sure that their allergies weren't food related. Twice a day for 6 weeks they had to solely eat cooked kangaroo meat and sweet potato. By week 5 they refused to eat twice a day, and I must admit the smell of the kangaroo meat cooking made me feel ill. 

We tried several shampoos until we found what worked for my girls which was Sebazole (Malaseb didn't work for my girls, goats milk shampoo brought Hannah out in a rash, oatmeal shampoo made her itch). When they went to the groomers I supplied the shampoo, whitening chalk and perfume were never used on them.

My girls were about 2 when their allergies first surfaced. Kelsi came from a puppy mill (which we didn't know @ the time) and Hannah from a registered breeder.

I fenced off an area off the decking near the house so that they could go in and out and the surface was pavers and small crushed rocks. This helped as grass was a huge allergen to them both. When out walking we avoided grass as much as possible and walked on the footpath. The main areas of our house are floating floors which was better for their allergies. And the 'cone of shame' as we called it came in handy on the days when Hannah just wouldn't leave her paws alone. I even tried bathing her paws after we had been for a walk and drying them off gently with a towel and that did help to some degree but of course was quite time consuming.

In the beginning Kelsi's allergies were deemed to be year round and Hannah's seasonal but after a short while Hannah's were all year round. Atopica and Apoquel weren't even options here then (well not here anyway). 

We never got to try Apoquel but read good things about it. We would have tried it if it had come out last April like it was meant to but the drug company here dragged it's feet. I still haven't heard that it has been released. Our vet did say it had positive results for lots of dogs without the nasty side affects. Atopica lowers their immune system and steroids are great over the long term.

My girls also had sensitive stomachs and Hannah even had tarry stools until after much pestering from me our vet suggested a roll of meat that you could only buy from the vets called Tuckertime (not sure it's available where you are) but it was Hannah's saviour. She put on weight, she lost that pained look in her eyes, her stools were firm again. Even Kelsi did so well on it. So we kept it up for the rest of their lives. I was always very careful what I feed them, no human food, only vet supplied meat, grain free dried food (in latter years) and their favourite Kangaroo tendons to keep their teeth clean. Their only treats in latter years were 100% pure kangaroo. They loved Greenies but I read that they are basically wheat so I stopped giving them to my girls.

I wish you the best of luck controlling his allergies, we struggled for 14 years (Kelsi was 16 when she passed last September) and 12 years (Hannah was 14 when she passed last November). I am just hoping my 2 girls now don't have the same issues. Fingers crossed!



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Diana
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Jan 10, 2016 at 00:36
(Australia)
Post 4102

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Forgot to add in hindsight I should have kept up the immunotherapy injections with Hannah even though it was quite costly and time consuming but as she reacted so well and the injection time went out to 5 weeks we decided to give it up and see what happened. Kelsi came off the injections as after 4 years they effect they initially had waned therefore she went onto Atopica and it was great for her, she still had issues from time to time but nothing like before. She didn't really have any side affects, it didn't shorten her life span (16 years). I did ask our vet about Atopica for Hannah in latter years but I can't recall why but we decided not to use it and last year we were waiting for Apoquel. Hannah was on Prednisolone (1 tablet every 2 day) for a long long time, not ideal but we had to try something and I've read conflicting information about whether it leads to pancreatitis and I strongly believe it did in her case as she wasn't overweight, didn't eat a high fat diet, she was tiny. 

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Finn
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Jan 10, 2016 at 01:35
Post 8
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I have read a lot about the immunnotherapy injections and I see the benefit of them being a long term fix.  Finn is so anti vets and being jabbed it is something I haven't gravitated to in a hurry.   He won't let the vet put the kennel cough down his nose so it takes the vet and a nurse to hold him (with a muzzle on) while they give him a jab.  I am not sure how I can get him over this vet dislike.  We changed vets earlier this year for a second opinion on his skin and as soon as he entered the treatment room he started shaking and refused all treats offered to him.  He remembers things unfortunately and can quickly pick up the signs that someone is out to get him and adopts the stance 'I am going to get you before you get me!'.  Not sure if this is a common westie trait but Finn (who is normally quite sweet) can get real bolshy when cornered.

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Diana
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Jan 10, 2016 at 05:49
(Australia)
Post 4104

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Could it be the way the vet approaches him. My vet always schmoozes with my girls first, he makes a fuss of them, distracts them with a tiny liver treat and the injection is over and done with before they know it. He's very quick when it comes to injections.

I never had any issues with the chix and the vet, they went often enough and they were really brave when it came to the injections more so than I was. You can give them to your dog yourself but I hate needles myself and the thought of having to give one to my dogs I just couldn't. They do suggest you give the injections during clinic hours just in case they have an adverse reaction and that way you can rush them in and get help. They did me a special deal $15 a visit and they did both my girls for that, which was great. The vaccine seemed expensive upfront but it lasted months so over time it wasn't expensive. I just though Hannah might be okay off it. We had to be referred to a dermatologist for the interdermal skin test and they made up the vaccine based on the tests. We went back every so many months and then once a year. 

Maddie actually nipped the vet nurse the other week, she was trying to put the cone of shame on her and I think it's just the way she did it. She was 1 in July and she's really sweet . She does struggle a bit on the table at the vets, the sooner she can get out the better.

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Finn
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Jan 11, 2016 at 03:47
• Anne
(New Zealand)

Post 9

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Hi Diana
I see you are from Austrailia.  I have been looking at the Westie head to tail facebook site and see that a lot of people talk about using Benadryl however in NZ this is a cough mixture not a antihistamine tablet.  Do you know what the equivalent is down this part of the world?

I think this will be my next line of attack if things get worse.  The whole vet/injection thing would be quite stressful for Finn.  He seems to have a memory like and elephant and even though we changed vets and only usually go once a year he still starts shaking as soon as he goes in the door.  When the vet offers him the treat he just turns his head away from it as if to say 'you are not going to fool me with your bribes'.  

I have found with him that it works better giving him a treat immediately after he has done something good.  i.e. he used to be terrible at going outside in the morning and just barking as if to some to everyone 'I am up now'.  One morning I caught him being quiet so made a point of giving him a treat and saying 'Good Boy Quiet'  (he knows what speak and quiet mean but prefers the speak mode).  Over the Christmas holidays I have repeated this each morning and note now that he gets up and goes outside and doesn't say a word!

I am not sure what others fnd the best way is to modify their westie's behaviour.

Thanks for your input.  It is so nice to talk with people that have the same breed and now the unique westie temperament and health issues.

Kind regards
Anne

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Diana
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Jan 11, 2016 at 05:09
(Australia)
Post 4105

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Hi Anne

Yes we are. We never tried Benadryl but sounds the same as the ones we tried Phenergen, Chlorpheniramine, and a few others but Kent said he didn't think they would work for them and they didn't. Medicated shampoo and Antihistamines were our first line of attack and when that failed I asked for a referral to the Dermatologist. After our first appointment we changed to Frontline + to rule out mange. then the 6 week food trial, the intradermal skin test came next, followed by the vaccine. It's amazing how fast a good vet can give an injection, Hannah was a bit of a challenge as she was a wriggler, but  Kent wrangled her with very little effort. 

I use the spray bottle (water and vinegar) to curb bad behaviour such as barking etc as it works best with my girls. Maddie knows one short spray means stop. Some days I just pick it up and shake it and Maddie stops. Works better than anything else I've tried. In the short time Izzy has been here (since Saturday) she has quickly learnt what the bottle means. I felt mean at first but it's effective. 

I give Maddie a treat after brushing, after I apply Frontline + for some reason she's not overly keen on it, generally when she's done something good. I used to just about lose my voice with Hannah over her barking and it just didn't work. Also the word 'UT' works well with my girls. 

Feel free to PM me any time, I don't mind sharing our experience with allergies. Of course what works for one may not work for all. Kent said for dogs with chronic skin allergies they were a credit to me as they looked so good. But then I spent a lot of money keeping them that way. I did a lot research online but made sure I ran it past the vet before I tried anything new. 



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Finn
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Jan 12, 2016 at 23:35
• Anne
(New Zealand)

Post 14

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Thanks so much for you advice.  Like you I have researched things quite a bit but still feel a bit like I am making it up as I go along.  The more I consistently hear of things that have helped the more confident I am at using them.

We tried the squirting water with Finn when he was little however he thought it was a game and just turned around and opened his mouth trying to catch the water (we didn't put vinegar in it so maybe that is where we went wrong).  As we had a large section it was also hard to squirt him when he was outside - the only thing that seemed to help was having a can of stones near the back door which I would throw near him when he started barking.  I know when I was consistently doing that he would go 'Bark, Bark Bark' then turn around looking for the can of stones to come flying so it did work in part!

I will need to find out what the active ingredient is in American Benadryl to see what antihistamine in NZ has the equivalent.  If anyone reading this knows, your input would be appreciated. 

PS:   thanks for the offer of help - it is much appreciated as I am sure in the future I will have lots of questions as I work on beating these issues.  Unlike you I don't really have  a vet that I have bonded with.  If anything I am scared of them as their first reaction seems to be to reach for steriods.  When his kennel cough injection is due I will go in for a chat and talk over some of these other treatments with them and I know that it is not good to carry on with treatments without professional input.


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Diana
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Jan 14, 2016 at 17:53
(Australia)
Post 4106

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Hi Anne

It's a hard condition to control especially if your Westie has allergies to pollens, grass etc it's not as though you can completely remove them from their life. I don't know if I told you but I fenced off a smaller section of my yard, removed all the grass (it wasn't hard) put down pavers (didn't set them in concrete) and some crushed rocks and they went from the deck into that area when they went outside. It did help as they weren't in the grass. They loved the grass but it didn't love them.

I am surprised to hear steroids were his first suggestion it was our vets last resort.

Atopica is expensive here, when I last bought it I paid $141 for 30 capsules and gave Kelsi one every 2nd day. I only with the drug company could have got themselves into gear and release Apoquel it might have extended Hannah's life with me and given Kelsi some extra relief. Although she did quite well on Atopica (we changed her over to generic cyclosporin a few years ago as it was slightly cheaper, did the same job).

I did also try adding a fish oil capsule to their food but I am not convinced it made any real difference. I just pierced the top of the capsule (one per Westie) and put it over the top of their food.

I am only too happy to help.

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Finn
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Jan 15, 2016 at 02:33
• Anne
(New Zealand)

Post 17

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Diana wrote:
.I am surprised to hear steroids were his first suggestion it was our vets last resort.

The first time I took Finn to the vet they gave me a solution for his ears plus gave him an antibiotic shot for his minor ear infection.  She said she had seen a lot of westies like this and they only tend to get worse and they end up on steriods to control the itch.  She also said Finn had behaviour issues as he fought while they were trying to give him the injection.  I felt like crying after the appointment.

I fumbled along a bit then on my own with a home cooked diet and medicated shampoos but felt that I didn't know enough to be making his food up as I went so changed vets so I could get another opinion.  This vet wasn't as pushing with the steriods but suggested we try the food they had in store first which I bought and then we could try the steriod which she said weren't as bad as people made out.

I bought the food but when I got home I read that the main ingredient was hydrolysed chicken feathers (which I get as it is a total novel protein) but what shocked me was that the second main ingredient was corn which from my limited reading I new was a no no.  So.... I ended up taking the food back and haven't been back to a vet since.  I hate seeing vets as the enemy (i.e. wanting to inject him with harmful steriods) but when Finn needs his shots in winter I will ask about other options i.e antihistamines and allergy tests.

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Finn
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Jan 15, 2016 at 01:35
• Anne
(New Zealand)

Post 15

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Thank you so much for writing Diana.  There is nothing like talking with someone who has been through this sort of thing with their pet.  I have read quite a few of the US Westie Rescue sites and the dogs on there were really really bad (much worse than Finn ever got) and they make it sound like it is just a matter of getting the diet right and washing them once a month to keep things under control.  I am currently washing Finn once  a month.  He has had weeks where  I have been over to miss washing him over the spring/summer but we have a lot of wind here at the moment (El Nino) and I note that when he goes outside he sneezes so there much be something in the air.  He has been rubbing his head on the carpet and licking his lower back legs a bit this week so I will bath him tomorrow in Nizarol to knock that back.  I was reading the Westie Head to Tail Face Book page tonight in particular this article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/westies-health-from-ears-to-tail/skin-allergy-or-yeast-infection/10151618679213719?hc_location=ufi by Katie Wyatt.  Her dogs looks beautiful and white and she is an 'organic chemist' who seems to have a lot of answers for allergies however she is not letting on what the actual treatment is - Arrgh!    It is when I read stories like this I get very frustrated as I feel like I don't have the necessary knowledge to keep Finn healthy and hence I keep pushing myself to find the 'secret' that others appear to have found.  I guess that is why it is great talking with real people who like me are trying their best to give their pets the best life as possible.

It you  read the article I would be interested to know if you can pick up what the treatment is because I certainly couldn't!


http:..https://www.facebook.com/notes/westies-health-from-ears-to-tail/skin-allergy-or-yeast-infecti

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Robin and Mishy at the RB
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Jan 09, 2016 at 22:51
• Robin
(Rhode Island)

Post 3393

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Welcome! Finn is a handsome boy. We were lucky that our Cairn Mischief never had allergies but I know that many do. I've heard that light furred dogs are more sensitive to skin issues like light skinned people but I don't know if that's true.

Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network has a list of good resources including their own skin care regime for itchy terriers. They've had a lot of success in treating Cairns and Cairn wannabes with skin issues. Be sure to click the first link under skin care for their skin care regime. You should be able to look up the active ingredients in brand name products to see if you can find something like that where you are.

I'm adding the link and you can scroll down to find skin care.

https://www.cairnrescue.com/resources/caring-for-your-cairn-terrier/health-and-ailments/

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Finn
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Jan 10, 2016 at 01:27
Post 7
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thank you for the Cairn Rescue link - I have not seen that site before.  I have come across the use of Benadryl a lot but in New Zealand where I live Benadryl is the name of a cough mixture so I am not sure what the equivalent antihistamine would be here.  I will certainly look into if we have an equivalent product available in NZ.

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Caesar and Murphy Latham
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Jan 12, 2016 at 21:46
• Louise
(Illinois)

Post 5001

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Anne my Caesar has allergies and I gave him Benadryl for several years.  His allergies were mostly outdoor allergies.  All of a sudden the Benadryl did not work well anymore.  Caesar's Vet put him on Hydroxyzine 10mg 1 1/2 tab.  He can have up to 3 doses in a day.  He has done very well taking it twice a day.  I am also very careful what food I give him.  All natural food with no wheat or corn.  Westies can be very sensitive and I don't take any chances.  Louise

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Diana
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Jan 15, 2016 at 03:46
(Australia)
Post 4114

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

A lot of the stories I've read on the rescue sites here have dealt with food allergies but as my girls were diagnosed with Atopic dermatitis changing their diet didn't help. 

I did over the last few years start them on 100% kangroo based treats, such as roo tendons and roo puffs and a little bit of dried fish which they loved. I changed their dried food to grain free and it was fish based. I cut as much wheat from the diet as I could. Did you know shampoo and conditioners can contain wheat?

Maddie eats chicken, broccoli, sweet potato, and carrot, Izzy is on a fish based food along with mashed carrot and pumpkin, she does have a little bit of lactose free milk each day to keep up her calcium intake. She also eats scrambled egg so does Maddie and of course they started her on grain free fish based dried food, So I think I will keep Izzy on the fish based food and see how she goes. I am going to try and convert Maddie over from chicken to fish and see how well she does on it. I've consulted the vet in the past and he said fish is good for their skin and coat and of course it's good for humans so I can imagine it works for dogs too. 

I have found if I want to do something and Maddie's reluctant to co-operate if I put her up on the grooming table she's much easier to treat. She has had ear drops once and she fought me like a tiger, so I ended up putting her lead and collar on and tying her lead to the puppy gate and she settled right down. I never had to do that with K&H, they were easy. 

Breeders can promise you the world but it doesn't mean that you won't have problems. Hannah came from a breeder and her allergies were nearly as bad as Kelsi and were harder to control also she had legge perthe's disease (she had hip surgery @ 10 months). Once I mentioned it to the breeder she cut us off. So I am guessing she wasn't the first puppy they bred with the disease. It's thought to be hereditary. I am just hoping Maddie and Izzy don't have allergy issues. 

Can you try Apoquel (I read it's available in NZ) and see if it works for Finn? I would have tried it if it was available here. Kent said he's heard of some great success stories using it without the nasty side affects. If Finn isn't great with injections it might be worth a try. 

Speaking of vets is there another one you can try that has a good rapport with Finn. Ask if you can take him in for a visit and not have him treat the dog but just briefly meet him so that Finn doesn't associate all vets with a bad experience. Kent picks up my girls and talks to them and rubs them behind the ears and he really does relate so well to them and they do to him. They always watch the treat jar (he uses liver treats) Maddie is almost transfixed on the jar. He is so quick to give them an injection or look in their ears etc it's over before they know it. The whole time he's examining them he makes a fuss of them and they love it. That's the main reason we keep going back to him. Along with the advice he gives, I can even ring up and ask advice over the phone and he's always happy to do it.

The intradermal skin testing was quite expensive, I paid $800 to have them both tested 10+ years ago and received a report listing what they reacted to but if Apoquel would have been available then I could have saved myself all that money and started on that first. But back then there wasn't Atopica or Apoquel so it was either desensitizing vaccine or steroids and I certainly didn't want them on steroids at that age. 



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Jackie, Sammy and Willie
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Jan 17, 2016 at 21:51
• Jackie
(Missouri)

Post 1465

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Hi Anne!  Your Finn is such a beautiful Boy!

Sorry to hear Finn is having allergy issues.  My Willie is 13 years old and we have seen an allergist with him in the past along with his regular vet.  For about 4-5 years he has been on Atopica and still had itching at certain times of the year.

This past October Willie had gained weight and was miserable.  He eats less than our Sammy so I knew it was not from over-eating.  After numerous tests it was found that he had a Fatty Liver.  I was told to give him Milk Thistle.  Then I inquired at the Health Food store and they also suggested Lecithin.  Lecithin will emulsify the fat.  I also started giving him a Turmeric capsule once a day too.  Turmeric is an Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant.  I give him the Milk Thistle capsule in the morning and in evening I give him the Lecithin Granules mixed in Milk Kefir (which he loves!) and the Turmeric capsule.  Within 2 weeks he had lost 3 pounds and 3 inches around his hips and 2 inches around his stomach!!  BUT the other amazing thing is he also stopped itching!!  I think the Milk Thistle and Turmeric cleaned his liver which helped to clear up his allergies! 

I hope this info helps you and your Finn.  At least research it and see what you think.  It does make sense if you think about it.   I was so surprised that what we had done to fix one problem has helped another problem.  It has been such a blessing for us!

Wishing you and Finn the best of Health!

~Jackie, Sammy and Willie~

P.S.  We make our own Milk Kefir which is a cultured food and super healthy!  It is similar to Yogurt but much healthier and so easy to make.  If we lived close I would give you some Kefir grains to make your own kefir. I had ordered my Kefir grains to start.   Sammy and Willie LOVE it!!  And it makes a great way to give their medicine or supplements.   


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Finn
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Jan 18, 2016 at 03:12
• Anne
(New Zealand)

Post 19

Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Hi Jackie

Thanks for taking the time to write.  I get excited when I hear real life stories of animals responding to treatment.  Finn is only 4 and is fortunately very healthy apart from his seasonal allergies.  However I have read a lot about Kefir and Tumeric on line so I will definately try those two.  He is not on any probiotic at the moment as the man at the pet shop said that  because he was on a really good food (Orijen 6 fish) he shouldn't need a probiotic.  However I have read a lot over the last 12 months that Westies do have a lot of yeast issues - more so than some other breeds so maybe he does need extra probiotics when he s suffering from allergys?

However the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say - so I will give these two a try and then get back to the site with progress.

Thanks also for the offer of kefir starter - hopefully I can find a starter here.

Kind regards
Anne and Finn

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Claire
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Aug 07, 2016 at 15:09
Post 1
Re: Help needed with Westie Skin issues Vote for this post Reply to this Message Reply with a quote

Hi my westi Robbie is now 12 years old an the past few weeks he has been licking his paws and biting at his legs his skin is normally pink and he has gone very dark lately but I'm putting that down too the summer weather as it's very hot lately here in the uk basically he is really irritated at his rear he jumps up randomly and sits down he is very itchy I have given him a dose of stronghold spot on and I've given him a flea tablet he has several moles appearing on his skin he had 2 now there is around 6 I was told by the vet these are skin pigments but I'm unsure as all you ever hear of a vet is that Westi skin is prone and I disagree as his skin last year was perfect no issues at all until my mom past away and he was left too me and I don't want him in any pain at all I've been vets several times he has never had antibiotics and I stated no too any at the vets is there anything I can doc too help him with this issue and these look like large moles and I'm really scared he has some form of illness any help much appreciated is there any way I can post pics of these moles and dark areas of skin? his ears are fine drinking and eating ok, I feed him chicken rice and tuna he loves also Caesar tins he rubs his mouth a lot too!but lately he's really scratching his skin he's really bad at his rear end trying too get at it but he can't he sits on the wooden floor too try clam the itching he can bite his tale as he cant reach it but is defiantly trying too get at it! He is full pedigree and lovely white coat.

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