Skip to content

Dogs Have Spring Allergies: 6-Year-Old Pekingnese Allergy Success Story

May 5, 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Harry, the Pekingnese dog, has dry dull full and dull, allergy eyes with sticky goo on the eyelid margin each morning.

Harry’s Dull Fur and Allergy Eyes

Atopic Disease in Dogs

Dogs have allergies, too! About half of American dogs have atopy (a-toe-pee). (In humans, the most common manifestation of atopy is eczema.) Dogs become intensely itchy. They succumb to secondary bacterial skin and ear infections, especially staph aureus (staff or-ee-us). The dogs often have yeast infections at the same time! The allergies become worse with each passing year and may become year-round. Atopy is such an uncomfortable, terrible condition with which to live.

Harry, the 6-year-old Pekingnese and His Unusual People

Doc Truli met Harry on a rainy Monday morning. Harry’s pet parents were punctual. Both mom and dad brought Harry to his very first veterinary visit ever. For six years, they battles his skin and itch problems on their own.

“We tried medicated shampoos, allergy diets, vitamins, flea medications, we even put a shirt on him for several months of the year,” said Harry’s mom Cecelia. Cecelia defied all veterinary expectations. From most veterinary team member’s point of view, if someone never vaccinates their dog, never uses heartworm preventative, and tries to treat a terrible skin condition at home for 5 years, that person either does not have money for a doctor, or does not respect or like doctors. Many veterinary workers will be confused and not know exactly how to deal with this person. Cecelia belied preconceptions.

“We know we let it go too long. We just want him to get better,” said Harry’s dad, Ed. Ed and Cecelia stood close together, but not touching. They dressed in similar tan slacks and Florida floral camp shirts. They were neatly groomed and focussed on Doc Truli’s examination. Neither of them collapsed into the client chairs at any point during the exam. They stood at alert, ready to help Harry stay calm and happy.

Harry’s Allergic Skin Disease

This dog has hot, red, greasy neck skin, bald ear tops, and short head fur because of infections secondary to allergies.

Notice the red, greasy neck skin, bald ear tops, and short head fur.

This picture shows the inefected neck skin that feels like chicken skin and hangs in greasy folds.

Folds of infected, bald neck skin.

Notice Harry’s dull, tired eyes in the picture above. His fur felt dry and brittle, with a dusting of greasy tan globules of dog sebum. Harry’s neck skin was greasy, hanging in folds, and bald.

The Pekingnese’ back was almost completely bald, The skin felt thick, greasy, and his back muscles twitched with itchiness at every touch. (The picture did not turn out! You can imagine that one.)

He acted quiet, extremely polite and debonair. A more perfect Pekingnese gentleman Doc Truli could not imagine.

We tested Harry for:

  • Fleas
  • Yeast
  • Bacteria
  • Ringworm
  • Mange
  • Hypothyroid disease
  • Ear infections
  • Dry Eye (keratoconjuntivitis sicca, aka “KCS”)

We consulted regarding nutrition and environment:

  • Omega Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin E
  • Protein Quality
  • By-Products and preservatives in his food
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Household Chemicals
  • Trees and Plants
  • Insects in the House

We found:

  • Yeast
  • Cocci Bacteria (cultures as staph aureus)
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Over-the-Counter Flea Preventatives
  • Lack of another reason for the infections, so Doc Truli diagnosed Harry with atopy based on history and lack of finding immunosuppressive disease like hypothyroidism.

How to Treat Atopy in Dogs

One Month Into Atopy Treatment

After a month of treatment, this dog's eyes are brighter and the neck skin is still bald, but no longer hot and greasy.

1 month of treatment: bright eyes! The neck skin is less red.

Harry's body fur is patchy, with big bare spots, and the skin is hot to toucvh and flinches from itchiness.

1 month: Bald & fur starting to grow back

You can see for yourself in the pictures, Harry’s eyes were brighter after a month of treatment, his neck skin was still bald, but not hot and red from inflammation. The fur on his neck had started to grow back, although it was still dry and dull and the skin was still bright pink.

Harry’s treatment included antibiotics (chosen based on a culture and sensitivity of the skin), anti-fungal oral medication (chosen after a liver blood panel showed he could handle processing the drugs), medicated shampoo twice weekly, vitamin and omega supplements, steroids to calm his immune system, fresh, organic food (in this case The Honest Kitchen Zeal line-caught haddock formula), and oral prescription flea preventative medication (because his skin was so abnormal we thought topical products might nit work well.)

Harry tolerated his meds well. At the one month recheck, he looked 50% improved. At the 2 month recheck, he was like a new dog!

Two Months Into Atopy Treatment

Harry feels so good at 2 months that this picture is out of focus because he plays all the time!

2 months of treatment: moving fast!

After 2 months of treatment, this pekingnese has long, silky fur on his head and neck.

Shin, long fur on his head, neck fur, too!

After 2 month sof treatment, Harry has long, silky fur on his back!

2 months: Long fur on Harry’s back!

“It’s like we got our puppy back!” said Harry’s mom at the 2 month recheck. “He’s playing and running and loving us like he hasn’t in years.” We discovered Harry was depressed emotionally and energetically by his skin disease. His atopy was a mostly genetic predisposition to react violently and urgently to potentially normal things in his environment, like grass and oak trees. Then infections compounded his discomfort. After years of piecemeal treatment, he needed a professional to oversee his recovery.

Imagine 5 years of itch and grease and smell and withdrawal from his family, fixed in two months!

Harry now eats his special food and he is experimenting with fresh prepared food based on a nutritionists custom diet we had made for him. He takes Omega fish oil supplements and he has a special routine shampoo that moisturizes his skin. He takes no steroids or other prescription medications, except his monthly flea and heart worm preventatives.

Harry’s mom says,”We couldn’t be happier.”

Read More About Allergies on VirtuaVet:

Food Allergy in Dogs

Step-by-Step Allergy Elimination Diet

Allergic Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Pet Allergy Investigation Checklist

Cat Allergies

Are Your Household Cleaners Making Your Pet Sick?

Use the “Allergy” category in the right sidebar to see more stories and tips!


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Bart Springer permalink
    May 8, 2013 3:54 pm

    What a great success story for a lovely little dog, Harry.

    • May 9, 2013 8:13 pm

      Thanks, dad. Plus, thanks for the private note that came with your review.

    • May 9, 2013 8:13 pm

      Thanks, dad. Plus, thanks for the private note that came with your review.

  2. karen permalink
    May 6, 2013 2:56 am

    Great story and great job on Harry! It’s so important to do a complete and thorough check on an animal with a skin condition, like you did. Our dermatology prof. also told us some stories about animals suffering for years and years, being treated sub optimally, and then as a last resort they come to him, it gets checked out properly and within a few months, viola – dog as good as new.

    • May 7, 2013 9:54 pm

      Dear Karen,
      Thanks for the comment. All general practitioner vets need to stay inspired to try and cure our patients. I know many people say no all day long to our recommendations, but darn if those pooches don’t get better when someone says yes!
      -Doc Truli

      • karen permalink
        May 8, 2013 12:49 pm

        That is surely a key part – to get the owner to work with you. What I’ve also heard is that after a diet change for example, what needs to be done to conclusively say it was a food allergy, is a provocation test (think that’s what it’s called) with the food that might have caused the problem, but most owners don’t want to go through that again and leave it at that. I can understand that, and I suppose in most cases it’s not necessary, when it stays that way.

  3. May 5, 2013 1:49 pm

    Yay! Great success story.

    Are the steroids long term or are they used short-term to reduce inflammation and get over the hump? I’m just wondering what part of the treatment above will help with chronic inhalant allergens because you can’t really eliminate grass and trees from his environment (like you could if it was a food allergy).

    At one point Barnum seemed to have inahlant allergies (something that was outdoors in the fall), and I just gave him antihistamines for a few weeks, and that worked well, but I don’t know what I’d do if it was a year-round thing.

    • May 5, 2013 4:25 pm

      Dear Sharon,
      The steroids were short term.

      In this case, the food change strengthened and balanced his immune system and he’s been off steroids. Admittedly, it’s a guess what food/vitamins/etc will work to keep a dog off steroids. Sometimes it’s ultrahydrolyzed diets like Z/ D from Hill’s ( admittedly super processed, but scientifically effective )

      Doc Truli personal opinion: I don’t believe the genetics have changed soooo much in the past thirty years. I think atopic dogs and people are more normal and everybody else is insensitive to the crap pumped into our food and water and air.

      Sometimes a talented homeopath can adjust the eosinophils and the flexibility of response in the immune system. I think atopy is an extreme immune system response stuck in gear. Instead of adapting and itchiness going up and down, it stays on super itch for years. Homotoxicology is made for addressing this stuck immune system. But I am not yet a talented homeopath.

      For longer term help, some dogs respond fabulously to Atopica (from Novartis in the US) I have other patients in which it only works for a while, then stops. Plus, of course, it is not natural, so I look for natural solutions to adjust the immune system. But steroids work great when they are needed!

      Sharon, I also always think of you when I write the “alt text” for the pictures because you introduced me to resources about writing for blind or deaf audiences. So I hear a computer reading voice when I write the alt text and think if i would like it if I were blind. Sometimes, I put info in the alt text that is nowhere else in the story (like a bonus if you have the computer read it to you.)

      Happy Spring!
      -Doc Truli

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: