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Monday, 28 February 2011

Suffering from an allergic skin disease

My Japanese Shiba Inu has just been diagnosed with Canine Atopic Dermatitis (CAD). She is not four years old yet and I noticed she seemed very sensitive after I had had her for just a few days, so she has been tested for many things.
It is a horrible disease. She scratches - and not like a normal dog - she removes all the hair from parts of her body. She can’t go outside on a sunny day as she is so sensitive to heat and over the past few weeks has gone downhill and it has become very difficult to get her to go outside as she has no energy and spends most of the day sleeping.
I have a very good consultant who has tried putting her on steroids, but she has had a bad reaction. We are now trialing her on deflazacort, which is an anti-inflammatory, for the next two weeks to calm her skin. If this proves unsuccessful we will try her on a lower dose of steriods, together with antihistamine tablets. However, she has had antihistamine tablets before and they just knocked her out, and I don’t wish to tire her out anymore than she already is. She really perks up when she sees people so I have asked friends to come to the house and see her as she is just too tired to go outside. I am very worried I will soon have to let her go but am very much hoping to hear from anyone with a dog who has CAD and how you have coped with it. I completely trust my vet’s decisions but I do not want to keep her on steroids that cause her further problems and would rather she was at peace.
My vet says in his opinion it is hereditary and this is the first case he has heard of in the UK. Does anyone else in the country have a Shiba Inu with this problem, or know anyone who does?
Thank you very much.

D. Mills, by phone


  1. Inflammatory skin disease of all types is one of the most common ailments affecting dogs of all breeds. It can be useful to look at this as a problem of the whole body rather than just the skin. This is the "holistic" approach and we at Burns have had good results by using correct nutrition to change how the body functions. Our hypo-allergenic foods, fed correctly, can help to manage dogs with abnormal immune systems as is the case here.
    It will not be enough for you simply to try this on your own; you will need the advice and guidance of our nutrition team.
    In addition, the dog's anal glands should be checked and emptied. This is a quick way of removing toxic wastes from the system. With all itchy dogs this is extremely important, but rarely appreciated.
    John Burns BVMS MRCVS
    Burns Pet Nutrition

  2. I Have read this with interest, I assume that your vet has carried out intradermal skin tests necessary to confirm CAD as there have been many a misdiagnosis/self diagnosis made.
    Whilst you say you trust your vet it would be wise to visit a specialist dermatoligist who can confirm with intradermal skin tests and provide targeted treatment rather than broad spectrum steroids or antihistamine
    I am also curious as to how your vet can conclude this as hereditary when he/she knows of no other cases in the UK?
    Surely in order to be proven to be hereditary then a sibling/parent or very close relative must have also been diagnosed with it? I have known a number of Shiba's throughout the UK and never seen or heard of any problems with allergies.
    There are now a number of non steroidal/natural treatments that are available which have proven to be very effective like Yumega plus which is excellent at settling itchy sensitive skins.
    I note that you state she has gone down hill over the last few weeks, this is coincidentally the time that tree pollens are starting in our atmosphere and this has an effect on humans aswell as our pets.
    When you say let her go, I am hoping you mean back to the breeder but when you mention at peace, I am hoping that you are not referring to having her killed by your vet? under the guise of doing 'What's best' for her,surely the best thing would be for her to return to her breeders who are probably better placed to understand her needs rather than being euthanised.

  3. so the vet cannot find out the mode of inheritance to treat Brackens allergy
    I presume, otherwise she would not still be suffering.

    " so I take it CAD tests don't work then ?."

    what I don't understand, the vet was clever enough to diagnose,Its hereditary even though I find this a little strange as he says himself the first case he has heard of in the UK.

    But he cannot find out what she is allergic to,

    how very bizarre.

  4. Agree with above comments and queries, also have to point out the role vaccines play in these types of problems...
    My first stop would be to a recommended homeopath.
    Good luck with your girl.

  5. Skin allergies in dogs are always a challenge as they can be triggered by so many different causes. And even if you get to bottom of what is causing the problem, its not necessarily something you can avoid!

    Another poster has already mentioned Yumega Plus as a potential natural approach to try to reduce your dog's skin sensitivity. It's a specific blend of natural omega 3 & 6 oils to add to your dog's food, which is specifically selected for dogs with itchy and sensitive skin. It contains an omega 3 called EPA which helps to calm the skin, and an omega 6 called GLA which works in conjunction with EPA to reduce itching and scratching. Its not an instant cure by any means as it takes 3-6 weeks to get into the system and start to work, but it should help to ease things.

    We have had a great many dogs get on well with Yumega Plus (see the reviews on our website), but if you'd like specific advice in your dog's case, please feel free to give us a call on 01462 790886.

    Best wishes,
    John Howie, Co-founder.