Butterscotch has suffered from pretty serious allergies since she was a young pup. She licked and sucked on her paws continually, making them very red and occasionally they would bleed as well. Her bottom was also itchy and she would drag it across the floor or grass in an effort to try to scratch it. Add to all of this, she had quite a few ear infections and I decided to do blood allergy tests to try to determine what was causing her so much trouble. The end result was interesting and as scratch tests on humans help us understand what we are allergic to, these tests (which are NOT cheap) help me understand Butter’s unique allergies. They profiled her specifically for the SW region, so various tests were focused on species she would likely run across here; at least at it relates to trees, grasses, fungi and even insects. Butter is like her mama (me) and is pretty allergic to trees and grasses, as well as various fungi, foods, and insects. A positive reaction to a particular substance is rated from 100-5000. You would be correct if you guessed the higher the number, the worse the allergic reaction. Butter’s worst reaction was to Ragweed and that was a positive +240. She is also pretty allergic to Bermuda and rye grass, both staples in Arizona yards. It turns out she is also allergic to white potatoes, Barley, Corn and Rice – all of which are frequently used in dog food, even high quality food.
Butter gets allergy shots once a month that were specifically made based on her test results and I give them to her. She is also on apoquel, which has been known to cause some side effects. (See this article for reference: http://vitalanimal.com/apoquel-dog-1/)
My vet recommended trying another drug by Zoetis (formerly Pfzier Animal Health) that is only conditionally licensed. The once a month injection is ‘Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic’. I know, a mouthful, isn’t it? I okayed Butter for an injection and indeed, she was asymptomatic for several days after the shot. I also stopped the apoquel for several days but noticed her bottom was itchy again and bleeding slightly as well from her scratching it. I have added a single daily dose of apoquel back and so far, she seems to be doing okay. I also re-read her allergy report and noted that the food I am currently feeding her has ‘potatoes’ (generic in description) in it, so will look specifically for another food. For me, it is always better to try to manage symptoms without the aid of medicine, which often have unintended consequences and/or adverse effects.