My 12 year old, neutered male German Shepherd has had recurring atopy and bacterial dermatitis. He is currently under the care of a dermatologist who prescribed Cipro and Doxycycline. We also bathe him twice weekly with Chorhexaderm shampoo and we spray his paws and any lesions with Mal-A-ket TrizEDTA spray, bid. He’s been taking Hydroxyzine for quite some time and Aller G-3 Alpha Omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
He eats Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit (grain free, 90% meat, no art. colors or preservatives) dry food supplemented with super premium all-meat canned food ie: Evangers, EVO, Before Grain, etc. His appetite is generally quite good though being on all these meds seems to has put him off a bit.
Even with this whole regime it has been difficult to clear up his skin and even when it does, it comes back shortly after antibiotics are discontinued.
To add to his problems, he has arthritis as well as progressive rear-end weakness due to suspected Fibrotic Myopathy. In addition to it making his ambulation difficult, the dermatologist suspects this lack of ambulation and decreased activity, which causes a more sedentary lifestyle and less air flow around his body and to his skin, is a contributing factor to his skin problems.
He is a very trim 85 lbs. and we are also doing range of motion therapy exercises at home and will begin hydro-therapy when his skin issues resolve. We are also considering acupuncture. I don’t think he’s really in a lot of pain but his regular vet just started him on Tramadol to see if there’s any improvement.
So, I was wondering if you had any suggestions or recommendations for some holistic treatments that might be beneficial for him. I also wonder if there’s a better fatty acid supplement than the AllerG-3 I’m currently using. I should add too that I would consider a RAW diet if I thought it would be more beneficial than his current diet.
I am open to any supplements that you feel might improve his muscular/skeletal conditions as well.
Thank you in advance!
Thank you for your inquiry to Holistic Pet Info. There have been a lot of recent studies with chronic skin issues and we have come to find that the skin basement membrane weakness is the primary problem. The skin is like bricks and mortar of a wall, where the mortar has an inability to maintain a connection with the skin cells. This weakness allows bacteria, yeast and even allergens to get through. This revelation has caused veterinarians to rethink the treatments for chronic skin issues. Antibiotics, steroids and immune suppressants may just cause a cycle of skin recovery and disorder. The primary mode of treatment now is to support the membranes in the skin.
Fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and topical products to strengthen and seal the skin appear to have the best results. The allerg G3 and Omega 3’s are probably fine, but I would re-evaluate the dry dog food, antihistamine and antibiotics. I recommend seeing a holistic vet in your area to help with a diet (preferably home cooked in this case) and possible acupuncture. Acupuncture not only can help with the musco/skeletal issues but also helps the immune system to support the skin and local immunoglobulin cells. Best of luck.
Colleen Smith DVM, CVA, CVCP