Skin allergy

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2005
Skin allergy
Fri, 02-21-2014 - 8:03pm

Hi everyone.

Miss Fiona has had little bumps all over her back for a few weeks now.  We took her to the vet, and they diagnosed it as a skin allergy.  I recently started feeding her chicken jerky as a treat (only ingridient in it being chicken.)  She eats bison food, so the vet said that she may have a chicken allergy.  When I came home, I realized that there's also chicken in her food.  There goes the chicken theory...

They did a skin scraping test, and determined that the bumps are not due to mites.  That was a relief.  But now it turns out it's not the chicken either.  I can't figure out what else she might be allergic to.  I'd call the vet and let them know, but unfortunately I wrote e-mailed them right when I got home voicing my displeasure in their care.  They did a fine job attempting to diagonose her (I wasn't upset about that), but they were very cold and made my sweet girl wear a muzzle!*  

Does anyone have any insight on what else might be causing these bumps?  Or, more specifically what she may be allergic to?  She's eating a grain free food, so it's not grains.  If you don't know, she's a Pitbull mix with very short and thin hair.  Could the bumps just be caused by the grass?  She likes to lay around in the grass a lot.  The vet didn't mention that possibility, but I'll trust you guys if you've heard of it.  

Thanks so much for any input!  

*I was so annoyed about the muzzle thing.  This is the third vet we've been to, because I didn't like the other two either.  At the other two vets though, both which we visited numerous times, they never even mentioned a muzzle.  If she barked at them, they'd just give her treats and wait a moment until she calmed down.  These people made us wait in a tiny room for 15 minutes, and then three cold strangers walked in the room and she was obviously upset.  She barked (very loudly.  She's quite a loud barker), but didn't lunge at them or anything.  Instead of offering her treats or waiting for her to calm down, they insisted right away that she wear a muzzle for the exam.  I told them that she's never ever bitten anyone before, and she's generally not agressive.  She just was leery of these new people in this new situation and needed a minute to get used to it.  They did not understand her feelings at all, and it was quite off-putting.  Frown

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Sat, 02-22-2014 - 2:26pm

I'm so sorry your Fiona is going through this.  Unfortunately with allergies it sometimes takes a while to find out the cause.

If it definitely isn't the food then it could be the grass.  My ^Samantha^ seemed to have a grass allergy, especially when the grass was first sprouting.  But I think it's too early for that now.

When did the bumps first start....was it after you started giving her the chicken jerky?  Are you "sure" there's just chicken in the jerky?  It could be the more compressed chicken rather than the smaller amount of chicken in her food that's causing the issue.  Did the vet give you any meds for her?

As to the issue of the muzzle...I believe that your vet is just using that as a precaution.  I know that "we" know our dogs...but I'm also sure that there have been instances at that vet's office where a frightened dog has lashed out during an exam and bitten one of the techs or even the vet.  So...for that reason I can understand their caution.  Of course, I wouldn't like it either if my vet muzzled I also see your side of it.

As for them being cold....if you're really not comfortable with your vet then you have to change.  Before we lost our ^Samantha^ her regular vet told us that we should have her put down.  At the time we didn't believe it was "time" so we said No.  This vet spoke to both me and DH and tried to convince us...and we did not agree.  We had three more months with her...and let her go when we knew it was time.

Many years ago I had a vet that was afraid of our retriever/mix ^Maxwell^.  Maxwell was a tough dog...but he certainly wasn't aggressive.  In any case, when we lost Maxwell this vet never even called us to say he was sorry.  I never forgave him for that and soon found another vet.

My thoughts are with you and your little girl....please be sure to keep us updated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2005
Sat, 02-22-2014 - 2:52pm

Thanks for the reply.

Do you think that it could still be chicken, being that there's only a little bit in her food as opposed to the completely chicken jerky?  She's been eating the food for over a year, and the issue just started maybe a month ago.  Is it possible for her to develope a chicken allergy as opposed to being born with one?  

Also, if it's the grass, then how to you control it?  The vet did give us some meds.  She said it's a low dose steroid, and should clear the bumps up.  That's probably on the condition we figure out what's causing the bumps and stop it though.  

I am changing vets.  I just got a good recommendation from a friend's dog sitter.  Hopefully they'll be more comforting to a scared dog, rather than make her more scared by insisting on a muzzle.  

Thanks again!

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
In reply to: gazebo
Mon, 02-24-2014 - 3:14pm

Personally I believe that dogs can form an allergy...just like humans.  Just because you're not born with an allergy doesn't mean one can't develop.  I never had seasonal allergies until I was over 50 years old....and now they're "bad", especially in the Spring.

Once you start with your new vet he/she may have an answer.  It could very well be that a small amount of chicken doesn't affect Fiona..but she can't tolerate the compressed jerky.  The only thing you can do is stop the jerky and see if that helps.

Good luck and please let us know how Fiona is doing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-1999
Sat, 03-29-2014 - 9:11pm

Just because one vet didn't find mites in a skin scraping does not mean there are none.  Mites are very difficult to see.

My black pug, Jabaar, was so itchy he would scream and spin on his butt and scratch and bite himself raw.  He was itching so frantically he couldn't even stand up and walk.  Benadryl didn't help.  He was on salmon and sweet potato food for six months before this and was fine, but I switched him to Taste of the Wild Bison and Venison grain free. He was on Apoquel and antibiotics for the infected hot spots, and Apoquel was a 24-hour miracle.  But as soon as he completed the two-week course of medication, he was itching again.  And by then, so was I, and to a lesser degree, my other two dogs and the one I am fostering.

Our vet finally said "let's treat for mites, in case that is what it is."  I bathed and dipped four dogs, washed all their bedding, and went to the doctor, myself and got a prescription cream.  It has been two days, and the dogs are calm.  We have all had two full night's sleep.  I have to re-treat everyone in a week. 

Where did he get it?  I have no idea.  Rescue denies any of my recent fosters had mange.  (One was from a hoarding situation, and the one I have now was a puppy mill stud.)  I volunteer at a feral-cat spay and neuter clinic, and I do clinic laundry, but cat mites and dog mites are not the same creature.

I would have your new vet re-test him for mites.