Dog Allergy Stories. Gator the Lab Mix.

Gator - lab mix with dog allergies
Gator resting

Gator is a 13 year old Lab mix. When he was 6 months old, Gator was abandoned along a rural road in South Georgia.  When his owner Catherine rescued him, she noticed that he had severe skin problems.  She assumed that these skin issues were caused by fleas and ticks or that Gator suffered from mange, all common skin problem suffered by abandoned animals. 

After Gator was treated for his ticks and fleas, he was then checked and cleared for mange.  Yet, his skin problems continued. Gator had oozing rashes on his stomach, under his legs, in his groin area and on his muzzle.  He also developed frequent ear infections.  Catherine found that Gator would scratch at his skin until it became raw and bloody. 

Catherine and her family continued to look for other causes for Gator’s skin problems. They began to realize that he was likely suffering from allergies.  Catherine started trying different foods, but found that it had no affect on Gator. They also tried to limit the amount of time Gator spent outside and were careful to wipe him down when he came back indoors. Yet, none of these solutions helped with Gator’s skin condition.     

After about sixteen months of trial and error, Catherine was starting to narrow down the cause of Gator’s allergic reactions.  Catherine discovered that Gator’s allergies were very seasonal, and she believed they were caused by molds and pollen since his allergies are always worse in the Spring and Summer months.  Working with Gator’s vet, they found that the best treatment for Gator’s allergies was through a combination of medication and bathing

To treat Gator’s allergies on a daily basis, Catherine gives Gator a 2.5mg dose of Prednisone (steroid medication), a Claritin tablet and 250mg of milk thistle.  The milk thistle is given to protect Gator from potential liver damage problems which can be caused by continual dosages of Prednisone.  Gator is also given weekly baths.  If Gator is having a strong allergy flare up, Catherine will increase his Prednisone dose up to 10mg daily and his baths are increased to every three days.

Gator has allergies
Gator in his yard

Catherine and her family have found that regardless of where they live, Gator continues to have skin problems.  Their family has lived in Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland and Florida and has seen no change in Gator’s allergy problems. 

When asked what advice she would offer to other dog owners, Catherine suggests that owners never assume that their dog is allergic to just one thing.  If the dog has allergies, they are usually allergic to several different elements.  She also suggests that if dog owners decide to use Prednisone, they should go with the lowest dosage available and look into giving them milk thistle to prevent against liver damage.  Owners should be open to trying new medications and therapies and never give up.  It’s important to try everything they can to keep their pup as comfortable as possible. 

Catherine has certainly been keeping Gator comfortable. He is thirteen years old and going strong thanks to her efforts to keep his allergies under control.

11 thoughts on “Dog Allergy Stories. Gator the Lab Mix.

  1. Kobe, my lab/mix w/chow has horrible skin allergies and he too is taking Pred along w/ an antibotic to prevent infection and decrease the constant scratching.
    His hide legs and belly are bald and I feel so sorry for him.Between the allergies and anal gland needing expressed, Kobe is at the vet once a month.
    Three months ago, I switched his food to a grain-free (Natures Recipe)hoping for some relief-not much as changed and he stays gassy.
    Today,a Petsmart employee recommended I try Nutro-Ultra.
    Will post results in about a month!!!!!!!!

    • Sorry to hear about Kobe’s allergies. We’ve had good luck using Natural Balance limited ingredient dog food. We first tried the Duck and Potato formula, but had the best results with the Sweet Potato and Venison food. Every dog is different. Please let us know how the new food is working out!

  2. I will try to find the milk thistle, because the vet never mentioned Pred causing liver problems, only the it is a steroid and make sure he has plenty of water available.
    Thanks for the info and I am so glad that Gator has a family that takes the extra step to find him some comfort from his allergies.
    Ever hear that dogs are sometime allergic to grass?

  3. Update on Kobe: So far the new food Nutro-Ultra has has great results. I have noticed less itching and
    scratching and his hair has began to grow back!!!!

  4. Sorry to say, but Kobe has started back scratching, biting and has even more bold spots then before, especially both hind legs.
    We now feel that the decrease in scrathing was due to the prednisone that was given to him around that time of changing food.
    I am at my wits end trying to find a comfort zone for Kobe. Might have to break down and get him the
    allergy test $190.00. The vet really believe it is
    simply airbourne allergies and has stated this years
    seem to be especially bad.
    Going back to previous brand of food……….

  5. Earleen, I can totally sympathize with your problems with Kobe. We have a 6 yr old Boston Bulldog, Sherman. We have struggled with constant ear infections, anal glands, hotspots and general itching and scratching til raw and bleeding. Our Vet thought initially that it could be food allergies even though we have fed our dogs a home prepared diet for 5 years. we first tried to eliminate grains and when no relief was found, we did the elimination diet starting with duck and potato. After trying several proteins along with potato our vet determined that Sherman probably suffers from a variety of environmental allergies, and we started him on Atopica 3 weeks ago. I must add that Atopica is very expensive, for Sherm who is 30 pounds the meds cost 100$ per month.

    I know that it is only 3 weeks into Sherms new meds, but I can report that so far he is symptom free! We have noticed one side effect of the Atopica however, and that is excessive hair loss. A simple light stroke will bring a noticeable cloud of hair, but at this point it is nothing compared to the suffering that this animal was experiencing.

    Because of the expense and the positive results that we are having we are likely to take sherm in for allergy testing and Shots.

  6. Kobe allergies w/ all the scratching and biting finally got me to the point of taking him to the vet “again”. As Kim stated, the vet does not believe it’s food (changed BACK to lamb/rice) but enviromental-the worse type to treat-we got all kind of things in the air. While going over his records the vet noticed that there is a pattern of every May and August that Kobe has flair ups w/his allergies-this year is the worse-he actually had stopped eating and became lethargic. He was given a shot of Predisone and antibotic (for the sores from all the biting / scratching)and meds to bring home. Kobe is now back to his ole self and we both are happy….Will keep you updated

  7. My DDB has severe allergies. i keep him well with Wellbeloved Duck and Rice.
    If i give him the lamb/turkey his allergies start building up again. I make all his treats and only use organic chicken. Wheat/Maize is a big one with him along with dairy so i only use Doves Farm rice flour/ gluton free/non dairy spread when making him treats. Vet asked me what i fed him on as he is fantastically healthy (touch wood). Massive hot spot caused by eating fish from tescos..never again. I have him down to a fine art now and if his ears start itching its because i have veered off the list of can eats. Could be down to one little treat given to him by another dog lover over the park.
    Hope you find this helpful

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