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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11374
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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We have a 5 month old English Mastiff puppy, starting the

Customer Question

Hello, We have a 5 month old English Mastiff puppy, starting the week after we brought him home, we changed his food from Nutro Max to a higher quality Fromm kibble. About a month later, he continued to itch, so changed him to a Limited ingreient food, Zignature Kanagroo blend, for the novel meat. He continued to itch on that. Now we are at a loss of where to go, he did not respond to Benedryl, and is up all night itching and biting himself. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the veterinarian. What is the mastiff's name?
Customer: He does not have fleas
JA: Is there anything else the veterinarian should be aware of about the mastiff?
Customer: He was treated with flea medication, turns out he did not have fleas, other dog had lice. So the flea medication killed the lice anyways. I never saw lice on him though, but he was treated anyways.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today! Please give me a few moments to type my response and I will be right back!

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

I am so sorry to hear your Mastiff is so itchy! Hopefully my guidelines will give you a direction to go:

Unfortunately allergies are still a possibility:
1.) Doing a food allergy trial. Surprisingly most food allergies are to the protein in diets not the grains so using a food that is specifically for this purpose, which is where the proteins are broken down beyond the point where the body recognizes the protein as beef, chicken, fish and monitor for improvement in signs. These foods include: royal canin h/p (hydrolyzed protein), hill's z/d ultra

-During the food trial he cannot have anything besides these diets and this can be a two week trial. So no treats nor other foods. This is the best way to rule out food allergies
- Over the counter foods that are limited ingredient are not as effective as this food trial. The reasoning is we are removing the protein completely from the scenario by breaking it down so completely but also the over the counter foods that are limited ingredient are not as "pure" is the only way to describe it. The manufacturing plant doesn't sterilize as completely between batches and when studies have been done testing what is in the over the counter foods often they do have proteins not listed on the bag
2.) At this age we can see seasonal allergies that develop so testing for allergies as the cause with a serum test is advised
3.) Ruling out demodex or sarcoptes. Even if treated with a topical for fleas/ lice this should be ruled out in a young dog with profound itching

Hopefully this gives you a direction for your big guy. There are prescription medications that can help control the itch better than over the counter benadryl (please make sure the benadryl is 1 mg/ pound for an effective dose) but #3 has to be ruled out prior to beginning them since they are contraindicated with this condition

Please let me know how else I can assist you both today

If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION at the top of your screen (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thanks!

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you for this information. So if he responds well to the food elimination diet, using the royal canine h/p, after two weeks, is that a food we need to stay on? Or where would I go from there??
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

Typically food allergy trials can take 1-2 months for full effect unfortunately (to remove any residual proteins remaining in fat).

If you have success you can either stay with the diet or find a prescription food that is limited protein and every 2 weeks add in another ingredient to see if the itching returns. If it does you know there is an allergy to that product.

Now with a puppy often we will do a food allergy test with a limited ingredient diet veterinary diet versus the hypoallergenic for growth purposes but you risk they have an allergy to that protein. The last puppy this was done with at my practice the dermatologists recommended the bison formula of the limited ingredient, again for the veterinary formulas where they completely remove any debris on the machinery between batches

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

I am going to be stepping away from my computer for a few hours in just a minute but wanted to check in before I go?

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both today

If the information I have provided was helpful I would be grateful if you would rate our chat at the top of the screen so I am compensated for my time. Thank you and best of luck to you both, truly!

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Also, since he was on Kangaroo, which is a novel protein, how could he have an issue with it? We also tried venison. Our vet said he does not have mange, his skin looks healthy?
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

Just because it is a novel protein doesn't guarantee that he doesn't have an allergy to it. Unfortunately I have a dog with a food allergy and any time she gets protein of any kind she breaks with diarrhea regardless of source

I have seen dogs with normal coats yet have sarcoptes unfortunately.

I would consider a serum allergy test to rule out an exacerbation with environment allergies and if your vet has ruled out mange then talk to them about apoquel to get the itching under control. It really can be quite effective

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

Can I assist with any additional questions or clarify anything today?

If you are satisfied with our chat please rate or accept with the stars on the top of your screen so I may be compensated for my time. If you are having any difficulties you can also state your rating (excellent, good, fair) in our chat as an alternative. Thank you!

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you- how would I know if he has sarcoptes? He is not losing hair at all. He has a couple of red hives that are under his left armpit...
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

Often sarcoptes is very difficult to diagnose because skin scrapes do not reflect these mites. Treatment is diagnostic in resolution of the itching and we are now able to use products like revolution or nexgard to treat, one treatment monthly for a few months and will see reduction in itching with the first dose

Very unlikely but is something to rule out and easily treated.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Would frontline plus not treat that? He did that one already
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

No frontline plus has not been proven to be effective against sarcoptes mange, just the two listed above ivermectin orally daily therapy as an alternative

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
That is super helpful... trying to narrow this all down- he doesn't sleep and either do we because of all the itching! I will talk to our vet about all of your wonderful recommendations. Thank you again!!
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

You are very welcome, best wishes for sleepful nights for you both in the near future!

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you again!
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 months ago.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both today

If the information I have provided was helpful I would be grateful if you would rate our chat at the top of the screen so I am compensated for my time. Thank you and best of luck to you both, truly!