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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16297
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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How does it take after switching diet will you see results

Customer Question

How long does it take after switching diet will you see results in skin condition? Will you see slow progress? It's been three weeks and our hound has shown no improvement in her skin since her diet switch so just wondering if we should stick to it or try another route?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

It is possible that your pup has multiple allergies.

Food allergy is very possible with her as well if she seems to be itchy all year round. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" like her axillary areas (armpits) can be affected.

Make sure that the food that you are putting her on is a true hypoallergenic diet. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your dog isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your dog if those happen to be allergens for your dog. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food, but the only ingredients in that food is what is listed on the bag.

If you based your diet upon blood tests please understand that blood tests for food allergies are much less reliable than those for inhaled allergens, meaning that her tests may be false negative. That means that food allergens may not show up positive even though she is allergic to those food items.
Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin with a prescription hypoallergenic food and then adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try that does not contain those foods she reacted to. As far as permanent diets I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination. Purina Pro Plan Turkey and Barley or Nature's Recipe Vegetarian or Venison are pretty good products. I know that this isn't easy from personal experience (my dog is allergic to wheat) and it is time consuming, but worth it.

If you choose to try testing/treating her for a food allergy I recommend that you try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet. A hypoallergenic diet must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. You should see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.

Best of luck with your pup, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.We have done a very intense hypoallergenic food allergy testing with her with a limited ingredient diet and slowly re-introducing ingredients. We have been focusing on her diet this entire time, switching and trial and error - and so far we have found that the two brands of food we have are the best for her and what she reacts to. But we thought that switching to a dehydrated raw would show some benefits to her skin. But unfortunately nothing seems to work, and my only feeling is that it could possibly be mites, or a parasite, or it has progressed and increased over the last 6 months.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

You are very welcome, please let me know how things go for your pup.

You might also want to consider a prescription drug called Apoquel for her dust mite allergy.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 9 months ago.

While she has been on these foods for a period of time (3 weeks) it may not be quite long enough since it can take 6-8 weeks to see any change and as long as 3-4 months to see a significant improvement.

And if you don't address her other (dust mite) allergy the she will still be itchy.

It is certainly possible that she has mites too, if she hasn't had a skin scraping that should be done.

And a skin swab should be analyzed for evidence of an increased number of bacteria and yeast too, which will also make her itchy.