When I first adopted Meya, I actually blammed the constant scratching and scabs that resulted on a bad grooming that left abrassions that wouldn’t heal. I tried to treat it at home, but after 6 weeks and the scabs spread I went to the vet. Even then, he gave me a medicated shampoo and a course of steriods (her first and last, Meya becomes incontinent on even a low dosage) and instructions to clean out her ears to stop the infection there. Only later on a third or fourth visit, this time for scabs all over her face, did the vet suggest allergies might be the cause.
In winter the itching decreased some what, and I adopted Oscar during that lull. When I first brought him to the vet he was a mess, I could have written a two page list of the questions I had about him. First and foremost was his coughing, sneezing, and runny eyes which seemed to indicate kennel cough. The vet prescribed some OTC medicines and time, since his lungs were clear. But the sneezing and goopy eyes persisted, and I noticed Oscar was a licker, constantly chewing and licking his paws. Eventually, once Oscar was in better overall health, the vet suggested he also might have allergies.
During the second spring I had Meya, I was convinced to shell out the money for allergy testing, though I had read they were not completely accurate. According to the allergy tests, the two were allergic to a variety of pollens, mold, grasses, dust mites, and a whole slew of foods. They have allergies to different foods, but since I don’t want to risk giving the wrong dog the wrong thing the foods get lumped together. Basically, the tests said they can’t have beef, rabbit, venison, fish, carrots, peas, brewer’s yeast, potatoes, and rice. Whether or not these tests are really accurate, it at least gave me something to start with. I even tried the shots, but giving two dogs shots every day freaked me and because of that freaked them out.
Now the dogs eat a special allergy formulated food, and eat chicken and sweet potato treats. When people say that my dogs must have a miserable life not eating beef, I laugh. My dogs are lucky, they eat chicken jerky and are pampered. Meya still itches in the summer, and Oscar’s eyes are still goopy. I figure the dogs are fine, so long as I can keep Meya from injuring herself itching and Oscar from getting yeast infections from licking his feet. And I’m lucky that my dogs only have doggy hayfever.