We first noticed Harley's allergies last December when rashes & red bumps (skin legions) appeared under his front arms, his belly, his neck and his chin. Upon first look, our vet diagnosed him with "atopic dermatitis". To control the itching/scratching she prescribed Vanectyl-P, a steroid and short-term solution for relieving itching and inflammation caused by dry or moist eczema, non-specific dermatitis, and fungal infections in dogs. Harley reacted very well to this and the rashes temporarily sub-sided.
In addition to the medication, we have changed Harley's diet to a combination of Royal Canine Skin Support, Medi-Cal Vegetarian Hard food and Medi-Cal Gastro Formula soft food. We have also started switching out and washing his crate blankets every couple of days with a gentle laundry detergent, are keeping the floor around his crate clean, and vacuum our carpets regularly to reduce dust. We're not sure this has made huge difference but it makes us feel better that we are doing what we can to help make Harley more comfortable.
3 months ago our vet introduced us to a new and long-term allergy drug solution called Atopica. This oral non-steroidal treatment is seen as a safer alternative to corticosteroids as it has fewer or no long term impact on organs and has two main advantages over steroids 1) safety and 2) better response. We started Harley on a combination of Vanectyl-P and Atopica in August and then only Atopica in November. Since then we have noticed a big change in the color of his fur (it went from being very pink to white), increased fur growth on his ears and belly, and a reduction in itching and red bumps.
A few weeks ago Harley experienced late side effects to the Atopica (lack of appetite, vomiting and bumps under the skin on his back). He was taken off of the Atopica and was given cortisone and Medi-Cal Gastro Formula soft food to get him back on track. 1 week later our vet gave us the "Okay" to restart the Atopica (50 mg per day) with food. Then 3 weeks ago we reduced his intake to 25 mg a day. Unfortunately, this isn't enough to keep the allergies at bay (the rashes and red bumps have returned under his front arms, he's constantly scratching and it looks like he's losing hair around his ears and on his belly). We've since reverted back to 50 mg to see if this makes a difference.
With all of this said, we're out of ideas on how to control the allergies. Does anyone know of anything other than Atopica (or something that we can give him in conjunction with it) that may help? What about homeopathic remedies? Are they worth checking trying? Do you have any other suggestions or ideas?
Thanks SO much!!!!