Posted by: linkyloo | 2006/04/09

allergies - always scratching prednisilone works what about long term effects

I have two labs (brother and sister) the male has a problem with allergies. He scratches all the time and the vet put him onto steroids, antihistamine and antibiotics. once course of medicine is finished it starts all over again. The female also scratches but not as bad. they both have problems with their hips and the steroids also help that. What is the alternative to steriods. Has anyone had any success with anything else. They don't have flies and are treated with frontline and washed and dipped regularly.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Please read my many replies on cortisone and allergies in previous questions, you can find these in the archive. Once again, allergies are never cured. Do not expect them to go away or stay away simply because a course of treatment was prescribed. The treatment is prescribed to suppress allergies. As long as the allergy is there (usually a permanent) treatment will be necessary. In many patients this can only be done with cortisone (in the case of environmental allergy). As long as the dose is correct for the patient and the interval between treatments as long as possible (say every two or three or four days) the side-effects may be minimal or absent.

It is extremely important that you continue absolutely flea control.

If you have not tried strict application of a commercial hypoallergenic diet, this should also be introduced. In some cases, cortisone may then even be withdrawn.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/10

The dog must have some sensitivity to something in his diet or environment, and the only real cure is to identify what it is - which is where the problem comes in. Tests can be run, but they're darned expensive - ask your vet for details. The other option is to systematically eliminate potential allergens, which is not so easy, unless you're lucky enough to hit the jackpot early on.

I'm sure you've tried changing his diet already... read the fine print on the food package to check that you aren't using brands with the same preservatives. Better still, try getting special dogfood for hyperallergic dogs - your vet will either supply or advise about this.

If that doesn't help, then he may have an allergy to grass, or to something in your house: for example, carpet shampoo or, if you wash his blankets regularly, the detergent or softener you use. Or fleas - in spite of keeping him frontlined etc, they may pick up a flea here and there, and ONE flea can trigger a whole episode.

It may be worth your while to see if you can get a referral to a specialist veterinary dermatologist - even one consultation would probably give you some direction as to how to proceed.

Failing all of the above, your only real recourse is to manage the symptoms, as you're already doing, with whatever works. Again, your vet will have to advise you as to the potential pitfalls of long-term steroid use, and what your alternatives are.

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