We knew that Fin, our rescued cavalier, had multiple allergies including yeast, colourings, preservatives and the like, but we wanted to get a fuller picture so that we could eliminate as many allergens as possible from his environment. The list (and this is by no means exhaustive) includes beef, lamb and chicken, egg, maize (corn). We can eliminate these from his diet, so no problem there. He is now fed exclusively on Burns Fish and Brown Rice, as are all our dogs, to prevent him harming himself by stealing their food!
He is also allergic to 2 different families of grasses. Not so easy to avoid, but our back garden has no grass, so he is ok there. No more running through the fields and woods for Fin! Then there are storage mites (two common types were tested) and house dust mites (a teaspoon of dust may contain over 250,000 mite droppings and is the most common cause of allergy in the UK). These last two are invisible to the naked eye, so you can never be sure of eradicating them, the best you can hope for is to reduce their numbers.
Damp dusting and regular, thorough vacuuming of carpets, curtains and soft furnishings will help, as will keeping a window open for ventilation. Storing of dry food in an airtight container and cleaning of the container before another pack of food is emptied in is a must and we have found that freezing his biscuits prior to feeding helps too.
The last two things he reacted to – and this was by far the strongest reaction – was the yeast and bacteria on his own skin. Apparently these occur naturally and normally live in harmony, but antibiotics can knock the bacteria out and “Malaseb” shampoo can knock out the yeast, causing an inbalance. We agreed with out vet, to leave antibiotics alone for a while and use Pet Nat block shampoo, to try and restore the balance of the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria on his skin. This was achieved to some degree although he can still get infection flare-ups.
Fin is now 9 years old. He has has 6 years more with us than he would have had otherwise. It has been an uphill struggle and very hard work, but he is pretty well itch free and is happy pottering around our back garden with our other dogs.