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Old May 22, 2007, 11:42 PM   #1
Steve
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Question Allergies and Kenalog shots for a dog

One of my cocker spaniels has had a long history of ear infections (common with cockers). Both vets I have taken him to think that the infections are largely caused by allergies. He has a tendency to lick his paws and has other signs of allergies as well.

The first vet...whom we have gone to for years...repeatedly prescribed Tresaderm drops. These never seemed to work very well, and the vet's advice was skin prick tests (which my dog would hate) followed by weekly allergy shots. I have gone through this process myself. It's very expensive and time consuming...and the shots are not always particularly effective. Even the vet admitted that they may or may not work very well. I finally got frustrated and decided to try a new vet.

The new vet has prescribed Otomax which seems to work much better than Tresederm on the ear infections. (Both vets have given me ear flushing and/or drying drops in addition to the anti-biotics). My main question is that the new vet has also prescribed kenalog shots for Rusty. He has had two so far...and the vet says he can have one every month during allergy season. These shots seem to be helping quite a bit.

However, are kenalog shots safe on an on-going basis? When I was younger, I used to get kenalog shots and they worked great with my allergies. Doctors don't give them any more as they are steriods and not considered safe. The vet says that dogs respond differently than humans...and that they are perfectly safe for them.

Does anyone have any experience and/or advice about this? Rusty is nearly nine years old and is happy and playful. It's nice to see his allergies get better under control...and I'm hoping that his ear infections will go away, too. (Or at least be less frequent.) Any suggestions are most appreciated.

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Old May 23, 2007, 06:51 AM   #2
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Steve,

My mom's dog is a cocker mix and he has similar problems to what you describe. My mom's former vet gave him the shots you describe, but when she consulted a new vet, that vet felt it wasn't good to have them on an ongoing basis. Now, she is able to control the allergies (and the infections caused by heavy scratching) with diet. He eats the Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul canned food, and gets a certain type of bone to keep his teeth clean--one my mom has determined doesn't trigger his allergies. This vet has given her a supply of Prednisone to keep on hand with dosage instructions in the event his skin gets out of control, which happens within hours of him snatching a piece of human food he shouldn't have. The Prednisone really helps, but of course, you can't administer that too freely.

Personally, I thought the dog did best when my mom was feeding him a mixture of rice, cottage cheese, bone meal, carrots and a vitamin supplement, but it got to be too much for her to cook for him all the time. so the Chicken Soup is a good compromise, and one I appreciate when he stays with me!
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Old May 23, 2007, 07:27 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, what you have come across is not an exact science. In fact, you are entering into an area that is inconclusive. And, as is evidenced by the Vets' suggestions and treatments, no one has a solution. Otomax is ok...but will not solve the problem. Perhaps (and most likely) nothing will solve the problem forever.

Here's a suggestion which is inexpensive and works. This should be done every day. And as often as you feel necessary. The ear has to be cleaned thoroughly. Soak cotton balls with witch hazel...pat the cotton balls almost dry...and wipe out the ear...as deep as you can get without injury. Keep doing this (with clean cotton balls and witch hazel) until the ear is clean and dry. Wipe dry/clean with a clean cotton ball. Get some panalog from your Vet...it's about $7-$13 per tube. Squirt a small amount (about the size of a large pea) deep into the ear...and massage the ear at its base. You will hear/feel it sloshing. In the beginning you can do this a couple (or more) times per day. The panalog will arrest any infection. The witch hazel will stop the ear from itching...and therefore, the dog from scratching it. This is an old remedy, and works well. Just be patient...and you will have good results. In about a day, the redness and irritation will be gone.

Just watch your dog, and do this as necessary. The panalog is a marvelous product. It's basically Neopsprin with added ingredients especially for canines. If you enter into the allegy realm, you are probably entering Pandora's box, and will never be satisfied...and never solve the problem. Be wary if you Vet suggests any steroids (prednisone)...this is not a solution, only a mask.
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Old May 24, 2007, 09:58 PM   #4
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Thank you both for your comments and suggestions. It sounds like the kenalog shots are okay in the short term but that they are not a good long term solution. Where does one purchase witch hazel? I'm not familar with it.

Thanks again,

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Old May 25, 2007, 01:41 AM   #5
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As one previous post suggested, steroids are not good long term. When on them for even a short period of time the veterinarian I work for will do bloodwork to make sure there is no kidney or liver problems. I would disagree with any vet that said they were fine in dogs longterm. Steriod use can cause a condition called Cushings. (I have been a practice manager in a vet clinic for 20 years)

You can get the witch hazel at the pharmacy. Or just use the ear wash and drying agents that you already have. One suggestion that I have is that when you clean his ears, get a scruncy (a hair band thingy) pull his ears up (I'm assuming that he has long hair on his cocker ears) and scruncy the ears together on the top of his head. Some dogs will tolerate this for a short while if you distract thim, Say; feed him immediately or play/talk/scratch, etc. The objective is to let his ears completely dry and get some "air out time". Dogs that have flap ears are sometimes prone as you stated to ear problems. One cause is the area stays warm and moist and is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Which brings up another question, did they do any cytology to see if the problem was just bacteria or yeast also? I have a basset hound that I clean ears on every 3 days, so I feel for you.

Barbara
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Old May 25, 2007, 05:24 AM   #6
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Witch Hazel can be found in most of the drug store chains like Brooks, CVS, Eckerd's; also, WalMart, Target and others that carry aspirin, alcohol, etc.

"Witch hazel is a small shrub that offers big value an efficacious herbal extract with exceptional cleansing, soothing, and healing properties. Native Americans, who used witch hazel bark and twigs in many therapeutic applications, passed on their knowledge to early settlers."

It's a great product just to keep in your home for bug bites...it's very soothing.
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Old May 25, 2007, 07:46 AM   #7
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Steve, you should be able to buy witch hazel in any Dan's, Reams, Smith's, Albertson's, etc. As others have stated, it is in the pharmacy/personal care aisles.
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Old May 25, 2007, 12:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babscarter View Post
As one previous post suggested, steroids are not good long term. When on them for even a short period of time the veterinarian I work for will do bloodwork to make sure there is no kidney or liver problems. I would disagree with any vet that said they were fine in dogs longterm. Steriod use can cause a condition called Cushings. (I have been a practice manager in a vet clinic for 20 years)

Barbara
Barbara, just to clarify, my mom is to give her dog the Prednisone ONLY if his skin gets very bad. He has a history of red, even bloody areas from his intense scratching and biting (ears and paws) and this condition can develop very, very quickly if he eats something he shouldn't and can and will lead to infection. Prednisone is the only thing that will clear it up if it reaches this stage, but by no means is this a long term treatment and is to only be reserved for those acute episodes, which thankfully, don't happen very often.
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Old May 27, 2007, 08:15 PM   #9
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Thank you again to everyone. The vet did a cytology and found that the infection this time was bacterial. He said that is why he presribed Otomax. In the past, Rusty has had both bacterial and yeast infections. That is the reason the old vet gave for repeatedly prescribing Tresaderm: that it would work on both kinds of infections. Unfortunately, it didn't work particularly well on them.

I'll give your suggestions a try. I may also go back to the first vet. I'm concerned about the on-going kenalog shots that the new vet has prescribed. They clearly help, but I don't want to give my dog anything that might hurt him.

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