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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow Maltese owners and lovers, I am hoping to get lots of feedback and thoughts - thank you in advance! We have a 6m old furbaby Bella; our family's first and she has TAKEN OVER our hearts and home. Bella was bought from an extremely wonderful and reputable breeder in OR (who does Malts only). She has grown beautifully, is energetic, has trained well and loves people! She does not tolerate meds well - had a massive GI flare-up to heartworm interceptor so we never gave it again and she has had no flea/tick med for the past month either. The past 3-4 weeks she has started itching excessively around her ears/chin, licking her paws constantly, and the rims of her eyes have gotten so pink! Her breeder rec'd cutting out all chicken and we have stopped giving Bella any poultry; she has had a couple of vet visits and all cytology reports are normal. She has no pathology of mites, or fleas/ticks (she is indoors mostly with no exposure to dog parks, other dogs etc). She is now eating Farmina or Open Farm Kibble with some fresh steamed broccoli - Lamb mostly (hardly eating - she liked her home made food). Her vet rec'd Benadryl and Bella did not do well with that and hence, I am afraid to go down the injections/Cytopoint route also. We are also giving her a immunity booster/probiotic. It is killing us to see her itch like this and her eyes! :( She maintains a great spirit tho! Any thoughts or input here? Sounds like an allergic rxn, right? Any thoughts on giving Colostrum? I am looking into a naturopathic/holistic vet nearby us in Seattle.
 

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Not sure about this and hope that others will also post with their advice. However, I was wondering whether or not it could be the Shampoo and or the Conditioner that you bathe her with???
 

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Not sure about this and hope that others will also post with their advice. However, I was wondering whether or not it could be the Shampoo and or the Conditioner that you bathe her with???
Thank you for the prompt response - we have switched to a hypoallergenic shampoo & conditioner but to no avail. And we’re not even bathing her very much anymore. Any suggestions for itch relief that’s natural & safe? This is our first dog and don’t know much ...
 

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Our Chrissy who is almost 13 years old also has eye allergies for which I administer Zaditor and it helps with the red rims around her eyes. Our Vet recommended that and it does work.
As far as shampoo is concerned, perhaps your Vet might weigh in with that even though you switched and it has not helped.
 

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I suggest you find a holistic vet who will evaluate everything including diet. Good luck.
 

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You cld try colostrum, it wouldn’t hurt. It’s been a long time since I used it and I’m not sure I saw much of a difference, which is why I stopped, but every dog is different.

These are my suggestions . To try and isolate food allergies, start feeding one protein and one carb that your dog has never had. A novel protein is goat, eel, bison, kangaroo, boar etc. Keep the diet simple, otherwise you will not know which ingredient could be causing a reaction. I would do this for a month. It takes this long for the allergen to rid the body.
If she’s still reacting after food trial~ I would think it’s environmental and or seasonal allergies because food allergies tend to happen all year and you said this just started, unless she’s just now developed a food allergy.
My girls have very bad food allergies and they don’t scratch so intense from food like they do seasonal allergies. My one is highly allergic to grass
As far as OTC meds, I find Claritin works the best.
Have you started using heat for the house, maybe dust? An air purifier could help. Vacuuming helps ALOT.
I soak my girls feet in povidone and water. This will draw out any toxins they might have absorbed thru their pads in the yard, or walk out in the street.
It gives some relief. If she chews her feet raw, a Kong Ecollar will prevent the chewing but not the cause.
And like Maggie suggested, if you can find a holistic vet, that would be ideal, Otherwise your regular vet will just want to pump her with chemicals and that will only mask the problem vs. get to the root cause.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You cld try colostrum, it wouldn’t hurt. It’s been a long time since I used it and I’m not sure I saw much of a difference, which is why I stopped, but every dog is different.

These are my suggestions . To try and isolate food allergies, start feeding one protein and one carb that your dog has never had. A novel protein is goat, eel, bison, kangaroo, boar etc. Keep the diet simple, otherwise you will not know which ingredient could be causing a reaction. I would do this for a month. It takes this long for the allergen to rid the body.
If she’s still reacting after food trial~ I would think it’s environmental and or seasonal allergies because food allergies tend to happen all year and you said this just started, unless she’s just now developed a food allergy.
My girls have very bad food allergies and they don’t scratch so intense from food like they do seasonal allergies. My one is highly allergic to grass
As far as OTC meds, I find Claritin works the best.
Have you started using heat for the house, maybe dust? An air purifier could help. Vacuuming helps ALOT.
I soak my girls feet in povidone and water. This will draw out any toxins they might have absorbed thru their pads in the yard, or walk out in the street.
It gives some relief. If she chews her feet raw, a Kong Ecollar will prevent the chewing but not the cause.
And like Maggie suggested, if you can find a holistic vet, that would be ideal, Otherwise your regular vet will just want to pump her with chemicals and that will only mask the problem vs. get to the root cause.
Thank you so much for all the info! Bella has not chewed her paws raw yet. I will def look into the Povidone-H2O soak. Any recommendations for food? We had switched Bella from Farmina kibble to some home cooked grass-fed beef & chicken & eggs (she loved!). Now we’ve cut out all poultry (3-weeks) and switched her to Open Farm Lamb kibble. The itching and pink eye rims didn’t change. Poor thing! Should I go to canned food for higher quality? I can try Farmina canned. I know they use high quality ingredients and canning processes. Any other thoughts or tips on food?
I’ve also noticed that the pink eye rims get a lil worse towards the evening. The itching is all day long. I am starting to wonder about environmental allergies. And yes, we’ve started using heat in our home (although we had an extensive furnace service done this summer). I’ll ramp up the vacuuming. And we’re seeing a holistic vet in
2-wks. Fingers tightly crossed!
 

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Here is a quick article on food allergies.


Chicken, beef, eggs I wld stay away from. It might not even be the protein source but the carb she is allergic too, which is why the one protein and carb source only during a food trial is important
Vacuuming, washing beds , anything dust mites might be or dust in general sits can’t hurt if you can clean it up. This might give you a better idea what’s bothering her If environmental.
Thats great you already found a holistic vet. Hopefully they will help you figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Your furballs are all too cute maddysmom! I’m curious ... when you say one protein one carb diet, do you mean it’s a home cooked meal? Or can you buy a ready dog food of that nature? What are your thoughts on feeding raw or freeze dried raw? I haven’t really given that much thought but might that be a good way to go perhaps? I know there’s SO much info on raw. Thx so much for sharing the article above.
 

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Maddysmom will chime in but one protein/one carb tend to be home prepared. You need to have a protein and carb she's NEVER had because those will not trigger an allergy. So, kangaroo, bison, rabbit, and perhaps chickpea, sweet potato (if never fed before) etc. You can purchase the meat and gently cook it yourself; the carb can be raw or lightly cooked.If after making this change for 4 - 6 weeks she still has the same problems, then it's not a food allergy.

Raw diets and dehydrated diets are great IF you aleady know what's causing the allergic reaction. Until you confirm that it is or isn't a food allergy, stick with the elimination diet of single protein and carb. After that you can look at raw and dehydrated.
 

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Maggie is right by saying elimination diets are usually prepared with home cooked foods. This is not meant to be long term, this is meant to help pinpoint whether your dog is having a reaction to the protein or carb source.
Here is an example of an OTC elimination diet you can buy if you don’t prefer to cook.

 

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I forgot to add my thoughts on raw food diets.
Most dogs do very well on them and actually thrive. I feed one of my girls a raw diet and the other two are fed a dehydrated raw diet.
That being said, if your dog has or is developing a food disorder and they have an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut (SIBO) feeding raw can escalate this condition. This happened to one of my girls.
Also, if it is immune related (food allergy), do not give supplements that boost/stimulate the immunity because the immunity is already in overdrive, the idea is to BALANCE it.
 

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Oh my, you’re all amazing with advice - I feel so empowered with all the information. Thank you! I am totally okay with prepping meals at home to help figure this out. I will consider bison (since easily accessible) and sweet potato. I suppose this also means that ALL her snacks/treats also have to go for that time period? She gets freeze dried raw lamb liver - very little bits as her eye-cleaning reward. I guess I could look for a clean bison reward food. Could it be possible that because I’m trying a bunch of different foods that I’m actually causing GI distress? She is now on a Lamb kibble (Open Farm), Raw Naturals Freeze dried Lamb Liver pieces (eyes reward), Lamb treat (for poop). And I give her fresh steamed organic broccoli few times per week that she loves. About 3-weeks ago when her rxns all started, I started giving her a nugget daily of Zesty Paws allergen/immune builder & also sprinkling some greens on her meals 1x/day. All the foods/treats I buy are sourced really well and I make sure the ingredients are minimal & clean. But still, might all this be too much? Her pink eye rims & itching hasn’t really changed much. Her spirits still remain vibrant. She’s always up for fun & playing fetch in the house. She’s feisty :) Loves to be picked up and cuddled. She still loves nipping at ankles (weird quirk!). With stormy rainy days here in Seattle, we’ve quit rolling in the grass or even walking much outdoors. I’m now feeling so bad that I have no idea what I’m doing with this poor lil babe. I’ve raised 2 teens and yet, I’m feeling helpless. Eeeeks! Any advice from helps. What would you do right away if you were me? We see an integrative/holistic vet in 2-wks. Can’t thank you all enough for taking the time to write & help me.
 

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No treats when your trying to figure out a food allergy, unless you can make them from the food your feeding. If you do the sweet potato, maybe bake them for treats.
Anytime you mix up a bunch of different foods, your likely to cause gi distress, especially if a dog has a food allergy.
Less is better.
I would stop the immune builder as I explained in previous post, you do NOT want too over stimulate an immune system that’s already in overdrive, BALANCING IT IS KEY.
A dog who is reacting, such as yours, means her immune system is in overdrive.

Also...if you are walking outdoors or romping in the yard, I would definitely do those foot soaks. They will draw out any chemicals,toxins etc she may pick up outside.

Read this if you can. Some good info on foot soaks.
 

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LOVE that article! Had no idea how intricately designed the paws are! Makes sense, God has created everything with a meaningful purpose :) I will start changing some things ... thank you again maddysmom.
 

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Speaking of Hemopet...
Both of my girls have environmental allergies. I thought our Juice had food allergies or food sensitivities as called by Dr Jean Dodds. I did the saliva test you will find here: https://hemopet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/DODDS-_1.pdf
She had very slight sensitivity to three foods she rarely ate so our vet says it must be environmental.
I suggest you have that test done. Then you will be certain.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Oh ok! Good to know. So, you did the food testing first and then tackled the possibilities of environmental factors? How are you keeping your girls stable now? Pls provide any details. I’d love to know more about how to handle environmental allergens. We ended up in the ER with Bella yesterday since she woke up with one eye severely swollen (shut almost!) and super red! So scary. The ER doc thinks it’s highly unlikely that this is a rxn to food sensitivities. She said that Bella’s just too young (6m) to develop such strong food sensitivities. Of course, it’s not impossible, but unlikely, in her opinion. Bella is on an eye drop for now till we see the holistic vet next week. I’m so perplexed! I’m wrecking my brain trying to think of what changed 5-wks ago and I guess it’s just been the weather (heat kicked on in our house). We’ve got her on a limited diet right now and one treat. All pretty minimalist ingredients and super clean. I want to share photos but haven’t quite figured out how. Thank you all for your support and the wonderful info. What a blessing for me to have found this community.
 

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I am so excited ya'll .... our lil Bella finally sees a holistic/integrative vet today! We landed in the ER with her a week ago when she woke up with one eye super swollen, pink and virtually shut - it was so scary! The ER vet tested for all sorts of things including a scratched cornea but all was fine. There is still no clear cut answer on what is causing this poor baby to itch and scratch and the pink eye rims. We were sent home with an antibacterial eye drop (neo-poly-dex) that has helped tremendously! Which, now has led me to question if she might be suffering from a chronic low grade ear infection that is causing her to itch and traveling towards her eyes? More and more, I do not think she is having an allergic rxn to food; although we have cleaned up her food variety completely (she hates it!). Pls feel free to send me any tips or suggestions to bring up to this new integrative vet that we are seeing today. It has taken me weeks to get her in there and I want to maximize my time with the Dr. The practice is highly rated; I am surprised that it is only one of a few in our Greater Seattle area. Wish we had access to more holistic vet medicine! Thank you in advance to all you Maltese lovers!
 

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Please keep us in the loop. Bon Courage!
 
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We saw a lovely homeopathic vet almost 2-weeks ago now. She confirms that Bella has no ear mites or ticks or ear infection that might be causing her to itch and scratch so badly. Dr. Lisa feels that this is not food related either; in fact this might be something environmental. Which makes it so hard to figure it out! She gave Bella some Pulsatilla drops which we have administered. And now we are building a strong immunity with Goats Milk, Spirulina, Fish Oils and making a slow switch to raw food. I have already started Bella on Goat Milk 3x/day (one tbspn), adding some greens (Dr. Mercola) to her breakfast, and giving her 1ml of Fish Oils with dinner (Nordic Naturals). She is still just as itchy and eye rims still pink :( The vet said the next step would be to try another homeopathic drop and Proanthazone Derm - any input on this supplement? I am also starting a transition to raw food ... so far, Bella has only tried beef which she has liked. I am trying to stick with a local Seattle pet food company that has amazing sourcing for their raw. All their food is single protein only with a couple of veggies and no grains. I am doing a lot of reading on food for Maltese and might even do another post for food advice. If anyone has any other tips or thoughts, please share! This dog is a first for our family and we are trying to desperately for her to be well and healthy - any advice and experience (be honest, I won't take it personally) is appreciated :)
 
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