Canine Suffering From Allergenic Symptoms

by Kelly Crist
(Pottstown, PA)

Reader Question: Why Does My Pitbull Have A Swollen Nose, and Watery Eyes Everyday?

My red nose pitbull will be two years old tomorrow and for the last 8 months or so we have noticed she gets a lot of (bumps) or hives that look and feel like mosquito bites but her eyes water and her nose swells up a little bit too. They don't seem to bother her at all and she doesn't even itch or scratch. I already give her all natural lamb and rice food and mostly all natural treats. I have tried everything from changing detergents for what she lays on and still nothing. I have been giving her 3 Benadryl in the morning and 3 at night with dinner and they help but never go away for good.

I also give her a vitamin for over 3 months to help, it's called NuVet Plus and it seemed to help for a little while and her skin is healthy for sure. I bathed her in oatmeal baths and that doesn't help much neither. My vet thinks she has anxiety and gave me generic Prozac on Monday but I gave her one pill and her bumps were 10 times worse yesterday and today so I stopped it and will call them to let them know. I believe she has canine atopy which I have believed all along.

She even gets the bumps when she goes out in the cold and comes back in. Could you please tell me your thoughts? I am going crazy trying to help her and I feel so bad for her. How should I proceed and what testing should I request from my vet to put an end to this?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Kelly Crist

Vet Answer To Reader Question Regarding Pit Bull's Allergenic Symptoms

Hi Kelly,

I agree with you; allergies (the genetic predisposition to environmental allergies goes by the name atopy) are a strong possibility in your dog. If that is indeed what is going on, the best way to deal with it is to determine what your dog is allergic to and avoid or desensitize your dog to that trigger, but that is often easier said than done.

Because it sounds like your dog’s skin problems do not wax and wane with the seasons, I’d first look at food allergies as a potential cause. The lamb and rice food that you mentioned is not really a hypoallergenic diet. I’ve had the best luck with hydrolyzed diets like Purina HA or Hill’s z/d. You would need to feed this and only this (no treats, flavored medications, etc.) for six to eight weeks. If your dog’s symptoms disappear or at least get much better, you have diagnosed her with a food allergy. Then you can decide whether you want to continue feeding that diet or gradually reintroduce ingredients until you find the one(s) she reacts to so you can avoid them in the future.

If food allergies are not the culprit, intradermal skin testing for environmental allergens (e.g., pollen, mold, dust mites, etc.) would be a reasonable next step. This usually requires referral to a veterinary dermatologist. If you’re not willing to go this route, you could try treating her symptomatically (after first ruling out mange, ringworm, and skin infections) with prednisone and/or cyclosporine (given as infrequently as possible and at the lowest effective dose), twice weekly baths with a shampoo designed to help with allergies, and/or topical products like Dermoscent or Duoxo Seborrhea Spot-On to increase the barrier properties of the skin.

Flea allergies are another possibility (even if you don’t see them) so make sure your dog is on an effective flea control product like Front Line Plus or those that contain fipronil.

If you are not happy with the care your dog is receiving from your current veterinarian, consider getting a second opinion – ideally from a veterinary dermatologist.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Nov 03, 2012
Pitbull sore eyes
by: Anonymous

My 5 month old red nose pitbull has really badly weeping eyes. Swelling around the eyes & has trouble keeping them open. He was living in a dusty environment not sure if this may be the cause. Any suggestions would be appreciated.. Thanks

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