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Author Topic: UPDATE on Sudden Allergic Reactivity at Age 7: Page 2, She has MANGE :(  (Read 8624 times)
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« on: March 04, 2017, 12:56:32 PM »

Hi, everyone!! I wanted to pop in here and post about my poor Bella, who is having a very itchy time lately. She's been eating Acana dry food, produced by Champion in Canada, for years now. Recently, a production facility was opened in Kentucky for the US-based costumers and the formula was changed. Well! Throughout the month or so of her eating the latest bag of Acana (our first one from the US plant), Bella has developed a pretty severe food allergy! It took a few weeks to figure out the source of her problem, but she's now on steroids and antihistamines and an ear flush routine.

She's comfortable on the medication, but I am so nervous about her developing Cushings from the steroid. I've switched her food to Wellness Simple (completely as of yesterday) and she is supposed to taper off the medication starting in about a week. My fingers are crossed that she will be okay by then and not need additional meds. Apparently, it can take 4-6 weeks for a food allergen to stop causing inflammation. Cushings becomes more likely after 4 weeks of steroids.

I wanted to come here to post because I wanted to make everyone aware of the food change in case anyone else is feeding Acana, especially in the US, so you can be aware of the changes and watch for issues. Of course I googled and found a number of horror stories about the formula changes, including one death that sounds like it's linked. There haven't been any recalls. Some sites mentioned that the Canadian formulas may be changing also eventually. It was unclear in my research whether the problems are resulting from the new ingredients, or faulty preparation at the new facility. Many comments came up about the food being rancid or oily. Bella's first (and only) bag of their US-based food looked different but didn't set off any alarm bells. They did add herring oil to the ingredients, which apparently doesn't keep well.

Anyway, none of this is conclusive, and like I said, there haven't been any recalls, but I just wanted to share in case it helps someone!! I hope everyone is doing well.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 09:16:04 AM by BellasMommy (Kelly) » Logged

susie l
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 05:38:35 PM »

Thanks for the heads-up.  I've been feeding Olivia Acana Grasslands.  When I adopted her three years ago it was impossible to find a food she would eat.  I was overjoyed when she consented to eat the Acana....  She is such a picky eater....  Not a clue about the Acana issues... looked at Dog food advisor website and they certainly have many negative comments regarding the new formulations and the Kentucky plant.....  Thinking of trying Honest Kitchen.....

Hope that your sweet Bella continues to improve and not need additional meds.....
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2017, 07:59:02 AM »

Thanks for the heads-up.  I've been feeding Olivia Acana Grasslands.  When I adopted her three years ago it was impossible to find a food she would eat.  I was overjoyed when she consented to eat the Acana....  She is such a picky eater....  Not a clue about the Acana issues... looked at Dog food advisor website and they certainly have many negative comments regarding the new formulations and the Kentucky plant.....  Thinking of trying Honest Kitchen.....

Hope that your sweet Bella continues to improve and not need additional meds.....

I also had a terrible time finding a food that Bella would eat until we landed on Acana! Grasslands was the first one she ate consistently, but she's been on the Lamb and Apple and the Duck and Pear lines for years now. She's had minimal tear staining since. I suspect she has had minor allergies all along that were exacerbated by the new Acana.

So far she is liking and eating the Wellness food we switched to, but I know she is extra hungry due to the steroids, so it will be hard to tell anything until the meds taper off.

Anyway, I hope Olivia isn't affected by the changes!
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:12 AM »

I'm glad to read you have changed foods.  I didn't see that in your initial post (maybe I just missed it).

I've also seen many comments re the new formula.  WHY can't they leave things that work, alone!

She will only be on the meds a short time to address symptoms, so she shouldn't have any issues from those meds.  It is when they are used long term that issues really develop.

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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 01:53:36 PM »

I'm glad to read you have changed foods.  I didn't see that in your initial post (maybe I just missed it).

I've also seen many comments re the new formula.  WHY can't they leave things that work, alone!

She will only be on the meds a short time to address symptoms, so she shouldn't have any issues from those meds.  It is when they are used long term that issues really develop.



Thanks, Sandie! Yes, I started switching her even before the vet agreed that it was a reasonable assumption... nothing else in her life has changed and it was a pretty drama reaction that coincided exactly with the bag of new food. It only made sense. There are a ton of new ingredients that were added. I have a log of them so I can systematically see which are causing her trouble if she has any further issues.

Like you said, I don't know why they couldn't just leave things the way they were!
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Alison
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 06:11:31 PM »

Abby had no allergy problems until just before she was 7 then they suddenly hit.The vets explained her younger body could cope with them and her slightly older one couldn't.We went for allergy testing which saved us a load of money and suffering straight away.Abby was allergic to beef,milk and Lamb so easy to sort out and no more problems.

I hope things settle down for you soon.
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 08:11:05 PM »

Abby had no allergy problems until just before she was 7 then they suddenly hit.The vets explained her younger body could cope with them and her slightly older one couldn't.We went for allergy testing which saved us a load of money and suffering straight away.Abby was allergic to beef,milk and Lamb so easy to sort out and no more problems.

I hope things settle down for you soon.

Thanks, Alison! I will ask for testing if she continues to have trouble. There is a canine specialist hospital near us that has a dermatologist that I may ask to see as well, if needed. That's very interesting that Abby's allergies started at the same age! I'm glad you were able to get to the bottom of them quickly.
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Alison
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 03:45:15 PM »

I was so glad as we'd had a Westie that had a terrible time with allergies for many years.Allergy testing and internet weren't available then so we were delighted to know more and avoid all that suffering again.

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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 07:27:11 AM »

I wanted to come back and update that, while the timing was quite suspicious, I'm no longer firmly convinced that the change in food is the source of Bella's itching. She's been on Temeril-P (steroid and antihistamine), apoquel, Benadryl, apoquel again, and now we are trying Cytopoint.

We've tried a few different limited ingredient foods that don't contain anything that was disclosed as an addition to the new Acana formula that she was on when her symptoms started. If she is having a food sensitivity, I can't seem to pinpoint it. The vet claimed that food allergy testing is so unreliable that they don't even offer it... I've made a specialist appointment at a hospital with a canine dermatology department, but we can't be seen until the end of April. I'm hoping this expert will be able to test her or suggest something other than drugs, drugs, drugs.
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 10:54:15 AM »

Oh darn!

Yes, I was also told the testing for food allergies is unreliable and not worth the cost. 

When you tried the limited ingredient foods, did you switch the protein source?  Protein is one of the most common allergens for pets.  Using duck, venison etc. may work.  Hope you get this sorted!
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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 12:08:37 PM »

Thanks, Sandie! I hadn't switched protein sources at first because I thought it was a filler type ingredient that was causing the allergy. I just started the latest new food on Friday, so the jury is out on that one.

I wonder if it would be worth getting an allergy test for environmental allergens in case it is not at all food-related. I have long suspected a very mild grass allergy, although her extreme itching started so suddenly recently, seemingly out of nowhere. I don't know what could've sent her over the edge if that's it. Ugh.
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 11:19:46 AM »

I had a kitten with severe scratching, to the point of bleeding.  Had him in to the vet dermatologist, did the allergy testing; he was allergic to 3 types of trees, 4 types of grasses, all in my yard and / or neighbors.  Even though an indoor cat, the allergens would come in the open windows.  I did the shots, gave them to him at home, myself, for a year.  Then stopped.  Bobby is now 11 years old, never had an issue since.  So it can work and be very beneficial.  And yes, it is very costly.  Based on my experience, I recommend it.

One other thing:  did you change your laundry detergent?  My RB Sugar started scratching like mad, to the point of bleeding.  After several months, vet visits, food testing trials, I realized it all started when I go my new HE front loading washing machine, and had changed to HE Tidy.  THAT was her issue!  I spent a week doing laundry - stripped beds down to and including the mattress covers, up threw the bedspreads, pillows; laundered all our clothes, all the pet beds, pet toys, kitchen tea towels, everything that ever went through the laundry, I did.  If I recall I did something like 60 loads in a week.  That was it, solved her problem!

Oh, I had to do all that laundry with an HE fragrance free laundry detergent, which is what I have used ever since.  Brand is 365.
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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 07:47:43 PM »

That's great news that you were able to help them recover from their allergies! We did switch detergents in the past few months, but we still use a free and clear formula and I don't use fabric softener at all. I will change back and see if there's any difference. At this point, we are weaning off the apoquel as the cytopoint is taking care of her itching for now. Supposedly the cytopoint injection will be effective for at least a month so it will be hard to tell which modifications are making a difference until the shot wears off. No good reason not to switch back to the old kind, though, so I will! Thanks for the idea. I am starting her on a totally new (to her) protein source, venison, in a limited ingredient food.

I will ask the dermatologist to do any and all allergy testing that's available. I would happily pay just about anything to treat the cause of her problem rather than just cover the symptoms. Allergy shots sound like the way to go if it's an environmental trigger.
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2017, 11:02:03 PM »

Just a mini update that we were back at the regular vet today and got a full environmental allergy blood test. I had them add the food intolerance and allergy panel as well, even though it is supposedly not very accurate and the vet was not keen on ordering it. After a series of questions, I learned that the food test tends to be overly sensitive and sometimes reads foods as allergens that may not actually cause any symptoms for the dog. Still, I think it could at least be a clue! I would rather needlessly avoid some foods she might be able to tolerate as long as there are other options for her to eat. We will get the results from everything in about a week.
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 09:12:27 AM »

Well, I think it was also a good idea to get it all done in one vet visit / blood draw!

Sure will be interesting to see the results. 

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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
Cats: Crystal, Ebony, Bobby, Tommy, Tuppence, Mandy, Emma
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