Our Springer has never had great skin. From a couple of years old he got dandruff a bit but it was generally ok. A couple of years ago though he started to display some real problems, mainly wet dermatitis on his neck and groin areas and small dry scrusty scabs on his chest and back. At times you'd walk in the house and the smell of 'dog' was pretty overpowering. Was time to try to do something about it! That was back in 2013.
We had always given good quality fried foods, all hypoallergenic. Amongst those were James Wellbeloved, Franks Pro Gold, Harringtons, Vets Kitchen and others. He also had Denta Stixs most days and a variety of treats, mainly muesli bones and the odd hide chew. He didn't have many bits of Hunan food, maybe some chicken and rice from time to time and carrots and broccoli.
We were given Malaceb and a course of antibiotics. The antibiotics worked wonders and within a month or so he was better. The Malaceb shampoo (also Sebomild P) seemed to keep things in check for a while afterwards but over time it got worse again, to the point where he was once again in bad shape by the end of 2014.
We had a second thyroid test done as well as a blood test for allergies. All came back negative other than a slight possible intolerance to weeds. Given his symptoms are not seasonal we pretty much ruled that out. Skin biopsies followed at the start of the year to rule out any parasites (he had a few lumps removed at the same time) but again came back negative.
So it was then a case of what next? I agreed with the vet that even though nothing had come back in terms of food allergies we would go for a strict diet. He had a long course of antibiotics but we also changed his food to Hills ZD Ultra, rather expensive but was worth a try.
Once he came off antibiotics a few spots appeared which we treated with a product called Isaderm. They went quickly. From March to June he had nothing but Hills ZD Ultra - nothing means just that, no treads of any kind (other than the odd scavenged crumb off the floor).
His skin has been so much better and his coat now glistens again. It's amazing what an impact the diet has had. On holiday a few weeks ago we lapsed a little with a few small scraps of beef from our pub lunch, a few bits of fish from our fish and chips, and a bit of cake scavenged from under a table! Some minor symptoms, mainly itching, reappeared within a couple of days.
Seems to demonstrate that a strict diet means just that so we are back in it, with no exceptions no matter how small. When all symptoms gave gone we might try a carrot!
If you are having problems with skin there is loads of infornation out there. My experience is that you just have to keep trying different things until you find what works. I feel like I have tried every product under the sun, and every diet I could think of. Even boiled chicken and veg didn't do the trick!
I also use an app called 'mysymptons' to keep rack of food, events, symptoms etc. very easy to use and great as a diary. You can even produce little charts like the one below.
If you have similar problems with your dog keep trying. If I'd have started the analysis in December I'd have rated an 8 out of 10. This one started after he came off antibiotics but it's still great to see that downwards trend but spot the holiday blip.