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Ok, I am consulting the Great Pyr community to see if anyone has helpful information about the allergies of pyrs. Our girl (14 months) has had skin problems for several months. We thought it was a food allergy, so we took her off of her chicken kibble diet. Almost immediately, her skin got better. However, a few weeks later, with no chicken or beef in her diet, her skin problems came back. Now they are worse, large, scabby, and very, very itchy. She has been on prednisone and cephalexin for a few months and it helps, but as soon as the meds are over, it comes back even worse than before. We've been told that she should get a skin allergy test, but then she couldn't be on meds for 2 months, and I don't know how she/we'll be able to handle the scratching. Can anyone help, please??? Is there a common allergy for Pyrs? Anything will help, please!

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The first thing to do is to have her thyroid tested. Just taking her off of chicken and beef isn't good enough- she should be on a grain free diet- many times it is the grains they are allergic to and not the meats. Third is to add omega three fats to her diet- wild salmon oil is easy to obtain and will help with the itching. Lots of us are also advocates on raw or home cooked diets. Shampoos are also important- I have found the tea tree shampoos helpful along with a soothing conditioner for irritated skin You should be able to have her skin tested with her being on an anti itch medication like Bendryl or Atarax. And definitely she should be evaluated by a vet that specialises in skin disorders for something this persistent.
Pat has it right on all counts. I would suggest one other thing ... ask your vet for some Nolvasan solution - our vet gave us about 2 pints - use this to gently clean the lesions every day until they are gone. We also kept these areas as hair free as possible. The result was amazing. You could see the relief in Skylars eyes when we went through this ritual everyday - she actually enjoyed it! And we didn't have to worry about her licking at it at all. That gave her relief and cleared up the lesions but the answer for our girl was her diet. Now we keep the Nolvasan on hand and use it for all manner of minor cuts and abrasions. As for the diet, it turned out that Sky could tolerate some grain but not the amount that most commerical products contain.
Is she itching all over or are there specific areas where she itch more?
And I agree on Pat's suggestions. Try to find a supplement witch has omega 3 and 6 + vitamin A, D3 and E witch are specific skin vitamins.
All over, pretty much. We've seen it on her back (the biggest spots, I think), armpits, little in ears, belly. Our vet did say there was no yeast, so that's good. Thanks for your help and information. We really want to get our little one better! Thanks!
I read your story again and wanted to add one more thing ... you wrote that she was taken off chicken and it got better. What did you changed to? Same brand but other food: lamb, salmon?? I have few friends who own dogs with allergies and they say that kibble brands witch say that they are lamb&rice or salmon&rice also contains chicken products (fat). So if she might be allergic to chicken and you change the diet to something else and it has chicken inside than you are back where you started. My friend has a bullterrier and he has chicken allergy and the only brands he can eat is Specific dry kibble with lamb and Platinum Natural Food with lamb because non of them contain any chicken products.
She was actually put on a vegetarian diet, same brand. Our vet said she needs meat, so we got her on fish. There are so many replies. I have to read all of them and figure out what to do. Thanks!
I use Peace and Kindness spray from Chris Christensen It is a silver colloid and I spray any area that seems itchy as soon as possible- prevents infection which causes even more itching. Also to be used on any apparent spots is tea tree oil- you can get at Walmart and apply a few drops to any irritated area.

Also remember that Florida is home to killer fleas! Wouldn't hurt to treat the yard as a just in case- new flea hatchlings are near impossible to see but cause intense itching
What food are you feeding?
Most skin problems including allergies are from a lack of Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. Because Omega 3 oxidizes off rapidly little if any of the very small amount that that the dry food manufacturers get into the final product makes it to your dog's food bowl. The result is many chronic problems with an inflammatory basis,i.e. exactly what you describe.
If you will add some wild saught fish (salmon, tune, sardines, etc) to the diet and give a daily suppliment of marine oil (fish oil) from lower food chain fish i.e sardines or smaller (to stay away from mercury) and there is no active bacterial infection going on at the time, you will notice a big change in the dog. If you are feeding an "alternate" protein food i.e. not chicken or beef, even better probably.
I am going to put some very pure marine oil on the GPC store soon under "Joe's stuff" as I have all my dogs and people too on it. The results are great after using it a couple months with dogs, cats and people.
The marine oil should be 1000 mg with high EPA Vs DHA component. Do not use vegetable Omega 3 as many dogs cannot convert the ALA (alpha linotenic acid) to linotenic acid for use, so stay with marine sources (fish oil).
Joe, what kind of Omega 3 do you use/recommend ?
Is it availble in a Webshop ?
I usually use Hyper-coat, a combination of different kind of oils, which I buy in Germany.
Go to a high quality fish oil (Marine Oil) with high Omega 3 EPA component (EPA should be higher than DHA to most effectively fight inflammation). 18% EPA and 12% DHA is what I get in a 1000 mg softgel. The best comes from the cold north waters up by you and further north and east. Also Alaska is good source, but you find a lot of salmon oil, which is probably fine its just a larger fish so therefore eats the smaller fish and has a slightly greater chance of mercury. If you can find lower food chain oil (smaller fish) like sardines, etc the chances of mercury are really low.
You got to get fresh oil as it oxidizes fairly rapidly. The vegetable sources like flax seed oxidize even much more rapidly plus it give a alpha linolenic acid which requires an enzyme to convert to linolenic acid that the body uses. Many dogs do not have the enzyme, so it’s best to stay with the marine sources as its readily available for the body to use and it is powerful stuff. The oxidization I have described above is the problem dog food manufactures face in first getting it in to the food and then having it last until you dog eats it. It oxidizes off and the dog does not get what they need. This is even more true of vegetable sources and I assume it never makes it to my dogs food bowl.
Fish oil is a very cheap and effective way to improve the health of most of our dogs and as they age to help them have many less problems. Skin, ear, gum and allergy problems many times can be controlled and prevented by just fish oil on their food. Be careful and not give too much as it thins the blood but our dogs (Great Pyrenees) should be able to take 1000 mg daily if they are not taking anything else that thins the blood. What the fish oil does is oxidize rapidly in the body thinning the blood, so even then a 100 mg of Vitamin E will slow down the oxidation a bit and Vitamin K will (90 mcg daily) will help with clotting factor as well. But a big dog like ours can take the 1000 mg daily OK. Your smaller dogs and cats should have less i.e. maybe three or two times weekly.BTW cats have the same problem but maybe bigger as they are more carnivores than our dogs.
Here is what I found on Hyper Coat.

Plant oils, Wheatgerm Oil, added vitamins A, D3, and E, Colour (Annatto)"

It looks like it’s all vegetable and I am suspicious of any none identified oils i.e., "Plant Oils" as this could mean anything. The wheat germ oil is high in Vit E which is OK but not what we are after here i.e. increasing the omega 3 ratio balance with the Omega 6 and it exacerbates the too high Omega 6 ratio balance as it is 8 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. And of course it’s the more volatile source of omega 3 with its ALA. BTW the imbalance of too high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is well documented in the scientific literature as causing systemic chronic inflammatory response in the body (dogs, cats and people). Over here the dog food manufactures who seem to care say the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 at 10-1 is ideal. That is just false. Ideal is 1-1 but 4-1 is very good. The dry kibble manufactures simply cannot make those ratio numbers due to the oxidation problems.
Probably more than you wanted to know, but it’s important to understand what this all means.
Comparison of GLA Contents for Various Vegetable Oils
Vegetable sources Linoleic acid % Gamma-linolenic acid %
Borage 35 - 40 20 - 25
Blackcurrant seeds 45 - 50 15 - 20
Evening primrose 70 - 80 8 - 12
Soy 50 - 55
Olive 8 - 10
Source: Nutritional Dermatoses and the Contribution of Dietetics in Dermatology (
P. Prélaud1 and R. Harvey2
1Maisons-Alfort, France. 2Coventry, United-Kingdom

I myself use Coatex
The problem with this is its (Coatex i.e. Borage oil basically) a Omega 6 fatty acid which is already too high in the diets of dogs and humans also. The GLA will stay in place longer as it does not oxidize as rapidly as the Omega 3. Trust me, its the Omega 3 we want to increase and not in normal circumstances increase the Omega 6. The ratio to strive for is 4-1 omega 6 to omega 3. Chances are its over 10 to 1 omega 6 to omega 3 and therefore it sets up an inflammatory condition in the body that over time takes its toll.

"Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid (EFA) in the omega-6 family that is found primarily in plant-based oils. "




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