fionasmommy avatar image

Ongoing Allergies / Bumps / Severe Shedding

I just found this website last night and I feel like I hit the jackpot for information on everything bulldogs!!  Woohoo!!!! 

So here's my bully problem: Fiona was given a bath last weekend (I think Sunday)... and by Wednesday, it looked as though she was having some sort of reaction (hives/bumps) on her back/sides (I have a hard time believing it had anything to do with her bath since nothing was changed ie. shampoo)... she suffers from allergies and her belly has flare ups from time to time (right now she is having a flare up).  Seems it has gotten progressively worse in the last year and a half.  {{Fiona is a beautiful petite white bully, 6 years young!!}} We've been to the vet, treat her with benedryl, antibiotics for the open sores when needed, and I think a round of steriods (but not too often).  I can't say for sure what is going on with her, but after reading some of these posts I feel I need to start by changing her diet to grain free.  I can't help but feel that some of her issues may be coming down to her food, though I do believe she suffers from seasonal allergies as well.  I know if I take her to the vet, he'll just check her out and give her another bout of medicine.  I'm going to schedule an appointment for next week, but until then, I'd like to start the process of switching her over to grain free diet and some possible supplements for her coat.  Her fur is VERY course (crazy course!!!), skin looks dry, and she definitely has patches of scaly/itchy spots... her shedding is UNBELIEVABLE.  My husband loves everything about our girl EXCEPT for all the hair all over everything!!!!  When I was checking out the bumps/hive looking areas, when lifting/parting her fur, some spots looked like sore crusted pimples / others areas where dry or scaly / but a majority of the areas under the fur had darker "lesions" so to speak (different dark spots - I'm familiar with her "birth" marks).  I was totally freaking out thinking the worst for my girl... but after researching some of the posts/websites it looks as though maybe it is pyoderma, or some sort of skin fungus/irritation.  Her belly looks like it did before when the vet treated her with antibiotics and benedryll, and said it was a flea allergy (which it very well could have been since she did have fleas which were treated with Vectra3D suggested by my vet) but it almost seems like it has "expanded" up her sides to her back if that makes sense, just looks a bit different.  I'd like to try to get a picture but her hair is impossible to part.  She is NOT balding on her sides or back (at this point) but I would say I could pull some of her hair out if I wanted to (make sense?).  I have been treating her with benedryll the last few days and I'm planning on giving her a bath with Mane N Tail Protect shampoo this weekend.  I just can't help but feel that all this is caused by something going on with her internally with breaking down her food / vitamin difficiency, or something.  Thyroid?  (Any feedback on skin irritations is welcome... though we will be visiting the vet next week).

As far as changing foods, I'm gong to check what is all available at my local farm supply store.  Should I stay away from chicken, and go with venison or salmon, etc.  (Advice would be appreciated).  The raw diet thing totally intrigues me but at this point, I'd like to try a grain free food first to see how that goes.  Now as far as supplements, Fish Oil or Omega 3s, Vit C, Zinc... ??  What about probiotics? Anything I should add, or remove?  I also noticed she definitely has the "frito" smell, and being she just got a bath, I'm chalking that up to yeast.  It's not BAD but it is noticeable when I'm snuggling up with her.  Believe it or not, I didn't have a clue what that freakin' smell was until I found this site... ((funny story; When I was a kid I'd sleep over at my best friend's house. I always told her that her pillows smelled like Doritos... glad to know now that I was probably laying on her dog's yeasty remnants, LOL!!))  I feel like maybe she has developed an allergy to her food (Kirklands Brand from Costco), and all of these "issues" are because of it. 

I should also mention she's had some issues with her anal glands in the past... one ruptured.  It was insanely swollen like the size of a golf ball and literally "popped" with ooze/infection/etc. - left for work and came home to a giant growth on her hiney!! Scared the crap out of me... vet told me to watch it that it would burst and then had to take her the next day for a followup. It happened again but not as severe about a year ago.

Just trying to give you as much information that I can think of.  I just hate the thought of giving her more medications without really trying to figure out the underlying issue.  I know if I don't, this will just continue to be a cycle for her. 

Kathy Chester Newman and Jessa's picture

Definitely have her thyroid checked...

these are a lot of symptoms of thyroid problems.  Even if the thyroid tests low normal, putting her on a low dose of thyroid meds will help.  Grain free food will also do her a lot of good with the skin and fur problems.  I think fish is good because it puts some oil back into their bodies.  We use Natural Balance salmon/sweet potato and we can buy it at a local feed store.  I would stay away from the weird protein sources such as rabbit or kangaroo and stick with something that has about 25% protein or less.  Salmon is usually about 24%.   We give Ester C and fish oil for supplements.  And also joint supplements (I like SynoviG3 but recently found almost the same thing at costco for a lot cheaper in the dog section.)

Our boy Oscar had an anal gland rupture, it happened on Christmas eve about a half hour before 30 people were scheduled to show up for a party.  I had to keep the poor guy away from everyone because it was such a mess.  Our vet packed it with antibiotics a few days later and he was fine.

Let us know how she does after you switch her food.

Kathy Chester Newman and Jessa's picture


duck potato is good, also natural balance.

fionasmommy's picture

Thanks for the reply

I'm definitely going to have the vet check her thyroid, and I'm going tomorrow to pick up grain free food.  We don't have many options in my neck of the woods as far as kangaroo, or rabbit, I don't believe. (Lancaster County, PA).  I'll see if I can find one of the ones you mentioned, as well of the supplements.  Could you recommend dosages for her? 49lbs. I can totally tell something is going on with her just by her demeanor.  Not quite as chippy as usual, makes me feel terrible.  Thank you again.  I'd like to try to get a picture of her skin.  The dark spots/lesions are up her sides to her spin.  Not raised so to speak but making the hair stand different like hives would do, make sense? They seem to bother her if I try to part her fur to look. Some seem more raw than others.  I know this is a new skin condition since I'm always kinda checking her out.  My assumption that steroids would do the trick, but I'd like to figure out the underlining problem.

AmyandSophia's picture

I agree with Kathy. Check her thyroid...

But please, please find a vet that knows more about your Bulldog than your current vet knows!!! Any good vet worth his/her salt knows to do allergy testing and thyroid testing if they know anything about a bulldog. Bulldogs are a totally different breed, and a lot of vets say they are bully knowledgeable, but they aren't. Throwing drugs at symptoms without getting to the bottom of the actual issue is just plain wrong!

If you have a feed store near you, look for Taste of the Wild, Authority, or Blue Buffalo. They all make grain free, and have fish varieties. Just watch the protein like Kathy mentioned. I wouldn't go over 25%.

Best of luck to you!


Amy and Sophia

Kathy Chester Newman and Jessa's picture

See if your vet will do a skin scrape...

To find out what the problem is. It could be a staph infection which would need zmribiotics to clear up. Our Ollie gets them sometimes. Simplicef usually works for him. They should have natural balance in Lancaster, I grew up in the northeast Pa area!  Just visited there last week. 

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture

Vension or Rabbit

are great options for protein choices. I have never tried Kangaroo. Right now I'm feeding Emu and Beef and yes I feed raw.

Duck is a good choice to start with first ... but potatoes can be problematic for a dog with allergies. You just have to try and see.

Most definitely an added Omega 3/6 like fish oil. I prefer Salmon oil...but I caution it doesn't work with all dogs. My Ester if given too much pukes and when feeding kibble she got a horrible staph infection after being on TOTW Pacific Salmon. Likely she'll get diarrhea when you begin so go slowly. You will notice a huge difference with her shedding once on an rich Omega supplement. I like Grizzley Wild Salmon Oil or similar.

Also Coconut Oil has many benefits, but I have not tried it yet with mine.

I use a K9 glucosamine from Liquid Health

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture

Blood Work

she is at the age that a Senior blood panel wouldn't be out of order.

wrigley_2007's picture

I have to ask........your

I have to ask........your baby is 6 years old and you are just now switching her to grain feed food? Hard to get, or impossible to get where you are?

I have 6 year old sisters that have been eating TOTW Pacific Salmon for at least the past 5 years. I also throw in 1 1200 mg Omega 3 fish oil pill into their food daily. I get my fish oil pills from Sam's Club. Both my girls are healthy, happy, and have beautiful coats.

Remember.......(and I'm sure you are aware) just because it works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you.

P.S. I love to hear people say "short haired dogs DON'T SHED"!

Good Luck

fionasmommy's picture

Yep, that is correct...

I'm just now switching to grain free (if I would've been more "aware" of how hard it is on my girl, I would've done it a lot sooner!).   I literally have a farm & tractor supply store right down the street from me with a large variety of gf food.  I have started her on TOTW Salmon / Sweet P.  though I'm only a week in.  I don't believe she's having any reaction to the food at this point, but I'm going to give it a few weeks just to be sure, if not I'll try a different protein source.  No more store bought junk treats for her either.  Didn't have many issues with her before but in the last year+ her allergies have seem to progress.  She has eaten table scraps all her life.  But not anymore... no more scraps for her, and let me tell you she is VERY upset about it.  After reading all these different posts, and reading till my eyes hurt, I definitely feel her insane amount of shedding has to do with her food and lack of supplements (nutrition) and obviously human food.  She does have a sensativity to fleas, and fleas are rambant in our area.  We currently use Vectra after having a crappy experience with another brand and having an issue with fleas / allegic reaction to them.  I actually found a flea on her last night (after going over her every night the last 7 nights) which leads me to believe that some of the "spots" may be related to those little bastards. I have started fish oil supplement, coconut oil and yogurt daily which she is a trooper taking.  She loves the coconut oil in her food, and yogurt on a spoon, and her supplements/benedryll with PB.  I continue Benedryll and I've also tried Claritin but I'm not a huge fan of medications for myself, let alone my pup.  I also bathed her the other day in Mane & Tail Pro-tect Medicated Shampoo, and noticed a difference in her skin in just a few days. 

Hey so what happend?What did

Hey so what happend?

What did the Vet say?

What changes did you do?

Oliver has the same problem!!! he is 5 year old all white, shedds do much i have to vacum 2-3x a day!!

and he gets the spots on his back after he baths!

He eats grain-free food, Blue Buffalo, baby blue bag. but he still shedds alot and gets the spots when he baths.

Let me know what meds, vitamins you are giving her.


Gui and Oliver