I am new to this site, but Sadie and I are glad to be here . Sadie came to me from BC Rescue eight years ago. She was three at the time. Over the past few years, she has developed some major issues with her coat. She scratches a lot and large chunks of her coat fall out. Her tail was almost completely hairless at one point. The bald areas are red and hot and the fur left (her rump area is the worst) is greasy and smelly. Bathing her gets rid of the greasiness and the smell but it comes back fairly quickly and I know that bathing her too often is not good for her either. Being a Border Collie, of course, her skin condition has not slowed her down for a moment and God forbid she would ever let on that it bothered her, but I am sure that it still does. The vet said she has a severe flea allergy so I treated her and the condition seemed to improve but it came back and, this time, there were no fleas. I have tried to find a common thread to the outbreaks but nothing really leaps out. A couple of the possible triggers are freshly cut grass and/or flax (oil and seed added to her food). Her diet has not changed for many years. She gets a good quality kibble (no yellow corn and lots of protein, vegetables and such), with an egg, chopped garlic and olive oil (I have stopped giving her flax oil). I have been reading here that salmon oil is good for her so I will add that as well. Is canned wild salmon better, worse, or the same as using oil? I hope that someone here can give me some advice about improving and maintaining her coat. I see so many pictures of Border Collies with their thick, silky coats and then I look at my poor Sadie. She still gets lots of loving but she deserves a lot more.
Have you had any blood work done? Thyroid imbalance can cause a lot of problems. It sounds like you're doing all the right things so far, so I don't have much else to add other than medical test like bloodwork or skin tests.
Lucinda Mae - The princess - adopted 8-4-06 Grady White - Pigpen - adopted 8-11-08
I really have nothing to add that other posters have not suggested. You know for sure from your vet that Sadie has a severe flea allergy. Even if you don't see a flea one may have bitten her and died from any flea medication you're using. Or Sadie may just be one of those sensitive souls whose allergies aren't limited to just one thing or two. As you mentioned, grass may be a culprit. In my Sophie's case, there is something about wood mulch (maybe mold?) that turns her into an itching fool. Then there's the seasonal thing for her that runs from mid-August through September--trigger unknown. I know you can have allergy tests run on dogs just like on people, but if it turns out Sadie has multiple allergies, well, you can't just keep her in a bubble. I think you're on the right track treating the symptoms rather than worry about what the triggers may be.
My senior foster Tess came to me with itching and hair loss. Dx was flea allergy and the vet said I could give her 20 mg of Benedryl on really itchy days. You might try that to make her more comfortable. Check with your vet, of course! I gave her an over the counter coat conditioning formula. She liked the taste of it, but I don't know for sure that it helped. Good luck, and don't worry--our BC's all have coat-envy from some of the gorgeous dogs you will see on this site. Welcome to the Board.
Virginia BC Tom RIP/1988 Tuck, ( 6 yrs) rescued BC Tess, (12+yrs), my "granddog!" Tasha, (12 yrs.), BC PNP Alum Timber, 4 yrs, PRBCR alum, Foster Failure #2 My fosters--always in my heart! http://www.arfofwaynecounty.org
Our Border has skin problems when it comes to the lake. She LOVES to swim, I seriously mean she LOVES to swim. When I walk along the beach she swims the entire four miles. When we sit on the beach she just swims, people walk by and ask what she is doing, we say she just swims. It took us awhile to figure it out. We went to the beach and she was swimming, then she was scratching and some hair was falling out. Just thought maybe it was summer and she was shedding. Her skin looked irrated so we took her to the vet. She gave her a shot, cleared up all was fine. Then we went to the beach again, she was ok. About a month later we went and she was scratching. We didn't connect it cuz we had gone before and she was fine. She goes in the creek and she is fine. Well that was the first summer. The next summer swimming came and the scratching and hair coming out again. Back to the vet. She gave us pills to use, they didn't do much. She was swimming again so we went back in and another shot. I said what the heck is going on, the vet didn't know, but said it was a steriod shot and she couldn't stay on them they aren't healthy, but once in awhile was fine. They also didn't tell us these were good for ten days, that is why she didn't always get the scratching and we didn't associate it. The third summer we put it together. My sister built a dog friendly cottage and it just kills us that we can't go out there and when we do we have to keep the dog out of the water. Can't afford the 60 bucks everytime she swims. She loves it and it is so unfair we have to keep her out. So skin problems I am with you on that, they stink...days we can't get to the vet she said to use benadryl like what was mentioned by someone else.
If her thyroid hasn't been checked I would definitely have that done. I have seen a few borders at our clinic presenting the same way and the problem was their thyroid and after a few months of treatment the coat came back in nicely. If it's not the thyroid I agree with the other posters that it could be an allergy, what kind of diet is she on right now?
I used sulphodene on my sheltie when he had similar trouble. It smells bad and is oily but it gave champ a lot of relief from the itching and the hair began to grow back in. Champs started out as fleabite dermatitis. He had hot spots on his rump area. We lived in Florida at the time (1981) and the fleas had gotten out of control.
Ladd (Aussie Rescue) Lady (BC Rescue)
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal. Proverbs 12:10
"Man is a dog's idea of what God should be." - Holbrook Jackson
I would switch to a totally different food. I had the same problem with my dog took him to the vet they couldn't figure it out. I thought it couldn't be the food b/c he was on an expensive no grain dog food. But the moment I switched all his fur issues went away.