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Blackening skin? Vet says "allergies", but I'm skeptical.

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Saki

Princess? Yes.- But I can eat ur- face off
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 18, '10 1:28pm PST 
Ok, one more question for the Shiba fountain of knowlegde today. The skin on Saki and Watson's stomachs has begun ti turn black from it's normal pink. This started before I changed their food, so I don't think it's related to that. I asked their vet about it last week, and he said he thought it was allergies from them being outside more now that the weather's been cooler, but neither of them has exhibited that symptom before, and recently, Watson has developed a yucky smell, even when clean. The things I've read suggest yeast. What do you guys think? Anyone had something similar? A magic cure?
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Severus

Mine! Mine!- Mine! Mine!!!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 18, '10 2:06pm PST 
I don't have experience with blackening skin but I have heard some dogs do have that. Are they itchy spots? do they look irritated?
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Saki

Princess? Yes.- But I can eat ur- face off
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 18, '10 2:50pm PST 
They've been kinda itchy lately and licking those areas a bit. The areas that are still pink look a little red. The vet suggested giving them a Zyrtek once a day, but it hasn't done anything for them (been giving it for 2 weeks). shrug
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Hamlet

Is it a fox?
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 19, '10 7:09am PST 
Ah, brings back lots of memories!

Our family's Westie developed blackening skin during her fight with horrible dermatitis/mange and yeast infections. Westies in general are more prone to these problems and we found that most standard vets are ill-equipped to diagnose and treat complicated skin issues.

Yeast infections and (often) accompanying mange/dermatitis are secondary to a weaker/vulnerable immune system, a genetically inherited trait. Typical allergy treatments will alleviate the worst symptoms - itchiness/inflammation - but are only treating the symptoms, not the actual problem. We found that to be the issue with much of our Westie's vet treatment. They gave her medicines to treat "allergies" but they were more stop-gaps rather than treating/assisting her weaker immune system and stopping the infections/dermatitis from starting in the first place!!

She started off scratching and itching lots of spots, mostly belly and paws. These hot spots then started turning black as hyperpigmentation set in after the long-term inflammation/scratching/infections. Our vet at the time (about 12 years ago in Western PA!) diagnosed 'allergies' and gave her steroids/allergy meds. These barely helped! He also prescribed the hypoallergenic Science Diet (worst choice possible, but we didn't know better).

Her problems continued to progress and the vet threw his hands up in the air and sent us to a doggie dermatologist at a vet school/teaching clinic in Ohio. 6 hour drive round trip + 500 dollar visit! She was the first to give us an inkling that "allergies" might only be a symptom of a larger problem we weren't treating and explained that Westies and many purebreds often have weaker immune systems which allow yeast/bacterial infections to run rampant. She prescribed medicated baths every other week, new meds to control the itching and give her skin a break and follow-up visits to check on her progress.

Jojo's main issue that was 10+ years ago, the internet was just starting and few people did research on puppy health/nutrition on their own. So we followed our vets' advice and she reached a point of "status quo" -- we could control her symptoms with the meds and baths, but whenever they stopped, everything would come back.

Once my mom started getting into the internet and reading about skin allergies/problems in dogs, she began to take matters into her own hands. She's a medical doctor so she was able to work in tandem with our new vets (we had just moved to Florida) to get some new meds and a new treatment plan. This plan included treating the overall problem -- weakened immune system -- with a healthy homemade diet, vitamin and probiotic supplements, and standard meds to control the itching/discomfort.

When Jojo died last spring, she had a FULL COAT. No blackness, no itching, no redness. She hadn't had major skin issues since my mom started her on the new treatment plan!

TLDR: Allergies, maybe, but a yeasty smell and the blackening makes me think that you are dealing with yeast infections and hot spots of dermatitis since it sounds just like our Westie. The meds should help with the itching, but if things don't improve, look into diet, probiotic supplements and medicated shampoos.
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Bella

I'm big in- Japan.
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 19, '10 8:09am PST 
Bella's tummy turned black after she began spending a little time outdoors. She loves sunbathing. Our vet told us we could put sunscreen on her if it bugged us.

Also, I have found that clemastine (I buy it on amazon) works better than most other things for itchy skin. Bella and I both take it!
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Minx

Move over Yuuki,- here I come
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 20, '10 1:36pm PST 
I second the yeast infection or fungal infection with the black skin. At least that would be my first guess even without the smell.
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Hamlet

Is it a fox?
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 20, '10 1:46pm PST 
Yeah, allergies typically just present as redness and hot spots -- LONG TERM, untreated allergies *can* progress to hyperpigmentation aka black skin, but it sounds like this popped up recently which is more akin to yeasty infections. And since you do smell the yeastiness in the skin...

My advice is - if your current vet continues to say "allergies" and treats it like so - consult a doggie dermatologist in your area or a second vet.
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Flynn

Love me, pet me,- hug me....
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 19, '11 4:21pm PST 
HELP. I have the same problem with one of my soft coated Wheatens. He is a 3 year old male. Had a beautiful coat until about 7 months ago. We started to see darkening of his skin, he lost hair, he became very scaly in places so that he had a lot of dander and a bad smell. Then he began to chew and scratch. The vet treating him said summer allergies, well now it's winter. The vet said it was a skin fungus and allergies. He has been on a special diet from the vet since the beginning because we knew Wheatens can get skin conditions. Our older Wheaten is fine. They put him on meds and while he was on them the fungus and smell got better but when we took him off it was and is bad again. The specialist wants $800 for the first visit and frankly that is a hardship. Does anyone know about this or what else we can do aside from the special baths he gets...He can not stop biting and scratching and licking. We are very worried because no matter what we do he can't stop. email me at thehoughs123@yahoo.com
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Winnie

You obey ME!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 19, '11 9:40pm PST 
Saki/Flynn,

I also think it is a fungal infection (or yeast infection). Most times the underlying cause is allergies, which will cause the dog to lick and bite. The constant moisture will then cause the fungal infection to occur, and then the skin turns black and the smells start in..... It can be difficult to get rid of the fungal infection, think of how hard it is to get rid of ringworm, athlete's foot, etc.....

What are the both of you feeding? What brand and protein mix? It helps to look at the top 10 ingredients and see if any of them are known allergens for most dogs. Common allergens are chicken, wheat, corn, grains. Also be aware of what you may be giving as treats too... Sometimes in small quantities, they can still be pretty allergic to the treats.

If the blackening of the skin is really bad, consider talking to your vet about heavy duty meds - ketoconazole and antibiotics. The meds will help clear up the symptoms, but remember that you need to troubleshoot and find out what the underlying root cause is. Most likely, it is food related. These meds are not a long term solution, but they can help clear up the itchies and knock out the fungal infection.

Also add yogurt and or probiotics to the food. It can help tremendously with yeast infections.

For shampoos, I recommend earth bath. It is gentle for frequent shampoos, and rinse with a mix of 25% vinegar to 75% water. Vinegar helps to get the soap out completely. If the fungal infection is really bad, I use Eqyss shampoo.

Good luck....

Feel free to email me... Myamamo@gmail.com
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Winnie

You obey ME!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 19, '11 9:46pm PST 
Saki/Flynn,

I fostered a very allergic Shiba last year and although his was a terribly severe case, his blackened skin was the worst I have ever seen. Feel free to check out my blog updates on "Kona", it took a few months but he looked amazing when adopted him out and he continues to blossom in his forever home. It just took some time to figure out what he could and couldn't have....

http://awinnieday.blogspot.com/2010/01/bringing-home-kona.html
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