The Shiba inu does suffer from allergic skin disease. All itchy Shiba inu dogs need an elimination food trial to rule out food allergy. Food allergies are common. The most common food allergens are beef, wheat and dairy products but there are many others. Preservatives get the blame but are rarely responsible. The immune system only recognises large molecules like proteins. Food allergies often start as soon as the dog starts solid food. If your dog has an itchy anus and scoots + has ear infections all the time and this all started in the first year of life, London to a brick it is diet related. Food allergy dogs often rub their face after eating as the lips are itchy. Food allergy dogs need a proper food elimination trial.
The Shiba inu also suffers from canine atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is an allergy to pollen, dust mites and household spores. It is rare for this to start in the first year of life (although not impossible). In the early stages, these dogs seem itchy even though the skin looks completely normal. The skin is dry due to a skin barrier defect. Sphingosine is missing from the protective ceramide layer in the outer skin. Allergens cross the skin and water escapes. The dogs start scratching but there never seems to be a reason. The skin may be a bit dry with dandruff but nothing else seems to be wrong. Sadly this progresses and severe rashes develop as the Shiba inu gets older. The rashes tend to be where there is no hair cover such as between the toes, groin, abdomen, arm pit and inner surface of the ear. Atopic dermatitis is frustrating. You can have skin prick tests and blood tests and currently the only cure is desensitisation with vaccines of diluted allergen. This works in 70% of dogs. For those that can’t afford such testing, prednisolone is the only cheap option. Cyclosporine works well but is expensive. Some natural treatments can really help and avoiding flare factors is useful.
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