Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Vancouver Island, BC
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My Lucy had this problem last winter: licking paws, chewing nails, nibbling at legs. One paw was red from her saliva. It turned out to be the first indication of allergies. The local vets whom I think are very good in other areas, were not helpful. I actually think most vets are not very knowledgeable about allergies and sensitivities; nor do they have much to offer in treatment (as with doctors and people!). I was very fortunate to discover a wholistic vet within three hours of where I live. She doesn't have a quick fix for sensitivities, but took a swab from Lucy's feet and confirmed she had an overgrowth of yeast.
The solution is to do foot dips. Mix apple cider water and vinegar, half and half, and dip each foot in it once a day. I used 1/2 cup of each and found I could reuse it for three days. I'd do it after our morning walk. They don't need to soak, just in and out, squeeze out the excess and that's it. By the time we returned a month later, Lucy had stopped the licking and the vet said her feet look great. That was in the spring and there has been no recurrence.
Sadly, her environmental allergies have blossomed. I am now waiting for a food sensitivity test kit from Nutriscan. I am quite excited about the possibility of nailing down anything going on in this realm. Lucy's been on cooked pork, kale, broccoli, algae-based omega 3s and some other supplements since spring. Another resource the vet mentioned is a book called Pets at Risk: From Allergies to Cancer: Remedies for an Unsuspected Epidemic. She feels that this vet/author has a piece of the puzzle, so I am also waiting for this to arrive. Jean Dodds, who developed Nutriscan which uses saliva to test for the 24 most common food allergens, is a highly accredited vet and has a blog with lots of interesting health information (especially around allergies, sensitivities, and thyroid issues).
With any dog with yeast problems, I'd be on the lookout over time for other signs of allergies or sensitivities. My understanding is that they often first start showing up around age two. Good luck with Mucho! (what a great name!)