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Diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage, both the primary issue and all of the secondary issues that can arise because of it. If your dog has allergies (it's called Atopy in pets) along with diabetes, you are in between a rock and a hard place. Nothing works better for resolving the discomfort associated with allergies than our good buddy Prednisone. The flip side of this particular coin is that Pred will wreak havoc on his diabetes. Fortunately there are options.
The best option is to have him tested for allergies (assuming it is not a food allergy) and start him on allergy shots (immunotherapy). Skin testing is the gold standard of allergy testing, but is not often done due to expense, the need for shaving large areas of fur, and the need for sedation or general anesthesia. Blood tests are the next best option and they are getting much more accurate. I use Veterinary Allergy Reference Laboratory, Liquid Gold and get great results. The goal of immunotherapy is to decrease the amount of medications needed to control your dog's symptoms. It will not cure his allergies, but should decrease the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Shampoos are another VERY important component of treatment. Up until recently, it was believed that the primary way of allergen exposure was via inhalation. We now know that contact with the skin plays a much larger role. Oatmeal based shampoos are fine for maintenance, but medicated shampoos are often needed. Ketochlor is my favorite anti-microbial shampoo. It covers both bacteria and yeast. Shampoos that contain cortisone can also help control itching. Depending on who you ask, some people feel the cortisone may be absorbed through the skin, so use with caution in your case. Epi-Soothe is my favorite shampoo of this class. Epi-Soothe also comes in a cream rinse that can be left on, or rinsed off.
I hope I have shed some light on this for you and have given you new options to try. I tell all of my clients who have pets with allergies that allergies are 2 things, expensive and frustrating. It cannot be cured, only managed in different ways. Best of luck to you :-)
Dr. Nunez is a practicing veterinarian while also assisting patients through The Balanced Canine blog and his own online veterinary pharmacy.