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dlm812's avatar

Any Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier owners?

Asked by dlm812 (1674points) December 16th, 2008

Looking for fellow Wheaten owners to answer a few questions I have. I used to be a member of a British Wheaten forum, but waited months on end without receiving answers to my questions. Basically, I have a male Wheaten, just turned 1 y.o. in November, who has some digestive problems as well as a skin problem—I know that Wheatens are known for allergies to wheat and chicken. We have completely removed these from his diet since I adopted him last May. His food is an expensive Venison/Rice mix, and we try to avoid table scraps, yet he consistently has severe diarrhea (usually 2–3 times per month for about 3 days each time). He has also been throwing-up alot lately, but that’s probably due to his fondness of eating plastic… In addition to his stomach problems, he is constantly chewing on himself and creating sores and mats (which turn an odd red color?). I have tried changing shampoos, conditions, etc. Any suggestions from those familiar with the breed? Thanks!

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35 Answers

scamp's avatar

Fellow flutherer syz will probably be able to answer your question. If she doesn’t see this, you might want to send her a private comment.

dlm812's avatar

@Scamp – Thanks! I sent a message to Syz just now.

Darwin's avatar

I don’t have a Wheaten Terrier, but I have and have had bulldogs and shar-peis, who also have allergies to a variety of things, not just wheat and chicken. Things these various dogs were and are sensitive to include corn, fish, dust mites, pollen, and mold.

The chewing is probably a skin allergy making your dog itch and develop hot spots. The red color is from saliva – our American Bulldog turns herself pink anywhere she licks. These can secondarily develop bacterial and fungal infections that may need to be treated more aggressively.

I suggest you:

1) get to the vet and have allergy tests run and then consider desensitization shots if indicated.

2) ask your vet for the correct dosage and then give your dog benedryl as indicated – that should help with allergies.

3) you might consider allowing the vet to give the dog steroids at least in the beginning to get the dog some relief and for those periods when his allergies peak.

Good luck!

syz's avatar

Rather than trying to guess what your dog’s allergies consist of, I would recommend a veterinary dermatologist. The chewing and salivary staining are certainly suspicious of allergies. Ask your regular vet for a referral.

If he does indeed have a food allergy, it could certainly explain his GI issues. Your veterinary dermatologist will be able to design a food trial with a novel protein source, as well as either antihistamines or steroids to help control the itching.

This is going to be a chronic condition that will require dedication on your part – you’ll need to find what works and stick to it. (You mention in your comment that you have been to a holistic vet – I am a huge skeptic and wager that that was a waste of your time and money. But hey, that’s a whole other thread…)

SoapChef's avatar

I used to have two Wheatens, whew! Yes, they will eat anything. They did not have as much problem with allergies as my Westie does. I just spent a bundle yesterday getting her new food, with no grain, not even rice. Allergy pills, new treats, Salmon oil. She is chewing the fur off her feet. We are trying the process of elimination with the food and adding the salmon oil for the much needed omegas.

dlm812's avatar

Thank you to everyone for the advice. The problem with taking him to a vet for a diagnosis on allergies is that my usual vet is really more of a “country” walk-in vet (whom I trust dearly and would never leave), yet he would probably brush it off a bit as he is sort of the emergency vet around here and sees a lot of cases which would make this seem extremely minor. Most other vets in the area are not compentent—I’ll probably have to research a few further away and travel after the holidays to have him looked at. The holistic vet I saw didn’t charge – I wouldn’t have paid for the small bit of advice she gave me anyway. I will try researching some non-grain foods and watching what treats he gets. We do give benedryl to our JRT for skin allergies during the spring and summer, so I might try giving the same dose to my boy and see if that helps with the chewing and sores. Also, I had never thought of including salmon oil in his diet. I will try that as well. Thank you again to everyone for the suggestions and advice!

@SoapChef: What is the brand of non-grain food that you bought for your Westie?

scamp's avatar

@dlm812 You’re welcome! I’m glad you got such great answers. Fluther’s great, isn’t it?

Darwin's avatar

@dlm812 – I don’t know what brand SoapChef buys, but some of my friends from another forum have liked Canidae brand foods ( ). They offer several types of grain-free foods that are made from human-grade ingredients.

SoapChef's avatar

Hey dlm812. The new food is Innova EVO. She also gave me samples of Taste of the Wild, another grain free, also human grade, manufactured in the US. I don’t know if it my imagination, but it seems like she is already spending less time chewing on her feet.

Trustinglife's avatar

I don’t have an answer to your question… I just wanted to share that I grew up with a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, and boy, do I miss her. What a great dog. Please enjoy yours for me, dlm.

dlm812's avatar

@Darwin & SoapChef: Thank you both, I researched and found both Canidae and Taste of the Wild. I’ll look at Innova EVO too. We have an organic-type pet store here, and I’m pretty sure they sell all of these, so I’ll just find what works for him.

@Trustinglife: I will! He’s a bit of a clown, but a great dog. I don’t know how SoapChef ever took care of two at a time though! What characters these dogs are (and I grew up with JRTs so that’s really saying something!)

SoapChef's avatar

Two of them was all chaos all the time. They were brother and sister Ricky and Lucy. They had the most personality of any dogs I have ever known. When they were puppies, they would launch themselves from about five stairs up, hit the middle of the living room floor and not miss a beat. Under the coffee table, around the sofa, into the kitchen, through the dining room chair legs. They could do that for an hour. Lucy would eat anything! I don’t even want to know what I spent on vet bills. You haven’t lived till you’ve pulled a tampon out of a dogs butt, by the string!

Trustinglife's avatar

Oooh, you’re reminding me: “Smooch” would eat used tissues out of the garbage if we left the bathroom door open. Disgusting. :) I miss her.

dlm812's avatar

Yeah my boy, Brogan, is fond of used tissues (so gross!), ANYTHING made of plastic, the styrofoam bottoms from chicken packages, and pretty much anything he knows is mine when he’s mad at me. Luckily, he hasn’t discovered the bathroom trash yet… I really don’t want to have to deal with any tampon eating! Yikes!

Sounds like your two were a little more coordinated than my boy, SoapChef. He LOVES to take flying leaps off of the stairs (in fact I’m thinking he has a future career in dock jumping!).. but he’s not so good at sticking the landings (which is why I think water would be good for him). Pretty much just nose dives, rolls a couple feet, then takes off running like it’s no big deal. Although he often runs into walls when his fall gets a little thick and acts like nothing happens too… I think he has too much pride.

No wonder my fiancee is so jealous… I’m in love with my S’Wheatie :)

Trustinglife's avatar

Lurve for “S’Wheatie”!

RedSummer's avatar

Please have your baby tested for PLN and PLE immediately. The symptoms you are describing are not good.

henster's avatar

I have a 4 year old Wheaten – Lulu – and she’s very itchy in the summertime. She mainly chews around the base of her tail, on her back, where she develops thick black scabs on and around the pin-bones. She ends up with very dark red coarse fur growing through where she’s chewed. I have no answers for that problem yet. She is bathed in Pyohex shampoo, or Aloveen Oatmeal Shampoo (a lovely product). We are presently feeding her a diet consisting of minced raw chicken frames (which I buy already minced from a local butcher), lightly cooked and pureed vegetables (whatever’s in the fridge at the time – usually broccoli, pumpkin, sprouts, carrots, sweet potato, spinach ), always including lots of parsley, with some lamb’s liver mixed in. ( make this up in big batches which last around 10 days. My vet is recommending this to eliminate beef from her diet to see if she has a beef allergy (I don’t think she does). However, my previous Wheaten – Jack – died four years ago from PLN – and practically from the day we brought him home as a puppy, he vomited frequently, especially if he ran around after a meal, and very very often (monthly) had severe diarrhoea with blood in it. In hindsight, these were the classic symptoms of PLN or PLE. Like the previous, post, I recommend that you get him checked for this ASAP and there are special commercially produced foods that might help if you get the terrible news that we received 4 years ago. We love our little dog and hope we can find out what’s making her so uncomfortable. I’ll keep you posted if we find something that works.

dlm812's avatar

@ henster: Thank you for your post. I have been emailing with RedSummer about the problem, and I am going to call my vet next week to see if I can schedule a blood test for PLN/PLE. I’m hoping it is just food allergies, however, as he has stopped vomiting (I really think that was just from his love of eating plastic… which we are trying to eliminate by keeping things out of reach). He still is having occasional diarrhea, but I am going to keep a closer eye on his food in the coming months to alter his diet more. I already know that he is definitely allergic to chicken and wheat products, and has reactions to meat grease (such as bacon grease, which we feed to our JRT for skin issues). He also won’t touch anything that has corn in it. Currently, he is on a Venison/Rice diet. Also, I started feeding him a fish oil tablet once per day and it has almost eliminated all itching (p.s. RedSummer has informed me that the redness in the skin/coat occurs as a reaction to the chewing and is permanent – sort of like a scar I guess?) He is now only chewing in one spot – by the base of his tail, but there aren’t anymore scabs or mats. You might try this with Lulu. The tablets are simply generic fish oil from the grocery store, and we disguise them in liver sausage (although my boy is such a woofer, he’d probably eat them without the liver). After about 8–9 days you should notice a difference. Anyway, thank you (and everyone else!) for all of the advice and help. Brogan is absolutely my baby, and I love him too dearly for anything to happen to him. I am definitely going to get him tested for PLN and PLE this month, so I’ll post with details of the results when I get them. Wish us luck!

henster's avatar

Glad to see you’re getting lots of feedback. Will be very interested re the PLN/PLE test – good luck. I’ve been giving Lulu 3000mg (3 capsules) of fish oil – recommended by the vet – for over three years now (we take them too!). Maybe you could increase the dosage – I know the Omega 3 oils help generally with the immune system, but can’t say it’s helped with the itchiness – which comes and goes anyway. I find the red coarse fur grows out naturally, and goes back to being the normal soft, pale colour. I cut the red fur off as soon as I see the pale fur coming through. One thing I remember about my last dog – Jack – who died from PLN at age 5 was that he was a very picky eater – could go for a day or two with no appetite, and he wasn’t keen on bones. When he did have one – say a lamb shank – he’d often vomit. Also, his vomit was usually very watery and not necessarily regurgitated food. So his stomach was always sensitive. When he got very sick – he died within 2 weeks of diagnosis – I looked at all the info on the internet, and his symptoms were classic ones of PLN – which is basically kidney failure. And it seems opinion is divided as to whether the inflamed bowel condition leads to PLN or PLN causes the inflamed bowel. He was very often on antibiotics for the diarrhoea – which I now see would have overloaded his kidneys – which weren’t working very well. It’s worth doing a google search – although sometimes it can cause unecessary panic. I’ll keep checking to see if you post any more info. All the best.

pauletter's avatar

We have a wheaton and we have the same allergy issues. We give him Iam’s Response K-0 that can only be bought at the vet. 15 lbs. runs about $32.00. We also give him ONLY hypoallergenic treats. He gets next to nothing from the table. In addition, I use neosporin on his scabs, and when he is biting at himself, 90% of the time it works.

Marley's avatar

I use Nutro Ultra for my Wheatens I believe it is organic. I also have one that used to throw up all the time, not sure why and he was an itchy boy too. Now he doesn’t throw up very often or have diarrhea much. The itching is a lot less, no scabs or sores. If I feed him any thing else he starts to throw up again, I have been trying to put the Dog Whisperers “relax” product in his food which gives him diarrhea and not the other dog.

I am still struggling with deciding between a Wheaten with diarrhea and a Wheaten with way to much energy! But you really do have to love Wheatens! and two of them is equal to 10 some days :)

dlm812's avatar

Thank you to the new members – and Welcome! I haven’t been able to schedule a PLN/PLE test for him because our regular vet does not do them, but we switched his food to the Nutro Halibut & Rice formula and it has completely eliminated his diarrhea. He is no longer itching on himself either, since I have continued to supplement his food with a fish oil tablet daily. I am almost positive that the systems he used to have were simply due to allergies. I am still going to schedule a test just to be sure sometime this spring with another vet. It is just a matter of finding one which I trust..

Iveta's avatar

We have a 3 year old Wheaten and have occasional problems with him having diarrhea and licking his feet to the point of getting infection from the saliva and the constant stimulation of his skin. Our vet said it is allergies, however, finding what specifically he is allergic to is extremely difficult – food allergies account only for a small portion of allergic reactions in Wheatens and sometimes the licking/skin infections are due to stress alone. We previously tried antihistamines, antifungals, antibiotics – the only thing that has so far proved as the best is however an old remedy which I remembered from my nursing training – it used to be applied to wounds in humand – washing the wound with a mild solution of Permanganate oxide – sold over the counter in any pharmacy – it dries it out and will stop the itching, is completely natural and it does not matter if the dog licks it because it can actually be used to treat vomitting – can be administered in drinking water. It has to be washed several times per day, however, does work best on treating the wounds compared to anything else we used. In terms of prevention, we now feed our Wheaten only beef (mostly organic which we buy from a local farmer for the same price as non-organic in the store) cooked in water cut into small pieces and mixed with rice and boiled vegetables and have not had any problems with him vomitting since. We only use hyperallergenic shampoo and wash him once every 2 to 3 weeks or when he gets muddy and rinse his feet with lukewarm water everytime he comes from a walk (2 to 3 times per day) which – knock it on the wood – eliminated all the skin infection outbreaks. I know it seems like a lot of work, but compared to hundreds of dollars spent on allergy testing and the hassle to the dog and owner of visiting vets repeatedly, this seemed to have done the trick for us.

fritzsmom's avatar

Hi Dlm, I am not sure if you even go this site since you posted it a long time ago, but it came up on Google when I tried to research disgestive problems with Wheatens. Have you found something that helped your little guy? I have an adorable 1 1/2 year old male Wheaten, Fritz. He is the sweetest little guy, but I am really getting worried. We go to the vet constantly (bills are nuts!), we have figured out he cannot eat chicken or anything with fat. He is now on a low fat diet, Royal Canine Low Fat (I live in Canada, not sure if you have that there). Even though it does help, he still gets sick about once a month, his stomach starts growling, he gets bloated and gas, and then we are in for a week of medication. He gets diarrhea and sometimes vomitting, he doesn’t want to eat much and seems sad and depressed. Very frustrating, I hate to see him suffering like that. He is a big plant eater, so I am constantly removing anything from the garden that can be toxic. I have not had any problems with him chewing himself, other than lately he seems to be very fond of his little man part. He probably pays way too much attention to that, not sure if this is normal. Have you found anything that has helped ? Thanks!

outlandish's avatar

Zoe is my Wheaten terrier she will turn 5 tomorrow. She displays many of the same problems people are discribing here. She vomits and is extremely sensitive to medications i.e antibiotics got really sick last time they cleaned her teeth bloody stools and all. Just this past summer she finally came down with hot spots they got so out of control we had to do the antibotic and steriod thing which I totally did not want to put her on but she was eating herself raw! Yikes. I have never had her tested for this PLN thing is this something that one should do with a dog this age? My vet does not weem to be concerned. I actually have started taking Zoe to a new vet that believes in a more homiopathic approach. I guees I am looking for some help here..

outlandish's avatar

Zoe often become sad and kind of depressed as many of you have discribed she is really sensitive is this a Wheaten trait?

outlandish's avatar

Hello I did ask a question but no response am I doing something wrong?

Darwin's avatar

Actually you commented on an older question. It could be many people have stopped following it. Why don’t you actually Ask a Question so it pops up on everyone’s lists?

Saucey77's avatar

Has anyone tried Slippery Elm or Phitomucil by Apawthecary to treat diarrhea?

leonardtam's avatar

i have a wheaten terrier and when he was 4 months, he had terrible itches, runny stools, horrible ear stench and he chewed his feet.. Took him to the vet and the vet wanted to put him on ANTIBIOTICS!!!! 4 MONTHS!! The vet told me he had parasites too! i said no to his medicaiton, and went home to research his condition: he was allergic to wheat.. noticed that all his kibble had wheat or wheat by products.. So, i researched the BARF diet and put him on it. Slowly weaned him into this over a one week period. Introduced him to human grade food ( ie minced beef made of either eye of round or sirlion, fed him grain fed chicken ( raw) bones and all, salmon heads, pumpkin, zuchiinni, sweet potatoes, raw bones, a clove of garlic a day ( garlic kills all parasites and yeast infection), cod liver oil.. guess what: he stopped itching and his condition improved 150%. He has his own raw bones and antler to chew on as well. he is now 2 years old and he has the best looking coat of any wheaten i know and the vet visits have stopped. He had a perfect bill of health. He is amuscular little dog and his fur is strikingly soft and thick.. i am so glad i dont buy into that vet schitck of medication.
if you are what you eat, it will apply to dogs as well. Feed them human grade food ( you can cook it is you wish or serve raw).. you will notice the difference in 3 weeks at the very least.. if you like to know more, email me at Glad to help

holly's avatar

Unfortunately I have a ton of experience with my rescued Wheaton. She was 3 years old when I got her and she is now 6 and the love of my life but the health issues! UGH! I will spare you the history and suggest….

Natural Balance food, Bison or Fish with sweet potato. ONLY! I mix ¾ dry with ¼ canned of the same flavor
Baked sweet potato fries or fish for treats.
No grains, rice, peanut butter, chicken ot people food etc.
Flagyl at the first hint of diarrhea, otherwise it goes into full blown Colitis.
Loritidine 10mg daily (Claritin)
Benadryl 25 mg daily when scratching.
Omega 3 capsules may help. didn’t help mine.
Garlic is toxic to dogs. STAY away!

Cyclosporine 100mg daily then to every other day may help (generic is fine) but my dog is now off it. Costco has it even if you are not a member.
good luck and I hope this helps.

Meredith's avatar

Your vet may have already done this, but have they checked for whipworm? The symptoms you describe fit well with a parasitic infection. Whipworm can be difficult to treat, and most canine OTC anti-parasite meds can be ineffective. Whipworm can cause anaemia and even death if not detected and treated.

Severe diarrhea and/or chronic vomiting in any animal can cause acute dehydration and be deadly. Definitely not something to ‘sit on’ – an emergency vet would agree.

Hope you found an answer and that your little one is okay now. :) Your post was from a couple of years ago – would love to know what the outcome was.

~ Male SCWT 5 months old, currently eating Orijen Large Breed Puppy Formula (kibble), loves to eat bark, dirt, foreign poop. Doesn’t bark, eager to please, learns quick, surprisingly obedient for a terrier! Gentle, easy-going and the most wonderful companion I could ask for. <3 ~

toko's avatar

Our female wheaten has had digestive problems since her first year. She has been tested for addisons, protein losing,.. you name it. Irritable bowel syndrome seems to be the diagnosis
but no cure seems to exist. We read a study from England stating that predisone was effective in treating the vomiting, diarrhea etc. Starting with 10mg a day and working backward we found a dose of ¼ of a 10 mg tab every three days is enough to give her an appetite, almost
no vomiting and no diarrhea. Her food is Nature’s Balance LTD Duck & Potato. We mix some real potato in with it. She eats very fast and the potato slows her down. We feed her
morning and evening. almost no people food other than a piece of carrot. The tip I would pass along for giving the pill is to use a small piece of american cheese, chunky no salt peanut butter putting the pill in the peanut butter and folding the cheese over it. Predisone
has a very bad taste I am told so you don’t want the dog to taste it. I put peanut butter on my finger so that after she takes the cheese she immediately starts to lick the peanut butter off my finger and swallows the cheese without chewing. The chunky peanut butter helps disguise the pill otherwise I have found the dog tries to pick the pill out. Amber is 9 yrs old now. I didn’t think she was going to make it to 3 yrs old. I hope this helps.

arlene4usa's avatar

My Dog Teddy who is a wheaton just passed away yesterday at the young age of 4. He was not sick, other than the occasional vomiting, he showed no signs of illness and then at 5am, my husband heard him yelp, he jumped and ran to our dog, he was lifeless and and let out 2 more breaths and stopped breathing. We are heartbroken and they basically said it could have been a sudden cardiac arrest. Teddy was gone so qickly, we couldnt save him. Has anyone else gone thru this with Wheaton Terriers?? I cant begin to tell you how guilt ridden we feel. He was like or baby and we dont know what went wrong?? any responses would be appreciated . Thank you

Trustinglife's avatar

Sad to hear that Arlene <3

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