Sit down and get comfy....this will be long!
Makes more sense now and just a few ideas based on very similar experiences.
My girl has allergies. We know what they are since she underwent allergy testing. Testing is never 100% but does give you some ideas. Either way the end result is the same no matter what they are allergic to. Avoiding allergens as much as possible is the only way to go.
Think about different allergens and what they could be.
Start working towards eliminating exposure.
Dust mites (there are two types). If you can clearly SEE any dust on various surfaces in your home then you have dust mites. Dust is also in places that you can't see. On the tops of items that you never even look at (curtain rods, mini-blinds, baseboards, picture frames, etc...). Too many items to mention. All the surfaces in the home need a thorough cleaning. Easier said than done I know. Been there done that. Once all surfaces are cleaned it is much easier to keep up with. We literally took a week to clean DUST.
Invest in anti-allergen furnace, AC and return intake filters for your home. Change them MONTHLY whether YOU think they need changed or not.
If you purchase food in larger bags and store the food in a plastic container....STOP. Storage mites are a potential allergen. Buy smaller bags of food and you will go through them quicker but storage mites multiply over time. The quicker you go through a bag of food the less time the mites have to grow in quantity. The small particles of food at the bottom of the bag/storage container are where the mites congregate. Toss that small amount of food/crumbs out and don't feed. It's not so much ingesting that food it is more of an inhalant allergy.
Vacuum more often than you think necessary. If you typically do it once weekly do it two or three times more.
Wash ANY and ALL bedding that he comes into contact with WEEKLY. Wipe down any surfaces of furniture that he is allowed on. Cloth couches, chairs, throw pillows, etc....just a warm washcloth over the area to remove any pollen that he might have on him that gets transported to those areas.
After he comes in from being outside take a wet wash cloth and wipe his face off. He will eventually get used to this. My girl now waits to get hers wiped off even in winter when she doesn't need it. Doesn't understand WHY we don't do it half the year!
No amount of antibiotics will get rid of an infection completely if the underlying cause is still present. Meaning once the meds are finished and continued exposure is still there (allergens with itching) it will come back as you have seen. Eventually the course of meds and the dosage will have to last longer and get more potent.
As for treating the staph infection BEFORE it gets to the point of needing meds, try bathing the affected areas with an antibacterial soap. A traditional bar of regular Dial soap is a good one to have on hand and it will last through many baths. Wash the rest of the body with whatever it is that you typically use. Once dry apply a cortisone-type med to the area. Anything over the counter will suffice. Once that is on take him for a walk so it has a chance to do its job. Usually anything topical only needs about 10 minutes to be effective. Make sure he doesn't lick it off!
You may never know what the allergens are but if you make it your mission to do the things I have mentioned you should notice a difference within weeks.
All that being said.....my girl is allergic to her own yeast. She has never had a yeast infection but she had been developing staph infections due to that allergy for upwards of two years. Makes no sense to me but it is what it is. She is also allergic to a list of items longer than my arm. Massive amount of antibiotics only to clear it up, finish the meds, have it return and back for a refill. We finally hit on a med that was really working and it did so quickly without making her ill BUT the cost was outrageous @ nearly $3.00 a PILL. Three pills a day for weeks at a time.....it was Zenequin.
I knew there had to be another way. I made the above mentioned changes (and then some like making sure that there were no weeds in my yard--she is allergic to specific weeds) and quite literally if I didn't tell you she has allergies you wouldn't know. The bloody armpits are gone and her face isn't raw from her rubbing it on the carpet all day long. We made it through a solid two years and then......
Staph infections came back with a vengeance. Itching day and night. Miserable no matter what I did. It wasn't until this past winter when she started losing her hair that I figured it out and requested that she be tested. CHRONIC skin infections are one of the symptoms of thyroiditis and it *typically* hits them at puberty. She has had this condition for years and I never knew it. If I had known then I could have been treating her for it and saved her a lot of hell and myself a lot of money, grief, heartache and if truth be told, my sanity.
I have been pushing thyroid problems a lot on BW lately for various ailments but they all seem to have quite a few things in common. Skin conditions being #1.
Nothing else you have tried has worked. A COMPLETE thyroid panel which includes a TgAA test
is needed to rule out or confirm. It is a simple blood test and will run about $100. DO NOT accept the "traditional" scaled down thyroid test. COMPLETE PANEL INCLUDING TgAA (can't stress that enough). I will warn you however that *most* vets will "poo-poo" an owner who requests it on younger dogs NOT gaining weight, nearing complete balding in certain areas, lethargic, etc...(some other classical symptoms). But.....it's your DOG and your MONEY. If they had all of the answers Johann wouldn't be in the shape he is in and you wouldn't have to be consumed with worry!
My vet was ADAMANT that my girl didn't have any thyroid issues. So was her oncologist, her cardiologist AND dermatologist. I proved them wrong!!! Started meds and the staph infection went away within 4 days. Hair started growing back too.
VENT all you want! These babies are so very important to us and we all know how you feel. When we can't fix something wrong we feel so defeated.