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Dachshund Dumps Collar After 6 Years

September 23, 2009

Heidi came to me with a satellite-dish Elizabethan collar around her head and a terrible case of skin problems.  She had lived the last 6 years in that collar, because her mom, Susan, told me that whenever Heidi had the collar off, she would immediately start to chew at herself until her skin bled.

I looked at the frisky little reddish-brown short-haired Dachshund, and from a veterinarian’s perspective I saw thickened folds of blackened, greasy skin turned thick and rolling down her hind legs.  This is called hyperpigmentation and elephantitis.  Heidi also had patchy areas of thinning fur and flakey, dry, dandruffy skin.  I looked over her 4 inch thick pile of previous medical records, including dermatology consults, prescription diets, holistic raw foods diets, and acupuncture treatments, and I saw some things missing.“I’d like to do a skin evaluation, some quick tests, and see if we can’t fix Heidi’s skin,” I ventured.

Susan replied, “You don’t understand.  Nothing works,  And this is looking pretty good, for her.  As long as she keeps that collar on, she’s okay.”

Well, I told Susan what I had seen missing from Heidi’s previous treatment.

“Susan, Heidi has never had treatment for malassezzia yeast infection.  She’s never had allergy treatment and anti-bacterial medicines at the same time.  And she’s never had all these medicines and topical shampoo therapy coordinated together, either.  And she’s never had medications for long enough to make a difference.”

After checking for normal organ function, and making sure her thyroid hormone levels were not too low, we started Heidi on oral treatments for yeast, bacteria, topical therapy, omega chews with therapeutic levels of EPA’s, and she was already eating a hypoallergenic fabulous diet.  After a few weeks of killing infections and strengthening her immune system, we started Atopica (cyclosporin), a medication to treat atopy, otherwise known as allergies from inhaled allergens.

Then I received the call every veterinarian loves to hear, “We took Heidi’s collar off two days ago.  She is not itchy, she’s playing with our other dog for the first time in 6 years, and my husband is really happy I brought her to you.”  I saw Heidi at a recheck visit.  Her skin is smooth and soft.  She has no dandruff.  And her fur is mostly grown back in, even after only a month.

I’m sure Heidi is glad Susan took my advice!

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