Dogs Have Spring Allergies: 6-Year-Old Pekingnese Allergy Success Story
Atopic Disease in Dogs
Dogs have allergies, too! About half of American dogs have atopy (a-toe-pee). (In humans, the most common manifestation of atopy is eczema.) Dogs become intensely itchy. They succumb to secondary bacterial skin and ear infections, especially staph aureus (staff or-ee-us). The dogs often have yeast infections at the same time! The allergies become worse with each passing year and may become year-round. Atopy is such an uncomfortable, terrible condition with which to live.
Harry, the 6-year-old Pekingnese and His Unusual People
Doc Truli met Harry on a rainy Monday morning. Harry’s pet parents were punctual. Both mom and dad brought Harry to his very first veterinary visit ever. For six years, they battles his skin and itch problems on their own.
“We tried medicated shampoos, allergy diets, vitamins, flea medications, we even put a shirt on him for several months of the year,” said Harry’s mom Cecelia. Cecelia defied all veterinary expectations. From most veterinary team member’s point of view, if someone never vaccinates their dog, never uses heartworm preventative, and tries to treat a terrible skin condition at home for 5 years, that person either does not have money for a doctor, or does not respect or like doctors. Many veterinary workers will be confused and not know exactly how to deal with this person. Cecelia belied preconceptions.
“We know we let it go too long. We just want him to get better,” said Harry’s dad, Ed. Ed and Cecelia stood close together, but not touching. They dressed in similar tan slacks and Florida floral camp shirts. They were neatly groomed and focussed on Doc Truli’s examination. Neither of them collapsed into the client chairs at any point during the exam. They stood at alert, ready to help Harry stay calm and happy.
Harry’s Allergic Skin Disease
Notice Harry’s dull, tired eyes in the picture above. His fur felt dry and brittle, with a dusting of greasy tan globules of dog sebum. Harry’s neck skin was greasy, hanging in folds, and bald.
The Pekingnese’ back was almost completely bald, The skin felt thick, greasy, and his back muscles twitched with itchiness at every touch. (The picture did not turn out! You can imagine that one.)
He acted quiet, extremely polite and debonair. A more perfect Pekingnese gentleman Doc Truli could not imagine.
We tested Harry for:
- Hypothyroid disease
- Ear infections
- Dry Eye (keratoconjuntivitis sicca, aka “KCS”)
We consulted regarding nutrition and environment:
- Omega Fatty Acids
- Vitamin E
- Protein Quality
- By-Products and preservatives in his food
- Dryer Sheets
- Household Chemicals
- Trees and Plants
- Insects in the House
- Cocci Bacteria (cultures as staph aureus)
- Poor Nutrition
- Over-the-Counter Flea Preventatives
- Lack of another reason for the infections, so Doc Truli diagnosed Harry with atopy based on history and lack of finding immunosuppressive disease like hypothyroidism.
How to Treat Atopy in Dogs
One Month Into Atopy Treatment
You can see for yourself in the pictures, Harry’s eyes were brighter after a month of treatment, his neck skin was still bald, but not hot and red from inflammation. The fur on his neck had started to grow back, although it was still dry and dull and the skin was still bright pink.
Harry’s treatment included antibiotics (chosen based on a culture and sensitivity of the skin), anti-fungal oral medication (chosen after a liver blood panel showed he could handle processing the drugs), medicated shampoo twice weekly, vitamin and omega supplements, steroids to calm his immune system, fresh, organic food (in this case The Honest Kitchen Zeal line-caught haddock formula), and oral prescription flea preventative medication (because his skin was so abnormal we thought topical products might nit work well.)
Harry tolerated his meds well. At the one month recheck, he looked 50% improved. At the 2 month recheck, he was like a new dog!
Two Months Into Atopy Treatment
“It’s like we got our puppy back!” said Harry’s mom at the 2 month recheck. “He’s playing and running and loving us like he hasn’t in years.” We discovered Harry was depressed emotionally and energetically by his skin disease. His atopy was a mostly genetic predisposition to react violently and urgently to potentially normal things in his environment, like grass and oak trees. Then infections compounded his discomfort. After years of piecemeal treatment, he needed a professional to oversee his recovery.
Imagine 5 years of itch and grease and smell and withdrawal from his family, fixed in two months!
Harry now eats his special food and he is experimenting with fresh prepared food based on a nutritionists custom diet we had made for him. He takes Omega fish oil supplements and he has a special routine shampoo that moisturizes his skin. He takes no steroids or other prescription medications, except his monthly flea and heart worm preventatives.
Harry’s mom says,”We couldn’t be happier.”
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