Dog Days

December 13, 2010

Well, it’s far from summer (you should look out my window and see the results of our latest storm; it’s still snowy and windy). But the dog days are here… our poor dog, Kizzy, is still miserable from her “seasonal allergies.”

We are at our wits end with her, and I’m sure she feels the same. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be so uncomfortable in your own skin (literally) every single day.

Her issues began maybe six months after we got her (she was 17 months old when we adopted her from our local animal shelter, and is now over six years old). She had terrible fall allergies that kicked in around August or so. Ragweed, most likely.

It grew from there. She started getting them in the spring, too. And then the itching lasted through the summer, too. And then, last year, it didn’t end after the fall allergies were over. Nope, they kept right on going.

We’ve pretty much tried it all. Changed her dog food a gazillion times. Allergy shots. Natural therapies. Sprays, powders, creams. Prescription shampoos. Benadryl. Serious medication (i.e., prednisone, an evil evil little pill that WORKS WONDERS but has some terrible side effects). We’ve worked with vets. We’ve worked with a natural animal health “guru.” And still, she itches.

We recently tried to wean her off of her prednisone. Again, big mistake. But at what point is enough, well, enough? It’s not meant to be used long term for allergies. We can’t stand her when she’s on this medication; she spends her days licking the floor with a cracked out look in her eyes. At the same time, at least she’s comfortable?

After doing some research, I decided to give one last thing a try. Another diet change. This time, no more kibble (even though we fed a very high quality dry food that has cost us quite a bit of money, I think she may be having issues with the processed kibble). I’m now making her food. Fresh meat, carrots, eggs, pumpkin puree, etc. It’s worth a shot. And we’re supplementing with “The Missing Link,” which is supposed to help fill some of those nutritional gaps and has helped many dogs with skin issues.

At this point, I don’t know what to do anymore. I hope this works. If not, we’ll try an elimination diet. Our vet said the next step is allergy testing and shots to build up her immunity to the things she’s allergic to, but it doesn’t always work (actually, it OFTEN doesn’t work) and it’s very expensive. We’re down to pretty much one income right now and we have an infant. It’s just not in the picture, especially with our other (older) dog having kidney problems now.

It’s frustrating to take good care of a dog, spend a lot of money on food and supplements, frequent vet care, etc. and still have a dog that wants to chew off her skin, gets frequent ear infections, and has regular anal gland issues. *sigh* It takes so much energy. We spend so much time just trying to stop her from itching (she will get into a zone and itch or chew, especially if left alone, which only exacerbates the problem). And she spends so much time trying to free herself of this misery, and trying to find ways to itch so we won’t notice.

When it rains, it storms, huh? Only around here it winter storms.

Today, I am cautiously optimistic. She’s less red today. She’s currently snoozing peacefully. Her skin looks more dry than irritated, so we have the humidifier running (darn dry winter air) and that supplement should help. Cross your fingers!

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