November 23rd 2009 4:08 am
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We just wanted to pop in here and tell you how surprised we were this morning to learn Mr. Loki was Dog of the Day! What an honor!
We wanted you to know that my mom has been working reallllly long dayss since mid October and we have not been able to be out here and be as active as we want to be! Her classes will be done Dec 3 and we hope to be return out here so she can update you on what I've been up to lately.......
Namely, paw licking. I just can't help myself. It's all fun and games until someone gets the cone out!!! Mom says it's a soft one and it will help me not to lick...but when she takes it off...I still try to lick!! Do any of you guys have this issue? Mom says she doesn't want to give me medicine that will just dope me up....so with her crazy schedule she is still trying to help me to not lick my paws. I got one of my paws infected........
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone......we sure miss all of you!
Loki and Lisa
August 15th 2009 7:13 am
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Well, we had our follow up visit with the vet on Thursday 08/13 and Loki received a very impressive thumbs up and the vet considered his case resolved!
His hot spot on his paw had completely healed. His paw licking is now reduced by about 70% and we are just now on the 15th day. The vet thinks that after the doxepin has fully kicked in, we should see more of a reduction in paw licking and the balance of paw licking may be behavioral (habit) and I should just work on breaking his focus when he is licking...which I've already started. Whenever I notice him licking...I toss something at him or call his name and he forgets he was licking and goes on to something else. The vet decided to continue the doxepin 2X a day (still 25mg each dose) thru the first really good freeze. We'll start him up again in the late spring if he does well during the winter. The vet said he has personally had his own animals on doxepin year round for years and so he didn't believe there were any long term adverse side effects. The vet put him on 3V Fish Oil capsules - 1 capsule every other day.
We had lots of questions for the vet. I wanted to make sure the whole bathing thing 1x a week during allergy season was ok for the dog and with the shampoo/conditioner we are using..it's perfectly fine.
He evaluated the EVO Red Meat Small Bites and gave it a huge thumbs up too. He didn't think Loki's allergies were the result of food. His only comment was that if a dog was suffering from a food allergy..EVO RM would be a nightmare because it has so many different (good ingredients) ingredients. He calculated Loki's daily caloric intake and I was right on the money with the vet's calculation.
We did try to find calorie counts on some snacks he likes and when I couldnt find a calorie count..I knew it was bad news, so he won't get those anymore. I did get a bag of Innovo snack biscuits and he likes those. We also have a few bags of I-Vet snacks which are low in calories also. I also give him Pro Treat Freeze Dried Liver snacks. He will also get 2 pill pockets (beef flavored) every day..but those were 11 calories per pocket. The vet said it was fine for me to scramble an egg for him no more than 3 times per week. He can also have carrots and green beans and peas..apples in moderation. No grapes or raisins and no onions or garlic.
I did ask the vet about a rotation diet on dog food, because I've read where quite a few people do this. I had discussed with him...for the EVO, Loki only gets 2/3 cup per day, split into two meals. It looks like "sprinkles in his big bowl"! However I said..I get that this is my human perception that it might not be enough food...he said it's exactly the right amount and he laughed and gave me props for training myself instead of the dog!! He said he personally recommends never switching a dogs food out when you find one that really works for your dog, unless your dog has a good reason on why to change..like age bracket/diet, etc. etc. Dogs do not get bored with their food like humans do..and again he thinks that a rotation diet is a human's perception of a dogs boredom with food. He said that in his 20 years experience, rotating dog foods will lead to bad news, because it creates a finicky/picky eater that you have to coax to eat! I thought that was interesting feedback!
We have had some GAS tho....whoaaaa! Never seen such a small dog clear a room..for a few days I thought I was living in fog and he was going to killlllllll me!! BOL! However, that too has slacked off in the last 24 hours. We are down to 2 more days in the dog food transition and we are now at a 75/25 mix and then we are completely into the new food..which by the way he gobbles right up immediately when I sit it down. We no longer have any food sitting in the bowl between meals.
We went for our monthly grooming visit yesterday and my groomer is so awesome. She has no problems using our shampoos/creme rinse. I'm so jealous - of course she has the equipment to be able to teather the dog in a large sink w/splash guard so he got his 15 minute soak for both shampoo and creme rinse. She also switched his bathing routine..and we shaved him wayyy down this time FIRST and then he soaked in his oatmeal stuff. He got his monthly dose of K9 and we split the application in two spots - between shoulder blades and at the base of his hinney right by his tail.
I was so hugely relieved to find that through a combination of things...the antihistamine, the baths, a better food, better control over his daily caloric intake..reducing dust in the house and a new bed...will very likely result in problem solved!
For the past few days Loki has been full of energy and just happy happy! Of course this makes me...happy happy!!!
August 11th 2009 6:00 am
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Loki was diagnosed with what the vet believes are atopic allergies. Sometime early to mid July Loki began vigorously scratching his ears leaving big matts of hair. We had a trip the groomers - less than 24 hours home - still scratching more matts of hair in ears, which I'm cutting out as they happen. Looked in ears - had no odor - free of hairs - pinkish in color. We go for walks everyday since we don't have a fenced in back yard and July 29 I'm starting to notice Loki with a slight limp. Checked out his feet - didn't find anything. On the morning of July 31 he was really limping and he didn't want to go on a walk - which is significant - he lives for his walks.
We went to see the vet and he began to paint a very clear picture! Does your dog rub his face on the carpet? Yep. Does he lick his paws? Yep - sometimes obsessively. Scratching ears? Yep! As he asked all these questions - my first thought was hay fever..or allergies! Sure enough. He looked at Loki's paw and way down under the pad of his foot in the crack between the pad and his toes - he had licked a hot spot - which was not yet showing any discharge or order. No wonder on the limp! The ears were very pink and inflamed - but no infection or odor.
So, the doc prescribed an antibiotic injection, 25mg of doxepin 2x a day, ointment 2x a day for his ears.
I had just changed Loki from Iams to Science Diet (sigh) and so the vet wanted to know if his behavior had changed since the dog food and with the exception of ear scratching - no. The paw licking and face rubbing was just something he's always done. I felt awful for not recognizing my dog was having any discomfort at all.
So, on the way home from the vet's we stopped at PetsMart and I picked up a bottle of Earthbath Hot Spot with Tea Tree Oil. No oatmeal shampoos or conditioners (sold out). He goes to the groomers once a month - but I thought if his skin was itching - a bath would certainly help rinse out allergens. This was very helpful and I saw the scratching and paw licking reduce right away.
We then began to wonder about what doxepin was all about. I looked up the medication and initially flipped out as its prescribed for humans with suicidal tendencies and schizophrenia!! However, I dug deeper and I landed on a thread in dogster - and here we are! Thankfully Zeus' grandma had a shih tzu on Doxepin and I saw it referred to as the "wonder antihistamine" for dogs. So I felt better. I joined and got in touch with Zeus - and Zeus' mommy gave us lots of good information! We learned that it takes 2-3 weeks for doxepin to get into full swing. So we are faithfully taking our doxepin (with the help of beef pill pockets) everyday. Ointment in the ears every day!
Then I started to research dog shampoos. We finally decided on Doc Ackermans Oatmeal w/Aloe Shampoo and Nature's Specialties Oatmeal Creme Rinse, which I ordered online. About five days after first bath, licking is on the rise again as is the scratching. Don't have my dog shampoo yet - so we do another Earthbath! Again, this seems to bring a lot of relief.
We found the thread on food and nutrition and I was horrified to learn that I am feeding my dog a very yucky dogfood. *Sigh* My thinking was I need to do anything I can do to curb this situation so that we are not faced with shots, expensive allergy testing, etc. So off we go to the local pet supply and come home with sample bags galore and we began taste testing with 3 bowls of samples. He didn't care for California Naturals, Fromm (any flavor), Wellness Brand and I forget the few others. It finally came down to Innovo or EVO Red Meat, which gave me sticker shock!
Thanks to Sedona and a few great threads in the thread and nutrition forum, we learned what Loki's general caloric intake should be; he weighs 17 lbs and his daily intake is generally 302 - 375 cals per day. The recommended serving size was 1 1/8 cup. 1 cup of EVO RM had 487 calories - so we didn't need that much! When we worked the math, we found that we could afford the EVO RM. We are now mixing it in with his SD at a rate of 50% and we will do this for 10 days.
I did get a recommendation of Malaseb shampoo and Pledgets that look like little Stridex acne pads that are great for using in between the toes and around your cute little smooshed facial folds. We did check out the Malaseb shampoo (which of course this recommendation came AFTER I purchased the Doc Ack) and for now, it seems a little over the top! I have read some really heartwrenching posts where some dogsters have really bad problems that cause really bad hair loss, bleeding, etc. etc., and Loki's plight seems to have not reached a stage like this. We've decided to shelve the Malaseb until we find a severe need for this!
We did try the home remedy of dissolving 2 aspirin in 2T of alcohol, steeping a tea bag in 1 cup warm water and then mixing and using as something to dry up his hot spot on his paw. I checked his paws last night and the hot spot area is completely healed.
I've taken other steps to improve the home environment! I now give the carpet a good vacumn every few days and I'm having the carpets cleaned at the end of the week. We are going as soap and chemical free as we can on the carpet cleaning. I did purchase a new bed for him. He's had his old nuzzle nest since he came home to live with me..it's his favorite thing - but I'm sure it's chalk full of mites - so I just got an exact replacement for him and it should be here any day! I'll put the new bed down on the fresh clean carpets!
Today his licking seems decreased by about 60% which is significant I think. Still itching a bit - but we have so much change going on! I have noticed that his tongue is a bit cooler when he kisses me and yesterday I noticed his nose being dry - but he's drinking plenty of water and eating food like there is no tomorrow. Did call the vet and the vet thought it could be a slight side effect of the doxepin and if he was doing good otherwise - things are fine. We have a follow up visit with the vet in 2 days!
Loki has vomited twice in the past 11 days. He's been on the SD/EVO for 4 days now - today is the 5th. So one bout of getting sick b4 I introduced the EVO. Thinking it might just be all of the change and the meds - but I do note that other dogsters report vomiting in dogs with EVO RM. Will just have to keep my eye on this. We understand that SD is very bad..and Iams..very bad and when you switch foods, there is a period of purging (so to speak) of all the bad stuff..makes sense in the waste and vomit factor. So we shall keep our eye on this! Not sure what kind of reaction the dog would have that tells me this diet is too rich! I feel like a dork for letting my dog suffer with allergies and feeding him crap for 4 years. Now is a good time to note that I am a first time dog owner! I'm learning new stuff all the time!
So far my price tag for all of this sits at about $325 plus the cost of having my carpets professionally cleaned ($140). I can enroll Loki in my Walgreens Prescription Savings Club membership and I can get a 90 day supply of doxepin for $24.00, which is doable! My hope is that we can manage his allergies on doxepin until the weather freezes and slowly try to wean him off to see what happens. If this works, then next year in June we will start him on doxepin again and be prepared for the allergy season of July, August and September to hit. So far this is just a theory!
I just wanted to jot our experience down so that I can keep track of whats what and how things go on a daily basis from here on out!
If our diary entries help one other member, it will all be worth it! Our hearts go out to all those doggies who are allergy sufferers.
Loki and Loki's Mom
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