It has been a long itchy time for our Golden Annie. LONG...
Three weeks ago I finally took her to the vet since all I tried did not help.
Since October she has had a slew of hot spots and has had to wear a cone pretty much the whole time. I did what I could which is to cut the hair away from the hot spot, clean it well and put the cone on till it has healed. One would heal, I would take the cone off and within days a new one appeared. Repeat this over and over. I took her in for baths with the groomer since it was too cool to do it at home. I had hoped that maybe the cleanliness would help but it didn't.
She itched all over. At night while we watched TV she would come up and rub her tush on the sofa which made her look like she was doing the rumba. All we needed to do was add some good music. Just touching her she would start the scratching with her skin crawling under your hand.
I would spray her with Relief, a topical spray that is suppose to sooth the skin but that did nothing. I started giving her Benedryl which helped because it makes her drowsy but doesn't last long.
The holidays were tough. Wearing her cone gives her a satellite dish look about her which we can laugh at but the itching isn't funny. Aside from my Love and I, who wants to have a large dog rubbing her body on any passing person? Our poor Annie was miserable.
Over the years Annie has had many skin issues. In the past it was seasonal....Late Summer / Fall and then a brief Spring fling. There were many times I would bring her in because her belly was so red and irritated that she was prescribed antibiotics and steroids which always did the trick. Hot spots have been a problem in the last three years. Disgusting and ugly. The last one was on the cheek of her head. I couldn't figure out how she could even get one there. I dutifully cut the hair away to promote healing and checked it daily to make sure there was no oozing. The hot spots seem to take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to be healed with the drying of the scab to be around week three. Hair regrowth doesn't come back for several months.
This has been by far the worst she has ever had. Our visit to the vet we talked a lot about the causes of potential skin problems. A) Fleas.....no fleas on her at all so we can't blame this on the cats. B) Seasonal allergies....this has lasted 3 months!....not sure, but this is what I first suspected. The vet. tech. said they have had a bad year for seasonal allergies for dogs. C) Food allergies.....
Years ago with our previous vet who retired (darn....) we tried the food change to rule this out. I put Annie on Lamb and Rice food....I tried several brands over the course of 4 months. At the same time we did antibiotics and a dose of steroids and she was clear in less than a month. I kept her on that food for many months but it was so expensive that I found a different food of high quality and she seemed fine on it all these many years. It was only this past August that I thought I should put her on a Senior food because of her age.
I had already changed her food right after Christmas just to rule out a food allergy. She had only been on it for one week when we saw the vet. He gave Annie a steroid shot but since she had no sign of any bad rash on he did not give her any antibiotics. For two weeks she didn't itch. One day after the two weeks had passed and I had told the vet she was fine....what should happen? She started getting itchy!!! About this time I noticed in her food bin the old food at the bottom mixing in with the new food. I asked my Love why he didn't completely take out the old food because if that is the problem she can't be eating it. Oh.....So....is the itching back because she was eating food that was causing the problem? Great.
I went down to the pet store and bought a new bag of dog food, trying Duck and Potato this time by Natural Balance. $34 dollars for about 17 pounds of kibble! Now we have to wait to see if the mixed food upset the skin and started the scratching or rule it out as food related. Next step will be back to the vets if she stays itchy or gets worse. Prescription medication? Oh I hope not. In the meantime I will get her bathed again and keep my eye on her closely. We don't want any hot spots surprising us.
Now to really stir the pot.....Stewie who never, never gets itchy started getting itchy five days ago. What gives? I gave him a bath today since he can fit in the kitchen sink. He is itchy on his tush.
And the cats....they are doing just fine. No fleas, no scratching...nothing. Lucky kitties.