Wednesday, 13 June 2012

That Dog of Ours

It would seem that Frankie is allergic to something in our home.  I know that it's something specific to here because whilst he was at Stokenchurch Dog Rescue (SDR), he was absolutely fine.  The scratching and biting started almost as soon as we'd got him home.  At first we thought it was an anxiety thing which is a perfectly normal reaction to the situation he suddenly found himself in.  Although he seemed to settle in here quickly, it's only now, 2 months later, that he is truly at ease.

So after consulting with SDR a few days after Frankie arrived, we decided it was best to take Frankie to the vet and have him checked over.  The scratching wasn't too bad but he had caught a mild infection where he'd broken the skin, causing him to keep scratching.  A course of antibiotics and steroids was prescribed which caused all scratching and biting to cease, almost immediately.  However, as we were nearing the end of the course, about a week later, the scratching and biting started again.  Another trip to the vet meant Frankie was to have another longer course of steroids.
This time, we were really hopeful.  Frankie was becoming much more comfortable at home and the steroids seemed to have done the job.  We finished the course with no scratching and biting and it looked like Frankie was in the clear.  As well as the steroids, Frankie was also put on Piriton, which is an antihistamine.  This is designed for people that suffer with hayfever and other allergies, to keep the symptoms at bay.  For the time being, he's on these permanently.

Unfortunately, a few days after the second lot of steroids was finished, Frankie started scratching and biting again.  We gave it a few days to see what would happen but it just got worse.  We took him back to the vet but due to needing a vaccination for kennel cough, Frankie couldn't have more steroids.  This turned out to be a good thing as the vet had to think about what she could give Frankie to help that didn't involve shoving drugs down his throat - something which I'm not keen on anyway.  She gave us some spray to put on once a day for a week, on all the areas that he was biting and scratching as well as some medicated shampoo to use twice a week.  I can tell you know that washing a dog whilst pregnant and trying to control an inquisitive toddler at the same time is no mean feat!
We stopped using the spray after a week and whilst it didn't stop Frankie scratching, it did seem to stop him biting himself and the sores that had developed were either healing or healed.  A few days later and Frankie was missing a lot of fur due to the intense scratching and biting he's been doing since we stopped using the spray.  Other than the steroids, the spray has been the most successful treatment so far.

Things continued to get worse so back we went to the vet again, this time for them to take a sample of skin to see if there were any tiny mites causing his irritations.  None were found but apparantly some are hard to find so more treatments were prescribed, including one for a certain type of mite.  We were told to use the spray again for one week as well as a couple of other bits.

That was almost two weeks ago and after a few days, Frankie was much better.  His skin was much less red and sore, his scratching was greatly reduced and his mood had lifted.  He was getting back to normal.  However, it does seem that it's the spray that is having all this positive effect as he had the last spray on Saturday and he's now back to scratching lots and I'm finding much more fur on the floor again.  We'll see how he's doing next week after spending 5 days at the kennels whilst we're away but it looks like another trip to the vet is in order.  Poor Frankie!

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