Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Spent-Dawg Talk

Torture is having 3 sweet, lovable dogs itching and scratching and miserable to one degree or another, and being unable to help them.

It started with Mojo and the infamous "Neck Thing" in July/August. Along with the weird swelling she suddenly was itching herself and losing hair on her back legs. Weird right? Steroids and antibiotics helped, and the neck swelling went away. She's still on the steroids, because the hair loss keeps progressing, although she seems comfortable now. This is a dog that has NEVER had skin issues in the 12 years I've had her. Mind boggling. The vet is no help, quite honestly.

The 2 goldens (particularly Lebowski) have had intermittent skin issues from time to time, but it's gotten much worse the last month or so. I woke up today to find a giant hot spot had erupted on Lebowski's backside. Samuel has a sore on his elbow. What the hell is happening to my dogs?

They have been treated for fleas (and I can't find any on them with a flea comb anyway-I literally check for them thoroughly every day.). We have hardwood floors with rugs that I vacuum every other day. We've cleaned all the furniture and bedding. Neither myself or Kyle is getting bit. The cats are fine.

Sorry, I'm just venting-it's so, so, SO frustrating to see my babies uncomfortable and not be able to help them as much as I want to. The vets will just throw all of them on steroids, which is not what I want. Symptoms have been controlled in the goldens with Benadryl-of course we ran out yesterday and that's when Lebowski's spot decided to bloom. We go through a tube of hydro-cortisone cream a week, if not less. I have started the dogs on Fish Oil, but they've only been on it for 2 or 3 weeks. I'm hopeful it will start helping soon.

Tonight I brought home Miles' MTG-hell, it works for EVERY weird skin issue my horse has, why not? I read some testimonials on-line and lots of people claimed it worked well for their dogs, and also I'm kinda desperate at this point.

OK, my dogs aren't miserable, but even their mild to moderate discomfort just kills me. I wish I could take it away from them and shoulder it myself. Mostly, I just wish I KNEW what the FRACK is causing it-I have racked my brain, and considered everything from food to bedding to water to detergents to bedbugs and nothing adds up. My best guess is it's something outside, something environmental. Hopefully lots of frost and snow will help. It is SOOOOO frustrating not being able to help them, or help them only a little.

So, that's what's stressing me out these days. Rode Miles tonight in the indoor, in the dark, with the rain pelting the roof, and it was better than a valium. Just what I needed to get in a better head space, forget all my worries for a few hours, and gain some perspective on the problem.

If the MTG doesn't help, or it gets worse, we will make yet another trip to the vet, and maybe demand some allergy testing or something-I'm sure it will only cost a paycheck or so *passes out*.

In the meantime, think calm, soothing thoughts for my boys and girl. They are such good dawgs.


  1. Poor babies!! OK, one of my dogs had a bad skin ailment a few years back. Vet was stumped, but ready to put my baby on steroids forever. We didn't want that, so as a last resort, we changed food, replaced all the plastic and ceramic feeding and water bowls with metal and started mixing steamed veggies in with their kibble. Her crusty rash disappeared! Vet couldn't believe it. If you have any plastic or ceramic bowls, I would ditch them.

    Regarding MTG, apparently it is amazing stuff - I have just started using it on Gem. I actually called Shapley's and the lady I spoke with said the only real problem with MTG is people applying it too often in an attempt to get hair to grow faster! :-) Good luck!

  2. Thanks Wolfie-I actually have heard that about plastic bowls but not ceramic-I replaced two of their plastic water bowls with ceramic. Maybe I should change those to metal too? Their main water bowl is metal...of course they don't drink from that one as often *eyeroll*. It's worth a shot...thanks!

  3. Yes-change their bowls. My childhood dog developed skin issues from his plastic bowl so my Mom (smart lady) was like "nothing lives in metal" so we switched and he was better.
    Food-what do you feed them? Are they allergic to food-I'm sure you've thought about that but there are some online recipes (I'd review with vet) for cooking for your dogs. See if that helps?? I, myself, have been debating about to do this or's a lot of work, and for 3 big babies-yikes. Crock pot anyone!? lol
    I hope your babies heal-I know it's probably eating you up!

  4. Our chocolate lab (one of our 3 dogs) got so itchy this summer (she's 3) and doesn't have fleas (we're vigilant because we know she's sensitive). We were already using metal bowls and high quality food. Not wanting to keep her on steroids, we switched her to an anti allergy food we get from the vet. We also used benedryl and slowly weaned her off it. It's worked, after months of our poor dog being deside her self with itchiness.

  5. Kristen - I really believe that switching to a higher end kibble and adding our own steamed veggies (broc, cauliflower, carrots) helped with the skin irritation. We just microwave them for a couple of minutes to soften them and let them cool before mixing them with the kibble. My sister has taken it to the next level and makes a huge special dog "stew" for her hounds once a month and then freezes weekly portions. Her dogs get a bit of stew mixed with their kibble every night. I am telling you it smells delicious!! :-)

  6. Like the other commenters, I wonder if it's the food. I had a cat when I was younger who erupted with itchy scabs and was losing tons of fur. He was allergic to cat food and had to be switched to an all meat diet. This was back in the early 90's before they had all this new, great specialty food. I hope that it is something that simple :). I'm so sorry, I know what it's like to watch a pet suffer and not know how to help them.

  7. Wow - I have the same issues with my two girls.

    They get monthly flea treatments without fail, and high quality food, but we do use ceramic bowls. There has never been rhyme or reason to the outbreaks, and I have been reticent to dose them up on steroids. Have tried Benadryl with some success and antibiotics when the sores get bad...

    Holy moly after dealing with this for twelve years if it comes down to using metal bowls...

    Thanks so much for the info - super happy I stopped in today. Good luck with your canines :)

  8. You guys are fantastic-thank you so much for all your feedback! Isn't it said how prevalent this is?

    So, I got the metal bowls today. I'm going to be diligent about cleaning them with soap and water before every use...I admit I would usually clean their other bowls, but sometimes if I was in a hurry they would just get rinsed or wiped out. No more.

    I'm also going to start all of them on Natural Balance dog food-either the venison or bison formulas. I used to have them on the duck formula, but I admit they would get treats and other things besides. I'm going to be super strict this time and JUST feed that food in dry and canned versions to see if that helps, along with some steamed veggies. I really don't think it's a food allergy thing, because they haven't had issues like this on the other stuff I've fed them (all of it has been premium food), but it can't hurt.

    The MTG seems to actually be working a bit-especially with Mojo, her skin doesn't seem as red and inflamed. The dogs smell like a combo of campfire and bacon grease, but what can you do? :) Thanks again all~

  9. Also, I really have tried the home cooked meal thing. It's just too, too hard with three big dogs-I honestly can barely cook for myself! It's also very expensive (of course, so is premium dog food these days). If I had just one dog or smaller dogs, maybe...

    What kills me is they have always had gorgeous, healthy coats, with the exception of when Lebowski is having an "episode". I get compliments on how shiny they are and how they don't have that "dog smell" a lot. Now poor Bowski looks like a sad case, with the hair on the top of his butt clipped away and a big sore underneath-though that too is looking not quite as angry.