Friday, November 05, 2010

Hives and staph and allergies, oh my!

Dozer has allergies. (If you follow this blog, this is not new.)

They were once seasonal and a simple cortisone shot could get him through the worst of it, but for the last couple years, the allergies have been year-round.

Dozer's third and most recent bout of staph sent us to a specialist. Who knew there were canine dermatologists? And that there was a good one just around the corner from my house?

So off we went to the dermatologist. Her office was fancy. I think the level of office fanciness is a big clue that you're now in Specialist Land, because Dozer's orthopedic specialist had a similarly swanky pad. We're talking polished concrete floors, vaulted ceilings with cedar beams, a plethora of looming tropical indoor plants, huge windows gazing out into greenbelt. Nothing resembling the cheap white tile and plain white walls of the regular vet.

The new strategy is a food allergy trial, meaning a restricted diet. Dozer eats nothing but a special rabbit-and-potato kibble for the next six weeks or more. He can't eat anything with artificial flavors, meaning he has to have ivermectin instead of the standard beef-flavored heartworm medicine. A few natural vegetables, like carrots and pumpkin, are okay.

Dozer HATES his special food. I think it smells awful, so I sympathize. I mix canned pumpkin into the food and it becomes magically delicious. Go figure.

Dozer also got a four-week course of cephalexin to treat the staph infection. Those pills go into a spoonful of pumpkin twice a day.

Just when I thought, hey, we might get this stuff under control after all... HIVES. The worst case of hives he's ever had.

I have no idea what set him off, but when he came up to me on Monday morning looking unhappy, I noticed the raised red weals all over his stomach. Blotchy, but not horrible. Yet.

Day 1
When they didn't disappear in a few hours, I called the dermatologist. The dermatologist advised giving him four Benadryl every eight hours. Now, I know Benadryl is the popular solution for many histamine reactions like hives, and it does work well for some dogs, but for whatever reason, Dozer has never really responded to Benadryl. But then again, four Benadryl sounded like a mega-dose that nothing could stand up to, so I decided to try it.

Hello? Benadryl? You working?
By the next morning, Dozer was one giant hive. His stomach was red as a tomato (and turning purple and even brown in places), his feet were puffy like marshmallows, and the hives had moved into the areas where the staph was already a problem, so he basically looked horribly diseased. Through another phone consultation, the dermatologist agreed I should take him to our regular vet for some serious intervention.

At the regular vet (who said, without batting an eye, "Wow, his skin is really inflamed"), Dozer got a cortisone shot, and some take-home prednisone pills for the next week.

Day 2

The dark spots aren't freckles--they are uber-hives.
Dozer's stomach is usually uniformly pale.
 It took another 24 hours for the swelling to go down. Dozer gets two cephalexin and a prednisone pill twice a day. Here we are four days after the initial event, and he still has blotches and scabby spots.

Sure wish I knew what happened so I could get rid of whatever it is/was.

Anyway, I'm still hopeful we can get a handle on his allergies, despite this ridiculous setback. We may resume allergy shots if the food trial turns up negative for food allergies.

Here is a totally off-topic closing quip for your enjoyment.

Text message exchange between me and my sister:

Me: i wanna put my recycling in your receptacle

Sister: dirty


Raising Addie said...

Oh my poor Dozer!

He must be soooo uncomfortable. We sure hope he gets better soon.

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie, Lucie and Hailey

H Ski said...

Wow, that is quite a reaction. I hope Dozer is feeling better.

forsythia said...

Poor Dozer-Baby.

Kari in WeHo said...

Poor Dozer :( That looks just terrible


Leila said...

I'm so sorry that Dozer is going through this. We're sending lots of healthy vibes your way from Richmond.

Leila, Quizz & Charlie, the Cat

JackPDB said...

Ouchie! That's making me squirm even to look at. Hope Dozer's feeling shipshape and Bristol trim in no time!
- - - - - - - -
dog beds and more

Daisy Dog said...

Oh Dozer!! OWWIE!!!! We are so sorry you are having such a bad time with your allergies :(

We have Daisy on Zyrtec too, which is a daily allergy pill, and she gets allergy shots every 3 weeks. But those are from the serum that was prpared after determining her allergies from her blood. She still has lots of problems, but never like what has happened to poor Dozer!

Refracted Lite said...

My pit woke up with hives this morning. I gave her a couple Benadryl. It does seem to help though makes her sleep. She seldom has any problems health wise. Before we ended up with our pits - we just had two dogs a Jack and (still with us) Bullmastiff. Our Bully came from a breeder who fed BARF / raw meat mix. We in turn did the same. Before we got Sophie (bully) we had a Lab/chow mix who got allergies so bad he was also on a regiment of prednisone but had to put him down. We are convinced that if Otto had been on a raw diet he would have died from old age instead. The pits are a unique situation here at home and we feed a close to raw as possible with raw meat also. Thought not perfect as close as we can be with 3 large dogs. You have a great looking dog. Feel free to check ours out at
Great name "Dozer" hope he's all healed up.