Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No bones for Sensi

Sensi has food allergies. I’ve been blogging about this all year; his allergies exploded in late December and we’ve been dealing with getting him healthy again ever since.
Part of getting him healthy means going through food trials, a process of elimination used to find out what he is allergic to. He is on a very strict, prescription diet. One week, we add a novel protein like chicken or beef, to his meals. The next week we take it away and watch for symptoms, then start all over again.
We’ve gotten through chicken, salmon and pork with no allergies. Last Wednesday, I started the test for beef — a product he tested allergic to years ago when we went through food trials.
I was hoping for a miracle; hoping that his allergy might’ve magically gone away after all these years that we’ve starved him of bones, rawhides and beef-flavored anything.
I didn’t get a miracle. Sensi is still very, very allergic — proven by his severe reaction to the beef test.
We started the test on Wednesday. By Friday, he seemed very sensitive to petting; hardly a pat on the belly would get that back leg thumping. He was itchy.
The sensitivity continued on Saturday, but he wasn’t scratching or licking himself too badly, so we continued.
On Sunday, he was scratching and licking persistently. Then, the dreaded head shake began at about 4 p.m. What’s so bad about a head shake? It indicates a problem in the ear, usually an infection.
We stopped the food trial promptly, bathed him in a prescription shampoo designed to kill any bad stuff living on the dog’s skin and used an anti-itch leave-in conditioner. He then got some Claritin and later, I applied some hydrocortisone cream on some scratches under his armpit.
By Monday morning, only one armpit looked bad still, but it did look considerably worse. The scratches were puffy and swollen like a Staph infection had moved in. More hydrocortisone, more Claritin and off to work I went.
I got home at 10:30 last night and promptly sat down to look at Sensi. I was mortified at what I saw — a cherry red lesion had spread above his armpit, down his foreleg and on to his chest. Swollen, circular red spots were extending further on to his chest and belly like a rash. It looked painfully red and covered an area about six inches in length and four inches in width.
Luckily, we had leftovers of all his medications from earlier this year on hand. I pulled out the peanut butter and gave him a variety of pills — cephalexin, prednisone, ketaconazole and more Claritin. He looked better this morning, but I gave him another round of pills — minus the ketaconazole, he’ll get that tonight — before I took off to work.
And I took video too.
Take a look and remind yourself that a food allergy can wreak this type of havoc on a dog.

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