My dog Cali has terrible allergies and she has already established them since she was actually a young puppy (I always joke that she is allergic around the world! ). Everything started with little red bumps on her cute little puppy belly. She has always eaten a top quality food so we have tried EVERYTHING to alleviate the itch. Each and every year the itching generally seems to become worse, and the “off months” where she doesn’t chew on herself has become shorter and shorter!
We have tried antihistimines, allergy shots, a raw diet, topical skin treatments, fish oils . . . take your pick, we’ve used it. Two summers ago I dealt with a very recommended Holistic vet. Cali ate a raw diet and took numerous supplements that it was hard to keep an eye on. It got to the point that she decided she just wouldn’t eat – she didn’t like having all of the pills tossed into her food, and she looked TERRIBLE! The vet stated that she was only “detoxing”. One night we came home and she is in a panic – her face was swollen and she was engrossed in red welts (we still have no idea what caused it) and that we needed to take her towards the emergency vet to get a steroid pills and shot. In regards to a week later she got a dreadful bladder infection (it always happens on the Sunday too . .so off and away to the emergency vet we went again! ). I spoke using the Holistic Vet the very next day and she explained Never to give her the antibiotic, she was still just “detoxing”. I had been angry – my dog was peeing blood (and in case you’ve ever had a bladder infection you understand how painful it is! ) I had been not about to make her suffer through it. Unfortunately, which had been the last time I spoke to the Holistic Vet.
I truly have confidence in holistic health. I want my dog to be as healthy as possible, but I decided that I couldn’t rely on all natural solutions when my dog was in crisis. I thought we would try again when she wasn’t in full blown allergy mode, but that never happened. A year ago, it seemed like her allergies lasted all year so when she got terribly uncomfortable I might take her in to obtain a shot of the slow release steroid. The shot gave us around three months of sanity and i also decided that since she was 11 years old, I would do the things i could to create her comfortable, even though steroids may have side cause and effects other conditions.
Six months ago we found another vet that has a theory that some dogs have problems producing natural steroid inside their body which is the reason their bodies overact to any allergen. (There exists a a lot longer, a lot more eloquent explanation with this, I just thought I would keep it simple with this post! ). We started giving her a really low dose steroid that is certainly biologically similar to the steroid she would naturally produce therefore far we have now gone the complete summer without ITCHING! I have to admit . . I have a little bit of guilt giving her a steroid. She takes 4 mg of methylprednosilone per day (she’s a 75 pound dog) and has had no typical side effects of steroid use (panting, drinking plenty of water, hunger). She looks great, is loaded with lots of energy and shows no warning signs of any problems. Anyone who has experienced to deal with allergies knows how frustrating it can be. My last vet basically explained that we had tried everything in his bag of tricks and that he didn’t really know what else to accomplish. : (
I can’t begin to let you know how nice it is actually to leave the house and never worry that if I get home, I’m going to get a bloody tail or paw to cope with. When Cali is itchy, she chews. Once she starts chewing, she can’t seem to stop and we end up in the vet. I adore the fact that she continues to be so relaxed and happy this summer. I suppose I feel guilty which i didn’t look for a “natural” technique of doing it.
Regardless of my guilty feelings, Cali is enjoying her summer rolling inside the grass, chewing on sticks, and swimming in the river! Don’t give up and don’t stop searching for a solution if you have a dog that suffers from allergies. . who knows what is wonderful for your puppy!
We started weaning Cali away from steroids because she was starting to have Cushings-like symptoms. She started having days where she would not eat and over the course of the next few months we discovered that she had cancer in her stomach, as we weaned her off the steroids. We lost Cali in May of 2013 at the age of 14 1/2.
We ALWAYS did what we thought was ideal for Cali and once we finally were required to make the very hard decision to terminate her suffering, I needed numerous questions. Did the steroids mask the signs and symptoms of her stomach cancer? Did they cause them? Overall, we feel as if we did everything we might to help keep her comfortable and give her a comfortable, happy life. I believe I would have done the same thing if I had to do it all over again.