Ihad a terrible scare the other day with the dogs. Both of them got out of the house and went tearing down the road; across neighbors lawns and up and down the sidewalk! Nicki (looking like a black greyhound) apparently had no concept of cars killing her and luckily Justin was brave enough (or crazy enough) to jump out into traffic and stop all the cars! Sara, Justin and I went frantically running after them, calling them, yelling at them, doing everything we could think of to get them to at least stop. Luckily all the cars stopped where they were and watched the scene unfold. There was a line of traffic stopped in both directions and I barely had time to acknowledge that in my desperate attempt to grab Nicki's collar as she went zooming by me. I failed to catch her and I swear she was having the time of her life! Neither of them seemed to remember a single command they've been taught.
After a few terrifying minutes (that seemed like slow motion hours) Bell decided she had to take a dump and she decided to do it on my neighbors lawn. (the guy that is REALLY finicky about his lawn being perfect too!) I managed to grab her collar and prevent her from running anymore. Nicki, being the pack animal that she is just had to swing back to find out why she was running by herself. Justin managed to snag Nicki when she came to check on Bell.
That was one terrifying few minutes! Once we had both dogs in tow I waved to all the people in the cars and thanked them as loudly as I could. Some of them waved back at me and most of them had smiles on their faces. Perhaps they've had the same thing happen. Perhaps they just enjoyed the show. I don't know. But I was deeply grateful to all of them for stopping no matter what their reasons may have been.
A little while later I made a trip to Petco and purchased two stout "runs" made of covered wire with sturdy clips on them. I had both dogs outside with me while I weeded my garden. They were safe and I was happy to have them outside and enjoying the sunshine. We were outside for a little over an hour and when I finished weeding I figured it was time to untangle them and take them inside with me. That's when I found a mass of small, blood red, spots all over Bell's belly. Nicki was the same. I knew they must be bites from something but I've never seen bite marks like that before. I took them both inside and washed their stomachs with a shampoo product I had just gotten from the Vet for the slight rash they both have on the belly. They weren't bothered by the bites so I forgot all about it for a few hours. Later when I looked at Bell's belly again I found the spots had flattened and spread out. The same was happening to Nicki's bite marks.
Not knowing what they were from I had taken pictures of both dogs stomachs earlier. I now took more pictures to show the difference in the bites after a few hours. Within a couple of days the bite marks were completely gone. I still don't know what they were from but I'm worried about putting them outside if it's going to happen again. For any of you that may have seen this before these are the pictures I took. The first picture is immediately after being bitten. The second picture is the bites a few hours later. Have you seen this before?
Incidentally, both my girls have a green "X" on their belly. Nobody knows what it's from but my guess is that it's from when they were spayed. They were both very young when they were spayed as is customary in shelters. I think someone marked them for the spay procedure. X marks the spot to cut. My Vet laughed when I said that but said it could be true. We'll never know for sure but it's permanent.
You know how you always hear that old expression...look what the cat dragged in? Well look what Bell dragged in!
She does this type of thing all the time...grabs stuff from outside just as we're going in the house. I usually don't see it but I catch her chewing on something and take it out of her mouth. Nine times out of ten it's something small and stupid...like a leaf or a nut. Tonight she outdid herself and snagged a good size piece of pine tree. Luckily I saw her proudly trotting by Nicki with it in her mouth, no doubt on her way to the living room to munch on it. I couldn't help but laugh at her. She's so serious about her antics. I think she really thinks it's ok to eat these things and has no idea why I keep taking them away from her.
Well Bell had an appointment with the Vet but Nicki just had to come along for the ride. I couldn't stand the thought of Nick sitting at home in the pen while I took Bell to the vet so what the hell...I took them both.
Once again Dr Aronson talked me out of doing the allergy testing. The guy is quite persuasive to say the least. He said he didn't have a lot of confidence in the testing (now he tells me!) because it doesn't seem to be accurate enough and he didn't want to waste my money. (I like the way you think Dr Aronson) I had many tests done with my previous dog and he's right. The tests really only give you a general idea of what the dog may be allergic to with food and external influences. It's not a guarantee at all. I couldn't help but wonder why we did so much testing with my other dog if he felt the tests weren't accurate. He volunteered that information before I even had to ask it. He said when they first came out with the test there was nothing to compare it to..no other tests had ever been available. As a vet he was thrilled to have a new tool to diagnose allergies in dogs. Over time they came to realize that the testing wasn't accurate enough to rely on for a conclusive answer but they learned meanwhile that good results could be had most of the time if they used probiotics with dogs that had allergy symptoms.
So it would appear that my dog Allie was somewhat of a test dog and we never knew it. The allergy testing we did with her over the years did give me a good indication of what she would react to with food. But the science had not been perfected and apparently it still is not perfected.
Bells symptoms are very similar to some of the early symptoms that my Allie had. Bell's ear is red and irritated; she has a belly rash; she scratches a lot and has more than normal shedding going on; and she vomits bile and/or her food (thank goodness it's only occasionally!). Nicki shares a few of these symptoms as well but does not have the same level of issues. Hers are a lot more subdued.
Dr Aronson was able to do a culture of the ear (just barely) and found that she has an overgrowth of yeast in the ear. It wasn't possible to culture the belly rash but it's assumed at this point that it is also a yeast issue. He treated her ear with some drops and rubbed it...she loved that! And Nicki was pushing her way closer to Dr Aronson the whole time to get some too. Nicki is an attention hog anyway. The ear medication came along with a body wash for the belly. I'm to wash the belly once a day and it's supposed to calm the area down and eventually return the skin to normal. Let's hope so!
We discussed what I'm feeding them as well. Originally I was giving them only people food and that's when the issues started. I then tried a couple of different dog foods with human food added. Still had a problem. Around that time the diarrhea issues kicked in as well. (remember that?? I do!) So I started doing more research on dog foods and finally came up with one I can live with and hopefully so can they. It's from the Honest Kitchen and it's a raw dehydrated food that requires that you only add a protein to the mix after it's re-hydrated. This seems to be working well. The only issue I have is the expense of it. It ain't cheap! And with two large dogs it goes rather quickly. But only having to add a protein really helps out a lot. In the long run it may actually save me money. Plus I don't have to do a whole lot of cooking for them.
So currently I am to continue treating the ear and washing the bellies and keep them on the new dog food. I am also staying with one protein source until the treatments are over so we can have a better idea of how they do. I'm using dairy currently as their protein. (cottage cheese; yogurt or shredded cheese) It's affordable and they love it. I've also been told to add back in the probiotic they were on for the time being as well. I just pop that in their food and they never even notice it's there. (although they do like the taste of it too) And now I'm keeping my fingers crossed!