Sunday, January 9, 2011

a dog without fur


Last week's notes:

Now that Ellie is slowly fading from a Collie to Chinese crested, it's been a bit disturbing. Yes, I am upset that she's in pain. Incessant itching is not fun, as I know from my own endless bouts of poison ivy. But there is something about a dog not having the proper fur that is upsetting. Like anything that takes away their doginess, like a lack of a proper tail, ability to walk or play, it disturbs.

The dog nature is to be happy, to pursue all things instinctual, like finding food, wrestling with other pups, chasing cats and other small creatures. When something takes that away, I am depressed for them, because they are closer to human-ness in a way. We humans are so burdened by the demands we place on ourselves that we hardly remember to take pleasure in the immediate: walks, fresh air, springtime, meals, and naps. Life becomes a chore for us. Can you tell I'd rather be a dog? Oh yes please make me one in my next life.

I really hope Ellie gets better. We have an appointment tomorrow at the vet. This past 6 months has been full of dog and cat medical issues: Zuki's death, Foucault's lily-eating and subsiquent 3-day hospitalization, Heather's blood clot and death, Sienna's chocolate eating ER mess, and now Ellie's iches that have progress and are undiagnosed. It's been a tough time.

Ellie finally got diagnosed with mange. Once Sienna started itching and even I had a tiny rash (which I thought could have been just dry skin, it was so mild), I knew it probably wasn't allergies.

Our vet had done several skin scrapings and not found any mange. Finally a dermatologist diagnosed it though not finding the mange but the droppings and eggs. I wish we had gone to a specialist much earlier. The downside to going was that she had to off her medications for about a week which really made her feel a lot worse. She was shedding loads of fur.

Notes about sarcoptic mange (contagious type):
  • Can be contracted from kayotes or from the groomer (the wet water keeps the mange alive)
  • Mange don't live long off the dog, unlike fleas their life cycle is shorter.
  • Mange can take awhile to progress, Ellie has likely had it since we've had her, for 4 months but took awhile to get this bad, one reason why it's often misdiagnosed.
  • Mange is contagious from dog to dog, but not very contaigious to cats or humans (they might get a mild irritation but nothing like what the dog gets).
  • All dogs in the house must be treated.
  • There is an internal medication but some breeds of dogs are prone to neurological disorders from it. Consult the vet for more information.
  • There is TONS of conflicting information and wrong information online about mange (I know because I researched it!). In fact even some vets are misinformed. Consult a dermatologist for accurate diagnosis and information.
If I have one piece of info to pass on, I'd say if your dog has been a stray, to a groomer/kennel, or just around a lot of other dogs in the last few months and is itching, try to rule out mange with a dermatologist (who can catch it much earlier than a regular vet).

We are still not sure Ellie does not have food allergies so we will see once she has completed the treatment if she is still itchy.

We are glad she is itching a lot less now and losing less fur. Phew! Vet says it should all grow back.


Vegan Flower said...

That's got to be such a relief that she was finally diagnosed. I hope that her treatment goes well and that the mange disappears very quickly. It's always so horrible to see them in any discomfort. :(

Two Pitties in the City said...

I'm glad they did diagnose it. When I first adopted Miss M she had mange, but luckily the medicine cleared her up quite nicely. I hope it all starts working soon.

Kolchak Puggle said...

Poor pup! Mange is NO FUN AT ALL. To help deal with the itches, you could try giving her a human-grade fish oil caapsule with breakfast and dinner. Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and it's helped work wonders on my allergy-ridden brother. Feel better Ellie!!