Friday, March 10, 2017

Stella Update: March addition

We just had our monthly check up.  Much has happened in a month.  Mostly good, some bad, and mostly the bad is just annoying more than anything.  

Tell us how you really feel Stella!  Well after her last appointment, she developed what I thought was either a)allergies or b)fleas.  I was leaning towards fleas, even though I couldn't find a flea on her, as she was biting at her tail head and scratching.  Nothing had changed as far as diet, so I didn't think it was a new found food allergy.  I kept waiting to see fleas on any of them but nothing.  I did note that deuce seemed to be itching too, but not harley which would indicate seasonal allergies more than fleas.  I put all of the dogs on fish oil, as I did notice that her skin was very dry and flaky looking.  

The itching and scratching got the point where she was loosing some hair. I had contacted KSU about what to do, since my appointment was not till march 10th.  They said to try her on the generic zyrtec like Deuce took, to see if that would help, and to go ahead and treat for fleas, even though we had not seen any.  She actually started running a fever at one point, and I was really worried that steriods might be the only answer, and or we might be headed for a flare of her IMPA.  She was just acting like she felt rotten laying around, not being my shadow, and not being her normal naughty self.  A couple of days post antihistamine, she did improve slightly.  

She lost patches of hair on her elbows and the skin was pink and not happy, but that seemed to stop.  Her ears got a little goopy, but again not too bad.  Her symptoms weren't horrible, but they were there.  KSU suggested I take her to my local vet and let him treat her allergies as he wished.  

Of course when we were at the vet's office, she acted like she felt fine.  We decided to try Apoquel to treat her allergies.  While I am glad it isn't 6 bucks a pill like cyclosporine, I am still kind of in sticker shock at how much it cost.  I guess if it has no side effects like the roids, I will gladly pay the money. We should be to the lowest dose in a few weeks, which should make it go a little bit further.

KSU felt like this was a good plan, and while I am still concerned that the fish oil I put her on doesn't seem to be doing any good (but I am not patient and want results immediately:), I am willing to use the apoquel and see what happens.  She did stop all itching at least in my presence immediately, but just today has been itching some.  

KSU also decided to discontinue sampling both urine and blood once a month, as they don't feel she needs it.  We didn't discuss how often, as they wanted to wait till the results were in from this CBC, but they were thinking every couple of months at least unless something changes.  At this point, she is on the lowest dose of azathioprine, so we are going to stay the course on this one.  She is also pretty much back in the normal range for the shedding of protein in her urine, so we are going to re evaluate in another month or two about her enalapril dosage.  I am still trying to find the right amount of fish oil, the bottle recommends 2 pumps but I think she can handle more than that.  We are going to follow the dosage chart on apoquel for now and see what happens.  She is still on the joint supplement and will be for life.  

I have gotten mixed reviews on bathing her for skin issues.  My vet thinks it is a good idea to do some regular bathing with oatmeal shampoo and conditioner.  Stella's main vet at KSU was not sure, and her student talked to a derm vet on staff who said no that doing so will strip her natural oils too much.  I will probably just let it go for now, as her skin is pretty darn flaky right now.  We are doing lots of brushing, which is probably also contributing to her dandruff shedding, but I need to get her undercoat out.  She is finally loosing weight and is down 2 lbs now!!!  I am hoping I can keep up her 3-4 times a week 30 minute walks.  No running yet but I feel like we are so close to getting back to it!

All in all, other than the little loop she threw us for with the allergies, we are moving in the right direction!  Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers as they are working!!!!

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