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Author Topic: UPDATE on Sudden Allergic Reactivity at Age 7: Page 2, She has MANGE :(  (Read 10109 times)
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« on: March 04, 2017, 12:56:32 PM »

Hi, everyone!! I wanted to pop in here and post about my poor Bella, who is having a very itchy time lately. She's been eating Acana dry food, produced by Champion in Canada, for years now. Recently, a production facility was opened in Kentucky for the US-based costumers and the formula was changed. Well! Throughout the month or so of her eating the latest bag of Acana (our first one from the US plant), Bella has developed a pretty severe food allergy! It took a few weeks to figure out the source of her problem, but she's now on steroids and antihistamines and an ear flush routine.

She's comfortable on the medication, but I am so nervous about her developing Cushings from the steroid. I've switched her food to Wellness Simple (completely as of yesterday) and she is supposed to taper off the medication starting in about a week. My fingers are crossed that she will be okay by then and not need additional meds. Apparently, it can take 4-6 weeks for a food allergen to stop causing inflammation. Cushings becomes more likely after 4 weeks of steroids.

I wanted to come here to post because I wanted to make everyone aware of the food change in case anyone else is feeding Acana, especially in the US, so you can be aware of the changes and watch for issues. Of course I googled and found a number of horror stories about the formula changes, including one death that sounds like it's linked. There haven't been any recalls. Some sites mentioned that the Canadian formulas may be changing also eventually. It was unclear in my research whether the problems are resulting from the new ingredients, or faulty preparation at the new facility. Many comments came up about the food being rancid or oily. Bella's first (and only) bag of their US-based food looked different but didn't set off any alarm bells. They did add herring oil to the ingredients, which apparently doesn't keep well.

Anyway, none of this is conclusive, and like I said, there haven't been any recalls, but I just wanted to share in case it helps someone!! I hope everyone is doing well.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 09:16:04 AM by BellasMommy (Kelly) » Logged

susie l
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 05:38:35 PM »

Thanks for the heads-up.  I've been feeding Olivia Acana Grasslands.  When I adopted her three years ago it was impossible to find a food she would eat.  I was overjoyed when she consented to eat the Acana....  She is such a picky eater....  Not a clue about the Acana issues... looked at Dog food advisor website and they certainly have many negative comments regarding the new formulations and the Kentucky plant.....  Thinking of trying Honest Kitchen.....

Hope that your sweet Bella continues to improve and not need additional meds.....
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2017, 07:59:02 AM »

Thanks for the heads-up.  I've been feeding Olivia Acana Grasslands.  When I adopted her three years ago it was impossible to find a food she would eat.  I was overjoyed when she consented to eat the Acana....  She is such a picky eater....  Not a clue about the Acana issues... looked at Dog food advisor website and they certainly have many negative comments regarding the new formulations and the Kentucky plant.....  Thinking of trying Honest Kitchen.....

Hope that your sweet Bella continues to improve and not need additional meds.....

I also had a terrible time finding a food that Bella would eat until we landed on Acana! Grasslands was the first one she ate consistently, but she's been on the Lamb and Apple and the Duck and Pear lines for years now. She's had minimal tear staining since. I suspect she has had minor allergies all along that were exacerbated by the new Acana.

So far she is liking and eating the Wellness food we switched to, but I know she is extra hungry due to the steroids, so it will be hard to tell anything until the meds taper off.

Anyway, I hope Olivia isn't affected by the changes!
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 11:18:12 AM »

I'm glad to read you have changed foods.  I didn't see that in your initial post (maybe I just missed it).

I've also seen many comments re the new formula.  WHY can't they leave things that work, alone!

She will only be on the meds a short time to address symptoms, so she shouldn't have any issues from those meds.  It is when they are used long term that issues really develop.

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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 01:53:36 PM »

I'm glad to read you have changed foods.  I didn't see that in your initial post (maybe I just missed it).

I've also seen many comments re the new formula.  WHY can't they leave things that work, alone!

She will only be on the meds a short time to address symptoms, so she shouldn't have any issues from those meds.  It is when they are used long term that issues really develop.



Thanks, Sandie! Yes, I started switching her even before the vet agreed that it was a reasonable assumption... nothing else in her life has changed and it was a pretty drama reaction that coincided exactly with the bag of new food. It only made sense. There are a ton of new ingredients that were added. I have a log of them so I can systematically see which are causing her trouble if she has any further issues.

Like you said, I don't know why they couldn't just leave things the way they were!
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 06:11:31 PM »

Abby had no allergy problems until just before she was 7 then they suddenly hit.The vets explained her younger body could cope with them and her slightly older one couldn't.We went for allergy testing which saved us a load of money and suffering straight away.Abby was allergic to beef,milk and Lamb so easy to sort out and no more problems.

I hope things settle down for you soon.
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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2017, 08:11:05 PM »

Abby had no allergy problems until just before she was 7 then they suddenly hit.The vets explained her younger body could cope with them and her slightly older one couldn't.We went for allergy testing which saved us a load of money and suffering straight away.Abby was allergic to beef,milk and Lamb so easy to sort out and no more problems.

I hope things settle down for you soon.

Thanks, Alison! I will ask for testing if she continues to have trouble. There is a canine specialist hospital near us that has a dermatologist that I may ask to see as well, if needed. That's very interesting that Abby's allergies started at the same age! I'm glad you were able to get to the bottom of them quickly.
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 03:45:15 PM »

I was so glad as we'd had a Westie that had a terrible time with allergies for many years.Allergy testing and internet weren't available then so we were delighted to know more and avoid all that suffering again.

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BellasMommy (Kelly)
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 07:27:11 AM »

I wanted to come back and update that, while the timing was quite suspicious, I'm no longer firmly convinced that the change in food is the source of Bella's itching. She's been on Temeril-P (steroid and antihistamine), apoquel, Benadryl, apoquel again, and now we are trying Cytopoint.

We've tried a few different limited ingredient foods that don't contain anything that was disclosed as an addition to the new Acana formula that she was on when her symptoms started. If she is having a food sensitivity, I can't seem to pinpoint it. The vet claimed that food allergy testing is so unreliable that they don't even offer it... I've made a specialist appointment at a hospital with a canine dermatology department, but we can't be seen until the end of April. I'm hoping this expert will be able to test her or suggest something other than drugs, drugs, drugs.
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 10:54:15 AM »

Oh darn!

Yes, I was also told the testing for food allergies is unreliable and not worth the cost. 

When you tried the limited ingredient foods, did you switch the protein source?  Protein is one of the most common allergens for pets.  Using duck, venison etc. may work.  Hope you get this sorted!
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 12:08:37 PM »

Thanks, Sandie! I hadn't switched protein sources at first because I thought it was a filler type ingredient that was causing the allergy. I just started the latest new food on Friday, so the jury is out on that one.

I wonder if it would be worth getting an allergy test for environmental allergens in case it is not at all food-related. I have long suspected a very mild grass allergy, although her extreme itching started so suddenly recently, seemingly out of nowhere. I don't know what could've sent her over the edge if that's it. Ugh.
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 11:19:46 AM »

I had a kitten with severe scratching, to the point of bleeding.  Had him in to the vet dermatologist, did the allergy testing; he was allergic to 3 types of trees, 4 types of grasses, all in my yard and / or neighbors.  Even though an indoor cat, the allergens would come in the open windows.  I did the shots, gave them to him at home, myself, for a year.  Then stopped.  Bobby is now 11 years old, never had an issue since.  So it can work and be very beneficial.  And yes, it is very costly.  Based on my experience, I recommend it.

One other thing:  did you change your laundry detergent?  My RB Sugar started scratching like mad, to the point of bleeding.  After several months, vet visits, food testing trials, I realized it all started when I go my new HE front loading washing machine, and had changed to HE Tidy.  THAT was her issue!  I spent a week doing laundry - stripped beds down to and including the mattress covers, up threw the bedspreads, pillows; laundered all our clothes, all the pet beds, pet toys, kitchen tea towels, everything that ever went through the laundry, I did.  If I recall I did something like 60 loads in a week.  That was it, solved her problem!

Oh, I had to do all that laundry with an HE fragrance free laundry detergent, which is what I have used ever since.  Brand is 365.
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 07:47:43 PM »

That's great news that you were able to help them recover from their allergies! We did switch detergents in the past few months, but we still use a free and clear formula and I don't use fabric softener at all. I will change back and see if there's any difference. At this point, we are weaning off the apoquel as the cytopoint is taking care of her itching for now. Supposedly the cytopoint injection will be effective for at least a month so it will be hard to tell which modifications are making a difference until the shot wears off. No good reason not to switch back to the old kind, though, so I will! Thanks for the idea. I am starting her on a totally new (to her) protein source, venison, in a limited ingredient food.

I will ask the dermatologist to do any and all allergy testing that's available. I would happily pay just about anything to treat the cause of her problem rather than just cover the symptoms. Allergy shots sound like the way to go if it's an environmental trigger.
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2017, 11:02:03 PM »

Just a mini update that we were back at the regular vet today and got a full environmental allergy blood test. I had them add the food intolerance and allergy panel as well, even though it is supposedly not very accurate and the vet was not keen on ordering it. After a series of questions, I learned that the food test tends to be overly sensitive and sometimes reads foods as allergens that may not actually cause any symptoms for the dog. Still, I think it could at least be a clue! I would rather needlessly avoid some foods she might be able to tolerate as long as there are other options for her to eat. We will get the results from everything in about a week.
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 09:12:27 AM »

Well, I think it was also a good idea to get it all done in one vet visit / blood draw!

Sure will be interesting to see the results. 

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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2017, 09:39:25 AM »

Thank you, Sandie! I really appreciate your help and support! Hugs!
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2017, 09:02:59 AM »

The results from Bella's allergy panels came back and she is allergic to... a lot... almost every single grass and tree, dust, etc., green beans, wheat, peanuts, rice, carrots, barley, soy, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes. I am meeting the doctor tomorrow to get the full list and to discuss options for her care. I also switched to The Honest Kitchen Turkey and Parsnip food, which doesn't contain any of her known allergens. I also ordered some paw wipes to keep by the door, so I can try to remove some of the pollen when she comes in from a walk.

I feel so bad that she had just eaten almost an entire carrot (during her Easter photo shoot) right before I got the call with her list of allergies.
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« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2017, 09:12:45 AM »

Also, I changed the title of the post since clearly the new Acana formulation was not itself to blame for Bella's troubles.
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« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2017, 09:17:33 AM »

Wonderful photo!

My goodness, that seems to be a very broad range of allergens!  Should be interesting to deal with.  I'm sorry you and she have to figure this out.
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« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2017, 09:24:15 AM »

Thank you. The vet was shocked by the results. I think they thought I was being dramatic about how uncomfortable she was. I know my baby!

If I didn't remember her adoption day so clearly, I'd swear she was my biological daughter, since I am allergic to the same environmental allergens!  Laughing

I have all this guilt about moving her from our paved city life to this grassy suburban neighborhood, and having two kids that drop crackers etc. The human kids are going on snack lockdown and will have to be stationary when eating from now on. (Not really a bad habit anyway!!)

Ugh.
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« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2017, 11:30:36 AM »

That's an adorable picture!! Darwin starting having allergies over the summer too- they figured it was redwood fronds and didn't test him. He did get much better in the winter, so I'm thinking that's right. We didn't change anything else. Good luck with Bella- at least now you know what to avoid (even if it's really, really hard to avoid all that).
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2017, 05:24:46 PM »

Thanks, Chris! Bella loves to model for me. 💕

It is good to have some answers, even though it will be hard to avoid many of her triggers. I am thinking of making an outdoor stone cover area by the house for her to use as a potty. Maybe some boots for the yard. She has always preferred to walk on sidewalks or pavement rather than on the grass. As you said, the winter should bring some respite.

Does Darwin take any medication?
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2017, 11:17:30 PM »

The medication is a long story. He had one cortisone shot, because he was having fairly severe symptoms (wheezing and skin secondary bacterial infection). After that, they gave him some sort of immunization against allergies. He also had a medicated shampoo. The knee issue followed and he was started on daily anti inflammatories. Honestly, I saw the biggest difference after the steroid shot, but I know that's not something to be taken lightly, and we won't be repeating it unless things are quite grim again. They told me I could use benadryl as needed, but I really haven't. The redwood fronds are just as common as dust here, but we had so much wind and rain this winter that it really did a good job clearing them away for the time being. We'll see.
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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2017, 05:41:57 PM »

Poor sweet little Darwin, he has been through so much. Steroids made a huge difference for Bella, too, but like you, I am very cautious of them.
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2017, 06:24:48 PM »

We saw the vet today and reviewed the allergy test results. For now, Bella will continue with apoquel once a day and we ordered the custom serum for her to start immunotherapy shots. They won't be effective for about a year if ever, but we are giving it a shot (pun intended).
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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2017, 06:21:49 PM »

Lovely pic ,she is so cute .At least you now know what to avoid .I know its impossible to avoid all those things, but at least you know what ones you can.I hope things get better soon. Alison
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2017, 07:05:37 PM »

Thank you, Alison! Bella will get the first immunotherapy shot tomorrow. I hope they help her eventually!

We are donating lots and lots of dog food and treats that she can't eat anymore. At least Bella will experience the joy of giving!!
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2017, 09:04:02 AM »

I have a shocking update about Bella. We finally had our appointment with the canine dermatologist at the specialist hospital and he was absolutely wonderful. He listened to my long and winding story about how Bella suddenly started with her extreme allergy, all the medications we've tried, different shampoos and groomers, the food changes, etc. Lota of details! At the time of our appointment, Bella was on Cytopoint and Apoquel, had started immunotherapy, and was still pretty uncomfortable and not herself. He thought there was more to the story than allergies, though she does have a lot of allergies.

By the end of the visit, he had diagnosed her with canine scabies, aka SARCOPTIC MANGE!!! How can sweet, loved, fluffy Bella have mange?!! I could die. Of course I did not believe it and interrogated him about how it could possibly happen since she lives a life of pampered luxury and is well-kept in our clean house. She's about as far from a junkyard thug as one could get!

Apparently, it is highly contagious between dogs, and I told him Bella has very limited interaction with other dogs. She hasn't gone to a dog park since we lived in the city, the Bichon picnic hasn't occurred since last spring, and she is only "friends" with our neighbor's dog who hasn't been sick. She had been to the vet many, many times since developing her severe "allergy."

He asked about the grooming environment and I told her that we had just (several days prior) found a wonderful new groomer who relocated close to our house and she only has one dog in the salon at a time. The two previous times we had tried having her groomed by a mobile groomer, who obviously only had one dog at a time in his van. The first time was just a bath and blowout to try him out and it went fine. The second time was a full groom and he only had Bella in the van for a little over an hour for a bath, blowout, and haircut. That is not enough time, so I suspected he was not being particularly gentle and careful. He mentioned that he had groomed 14 other dogs before Bella and was exhausted. I got a bad feeling about him. Plus, Bella seemed particularly relieved to get away from him. So, obviously we continued our search for a great groomer that isn't in another state. (Literally I had been dragging both kids across state lines an hour away every month and hanging around waiting to pick her up!)

The vet really honed in on the information about the mobile groomer and while he could not officially confirm that as the source of the scabies, he said that in a small contained space like the back of a van, it is exceedingly critical to thoroughly disinfect between dogs, and that if he or any groomer reuses a towel that has dried another animal or launders the towel at an insufficient temperature and dry time, it is very likely for the next dog who encounters the towel to be become infected. Sarcoptic mites can survive on surfaces for days.

He gave her an oral treatment that should completely rid her of the mites within a month, malaseb shampoo, an antibiotic, and instructions to stop the Apoquel at once. All of the steroids and immunomodulating drugs lower the immune system and have been making it hard for her body to fight off the mites. I am so upset. I feel like I failed her and she should have been treated for this from the start. I saw 3 different vets and asked all of them a thousand questions about why or how she would so abruptly have these extreme problems if not from the food changes. I feel like they should've done more, and ruled out scabies from the very start. Having now scoured the internet for knowledge about it, it seems so obvious that it should've been caught early. She presented as a textbook scabies case and not as a typical allergy patient. Standard practice is to treat for scabies if it cannot be ruled out, and then begin looking for allergic or other causes. Instead, I just came home with more and more drugs that were suppressing her ability to recover from the mites. I could just cry and cry, I am so beside myself. THANK GOD I kept the dermatology appointment even though I thought I had the answers after the allergy test. I honestly thought he was just going to give her a second opinion that we could only do so much since she was so allergic. I could've lost my sweet baby if she continued to go untreated and drugged with meds that gave the mites the upper hand.

Anyway, clearly I am not handling this well and I have barely slept because I am continuously disinfecting the entire house so bella doesn't get reinfested from any mites in the environment. I had to shave her beautiful fluff off and dip her in this disgusting sulfur product that smells awful and turned her remaining hair yellow. She has to be contained to a small area so she doesn't spread any mites around the house before they have died off. I have to change my clothes and shower after cuddling her, which I'm not even supposed to be doing, but YEAH RIGHT. Like I am going to let her go through all this and shun her at the same time? No.

The only positives are that now she can hopefully be cured of her dramatic recent symptoms, and the allergy shots may help her with her allergies eventually. I cannot wait to put this nightmare behind us!!
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2017, 09:34:56 AM »

Oh I somehow forgot to add that I had to take her to the ER because she scratched the entire underside of her stomach raw after we stopped the apoquel and as the mites were dying off. (They release all their toxins as they die and it is the worst itch a dog can experience.) They gave her an intramuscular injection of Benadryl and gabapentin, which is a heavy duty painkiller. They seemed to numb her just enough, but the disgusting sulfur lyme bath is what helped the most.

I'm just trying to put all the information in this post in case it ever helps someone.
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2017, 09:40:13 AM »

This is after the gabapentin, Benadryl, "haircut," and Lyme Sulfer dip. She looks like a bowl of Ramen noodles, and smells like rotting eggs, but she felt better afterwards so well worth it.
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« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2017, 10:05:39 AM »

Aw, just look at that happy bichon smile!  And after all she's been through, too!

Well my goodness what a tale!  Amazing!  And scary, too.  I am so sorry both of you have been through all of this.  Well, it sounds like you are now on a good path to recovery!  You didn't mention how long it will take to resolve the mite issue.  How often do you have to use the malaseb?  Is it twice a week for a month, or ????

And what good news that all the steriods have ceased!

As I recall, a specialist vet like a dermatologist normally provides a follow up report to the primary care vet.  But as you mentioned that you'd been to 3 vets, you may want to check which one he notified, and let the other 2 know as well.  Missing a mange diagnosis is appalling and scary!  Mange is a fairly common pet issue; yes, even with our spoiled bichons who are family and 'not dogs' lol.  Not sure how THREE vets missed it!  They need to know this, IMO.''

You did everything right: you got her in to a vet, when one didn't work you got her in to another; you did food trials, you did groomer searching.  You should be proud of yourself, that you persevered and found the answer for your baby!  Yes it took time, and sometimes diagnosis does take time.  In this case there were some missteps (from the sounds of it), but they were not YOUR missteps!  So please ease up on yourself and recognize that being a parent - to either a skin kid or a fur kid - is not an easy task!

Do let us know how things go, I see a much happier summer ahead for both of you!

PS I wonder if the mange / mites presence may have thrown off the allergy tests?  I am also surprised your primary vet did the allergy test; my cat had to see a dermatologist for the test itself. 
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« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2017, 10:40:42 AM »

Thank you for your kind words, Sandie!

The 3 vets who all overlooked scabies are at the same practice, so they did receive the report from the dermatologist. You would think they would call me to discuss it or apologize! There is only one other AAHA accredited vet near me and they have excellent ratings (though so does our current practice) so I am going to look into taking Bella there. They don't have emergency hours, but the specialty hospital where the dermatologist practices does have an ER. They were great when I took Bella in for her tummy wound.

I did notify my neighbor who has her dog on preventative treatment and the grooming salon Bella visited shortly before her diagnosis. The groomer was thankful for the information and said that she always disinfects thoroughly and launders towels properly, so hopefully none of her other clients got it from Bella. She is going to keep an eye out in case her other clients start itching.

At some point, when I have the emotional energy, I am going to think about contacting the a-hole van groomer, or posting something online.

The adult mites are probably killed already and I will continue to dip her every three days to make sure that any new hatchlings are killed before they can reproduce. Eggs hatch every 3-8 days. Malaseb is at least twice a week and she needs to be bathed before she gets the sulfur treatment, so those will happen together. Because Bella is allergic to the mites, she is going to continue to feel itchy for 2 weeks approximately until the burrows can start healing.  By a month or two at the latest the problem should be 100% gone. She is already more comfortable after the initial blast of die off itching. I think by next weekend she will be pretty much herself again, other than from a cosmetic standpoint! Her real beauty is on the inside and as much as I love her cuteness, it's her heart that makes her special to me.

That's an interesting idea that the mites may have affected the allergy test. Maybe I will have the dermatologist run it again or do a scratch test if she is still itchy after the mites are eradicated and she is healed. She did test positive for dust mites and storage mites. The regular vet was reluctant to run the allergy test as he said it didn't really make a difference in how to treat her symptoms. He especially didn't feel that the food allergy test was worth it. I literally said, I don't care, I want the test, here is my credit card, run it. So...
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« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2017, 12:18:46 PM »

Oh Kelly! I am just cringing for you! I hate bugs. Wait until your kids get to be school age and start bringing home the 'your child has been exposed to lice/ scabies' notes regularly. It's awful. The bugs don't care how clean you are and that you do everything 'right'. Apparently they don't think very much with their wee brains! What is also true is that vets and MDs and NPs are human. There is stigma attached to scabies and the presentation isn't always 'classic' so our brains subconsciously rule it out sometimes if it doesn't 'fit'.

We had a girl in the office about 10 years ago that we knew well, and treated the whole family. We treated her for weeks with steroids, antibiotics and creams until finally referring her to a dermatologist. Both my precepting MD and I saw her multiple times. Took the dermatologist about 10 minutes to diagnose scabies. By that time, multiple family members had to be treated prophylactically. I'm not proud of this, and actually still think about it fairly often, but I'm just sharing it to let you know that it happens to the best of us.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that this is a curable problem. Eventually, it will be just a bad memory. I'm sure you'll be traumatized a good long while, but time fades it, especially if this resolves her 'allergies'. Hugs to you though- it just sucks. As our vet said after darwins knee surgery: 'they don't remember yesterday, they don't worry about tomorrow, they just live in today'. For her, it's nearly over with great days ahead.
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« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2017, 02:47:53 PM »

Kelly, Sandie is right. You did everything you could have done. It's not your job to diagnose her; it's the vets'. In fact, I think you should feel good about how your perseverance resulted in finding the right solution.
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« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2017, 04:41:55 PM »

Aw poor baby.I've mentioned before that my Westie had severe allergies. She also had lots of steroids. That makes them immunosuppressed. She got so sad and so itchy and uncomfortable we even considered putting her to sleep as she was suffering so much.

We then found she had Mange.I was as horrified as you.Her low immune system put her at a higher risk of catching it.We had taken her to a groomer that wasn't the cleanest not long before.We didn't realise until we picked her up and she was so smelly.

It cleared up and although her allergies persisted they were never as bad as before and we never caught anything.The boys were young and I was very stressed at the time.

We found a great grromer afterwards that helped us with her all through old age and dementia.This was long ago.She was 16 when she died and several years before Abby came home.
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« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2017, 06:24:50 PM »

No advice to offer but just wanted to say I feel for you and your poor little one.  No need to beat yourself up - you have done sterling service and were let down by professionals who did not diagnose the problem.  But it is sorted so onward and upwards.  Fur grows, it just takes a little time.
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« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2017, 07:22:53 PM »

Oh Kelly! I am just cringing for you! I hate bugs. Wait until your kids get to be school age and start bringing home the 'your child has been exposed to lice/ scabies' notes regularly. It's awful. The bugs don't care how clean you are and that you do everything 'right'. Apparently they don't think very much with their wee brains! What is also true is that vets and MDs and NPs are human. There is stigma attached to scabies and the presentation isn't always 'classic' so our brains subconsciously rule it out sometimes if it doesn't 'fit'.

We had a girl in the office about 10 years ago that we knew well, and treated the whole family. We treated her for weeks with steroids, antibiotics and creams until finally referring her to a dermatologist. Both my precepting MD and I saw her multiple times. Took the dermatologist about 10 minutes to diagnose scabies. By that time, multiple family members had to be treated prophylactically. I'm not proud of this, and actually still think about it fairly often, but I'm just sharing it to let you know that it happens to the best of us.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that this is a curable problem. Eventually, it will be just a bad memory. I'm sure you'll be traumatized a good long while, but time fades it, especially if this resolves her 'allergies'. Hugs to you though- it just sucks. As our vet said after darwins knee surgery: 'they don't remember yesterday, they don't worry about tomorrow, they just live in today'. For her, it's nearly over with great days ahead.

Thanks, Chris! It is all very cringeworthy and I have been in the verge of a deep cleaning nervous breakdown since I got the news. It's making me feel like I'm doing something about the situation, so I don't just sit around feeling sad and angry. I mean, not like I'd be "sitting around" anyway - I do have two little kids! 😜 If/when my kids bring home lice, I may burn all our belongings in a fire and start over!!

I understand what you're saying about how a diagnosis can be easily missed if there is another more commonly seen issue. I am sure your patient from long ago understands and has forgiven any delay! You treated the likely issue and then thoughtfully sent her to dermatology when it wasn't resolving. It sounds like a different situation from Bella's because she did present classically for scabies. The dermatologist said he thought scabies the moment I had explained, and that she fit it perfectly. The way her symptoms came on and were so intense didn't fit with allergies alone. Especially at 7 years old and in winter! There's a reflex called pinnal-pedal that is a hallmark for scabies and Bella clearly exhibited it. Also, the patterns of her itching, the fact that it did not lessen at all during snowstorms, the fact that the response to the meds was insufficient, etc. Basically he thought it was very obvious. I am also frustrated with the 3 vets because I had repeatedly asked if there was any other possible cause and commented to each of them how unusual it seemed that she would go from healthy to tortured all of a sudden. They had several prompts to reevaluate her for something else. I'm a squeaky wheel when it comes to my family! The dermatologist said the standard is to treat for scabies if it cannot be conclusively ruled out. It clearly wasn't even considered by them and definitely could not be ruled out! Maybe it's worth mentioning that they never referred me to dermatology. I found the doctor myself and made the appointment. There were sooo many opportunities for improved care.
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« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2017, 07:27:11 PM »

Kelly, Sandie is right. You did everything you could have done. It's not your job to diagnose her; it's the vets'. In fact, I think you should feel good about how your perseverance resulted in finding the right solution.
Thank you, I am trying to take solace in the fact that we did eventually get an answer and not dwell on how we get to it. (I'm not doing a great job of that, haha!)
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« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2017, 07:32:37 PM »

Aw poor baby.I've mentioned before that my Westie had severe allergies. She also had lots of steroids. That makes them immunosuppressed. She got so sad and so itchy and uncomfortable we even considered putting her to sleep as she was suffering so much.

We then found she had Mange.I was as horrified as you.Her low immune system put her at a higher risk of catching it.We had taken her to a groomer that wasn't the cleanest not long before.We didn't realise until we picked her up and she was so smelly.

It cleared up and although her allergies persisted they were never as bad as before and we never caught anything.The boys were young and I was very stressed at the time.

We found a great grromer afterwards that helped us with her all through old age and dementia.This was long ago.She was 16 when she died and several years before Abby came home.
Thank you! Everyone keeps saying how common it is, but I've never known personally of anyone to have it. I'm glad you were able to discover it and that it was a passing thing after treatment. It is super stressful! I know I am being dramatic as there are many worse problems that I try to keep in perspective. I just want my happy healthy girl back! I know it won't be long.
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« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2017, 07:36:02 PM »

No advice to offer but just wanted to say I feel for you and your poor little one.  No need to beat yourself up - you have done sterling service and were let down by professionals who did not diagnose the problem.  But it is sorted so onward and upwards.  Fur grows, it just takes a little time.
Best wishes
Pam
Thank you! I am working on focusing on moving forward and being grateful that we figured it out eventually.
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« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2017, 08:45:25 PM »

The 3 vets who all overlooked scabies are at the same practice, so they did receive the report from the dermatologist. You would think they would call me to discuss it or apologize!

Vets don't work that way; in fact, as far as I can tell, NO medical pro works that way.  I'm not criticizing the profession; I believe it partly has to do with us being in such a litigious society.

And I was also told - by the vet dermatologist - that the food allergy testing is not very accurate and not often done.
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« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2017, 08:59:46 PM »

The 3 vets who all overlooked scabies are at the same practice, so they did receive the report from the dermatologist. You would think they would call me to discuss it or apologize!

Vets don't work that way; in fact, as far as I can tell, NO medical pro works that way.  I'm not criticizing the profession; I believe it partly has to do with us being in such a litigious society.

And I was also told - by the vet dermatologist - that the food allergy testing is not very accurate and not often done.
Any other time a pet has a problem, they call after a visit and ask how the pet is doing. Even one of those calls would've been appreciated, even without an official apology.

I was told the same thing that the food allergy test is not totally reliable, but the issue is that it sometimes reads foods as positive when they may not even bother the dog enough to cause an observable reaction. It doesn't miss foods that actually are allergens. So, Bella may be needlessly avoiding peanuts now, for example, but I really did need to know that she has a severe green bean allergy. So the test does have a place.
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« Reply #42 on: May 01, 2017, 10:00:22 AM »

Ah, see now that
I did not know.  For my cat, didn't get in to it that much.  Good for you!
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« Reply #43 on: May 01, 2017, 11:22:46 AM »

It took a long time for our Westie to be diagnosed too and they also put it down to allergies.
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« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2017, 07:48:20 AM »

Without any appointment and without Bella, I popped in at the new general vet that I was considering and did ultimately decide to switch to their office starting on the 9th, right after Bella finishes the first bottle of immunotherapy serum at her current vet.

The lovely lady at the desk very patiently listened to everything we've gone through and was knowledgeable about the canine scabies, saying that they see a lot of cases due to a heavy presence of foxes in our area! She also used to work at our current vet practice and knew of them well and didn't seem shocked by my story. At this new place, she said that they refer many cases to the dermatologist Bella saw and that they all trust and love him. I think it will be a good fit for us, and a new slate for me to learn to trust her general doctors again.

Happily, last night, Bella acted like herself again for about 30 minutes after her sulfur bath, and played "find the mommy" and chased bits of chicken nugget down the hallway with a spring in her step that has very much been missing. She was uncomfortable again overnight, but that is always when the itch is at it's worst. I hope she has a great day today!
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« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2017, 11:03:22 AM »

So good that you are seeing improvements!  Keep it up, I know it is a strenous routine with the constant baths, but this is only for a short time.

Sounds like you found a new vet practice as well, good job!
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« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2017, 11:16:08 AM »

I'm so sorry for all you've been through, Kelly. I agree that it's a good idea to switch vets because you will always second guess anything the other one says. Make sure they give you her records so that you don't have to repeat any tests. I can't imagine having to deal with this when my kids were that young- a true nightmare. (((Hugs)))
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« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2017, 02:53:10 PM »

My sister, a cat fancier, says that cats have mites, but that they get out of hand only if the cat is being stressed by something else such as illness. She wondered whether dogs might be the same way, even though dog mites are different from cat mites.  That might explain why Bella has such a severe outbreak now while she is under the stress of mange.
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« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2017, 08:15:16 PM »

So good that you are seeing improvements!  Keep it up, I know it is a strenous routine with the constant baths, but this is only for a short time.

Sounds like you found a new vet practice as well, good job!

The bathing isn't too bad (other than the sulfur product!) since she's practically naked now and has to air dry! I will be happy to spend less time with my arms in the tub, though!!

Yes, I am happy about the new vet and I am feeling a lot better about everything now that we have an action plan in the works and a good outlook for the future.

We just got home from a full walk around the whole neighborhood, which Bella has not wanted to do recently. She seemed like herself for much of the day today. Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2017, 08:19:40 PM »

I'm so sorry for all you've been through, Kelly. I agree that it's a good idea to switch vets because you will always second guess anything the other one says. Make sure they give you her records so that you don't have to repeat any tests. I can't imagine having to deal with this when my kids were that young- a true nightmare. (((Hugs)))
That's exactly it -I would absolutely be second guessing everything her doctors said and it would lead me down endless rabbit holes of googling! My sanity doesn't need that! Haha!

This has been rough with the kids, especially with all the extra hazmat cleaning time I've been spending! Lucy, who is almost 18 months, keeps telling me Bella is sad. Sad She calls her Baba. Today I got to tell her Baba is happy!
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« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2017, 08:24:37 PM »

My sister, a cat fancier, says that cats have mites, but that they get out of hand only if the cat is being stressed by something else such as illness. She wondered whether dogs might be the same way, even though dog mites are different from cat mites.  That might explain why Bella has such a severe outbreak now while she is under the stress of mange.

Mange is infestation with skin mites, they mean the same thing. Infestations can be caused by multiple kinds of mite. Bella has sarcoptic scabies/mange which, one way or another, was initiated basically by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is another kind of mite called demodectic which can be naturally present but becomes problematic in times of stress. At least with dogs. There is a third kind of mange that affects cats but I haven't read about that one.
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« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2017, 09:53:24 PM »

Thanks, Kelly! I'm glad that Lucy and Bella get on so well! I understand that sometimes dogs, even bichons, are jealous of newborns for taking away attention from them. Hope that Bella continues to recover! What a hard experience this has been for you and her!
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« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2017, 05:42:32 AM »

Bella was never jealous of my kids as newborns, she thought they were our babies and she was the other mommy! She would paw at me to wake me up when the baby would stir but hadn't cried yet. She watched over them all the time and was so gentle. She's less fond of the toddler stage with all the grabby hands and wobbly balance!
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« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2017, 09:43:45 PM »

I wanted to add to this thread something I've been doing with Bella that seems to make her feel more comfortable: I fill the tub with warm water that just touches the bottom of her tummy while standing and add about a cup of Epsom salts. The salts really relax her, I guess because of the magnesium or other minerals, and supposedly they help to remove toxins (like dead scabies??) from the skin.

I try to make it like a spa experience (which it certainly is, compared to the sulfur product) and slowly pour the water over her with a cup. After about a minute or two of this, this amazing relaxation washes over her and she gets all blinky and sleepy and content. Dare I say, she actually ENJOYS this bathing experience. After she has soaked for a few minutes, I drain the water and very gently shampoo her with these bath gloves (pic) and then rinse. Then I cuddle her in a towel, coat her trouble spots with coconut oil, and let her dry by a warm air fan. For hours afterwards, she is relaxed and comfortable and her skin looks significantly less irritated. I would bet an epsom salt soak would help out fluffs with arthritis or other troubles also. Might be something worth looking into! Just don't let them drink the salt water since it is a natural laxative.

Tomorrow we will see the new (regular) vet. I'm going to ask him what he thinks about this and how often I could do it.
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« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2017, 09:41:52 AM »

Sounds lovely!  I would enjoy that spa experience, myself!  LOL

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« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2017, 09:48:43 AM »

Sounds lovely!  I would enjoy that spa experience, myself!  LOL


Seriously! I'm thinking of trying it myself! (I won't be having a sardine snack afterwards, though!)
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« Reply #56 on: May 09, 2017, 11:17:50 AM »

Too funny! (Re the sardines). I think you deserve a good spa day after all you've been through!
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« Reply #57 on: May 09, 2017, 12:28:48 PM »

Too funny! (Re the sardines). I think you deserve a good spa day after all you've been through!
Haha! I just might have to fit that in.
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« Reply #58 on: May 26, 2017, 03:26:24 PM »

I am so happy to report that Bella is doing worlds better!! Other than her new "hairstyle" (short and beige!) she is totally back to her normal self! It was definitely the scabies that caused the dramatic flare up that started in February. We have a follow up appointment with the dermatologist (who figured out the problem) on Tuesday and I just might kiss the man!! (Sorry, Hubby! LOL!)

And, since Bella does have a lot of allergies also (per the lab tests), I am going ahead with the immunotherapy injections. (The custom serum was already purchased.)  I have done the injections twice now myself, once under the supervision of the vet, and once at home for the first time yesterday. Bella was such a good girl and it was easier than I thought it would be. Things are really looking up for her, and I am so relieved that my little buddy is back!
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« Reply #59 on: May 27, 2017, 09:33:50 AM »

I feel a celebratory dance coming on! 

 yahoo yahoo hyper hyper cheerleader cheerleader Clap Clap cheerleader cheerleader hyper hyper yahoo yahoo

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« Reply #60 on: May 27, 2017, 09:38:20 AM »

I feel a celebratory dance coming on! 

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A blitz, even!!
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« Reply #61 on: May 27, 2017, 08:50:33 PM »

Best of news....Lovely to hear!   thumbup clapping Clap yahoo
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« Reply #62 on: May 28, 2017, 07:03:33 AM »

Best of news....Lovely to hear!   thumbup clapping Clap yahoo
Thank you! It is a huge relief!
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« Reply #63 on: May 28, 2017, 09:31:22 PM »

Go Bella!!
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« Reply #64 on: May 28, 2017, 09:32:47 PM »

Go Bella!!

Thanks!
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« Reply #65 on: May 30, 2017, 11:09:49 AM »

Bella just got the "All Clear" from the dermatologist!! I may have hugged the doctor... twice.

Now... hopefully her hair grows back in time for our family photos in August!!

Thanks so much for going through all this with me!!
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« Reply #66 on: May 30, 2017, 12:34:26 PM »

Awe!! I'm so happy for you both!!! Hair grows. I find with the head, if you keep cutting th beard pretty short, and bringing the sides of the ears in (not the cheeks), let the rest grow, it comes into balance fairly soon.
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« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2017, 12:47:37 PM »

Awe!! I'm so happy for you both!!! Hair grows. I find with the head, if you keep cutting th beard pretty short, and bringing the sides of the ears in (not the cheeks), let the rest grow, it comes into balance fairly soon.
Thanks, Chris! I think I could probably take some off the sides of her ears already. Mostly, I am going to try to resist cutting it at all until early August. I'll have the groomer start to shape her into a Bichon as much as possible then! The skinny legs bug me the most, haha. Really, I could care less if she never had hair, I'm just SO glad she is feeling good.

I hope Darwin starts feeling better soon, too!
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« Reply #68 on: May 30, 2017, 12:49:52 PM »

Thanks Kelly. I'll update tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure we're headed for another aurgery. I just want it done and over with.
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« Reply #69 on: May 31, 2017, 01:05:35 PM »

Oops posted wrong thread!
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