Apparently Boyd Needs a Pet Dermatologist

I have 3 dogs.  That may surprise some of you because I really only ever talk about 1.  No, not because he’s the favorite, but because he’s the one who always seems to be causing drama. Boyd…. you can read about his history of ailments here, here, and here, but the short version is that he’s had chronic skin allergies and ear infections for as long as we’ve owned and loved him.

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He currently has yet another ear infection, and has been spending a lot of time scratching at his ears till they bleed and whining.  I took him to the vet on Monday, expecting his usual round of meds.  As it turns out, this ear infection is different.  It’s bacterial instead of the usual yeast.

Grossed out yet?  Good… let’s continue.

So, the lucky guy was prescribed 2 types of ear drops (which he hates) and an oral medication (which he also hates).

The vet we saw was also new to this animal hospital, so she took some time to talk to me about his chronic issues.  We’ve had this same discussion with several different vets, and our most recent solution was to put him on a low dose steroid to stave off any further infections.  While it didn’t stop the problem completely, he was definitely having issues far less frequently than he had been before the steroids, so we went with it.  But, as this vet pointed out, there are risks to long-term ‘roid use, and it was really more of a band-aid than a solution anyway.  If he continues to get ear infections, he’s at risk for his ears to swell up so much that he requires surgery.

On top of all of this is the thing that’s been bothering me for a while- his comfort level.  He has spent so much of his life in pain or discomfort, and all I’ve ever wanted was for him to be healthy long-term.

The vet suggested we see an animal dermatologist. (No offense to any pet dermatologists out there, but doesn’t that kind of sound funny?  Like, who grows up thinking one day I wanna be a pet dermatologist?)  She anticipates that the dermatologist (which will not be cheap) will want to do some allergy testing (which will also not be cheap).  This isn’t the first time allergy testing has been mentioned to us, but it is the first time we’ve seriously considered it.  Last time, the hassle and expense seemed so ludicrous when we hadn’t yet tried cheaper and easier steroid option.

As I sat there talking to the vet (who also pointed out that he’s overdue to get his nails clipped), I felt like a failure as a puppy parent.  It’s not that we hadn’t tried (I can’t even count how many times we’ve taken him to the vet, how many meds we’ve tried, and how many different types of food he’s been on), it’s that I felt like we hadn’t tried hard enough.  He kept having the ear infections, but instead of taking that extra step to determine the root cause once and for all, we kept dealing with them as they happened, throwing medicine at the problem, and going on with our lives.

Of course, it’s only gotten worse since we had L.  Of course L is our number 1 priority in life, but have we made her so much of a priority that we’d completely forgotten about our poor pups?  Even our miserable, ailing one?  We adopted 3 dogs out of love.  We would have gladly adopted more if we had time, money, and space to accommodate them all, but we definitely maxed out at 3.  While our intentions were pure, should we have recognized that maybe 3 was too many for us?  Or maybe 3 was okay, but only if we hadn’t planned to have a baby?  And even though all 3 are rescues, sometimes I wonder if one or more of them could have had better lives if they’d been adopted by someone else.  We do our best- they have a big yard and warm beds and companions to wrestle with- but sometimes I wonder if they could have gotten lucky in a house that would have offered them undivided attention.

Then I have to remind myself that maybe they’re right where they belong.  What if Boyd ended up in a house where the people didn’t have the time or patience to do anything about his chronic ear infections?  What if Sadie ended up in a  house that had no patience for her diva ways and returned her to the shelter?

Okay, we’ve obviously given them better lives than that, but I’m still struggling with how much Boyd has suffered, and where we go from here.  First, we have to find the funds to see this dermatologist, and then we have to hope that all the time and money will pay off with an answer- something concrete we can finally resolve.

Boyd Update

The poor pup.  His procedure on Tuesday went as expected; all the fluid was drained and now we’re just waiting for the ear to fully heal.

Having to wear the cone is making him majorly depressed.  The poor guy has no peripheral vision and can’t navigate around the house without bumping into things and getting stuck.  He usually gives up and finds a spot to lie down and pout.  We have to take the cone off every so often to make sure he gets some water, and I’ll usually take it off when he goes outside so he’s not quite so disoriented.  He also has very little appetite, probably a result of his meds.

Sadie, our diva pup, seems to be getting progressively more jealous from all the attention Boyd is getting.  I can practically hear her thinking First they brought home that stupid baby and now THIS. Harrier, the “fixer” of the family seems upset that he can’t get to Boyd’s ears to lick the wound.  He’ll look over and Boyd and his cone, then look over at me with an expression that seems to say I just want to help!

But he is getting better, slowly but surely.

And in other craziness, JD’s best friend starts the police academy on Monday, and he’ll be moving in with us for the first two weeks.  The moral support that JD can provide, having “been there,” will be invaluable in getting him through the first few weeks.  It’s strange feeling like I have to start the nightmare of the academy alongside someone all over again. More on our newest roommate next week…

TGIF!

Our Pup and His Ailments

Oh, Boyd….

If it’s not one thing, it’s another with this pup. Boyd’s had more than his share of ailments and vet appointments. We’ve been through a slew of ear infections, skin allergies, a staph infection, and stomach sensitivities (which resulted in prescription food, for a time).

His ear infections have been a constant in our lives and are usually worst in the spring and fall (which leads me to believe it’s some kind of environmental allergen that’s causing them). He’s been scratching at his ears a lot lately (and whining miserably, poor guy), and we’ve been trying to keep up with his ear drops, which help clean out his ears and soothe the itchiness. Last night when I gave him his drops, I noticed one ear was really swollen.

JD and I were immediately concerned, and JD took him to the vet this morning. We confirmed that he has a hematoma (broken blood vessel) in his ear, most likely caused by all the scratching and head shaking he’s been doing. The excess blood caused the area to swell.

So, back to the vet we go tomorrow (we are, by far, their best customers), so Boyd can go under anesthesia, get his ear drained, and get some meds to help prevent infection. For now (and until his ear heals), he has to wear one of those fun cones around his head.

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Understandably, he is not impressed.

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I just hope he knows how much we love him, and how hard we’re trying to make him feel better.   If not, at least he’s always quick to forgive and forget.

Let’s Begin

I’ve actually been blogging for almost 3 years now over at The Edge and Back.  When I first wandered into the world of blogging, it was something I was trying out for fun, a way to journal the wild and crazy antics of my adrenaline junkie husband.  It was read almost exclusively by family and friends, and that was fine, but lately, I’ve been wanting to broaden my horizons, so to speak.

When I started my first blog, I felt that I didn’t have much interesting to say, other than the funny anecdotes from my hubby.  Now that I’m a mom and police wife, I feel that I’ve joined a sisterhood, that I’ve learned a few things, and that I have more to say.  So, I’m hitting “refresh” on my blogging journey, and seeing where it takes me.

This blog will be a little bit of everything- reflections on the law enforcement family lifestyle, healthy eating, style, the things I’ve learned as a new mom, and funny anecdotes.