Observational eating

Me: Tierce is really hungry lately.

Mischa: I think it’s the Prednisone he’s on.* Now that it’s fall, we can cut him down to 1 pill a day.

Me: That’s a good idea. Maybe then he won’t go on scavenging missions for our Wendy’s food wrappers.

Tierce: I’m hungry.

Me: How would you like a nice, crispy apple?

Tierce: Um. I want your Chinese food more.

Me: Just try it.

Tierce: No.

Mischa: Try eating a piece. I read somewhere that dogs prefer eating what they see people eat.

Me: I don’t think that me eating a piece of apple will convince Tierce to eat a piece of apple.

Mischa: Give him a piece.

Tierce: What’s this?

Me: The fount of all things good.

Mischa: It’s a yummy apple, Tierce.

Me: He’s not gonna eat it. He’s just pushing it around the floor with his nose… well, I’ll be damned.

Mischa: See?

Tierce: Well, it can’t be that bad. I mean, you ate it.

Me: Huh. Want another?

Tierce: Sure.

Me: I guess it really works.

Mischa: Bring the bowl into the living room. He won’t want to eat the slices when he gets a whiff of what we’re eating. But, if we hand him pieces of apple when he begs us for Chinese food, he won’t know the difference.

Me: Okay, that I don’t believe.

Tierce: That smells way better than this crispy shit. Can I have some of that?

Me: Uh, sure. Here you go.

Tierce: ‘Dis tastes a ‘ot ‘ike apple.

Me: It’s sweet and sour pork, I swear. Have another.

Tierce: Yay! Wait…

Me: I can’t believe this. He’s really buying it.

Mischa: I told you.

Tierce: You know, I think you’re trying to sell me something… I’m going over to see Mischa.

Mischa: Here you go.

Tierce: What’s that?

Mischa: Ginger beef.

Tierce: That smells a lot like apple.

Mischa: Well, it’s special ginger beef. Apple ginger beef.

Tierce: Well… okay.

Me: This is awesome. I can’t believe we haven’t tried this before. I’m going to try carrots next.

Tierce: I hate carrots.

Me: Not when we market them as cheese puffs!

*Tierce is on Vanectyl-P for his seasonal allergies, which are vicious. Yes, we’ve changed his diet. Multiple times. Yes, we’ve tried Atopica. Yes, we’ve had him tested. This is just what works. For now. Yes, I am aware of the health issues. Why, yes, I have gotten lectured by multiple people about how it’s evil and bad and will kill him some day.

Allergies in dogs blooming

Pet allergies bloom with spring

It’s spring and Cody, a 6-year-old Shiba Inu, incessantly licks his hind paws.

“He eats his paws raw,” said owner Mary Dolce, a Lombard resident. “It’s definitely seasonal,” she said. “There is just something outside that he is allergic to.”


Dolce says that she wipes Cody’s paws whenever he comes in from playing outside. When Cody’s allergies get bad enough, she gives him non-prescription Benedryl and applies Genesis, a prescribed topical spray to control itching.

I’ve never given Tierce Benadryl because I was not sure how it would interact with the Atopica.  If things got bad and I didn’t have any Atopica with me, I’d consider it, but so far the Atopica seems to be controlling his symptoms.

Allergy Season – Atopica

Tierce in his cone... last year? We don't want to go back to this.

Tierce has started scratching again.  We caught it early and upped his Atopica from 2xweek to every day.  It seems to be working; he isn’t scratching as badly today and he’s been on the new regime nearly 2 weeks.  I hope this works, because I don’t want to be going back to the cone/T-shirt of previous years.  I don’t care how much medication he needs.

He had been scratching at his eyes and some of his hair around there is missing.  No hair seems to be missing today, but his eyebrows have that worn look that proves he’s been at them in the last few days.  Also, his chest is receiving some attention – not enough to make it raw, but enough to make it tacky.  This together is enough to make me have an attack of the screaming meemies whenever his hind leg starts to thump.

We are really happy that we seem to have found the answer to the nausea caused by the Atopica – a full anti-nauseant pill instead of a half makes ALL the difference.  That and Mischa feeds him his pill in the morning or early afternoon and he doesn’t have his meal until later in the evening.  The vet recommended keeping the pills in the fridge, but this hasn’t seemed to affect the nausea for Tierce, so down the little don’t-barf-on-the-carpet pill goes.

And it’s great that he doesn’t need Prednisone and other steroids.  It’s definitely good for dogs who can’t have anything else, but it’s really hard on the innards.

Right now, Tierce is sacking out on the floor after a trip to the dog park.  He scratched a little while he was there, but it wasn’t intense and he stopped when I yelled at him.

I’m also wondering if some of his itchiness is due to the fact that he’s going to be shedding any day now.  He’s losing regular amounts of random hair, but not the big clumps that we all know and love.  He looks absolutely gorgeous, but all that hair is a detriment once the weather turns warm.

I’m crossing my fingers that our early intervention will make all the difference.  So far, so good… his doctor is full up on Saturdays until June 12th, so I think Mischa is going to have to take him in during the week with my blessing (and bank card).


In other news, work is going apace on Shiba Inu Canada.  I’ve never done a newsletter before, but it is kind of fun to put everything together.  Fun and maddening, because MS Word doesn’t always think the same way I do.

Tierce’s Ears and Sunojo’s New Site

I’m still working on Nanowrimo; don’t know whether I’m going to make it this year, but here’s to trying!

Tierce is doing much better on Atopica every other day, but now he’s showing some hair loss on the tips of his ears.  ???  I don’t know.  I’m going to mention this to the vet on December 5th.  He didn’t have this problem when he was scratching his head off.

When I went to Sunojo’s site, I found that they have revamped it – looks pretty spiffy.  They also have started a new business up on Comox:  House of Dogs Pet Resort.

Rabies Vaccine Issues

What You Must Learn About the Rabies Vaccine for Dogs

A year ago, Tierce got the rabies shot that immediately preceded his first allergic reaction.  Now he is still in his cone (much better now, thanks to the Atopica) and recovering much more slowly than the last attack.  We’re not taking him off medication again.

The above link has some interesting information about the rabies vaccine.  I’m generally not a fan of red/black/white websites with a lot of exclamation marks, but I think that this one has a lot of useful information.  As always, consult with your vet before taking any steps for or against vaccination.

I am not planning to ever go beyond the puppy shots and maybe a booster shot for my next dogs.  I’m not planning on blindly giving my dog medication I don’t know about either.

Atopica – My Hero

Atopica website

Tierce is getting into a bad way – it took longer this time, but we’re starting to see raw patches where he’s getting past the cone and the shirt.  I know it doesn’t do any good, but I’m still kicking myself for having him given the 3 year rabies shot.  I firmly believe it knocked his immune system all to hell.

From the website –

As with all drugs, side effects may occur. In a field study, the most common side effects were gastrointestinal signs. Gingival hyperpla­sia and papillomas may also occur during the initial dosing phase. ATOPICA is not for use in dogs with a history of malignant neoplasia, or with a demonstrated hypersensitivity to Cyclosporine A.

Gastrointestinal signs are right.  Tierce barfs up that pill at the slightest provocation.  It’s gotten to the point where he gets at least 2 full pills of Apo-Metaclop to counteract it – the normal dosage needed being 1/2 a pill an hour before the Atopica.  We’re hoping that the nausea will abate with regular application of the Atopica.  Especially when the pills cost $4 each ($58 for 15).  Guess what, Tierce.  YOU’RE FUCKING EATING THEM!

First we have to give him the small pills.  That’s easy – it just takes a piece of bread with the pill squished inside.  But the Atopica takes a lot of cheese to slide it down his throat.  Half the time he figures it out and does a tongue roll worthy of a hooker tying a knot in a maraschino cherry to swipe the cheese off the pill so he can spit the pill out on the floor.  We have persevered so far, but it is an uphill battle.  Right now, we’re on Day 5 of pill giving.  It took a week and a half or so last time for the pills to have an effect on him and I just. can’t. wait.

I’ll admit that I feel a bit let down.  I was hoping that the reaction to the rabies vaccine was the only problem he was going to have with allergies, but we could be looking at Atopica for the long term, at least during the summer months.

Happy Canada Day!


Tierce enjoyed Canada Day.  We went down to Nanaimo’s downtown and ended up at Maffeo-Sutton Park and Swy-A-Lana Lagoon.  Tierce enjoyed splashing around in the water at the Lagoon.

He doesn’t like actual swimming, but will paddle about, run through the water and try to grab things floating in it as long as the water is only chest height.  There has only been one instance of him actually leaving the comfort of the bottom to swim for a stick and he hasn’t repeated the experiment.  The bridge in the top photo has steps on the other side that lead to a rocky area where Tierce could run without clotheslining people.

In the course of the day, we had many people ask, “What kind of dog is that?”, comment that, “It looks like a little fox!” and ask if they could pet Tierce.  Tierce was distracted by the crowds, but was mostly polite to people and deigned to sniff hands and in one case lick the cheek of a toddler who was regarding him rather seriously.

Tierce has been having some problems with itching again.  It’s not as bad as last time, but is sufficient to thin the hair around his eyes and forehead and give me an attack of the screaming meemies every time he starts chewing on his forelegs.  He has a vet appointment on Friday.  I’m wondering if the Atopica is a little too heavy to use on this, as it seemed to come as soon as the heat of summer set in and may just be a pollen issue that an allergy shot would cure.  I do love the Atopica – it solved his problems last time, but if something milder would help him, then I’d rather do that.   I’d like to get an Aloe Vera plant and see if it helps cool his skin down.  Of course, he might just lick it off parts of his body he can reach.tiercewater

The neutering incision healed up perfectly and I flatter myself that Tierce is being less of an asshole around other dogs.  He met a male Doberman today that he was trying to play with.  I have hesitated thus far at letting him into the dog park again.  On leash is one thing; off leash and having unrestricted access to balls and sticks is another.

It flabbergasts me, though, how many people allow or encourage their dogs to come up to a strange dog without asking if said dog is okay with other dogs.  If I’m pulling my dog back, sticking my leg out or telling my dog to keep his nose to himself, does that say to you, “Why my dog just loves other dogs!  By all means, let yours come up and tangle his leash with mine.”  I’ve had to tell people that Tierce isn’t good with other dogs – he mostly is, but people who assume strange dogs are universally friendly often assume the same of their own dogs when the opposite is patently true.

We came home fairly early – we had run down to the downtown area from mid-city and had walked around for a couple of hours, so we were pretty tired.  I confess that it’s nice to have a boyfriend with his own car when your legs are telling you that you’ve run 6 km yesterday and run/walked between 5 and 10 km today.  Tierce should sleep well tonight; I know I will.


Well, Tierce is much better on the Cyclosporine, although I’m not a fan of giving him a pill that requires an anti-nausea pill to keep it in him. Here he is next to one of many jellyfish that washed up on the shore beside Departure Bay Terminal (BC Ferries).

Shassi (forgot to get a picture tonight) is… a 15 year old dog. My aunt took her to one of the best vets in Nanaimo and got a complete blood panel done. Verdict: Shassi is in good shape for a 15 year old dog, but her kidneys are failing. Not entirely an unforeseen thing. Fortunately, my aunt is determined to take care of her and is feeding her the lowest-protein dog food that she can find.

Katana, the subject of my last post is, according to Petfinder, still looking for a home.

Bella, the Shiba missing since this April, is still at large.

Wow, lots of good news, huh? Well, I’m just glad that Tierce isn’t scratching as much and he can stop wearing the cone most of the time!

Allergy central

Tierce went back to the vet’s today to get his stitches out. His skin biopsies showed no sign of any disease or other problem and the “most likely cause of his itching is atopy or food allergies”.

The vet advised a “hydrolyzed protein” diet. From what she told me, “hydrolyzed protein” means the protein breaks down into components too small for the body to form an allergic reaction to. This is the only thing Tierce can have. No treats, even his toys have to be put away. He can, however, have sticks to play with.

She wants me to keep Tierce on this diet for two months to rule out food allergies and I agreed, because nothing is working so far. However, I can’t wait for two months to be over. The food looks like CORN POPS, for Dog’s sake.

And just wait until you read what’s in this stuff:

Starch, hydrolyzed soy protein isolate, coconut oil, calcium phosphate, canola oil preserved with TBHQ, powdered cellulose, corn oil, potassium chloride, vegetable gums (gum arabic, guar gum), choline chloride, DL-methionine, salt, magnesium oxide, lecithin, taurine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, calcium carbonate, Vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, garlic oil, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.

Starch??! Yeah, that seems like a REALLY healthy main ingredient… oh, but look! Canola oil preserved with TBHQ! Charming. I know that some dogs do really well on this kind of food, but the ingredients make me throw up a little in my mouth. Typically – it’s full of crap (I know, I know, sometimes this kind of thing is the only food a dog can handle) – and he LOVES it. He hated the pinto-bean-and-sweet-potato test food we had him on and lost half a pound.

1 bag and that’s it. We’re going back to RDD Herring once it’s proven that it’s not a food allergy. He loves that, too.

I’m pretty convinced that it’s the vaccine that has caused this, but I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that’s what it is. Problem is, we don’t know if the vaccine triggered another allergy. So we might as well put him on this diet and see if he does any better.

He also has a new and exciting pill to take: Cyclosporine. The vet said it was better than Prednisone, especially since he is so young. After a look at the side effects of Prednisone, I’m inclined to agree.

So that’s where we are with Tierce: pills and Corn Pops. Hope it helps.

A picture of the invalid

So, we got into the vet’s – one that his breeder and his grand-breeder have used for years. I found her competent and flexible, which is pretty damn valuable in a vet. We think that having that will make driving to Mill Bay worth the time and expense.

1 antibiotic for the hole in his head – he got a shot, so I don’t have to give this orally
2 antihistamines to help deal with his reaction: 1 once a day and 1, 2 pills 3x/day
1 bottle of ointment administered to a furiously wriggling dog: 2x/day
a hypoallergenic diet – pinto beans/sweet potato/peanut butter for taste, potato chips for snacks and/or Red Dog Deli‘s Herring/Veggie.

I still think it’s the shot. He just wasn’t tearing himself apart before this. The bad thing is, from what I’ve read, this could take months or years to resolve – or might not resolve itself at all. One thing is certain – Tierce is not going to get any more vaccinations. I’d rather do titers than put him through this again.

Now, I’m not totally against shots in general. However, I am seriously rethinking my attitude towards boosters after the initial puppy shots are given.