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.

Real Sonofanitch

Tierce continues to be plagued with itchiness and an uncontrollable urge to claw himself to pieces. We’ve combatted this as best we can while we try some different remedies.

Tierce’s fashionable anti-scratch-until-you-hit-an-artery wear:


The T-shirt he’s wearing is there because he’s scratched his chest raw:

The first sign of problems – see the bare spots around the eyes and the goop in the right eye?


Then I noticed that the hair on his left ear was thinning…


The problem is that I don’t know what’s causing this. My aunt up and took him to the vet (I was not pleased, because she took him there without telling me and getting some VERY necessary information. However, she apologized, so I’m gonna let it go.) The vet found that he had a yeast infection, but that doesn’t tell us anything because anything from allergies to mites could cause it… in fact, she basically gave us the same advice as Tierce’s “grand-breeder” did – Nizoral anti-dandruff treatment (off-the-shelf, for-humans, anti-dandruff, anti-fungal shampoo). So, $85 later, we’re still no closer to a cure.

I am still strongly leaning towards Tierce’s 3 year rabies shot as a cause. He was scratching before, but it was only after the shot that he really started tearing at himself. Part of me hopes that it is and that we can cure it, because it still means that his immune system is genetically sound. If it turns out that he has allergies, he probably shouldn’t be bred, as allergies are a symptom of a fucked-up immune system. However, if his immune system is merely stressed, he could still be a candidate as a sire.

Part of me really hopes so, as he has an outstanding temperament, his hips and eyes should clear with no problems and his knees are stable, so far. If he passes his tests, he would be a dog that could add a lot to the Shiba breed IMO (although he’s only 16 months old, so too young to seriously think of that, yet). However, I would rather that he have a manageable allergy and not be bred than watch him go through this. I won’t have any part of breeding a dog that could continue a problem that Shibas are notorious for.

My trainer advised me to take Tierce off his kibble, even though we switched to GO! Natural Grain Free, and this is what I think I’m going to try. I’ve been having uncomfortable thoughts about feeding Tierce what basically consists of protein/meal replacement bars all his life, even if they claim to give him all his daily needs’ worth of nutrition. So, I’m going to try feeding him ‘real food’ and see where that takes us. I’m going to be doing a lot of research into the proper nutrition of real food, so I’ll probably be posting regular updates on that stuff here.

Kibble is a fairly recent invention and dogs have survived for thousands of years on non-manufactured food. However, I’m not a fan of just feeding Tierce whatever we’re eating and expecting him to do well on this. I think that this is a lot like veganism – wonderfully healthy when the right foods/supplements are eaten, but horribly unhealthy when approached carelessly. So we’ll see.