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.


  1. Nikko’s teacher/grandma has been feeding her dogs (australian shepards) homemade dog food for years. she is not an advocate of giving actual bones so i know that one of the ingredients she uses is bone meal. not sure where she gets it though. she sent me a bunch more info and dammit if i didn’t lose it. =( Another friend of mine makes a huge batch and packages it in more manageable portions to defrost accordingly.

    Poor baby Tierce.. even with his scratching issues, he still tries to look all regal.

    Nikko’s Mom

  2. Shibas are notorious for allergies? I didn’t know this, and am concerned, because my shiba has had some pretty major bouts of itchiness.

  3. We Shibas will scratch alot when we blow our coats. The problem is that we irritate our skin when we do this, which causes us to scratch more.

    Tierce, sadly, seems beyond this.

  4. That’s terrible. Poor Tierce. I hope you’re able to figure out what’s causing all this itchiness.

    I guess this means that I won’t be able to meet you guys at the Campbell River show this weekend. Too bad.

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