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Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Quick Hilly Update

Before I begin to tell the woes of Hilly, let me just say that Dulcie is super cute and she knows it! She thinks she is hot stuff...until she hears a dog bark or sees a trash can. Then she remembers that she's just a wee thing. Otherwise, she's a bold puppy. Right now she's at a puppy sitters while Mary is in San Rafael for Marley's graduation tomorrow (YAY!!!). We decided it would be easier for her to transfer to me on Sunday when Mary gets back since she's too young and shotless to attend graduation and there was no one in town her could watch her while I attended as well. So, Sunday is the day. Looking forward to it.

Now, on to Hilly.

I don't really know where to start. Ah, of course. This poor, poor dog. Seriously, my heart breaks for her. She's definitely had a rough time of things lately and is handling it like the little trooper she is.

For those of you who are new to the blog, Hilly was my third guide dog puppy. She was transferred to me at about 15 months old in the summer between first and second year of University (seems so long ago now...) for severe dog distractions. She came so close, but really never got over them and was career changed that August. In those short couple of months I had fallen head over heels for her and my parents agreed to watch her for me while I was still attending University. Of course, when I adopted her and convinced my parents to watch her I had no idea that she was going to break.

Hilly had always had food issues. I heard that the reason she hadn't been spayed before coming to me was that they were waiting for her to have solid stools...or at least not have diarrhea. When I had her she didn't have a great tummy, but she rarely had an upset tummy. But still, we had to be careful what we fed her. So, when she started having reoccurring ear infections, I suppose it was safe to assume that it was some kind of food allergy.

Let me explain. A couple months ago, when I was talking to my parents on Skype, I noticed that Hilly was shaking her head a lot and that Rosie was very, very interested in cleaning her ears. I told them to get her checked out by the vet since it seemed like she may have something in her ears. Turns out, she had an infection. The vet put some of this goopy, waxy medicine in her ears and they were on their way. Well, a few weeks later they were back at the vet because the ear infection hadn't gone away. Once again they put that goopy stuff in her ears. A couple of weeks later they were back because it had come back and once again they just filled her ears with the goop and put her on prescription food. That was probably a good idea as it really seemed like that goopy ear medicine wasn't working. The fourth time she went in they put more goopy stuff in her ears and gave her some antibiotics.

So, here I am, helping her finish off her antibiotics whilst feeling indignant that they tried this stuff not once, but four times. They even tried it twice before they thought of something else. She is doing better now on the prescription food and the antibiotics, but my only concern is that I'm pulling a whole bunch of gunk out of her ears and that when she's done with the antibiotics there's a good possibility that the ear infection will come back. I have a follow up visit on Wednesday where I am going to discuss the possibilities of putting her on an antihistamine and possibly getting some allergy tests run. I know they are fairy pricey things to get done, but I don't want her to go her whole life on this icky prescription food if she doesn't need it. I'd like to know what food she is allergic to so that I can get her on the raw food diet.

Why don't I want her on this prescription food you ask? It's helping her feel better you say? Yes, it has helped a little. The problem with it is that there is no oil to it so Hilly's skin is dry and her coat is brittle and a little dull. We use to give her salmon oil with her food to help with coarse fur (the only downside to the black lab), but we don't know if she's allergic to that. You begin to understand why I want allergy tests performed yes? Well, not only does it make her skin dry, but she's got hot spots. I mean, sure why not? She's already got icky ears, why not throw in a couple of hot spots too right?

So, she's on antibiotics, prescription food, and she's got some spray for each of her little hot spots.

Like I said, she's handling this all in stride. She gets a little annoyed when I try to go and spray her but she lets me eventually if there is a treat (prescription mind you) involved. But she's a pretty happy dog despite all of the head shaking and hot spots and icky prescription food. Hopefully there will be answers when we go to the vet on Wednesday.


  1. Poor munchkin! Allergies in Labradors are often challenging to diagnose and really really frustrating for their owners. Not only do I see this in my clients but I have a lab with severe allergies myself! She's had allergy testing and is now fairly well managed on antihistamines, a novel protein diet, and steroids as needed.
    I want to caution you about raw food diets. I know there is a ton of information out about them and they certainly have their advantages but if you take Hilly anywhere that she might come into contact with immunocompromised people it might not be the best idea. THere have been several studies published by veterinarians in the last couple of years showing that raw food diets fed to dogs increased the incidence of that dog shedding salmonella and other enteric bacteria that can make people, especially people who are young or have some type of disease very sick.
    Good luck figuring out what is going on with miss Hilly. I know the road is frustrating but I'm sure you will be a wonderful advocate for her health and well being along the way!

  2. Have you tried Safflower oil instead of fish oil? YOu can find it in the section of the grocery store with the vegetable oil, etc. It is more potent than fish oil, but less side effects. Hosta had to be on prescription food too for allergies and the safflower oil helped keep his coat from falling out and getting too dry.


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