As you know, we adopted a dog with atopic dermatitis. So he is now going to a doggie dermatology clinic. This is not unlike the human counterpart. It occurs in ten to fifteen percent of dogs, and there is a genetic component. It is a chronic disease, and once under control, he will be more comfortable. However, I doubt we will ever be able to not bathe him as often as we do.
He gets a medicated bath every day. For those who are going, but that is too often, realize this is not the shampoo you buy at the store. His shampoo is special, medicated, agrees with his skin and with mine. However, as we figure this, he had a flare-up of his ear infection over the weekend. We had a long night, and finally, I gave him his med and called the vet in the morning. His doctor was trying to taper it down, and he flared up. This is the joy of chronic conditions.
Due to the infection, he also had a little problem with his balance. So he fell from his doggie stairs, and hurt his elbow. When you have a dog with a chronic condition, you learn to take it in stride. So we spent a lot of time at vets since he went from one to the other.
What is interesting to me is how similar this condition is in humans. You may know it by the more common name of eczema. And watching Dexter I can see how people would be desperate for meds for the condition. I also have learned that some things, including meds and cancer procedures, were first tested in dogs. Yes, the barrier for experimental medicine is lower in animals, and that may be a good or bad thing. The mechanisms at the level of the immune system are similar and both can benefit from biologics.
We are also learning far more about the number of plants that can cause a reaction. If the guy gets into them, we need a second bath for essentially decontamination procedures. He takes most of this in stride,
He is a very playful dog, and incredibly well trained. This is helpful when giving him his meds and taking care of his medical needs. He will take his meds like a champ. He is also a good example of a dog that should never be bred, and he will not. He was fixed well before we ever met him. But even as sick as he was, he was cheerful and attentive.
And while I would love for him to become a therapy dog, since he was a working dog, that may or may not happen. The training is not the issue. It is his dermatitis and his alopecia. Yes, he is missing quite a bit of fur. All the photos you all have seen are of his amazing smiling face. His flanks are missing quite a bit of fur. Though slowly he is growing some back.
If you can adopt a special needs dog, don’t hesitate. They are more work than your average healthy pooch, but they also will bond with you like something fierce as well. Dexter has, with both of us. However, I can use fewer sleepless nights, and I know that as we figure this out and he gets treated, we will have less of those.