Okay, so maybe that’s a little dramatic, but we are definitely putting up a strong fight against those dreaded allergies. Today Lexi had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Tapp, of Veterinary Healing Arts in East Greenwich. She first saw Dr. Tapp in October or November (can’t quite remember which one) with foster momma Laurelin, and the battle against the allergies began under the guidance of a dermatologist. At today’s visit she was quite the emo teapot, despite all of the nice friendly ladies there, but we got everything done and got some clarity and further guidance.
First of all, Dr. Tapp thought Lexi looked pretty good and is happy with the progress she has made thus far. Woohoo! Her ears and skin look good, and Dr. Tapp was happy to hear that Lexi has seldom been itchy as of late. She took a cytology of her back paws, which revealed a few cocci and a few yeast, but low levels overall. She doesn’t think it is necessary to put her back on antibiotics unless her paws seem to worsen. One or two less pills a day is very welcome in this house!
So, our biggest obstacle right now is keeping Lexi’s feet healthy, so the focus will be to treat them topically and see how she responds. We were given a new bottle of Vetericyn wound spray, to be used 1-2 times per day, and Dermoscent BioBalm, a sort of lotion to apply to her pads as needed to moisturize and prevent cracking. We will bathe her paws with medicated shampoo weekly, and the rest of her body every 10-14 days to keep pollen and other irritants off her coat. For now, we will continue giving her the cyclosporine, at 125 mg per day, but when it is time for a refill Dr. Tapp may increase the dosage or try a generic or brand name for a short time, to see if it works better than the compounded form we are currently using. Again, this will all depend on how her feet are faring in a few weeks’ time. Dr. Tapp also wants to keep her on steroids for a solid month or so, but at a lower dosage than she is currently on, so we will wean her down to 5 mg per day (she is currently at 20). The smaller the dosage, the less chance of side effects, so I am happy about that. Hopefully the decreased dosage will decrease her urge to pee so often!!
I also talked with Dr. Tapp about Lexi’s diet. She weighed in at 57 pounds today, lower than her last vet visit and a bit underweight. She is given a healthy serving of food, of course, but we just can’t seem to put the extra weight back on her that she has lost over the past few months. Dr. Tapp thinks it best to keep her diet as is, but suggested adding extra protein to her meals of the Honest Kitchen – ie. add boiled chicken or hamburger to her meals to help her beef up, while still keeping everything allergy-friendly. Hopefully some extra protein will help put a few pounds back on her! Her appetite is great and she definitely not a picky eater, so it should do the trick. I imagine that the past few months have been stressful for her, between moving into a new home, adjusting to life with Zev, lots and lots of snow, battling this paw infection, etc., so hopefully getting over this infection and getting off some of the meds will make everything a little more “normal” around here and decrease everyone’s stress levels.
So, that is our new, updated, tweaked plan for combating the allergies and all of the complications they can cause. She sure is a complicated girl! As Dr. Tapp said, Lexi will never be an “easy” dog to manage, and we knew this when we adopted her. We will always have these allergies to deal with, but hopefully we can find the most effective treatment for her that allows her to be comfortable and happy. As for our move to Hawaii, I will begin searching for a specialist on the island that can continue to address her allergies once we move. Onward we go!
Have a great weekend! Hugs and kisses from Lexi (snoring and twitching away next to me) and Zev (curled up in a big ball on the floor at my feet)!