- Early June: We noticed that Maya has been scratching her face a lot. At frist, we thought it was due to her shedding, but it got worse and worse and eventually started to draw blood. That's when we decided to go see the vet.
- 6/20: Our first visit to the vet. Did some skin scraping, though nothing were found, the vet still believed that it's caused by mites/scabies, so Maya got a shot (Ivermectin) and was sent home with some antibiotics (Clavamox).
- 6/27: Follow up vet visit. Maya seems to have some improvement, so the doctor gave her another shot and some shampoo.
- 7/5: The itchiness got worse over the week. The vet thinks she should visit a specialist and referred us to a dermatologist.
- 7/7: First visit to the dermatologist. Did some more skin scraping and still didn't find any mites/scabies. However, the doctor still gave Maya meds for it just to rule out the possibilities. For infections in the wounds and the itchiness, she gave us more antibiotics (Cephalexin) and some steroid-based drugs (Temaril-P) . She also wants us to start giving Maya a limited ingredient diet to test for food allergies. That visit itself cost us $300+.
- 7/28: 2nd dermatologist visit. Not much improvement, so we ruled out mites. The doctor doesn't believe in the Nature's Balance "limited ingredients diet" we were feeding Maya, so asked us to start on Royal Canin's prescription diet. She also gave us more steroid-based medicine (Trimeprazine-P) for the itchiness. Another $200+ bill.
- 7/28-9/8: The new food didn't do much good. The pills may have suppressed some itchiness, but it never really went away. We also noticed that her conditions would get worse after we take her to a dusty dog park, go hiking, or stay outdoors for a longer period. We suspected it's caused by something environmental instead of food.
- 9/8: 3rd dermatologist visit. The doctor agreed that it may be environmental. She gave us two options, one is to give Maya an allergy medicine called Atopica, and the other is to get an allergy test and order some customized shots. Either way, she believed that Maya will need to be on drugs year-around and probably throughout her whole live. She gave us some Atopica to start with till we decide whether to do the allergy test or not.
I was almost in tears on my way back home from the last dermatologist visit. Maya is still so young and the idea of staying on drugs for so long just freaks me out. We decided to put the meds on hold and try a few more "natural" approaches before making such a big commitment. I've been so desperate to "fix" her. I spent almost all my spare time doing research online and tried almost everything someone claimed helpful, such as:
- Switching to a fish-based, grain-free diet (Orijin 6 Fish)
- Fish oil
- Only Natural Pet Aller-Free Herbal Remedies
- Only Natural Pet Immune Balance Supplements
- Sulfodene for the wounds
- Aloe Vera Gel to ease the itchiness
- Switched to an all-natural shampoo (Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe)
- Wipe her face and feet with baby wipes after walks
Despite our efforts, Maya's conditions are still pretty bad. We have to keep her in an e-collar and doggie socks to stop her from scratching her face and chewing on her feet. We came to realize that even with good diet, she won't be cured overnight and it would take patience to see improvements. We kind of gave in and started her on the Atopica meds a few days ago. Our hope is that the meds will at least suppress the itchiness so she can be out of the cone soon, then we can take our time strengthening her immune system. We've heard a lot of good things about raw diet for dogs, so we'll also get her started on that as well. Let's see how it goes.