Friday, August 3, 2012

Life in a Cone

It's been a few weeks since my last update on Maya's conditions. There were some good days, but sadly, more bad ones. About three weeks ago, things started to get really bad. She's been scratching herself much more frequently and started to chew on her feet. It's pretty much in line of what we saw last year, with things being the worst around min-July to August. 

Hot spots on the feet

I've been reading up a lot on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Atopic Dermatitis (異位性皮膚炎) during my free time. It really saddens me to find out that most articles I read are from mothers dealing with their babies' conditions. Given how devastated I am, I can't imagine what those parents are going through. (Which kind of makes me afraid of having a child.)

Favorite "chilling" food: watermelon

Throughout the research, a Chinese Medicine called "Xiao Feng San (消風散)" came up several times. Xiao Feng San means "Eliminate Wind Powder" in English, and is used to "disperse wind, eliminate dampness, clear heat, cool blood and stop itch", which sounds exactly what Maya needs. I was planning to start it after consulting the vet, but he was out of town and Maya's conditions got really bad, so I went ahead and add it to her daily supplements. It's been two weeks since she's on it, and as usually, no magical effects.

Another thing I've been trying is an ointment called "Zi Yun Gao (紫雲膏)". Zi Yun Gao means "Purple Cloud Cream",  and is used to "reduce inflammation, prevent bleeding, eliminate bacteria, relieve pain, promote tissue regeneration, and clear heat and toxins". I like it because it's made of edible ingredients, as Maya pretty much licks off whatever we put on her face. At one point I almost decided to follow some instructions I found online and make my own Zi Yun Gao, but got lazy and ordered a tube instead. The cream has a pinkish color and could stain clothes or carpet if not careful.

Rosy cheeks from the Zi Yun Gao

We started to keep her in a cone about two weeks ago. It actually happened on one of the "good days". She spent most of the day itch free and for the few time she tried to scratch, I was near by to stop her. However, in the evening, I stepped into the bathroom for a brief few minutes, and when I came back out, I saw her whole face covered with blood. I realized then and there I have to keep her from scratching or the wounds will never heal up.

We have to use two different e-collars: a smaller one for walks and eating raw bones, and a bigger one for other times, especially when we are not around. She figured how to poke her back legs into the smaller one and scratch herself in some really weird poses, so we can't trust her alone in it. Her energy has been low and was spending most the time sleeping. The super big cone pretty much stops her from doing anything, which is kind of worrisome.

When will this be over?

So far, she's been a good girl. She would keep turning her head when we try to put the e-collar on or try to "walk" away when we approach her with one in our hands, but she never really resisted in an unpleasant mater, like growling, biting, screaming, or running away, which is a big relief. The most annoying thing is her "attacks" when we go out on a walk. She would bump her head against our legs in order to rub her face on our pants. It usually happens on the second half of our walks, after her body heated up. I know I can't really blame her, as she must be itching badly, but it really hurts! It also looks really silly on the streets, being attacked by a dog's cone.

We have another appointment with the vet next week. Let's see what else he can offer. I really want to get her out of the cone as soon as posible. It's just not how a dog should live, even though she's rocking it with style.



  1. Hmm...
    Fresh coconut water ( without the flesh) is one of the 'cool' ( 凉) food. The last time my PAOs developed hot spot, my vet suggested that give them small amount of fresh coconut water to balance it out, and it works.
    *Note: My vet is just another conventional medicine practitioner, though there isn't many holistic vet available in M'sia.

    1. Thanks for sharing. I've tried coconut oil, but not coconut water. Will see if I can find some from the supermarket.

  2. It is so heartbreaking to have to put them into the cone like that, especially not knowing when it's going to end. I do applaud your efforts in trying to search for as many other possible solutions as possible. You are going above and beyond.

    By the way, I am just curious if this is something that Maya's breeder ever addressed? Obviously you don't have to get into it here if you don't want to... but I am always curious about how Shiba breeders respond to reports of allergies, as it seems to be such a common issue with Shibas, with varying degrees of severity. But for those that have it pretty bad, and on a constant, chronic basis, it can be emotionally devastating. I know cuz I've been there. And I most certainly did NOT have a knowledgeable breeder to turn to about this. =(