Last week I wrote about Casey’s hotspots, and how we were working on treating these ourselves with a cone and a couple of quiet days.
It didn’t take us long to realize this wasn’t going to work well. She wouldn’t put her head down, trying to sleep while holding it up.
The hotspot grew, parts turned a greenish-grey, and it began to take on a putrid odour – all signs of infection, and absolutely untenable, especially in the small travel-trailer space available. We needed help!
We were excited to discover that my cousin, Erin, works at Central Animal Hospital in Vernon, and we were able to make a timely appointment with a doctor there – Dr. Alice Lovegrove. We drove into Vernon last Thursday to have Casey checked out.
Casey stayed with their amazing team for the day. She was sedated, shaved, cleaned up, and started a round of antibiotics and steroids. She came home smelling a lot better, and looking more like her happy self.
The antibiotics are temporary; they are fighting the infection she developed. But the steroids are going to be an ongoing prescription, refilled monthly at a low dose. These are to combat the seasonal and environmental allergies she has, and Dr. Lovegrove has assured us that after she heals, she will probably be able to swim, romp freely and eat as many bees as she likes without immediately reacting.
In the week since we have picked her up from the vet, Casey has healed well. She is now no longer using the cone, and her shaved areas are starting to fill back in. She is no longer licking obsessively, nor does she appear to be irritated or itchy. Overall, the treatment has been a success so far.
That said, one of the contributing factors to Casey’s hotspots does appear to be stress, and she is one keyed-up dog. She’s been spending most of her days trembling (excited, not scared), and walking her on-leash has been next to impossible – she pulls excessively (regardless of the type of collar/harness/etc) and even dragged me face-first for a couple of feet, on one lovely walk.
Before we came up to Sugar, we consulted a trainer for a private lesson and some advice. The consensus is that Casey needs more exercise, and repeated exposure to her triggers in order to become more calm. This is difficult when we are not able to expose her to her triggers due to the intensity of her reactions.
That led us to again consult Dr. Lovegrove, and we have now filled a subscription for anti-anxiety meds for Casey. It can take 4-6 weeks to fully take effect, but we are hoping that the meds will relax her enough for the training and exposure to have an effect. Yup, our dog is now on Prozac.
As troubled as she is, Casey is a sweet, sweet girl. Our other lab, Rosie, is madly in love with her, as are we. Living at a lake for the summer is likely a dream come true for a pair of water-loving labs, and we are hell-bent on having a happy ending to this story.
Stay tuned for more updates throughout the summer! (Don’t forget to subscribe to get updates delivered right to your email inbox.)
And just for fun, here is a video from 2016 of water-loving Casey, loving the water: