~ bald spots part 5 ~

25 August 2009


so, on the previous bald spots story, we have decided that koda’s compulsive chewing (on herself) problem is caused by seasonal allergy. since then, i’ve been paying closer attention on the time when the itch starts and ends.

we sort of know that koda stops itching around march. she will shed for a few weeks, regrow her fur, looking really good and fluffy for the summer.

we also know that usually, the peak of her itch comes around late november or december. during this time, she will be bleeding almost everyday… mostly on the tummy area, where it’s all chewed up and scarred. her legs bleed too, but not as bad as the tummy area. the area around her muzzle and her eyes are usually fur-less and wounded from too much scratching. she’s also unable to eat (the itch distracts her so much that she just keeps scratching instead of finishing her food). there are times when she can’t even go down the stairs. she had to scratch and bite herself on every step! she loses her weight and becomes very, very unhappy.

starting about a week ago, koda starts to shed her summer coat… she changes her coat twice a year. a few days after the shedding began, i started to notice a few bald spots on her legs and upper hind legs. within next three days, the spots got bigger and joined together.

broken skin on koda
those dark spots are dried scratching wounds

so, i guess this year, the allergy flared at the end of august…

today, we took her to the vet to ask for some Atopica, the same medicine that koda took the last time she had the fit.

Atopica works similarly to steroids (lowering antibody, so that the allergy doesn’t flare up), but only on skin. if koda takes steroids, her skin won’t itch that much, but she may get sick easily. Atopica helps her deal with her itch and also keep her anibody high. the only problem with this medicine is that the price is almost $100 per 2 weeks. a bit steep, but the other option is the elaborate test explained on the bald spot part 3 story, which will cause us about $2k-3k.

we’re hoping that by giving her the medicine early, she won’t be going through the peak of the allergy. hopefully, she can skip that miserable time of the year.

~ comment (6) ~

poor koda.. :(
i hope she won’t feel so miserable this year .. and oh, she looks so cute with that army-patterned hat on! :D

sLesTa | 26 August 2009 - 11:59 | reply

yeah, we hope so too… and i wish she knew that she looked good with that hat on. she hates the hat! :P

thalia | 26 August 2009 - 05:00 | reply

hey thalia, i’ve been through all of this and then some with Emmet. he was so itchy and flapped his ears so much that he developed horror show style hematomas in his ears (one was the size of a mango!) that required multiple surgeries. nothing worked (OTC antihistimines, atopica, steroids) ultimately, we submitted to allergy testing (he’s allergic to 30 things) and went with the allergy shots. FINALLY, that appears to have really made a difference (in conjunction with OTC antihistimines) the injection route is ultimately way cheaper than the Atopica. (also… my dog’s allergist had said she wouldn’t give Atopica to a younger dog. if i recall? she said something about side effects) I wish i would have gone with the allergy testing up front. it would have been so much less money in the long run.

shannon | 26 August 2009 - 05:26 | reply

oh wow, i just read you did the food trial too. god, you’re going down exactly the same path i did!

shannon | 26 August 2009 - 05:31 | reply

ooh i didn’t know that emmet is super-allergic, too! 30!?!? i’m scared to find out how many koda has… well, koda’s allergy only surfaces during the winter (although there is no winter here in singapore). so since it’s seasonal instead of all year around, and atopica seems to calm her down, we decided to do atopica for this year.

koda is 4.5 years old, so i think she can take atopica by now. although the vet suggest that if we give her atopica for more than 4 months straight every year, we may have to keep an eye on her liver. but since it’s seasonal, she gives us okay with atopica.

i have a feeling that koda’s allergy starts about a month or two earlier than last year, so if next year it moves even earlier, we probably go for the allergy testing and shots, like you had with emmet…. it’s so expensive, though!! but you’re right, it probably will save us more money in the long run.

did emmet’s allergy disappear all together after the shot treatments are done?

thalia | 26 August 2009 - 05:33 | reply

They’re much much better. He used to constantly shake his head, rub his ears and eyes on the ground, wake me up at all hours with the scratching. Now, he has minor flareups but certainly nothing on the order of what it was before. At that point, I give him some chlorpheniramine which was the OTC antihistimine that helps the most. Was so glad to finally get him off the steroids (which he was on WITH the Atopica) because he was losing all the hair on his tail. Now he’s back to being his silky gray self ;) Sending non-itchy vibes in Koda’s direction! xo.

shannon | 27 August 2009 - 02:38 | reply