Making a short story long
Know your environment. A cautionary tale.
Lilac started itching and scratching about two months ago. But, it was spring in Florida, so I just assumed it was her typical spring allergies acting up again.
However, she kept scratching.
I started giving her Benadryl, because of the allergies, and it helped a tiny amount.
But, she kept scratching.
So, then I thought maybe because it was shedding season that I should give her a bath. I bought an oatmeal shampoo for itchy skin and gave her a fabulous bath.
Still, she kept scratching.
It got so bad that she couldn't even take much of a walk because she had to keep stopping so she could scratch. Even the slightest touch of the leash on her back would send her into a spasm of itching. I thought that maybe it would be fleas, but I used the flea comb and didn't see any on her.
So, we couldn't stand it any longer and we took her to the vet. Now, I have been to this particular vet office many times and I like them, but they certainly had ratcheted up their sales pitches since I had been there a month earlier with my cat that cut her paw and it got infected.
"You have to get a Rabies update shot"....Ok, I said.
"You need her to have a Distemper shot"...Ok, I said.
"Do you want to get her tested for heartworm?"...Ok, I said.
"Do you want to test her for ringworm and other intestinal parasites?"...Um, Ok, I said.
"Do you want to consider a blood screening for older dogs?"..... Um, not right now (my pocketbook couldn't take it!).
"So, now what seems to be the problem with Lilac?"....Well she is itchy and scratching a lot.
Then, the vet proceeded to tell me that it was probably fleas (and a flea allergy) and that I need a new super duper product called Trifexis which was expensive but it handles heartworm, fleas, and intestinal parasites. (Ok, I said). And she also put her on Prednisone (a steroid) to stem the itchiness. She also told me that fleas were getting worse this time of year. I just wasn't used to fleas in the winter because most places I had stayed were too cold or too dry to have fleas in April.
We went home with a very light pocketbook and a big bag of medications.
That night Lilac peed in her sleep all over her new dog bed. So, we had to take everything apart and do laundry. The next night she did it again, so we had to take her bed apart and do laundry. I also shampooed the rug. If you have ever had a dog on prednisone, you will know that it makes them eat and drink like crazy and thus, pee like crazy. Then, she started eating weird stuff outside on every walk. Walking her became an awful exercise in tugging on her leash while she had something nasty in her mouth. And, this from a dog who normally just doesn't think food is such a great thing, but eats because she knows she has to in order to survive.
Then, on a Saturday, she kept asking to go out. My husband, Jack, is a night-owl, so he kept letting her out. But, this was a very unusual behavior for her. So, I got up in the morning on Sunday and let her out and I noticed that she kept peeing over and over. Then, I noticed that her pee looked bloody. So, I instantly assumed that she had a urinary tract infection. And, of course, it was Sunday. But, because it seemed to have gotten bad so quickly, I called the emergency vet. It was a urinary tract infection; most likely caused by the Prednisone (it seems to dissolve some kind of mucus lining in the bladder which normally prevents infections). So, they tested her urine and she did indeed have a urinary tract infection. So, she had to have three weeks of antibiotic (4 pills a day because she weighs 90 pounds). More lightening of my pocketbook!
So, then we had her on reduced Prednisone and 4 antibiotics a day for three weeks. She finished the antibiotic yesterday and the Prednisone a few days ago. And, she finally feels
So, bottom line is:
If I had known that fleas were around, I would have put her on flea medication earlier. And I would still have hundreds and hundreds of dollars in my purse, she wouldn't have had to suffer, and Jack wouldn't have had to do so much laundry!
I have a lot of stories about learning the hard way about the places that we travel with Lilac in the RV, but this is just the most recent. Take your time to do a little homework before you travel-it could save you a lot of hassle!