So….this little dog has been having some issues the last couple of weeks. Frenchies tend to be pretty itchy little dudes, but lately he has been itchier than usual and has gotten in such a state that he has rubbed off most of the hair on his nubbin (what some would call a tail!) and in the folds of his face. Frenchies aren’t able to clean their face folds and nubbins like cats can and quite often need help from their humans to make sure that this is done on a daily basis.
Now, Brian and I have tried a lot of things with Digby as we realized pretty early on that he was allergic to at least Chicken. For a long time, I had both him and the cats on a raw diet and after some more trial and error with that, we also added Turkey and Duck to the list of no-no’s. Once I started working on my pet nutrition degree, I pulled Digby off his raw diet (as I was concerned that my recipe, without further work, was potentially missing some required nutrients in the correct amounts) and we started feeding him a complete and balanced dehydrated food (Honest Kitchen) that he seemed to thrive on. For the past 6 months or so he was doing incredibly well on this diet…but over the last month his skin issues have gone downhill again.
Initially I chalked this up to the change in seasons, but when the itchies kept increasing in intensity we decided that an appointment with the vet at my store was in order, so that we could try and get to the bottom of things. At this point I had thought that it may just be an internal yeast infection that had spiraled out of control, but after giving him a full examination she suggested that a lot of his skin issues may still be related to food sensitivities. Poor doodlebug.
Side story – at one point this little dog had two “normal” ears…but due to his last bought of food related allergies causing an ear infection that tried to take over his entire body, we ended up with a hematoma on his ear. Not super life threatening, but irritating to him nonetheless. After talking it over with our vet, we decided to hold off on surgery and see if the lump would reabsorb back into his little piggy body. It did…about a week later…but we were left with one floppy ear and one “normal” ear. All part of the charm – ladies, take a number.
Anyhoo…back to the case at hand. After some chit chat back and forth, my vet suggested that we try a prescription diet that is made specifically for food sensitivities and eliminate all other sources of potential food allergens from his diet (basically everything but the prescription food – Hills D/D Venison and Potato) for the next three months. We also got a round of steroids and antibiotics to help clear up the current itchy situation and ward off any potential infections in his skin folds.
Currently we are about 5 days in to the prescription diet. Most of the change I have seen in him has been due to the steroids, but I will say that he devours the new food. But then again, he kinda devours any food I set in front of him. He is our tiny, snorting, floppy-eared vacuum cleaner.
The current plan is to keep him on the D/D for about 3 months to really assess any difference and if all goes well, Venison (a novel protein that he has not been in contact with before) may be the answer. After the 3 month time period is up, there are certainly other LID dog foods that are Venison based that we can try – Natural Balance, Ziwipeak, Dr Harvey’s, Grandma Lucy’s or even Stella and Chewys. All of these options are on the cutting board right now….we’ll play around with some of them as we get closer to the end of the trial period and keep you updated!