Thursday, June 19, 2014

He's Allergic, Harry Doggy Woggy

All week long I've sang the "Harrified" version of the electric slide.  This time last year Harry started itching, and we visited the vet several times and dosed Harry with a multitude of antihistamines, steroids, and antibiotics.  We then put Harry on a strict hypo-allergenic diet of what looked like corn pops and cost more than our monthly grocery bill.  After a while we introduced new foods to the hypo diet and watched for reactions.  Aside from a horrible explosion after the egg series, Harry didn't react to anything except his former Blue Buffalo dog food and cream cheese.  We went two months on a venison and sweet potato diet which was significantly cheaper than corn pops and at the start of this month Harry started itching again, developing two major hot spots.

Before Harry had a chance to completely inflate with an allergic reaction we reached out to our dermatologist at UPenn.  It seemed as though Harry was displaying strong signs that he had been suffering from environmental allergies all along.  We scheduled a skin test only two days later.  
His bad side (side where he had swelling from itching)
Harry's skin test consisted of him being put under sedation (not completely knocked out, but drugged), shaved in a patch, and pricked with 74 different allergens.  After each allergen was injected, the doctor recorded a reaction.  It only lasted about 20 minutes and we were called to pick Harry up only an hour and a half after we dropped him off.  
Harry's patch and all the dots are his allergy injections :(

Upon arrival we were given a packet of what Harry had gone through and a long list of Harry's allergies.  Harry is highly allergic to grass, yeast, dust, and mites.  But then he's also slightly allergic to a slew of other things, humans included.  My dog is allergic to me.  Here's the list:

On the bright side, we finally figured out what Harry's allergic to.  From now on we have to dose Harry for the rest of his life with allergy drops.  We opted for drops instead of shots because neither of us are comfortable with injections....but the drops are kind of a pain.  Harry doesn't like me sticking anything but treats in his mouth so this is a process he's going to have to get used to.  The first set of drops are diluted so that Harry's body starts to adapt to them.  Then as we move on he'll be put on a stronger solution.  In high season we'll likely have to pair it with a zyrtec.

Only a week or so of steroids left and then we'll see if the drops are working.  I'm so happy we went ahead and did the test.  It was a little expensive but I can't imagine having another year of breakouts, panicking about Harry's health.  If you're thinking about doing this test, I highly recommend it!

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