Health and Wellness, Sickness

Bumps and Allergy Testing

February 29, 2016

A couple bumps on her ears

Over the past year Whiskey has been getting bumps that appear pretty quickly and disappear just as fast. The bumps never stuck around long enough to get to a vet and so we put on our detective hats to find out what the problem was.

small ear bumps

Her bumps were concentrated on her upper head, ears, and the front of her legs and were raised but not red. They would get better within 15- 30 mins once we took her away from the environment she started showing symptoms in, and would rarely show for more than 1 hour. At the least, they were a couple round bumps on her ears, at the worst her whole face was swollen to the point she couldn’t even see, but even then, her bumps would fully vanish within 2 hours (so no time for vet). When the bumps were at their worst, (as happened about 3 times) she would be very quiet, tired, and sad looking. They didn’t seem itchy, and she would be back to normal as soon as they went away. They were like bee stings and we did try some Benadryl but it was hard to tell if it helped because the bumps always went away so fast either way. We also tried a holistic Allergy Supplement, as well as local raw honey but neither seemed to show much improvement over several months.

a medium-bad example

It was pretty clear from the get go that these were allergic bumps and since I feed home made raw, it was pretty easy to eliminate food as her allergy source. We noticed a pattern after a couple months that was interesting; if we took her to a park several times a day, only sometimes she would come back with bumps (even if we took her to the same place on the same day). Most of the times if we went into forests or mountains she would be fine, so in general she had more bumps in the city, or close to the city. I have to emphasis that although these pictures look absolutely terrible, the bumps at their worst only stuck around for about 20 mins and in 2 hours, they were gone. I hate seeing Whiskey like this and I’m only posting this as I hope this may help another Vizsla or puppy.

the worst it got with us (about 3x ever)
the worst case only happened when it rained

Something else that was interesting was the worst cases were when it was raining and if she wore a jacket, she would have no bumps where the jacket covered (a strong case for environmental allergies). Also, she had more bumps on the front of her legs, not the back of her legs where she was more exposed to water spray, or where she would have a higher chance of touching allergens. From my research, I found out that tree pollen becomes more concentrated when it rains, and comes down from the air in rain droplets. People that have tree pollen allergies react more in rain as well. Also, in the city, we plant mostly male trees so when pollen is released from male trees, there aren’t enough female trees to capture pollen so there is more pollen in the air causing allergy issues in humans (says Scientific America and Vancouver Sun).

Anyways, since we’ve both been working a crazy amount of overtime, we finally had a chance to book Whiskey in with a pet dermatologist (yes that’s a thing!) about a month ago. I find when visiting vets, I’ve learned I need to really stand up for my beliefs. Vets love to prescribe loads of tests and medications “just in case” and many times these are not needed, and not only will cost more, but you are also giving your pet unneeded chemicals. Now, I’m not expert but I do know my dog so we opted to test Whiskey only for environmental allergies (I had to insist it wasn’t food related) and I opted out of flea control (twice) since I was absolutely sure these were not fleas. We did both a skin test and a blood test. The skin test unfortunately, called for her side to be shaven, a grid to be drawn, and 40 plus tiny allergen injections to compare reactions to a placebo.

Poor girl is also on her heat
Her side is shaven and a grid is tested

Whiskey was given a reversible sedation and I was able to watch the whole procedure. Afterwards we needed to wait 3-5 more weeks for blood test results, and then depending on the results we would have to order either drops or injections to give Whiskey to help her allergies. We ended up with drops and the ordering took another 3 weeks, so a month and a half later, we picked up the drops. At the moment we are just giving her a little drop a day in her mouth and that’s it. We are supposed to see noticeable results from 3 months to 1 year and this is all covered by insurance 80% (I really recommend insurance). Whiskey’s highest reactions seem to be to a mold and some tree and weed pollen. Without insurance this would have cost about $1400 (for all tests and 5 months of drops).

she was half sedated and I was there every minute

For the past 3 months though we’ve not seen seen much allergy reactions at all so we are wondering if this is more a fall/winter thing (or wet season thing) but we are trying the drops (one set lasts 5-6 months) for at least a year to see if this improves. For the time being, we are taking one sided photos while we wait or Whiskey’s hair to grow back!

little square on her side

still my beautiful princess

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