Filed under: :Veterinary Care
When Sadie first came to us in early November 2007, we noticed that she was “itchy” but attributed it to her move from humid Minnesota to very dry New Mexico. I bathed her with “dry skin” shampoo and conditioner, but the itching continued.
By December 21, I noticed that the fringes of her ear leathers were encrusted with yellowish, flake-like scabs that came off when I scratched them, but did not bleed like a true scab covering a wound. She was, by this time, scratching her ear leathers and ear canals furiously. She was also biting her toenails and licking her feet, symptoms I recognized as auto-immune reactions which can be caused by recent rabies vaccination, and she had one in October. I started her on an immune-boosting supplement called Transfer Factor.
I began looking for a cause online, and found a condition called vasculitis which seemed to fit the symptoms and also commonly follows rabies vaccination.
I won’t define it here, but it seemed a likely candidate and requires veterinary attention, so I made an appointment with the vet, for Jan.8, first opportunity after her holiday vacation.
I bathed her on Dec. 22, paying close attention to her ear leathers, but was careful to keep water out of her ear canals. This did not help. Several days later, her ears were much worse. By the time I got her to the vet, her little ears were inflamed, the skin thickened and a deep burgundy red. They were encrusted with beige-golden colored flakes, especially around the fringes of her ear leathers and in the little pocket flaps on the outside edges of her ears. She was scratching so furiously that she had created secondary injury and was clearly miserable.
Holistic vet treated her with acupressure, homeopathics for vaccine and anesthesia remedy and gave me Chinese herbs to begin cleansing her liver and gallbladder. I left with dietary instructions which included continuing the raw protein diet (Primal raw meatloaf, green tripe, fermented veggies, raw goat milk kefir and raw goat milk cheese) she was already eating. No carbs or sugars allowed. (I had been feeding her eggs, but had discontinued them earlier, as a possible allergen.)
She gave me very little advice concerning treatment of her ears, and in fact, what she did tell me to do didn’t help at all, so I embarked on my own treatment. (She advised gently wiping her ears off with a mild solution of baking soda and water, but it was obviously painful to Sadie, so I only did it once.) Her initial treatment was good for holistic care, but I would have certainly appreciated better advice and treatment of the ear infection, which was, by then, a primary concern.
Conferring with Julie Timbers and Debby Rothman, I finally concluded that she was suffering from the overgrowth of the yeast Malassezia Pachydermatitis. The vet probably knew this, but didn’t bother to tell me about it. She did confirm that Sadie was definitely not suffering from any type of mange mite infestation.
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