Thursday, April 17, 2008

Black Lab Loosing Fur Around One Eye - part II

Subject: Black Lab Loosing Fur Around One Eye - part II

From: Roy (USA)

Labrador Retriever's Name: Watson

This is the second part of a two part e-mail. If you missed part I, you can read it here: Black Lab Loosing Fur Around One Eye - part I

Reader's E-mail - Roy's Response:

Hello Fay and thanks for your reply. I had taken Watson to the Vet last Tues. That was good as it was time for one of his shots. The Vet looked quickly at the hair loss condition and has the exact opinion as you, regarding it being localized demodectic mange. However, she did not want to do the skin scraping test as it was too close to the eye.

She provided me a liquid medication of 20ml IVOMEC, clear in color with a consistence/viscosity of olive oil, to be given 1.4ml once a day orally. The diagnosis is rather shocking to me as I thought mange was a condition caused by poor care of a dog. I generally have seen it associated with dogs that roam wild. This raises a lot of questions, such as: Is it contagious to my other dogs? To humans? Other than from his mother where could he have gotten it and how does it spread?

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The food we give him is regular Purina Dog Chow. I have had very good luck with that brand in the past, having a 40lb mixed breed live to be 18 years old. She had eaten only Purina for the first 10 years. But I am open to suggestions. Of course the dogs do not get any table scraps.

Certainly you can share my thoughts on raising dogs to minimize Separation Anxiety. I hope the readers will understand that dogs by nature are a pack animal, want to be with us and we can and should spend a lot of time with them, but they also can learn that there will be times when they are not going to be with us, and that is OK and not a punishment. I believe not having some separation from your dog reduces your position as the pack leader. I have to also believe that dogs living in a human environment are dependent on people as a pack leader and are much happier when the person takes the role of the leader. I always have to revert back to parents and children as an example, we know the disaster children become when the adult does not assume the parent/leader role.

By circumstances and not entirely by choice, I ended up currently with 3 large dogs and raised them all the same way. Training them that there will be times they will be alone also works well when you are home. When we have guests over, the dogs meet them, and then I can just tell the dogs to go lay down and point to the room where I want them to stay. Just as it is difficult to say no to a child, it is difficult to say no to a loved dog, but in a long run it makes for a better life long relationship.

I would also like to share two items which I have learned of over the years from Vets. My sister's yellow lab, male, about 100lbs, had a very bad skin problem which looked like what we would call acne on a person. This was all around his mouth and chin area into the fur area. The vet diagnosed it as an allergic reaction to plastic food and water bowls and plastic toys. My sister changed to stainless steal bowls and the problem cleared up in less than two weeks. This apparently could also apply to dog cages with plastic bottom floors etc. I learned some dogs are sensitive to plastic, and medicating them is not the answer, try the simple solution first.

The most interesting simple solution story concerns an 18 year old dog Bambi, I mentioned her above. This incident took place about 20 or so years ago. At about 8 to 10 years old Bambi developed a condition of occasional labored breathing and wheezing attacks. That same year I happened to be on a plane sitting beside two people that were having a very in depth discussions about dogs. I assumed they were Vets, and asked if I could impose and ask them a question. I described my dog's breathing condition. They looked at each other in total amazement and asked "how old is the dog." I told them about 9 yrs. Again amazement, and then they introduced themselves and explained their reaction. They were both professors at a veterinarian collage I believe in North Carolina. They were returning from attending and lecturing at a seminar. The topic of their seminar was the up and coming practice of K9 geriatric medicine. They explained as more baby boomers were becoming empty nesters and living longer, they also have more funds available to care for aging dogs. Caring for older dogs is a field many vets may not have been exposed to in the past, so these people had developed education specifically geared to caring for older dogs.

Their next question was "is the dog otherwise healthy," I responded that she was as active and alert as she was at 1 yr old. They then asked what I feed her. I told them Purina dog chow. They indicated that is a good food for younger dogs, but at her age it has far too much sodium content. They recommended a product at the time called Cycle 4, this is a low sodium reduced fat food specifically for older dogs. They told me the breathing problem was the result of the sodium which was causing the lungs to retain too much fluid. I put her on Cycle 4, and she lived another 8 to 9 years and never had another episode.

Fay, you are welcome to publish or use any part of my communications to you, I do ask that you do not publish my e-mail address. Thanks for your time. I have another Vet appointment on Friday for Watson. They want to see if the IVOMEC has helped. They are charging me $55 for 20ml so I hope the cure is soon.


A very big thank you to Roy for the question and the wonderful information that he provided. I'm sure it will be very useful to other readers of this blog.

To see a photo of Watson visit: Watson 04/17/08

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