I'm sure you're all wondering how Gozer has been doing. She thinks she's the center of our universe so you must think so, too, right? Ok, maybe not, but since she is the center of our universe I want to talk about her.
It was a rough fall for Gozer. Just before Thanksgiving she was being treated for yet another ear infection and the vet suggested that she had food allergies. She was constantly scratching and licking and developing ear infections, all of which are signs of food allergies in dogs. She had also developed red spots on her abdomen.
We switched her over to a new veterinary food, Hill's Prescription Diet z/d Ultra which has hydrolyzed proteins and tried that for a few weeks. She stopped licking and getting ear infections but her stool was very soft. The vet kept urging us to stay on this food because it's great for dog's digestion but our dog needs to have good, solid poops and these were not them.
We switched her over to a Lamb and Potato mix and within a week she was licking like crazy so we had to take her off that right away. We moved her over to a limited ingredient Turkey and Pea protein food that she seems to be tolerating fairly well. We're giving her the treats we were first given with the Hill's diet because she likes them and tolerates them. We'd tried other treats but she seemed to still be licking more than when on these treats so that's what she gets.
After we started the turkey food, she developed red sore-looking things under her arms and the vet told us that we had to put her on antibiotics for two weeks. These antibiotics were very hard on her, giving her an upset tummy, very loose stool, and lots of lethargy. She was barely eating anything at all and so we tried giving her canned pumpkin mixed with her food to make her eat. It worked for about two days before she stopped wanting to eat again. We ended up hand-feeding her some of her food and playing with other parts (so that she could hunt for her kibble) so that she'd eat.
It's been a few weeks since she finished the antibiotics and she's now eating full meals again. We had to reduce her "full meals" to ensure that she finished them, but she is eating everything in her bowl now. She's also having regular, well-formed bowel movements. That's all good.
On the downside, she's got a yeast problem. I thought that corn-chip smell she had was just her smell but it's actually the smell of yeast. We're using one of the eardrops we'd been previously given for yeast infections which seems to be clearing that up, and we're also trying a new shampoo to try to clear the yeast off of her paw and thighs since she's still licking there occasionally. The old shampoo was good for her but it has oatmeal in it and I read somewhere that yeast like oatmeal so it isn't necessarily the best way to clean her and get rid of the yeast.
A little bit more concerning is that she's having anal gland issues. After she finished the antibiotics she was clearly having problems there because she was licking like crazy and appeared uncomfortable. The vet expressed them and said that they were almost impacted. I figured that this had happened because the antibiotics had made her stool very soft and her glands weren't emptied properly with her bowel movements.
The vet told us to have her glands expressed no more than every six weeks. Since she's being groomed every six weeks and they can express her glands then for only $15 extra (compared to a normal vet visit of $90), we're having it done then. Three weeks after her glands were expressed, she was groomed and we had her glands expressed again - we figured it wouldn't hurt and it would help us get into the habit of having it done.
It's just as well that we had her anal glands expressed because they were quite full again. I thought that this might have been because her stools weren't completely regular or well-formed at that point. However, now I'm questioning that conclusion because she's been licking her butt again and is looking uncomfortable. I think her glands are in need of expressing yet again and it's only been about three weeks since they were last done.
Our sweet little rescue doggie has turned out not to be maintenance-free. I hope that in 2014, she stays stable on her food, her yeast infections go away, and her anal glands start working properly.