The Ann Arbor Animal Hospital will be running an occasional series featuring animals who have responded well to treatment. In the first of our series, we are posting the story of Maddie the poodle, who had a chronic skin condition which is now under control.
Maddie is a 6-year-old toy poodle owned by Robert & Linda Vader—who have had several poodles for pets, usually two at a time. When they brought Maddie into their family, she was used to being “Queen of the House” and was their only pet.
When Maddie was about 3, they brought another poodle into their home and started noticing some behavior changes in Maddie. She became more withdrawn from Robert and Linda and irritable with the puppy. They attributed this to the status change from being the only pet, but became increasingly concerned as Maddie began to exhibit other changes: pink skin under her white coat, persistent scratching and tail biting, and spending more and more time alone rather than with Robert and Linda.
Approaching the holidays of 2009, Linda noticed her skin condition flaring up even more than usual, and brought her in to Ann Arbor Animal Hospital to get a vet’s advice.
Maddie was diagnosed to have ear mites (which were treated) as well as a yeast infection on her skin. She was prescribed prednisone (a steroid) as well as a yeast/bacterial control shampoo. The vet also advised Robert and Linda to avoid dog food and treats with chicken in it (which was more difficult than they imagined). Things appeared to improve with these treatments, but Linda still noticed that Maddie would have occasional skin flare-ups and over the following 6 months, Maddie had a “musty” smell and her coat began to thin and get “oily.” Her poodle curls were straightening and becoming wavy…”She looked kind of pathetic,” according to Linda.
When the Vaders returned to the Animal Hospital, they discussed these issues with Dr. Jess Franklin who suggested that Maddie might have some specific allergies. The bloodwork indicated that indeed, Maddie is allergic to several types of molds, as well as dust mites.
The Animal Hospital ordered some custom serums to treat Maddie’s allergies, and Linda (a nurse) started giving Maddie injections as home. This was difficult at first—Maddie didn’t like it and needed to be held—but over time has accepted the shots. Treats have helped!
It has been a year now. She no longer has the irritating skin flare-ups, and her coat is curly again. Her skin, which thickened as a result of the yeast infection, has thinned out. She started playing with the other dog and gets feisty, running circles in the yard. The dogs are best buddies now—they sleep together and eat together.
“We have our dog back,” said Linda. Her happy personality and disposition has returned!
According to Dr. Franklin, Maddie’s success in treatment is due to her wonderful family who is willing to give baths, control food, apply topical ointments and give injections. Allergy injections are appropriate for dogs who have a seasonal allergy for things in the environment, but not for food allergies.
It just goes to show that many common ailments, such as allergies, can affect behavior and quality of life in animals. It’s a great thing to know that these conditions are treatable and can make such a difference in your pet’s life.