Tuesday, August 28, 2012

RV Travel with K-9 Medical Issues

We have a wonderful fur kid named Grant.  He is a 7-year old Australian Shepherd.  

Grant is a very loving and smart dog who just happens to be afraid of everything including his own shadow.  At our house, Grant has a huge, fenced back yard and a dog door.  While he walks really well on his leash, he's never had to be taken out to conduct his business.  He's not a fan I must say. (I'm not either)

It's been hard for Grant to adjust to our trips in the RV. He loves to ride in the truck and he seems really comfortable in the RV but anything in between is a terrifying experience for him. Rest areas are horrifyingly loud and busy.  By the end of each trip he seems to be settling in but I'm still worried about how this is going to be for him. Fortunately, we have an awesome veterinarian whom we love.

Grant regularly takes a medication called Reconcile.  Basically, Reconcile is the K-9 form of Prozac.  He has terrible separation anxiety and was very destructive when left alone. Unfortunately, there is currently a nationwide shortage of Reconcile.  Since we're leaving in just over a week we needed something to give him in its place.  Grant's veterinarian, Dr. Shoemaker at South Bay Veterinary Hospital gave us a prescription for human fluoxetine which is the generic for Prozac.  We took the prescription to Costco to have it filled and were pleasantly surprised to find that the cost was 95% less than the Reconcile.  We were paying about $800 a year for Reconcile and today we got a 2 month supply of the generic for $6.99 which is only $42 annually.  Saving us about $760 a year or 5 full tanks of diesel for the truck!  SCORE!

The other thing we picked up at the vet's office was his records.  Grant has had a lot of gastrointestinal problems over the years.  Once his illness was so severe that our vet kept him for over a week on fluids and medications.  He had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis which is inflamed and bleeding stomach and intestines.   We nearly lost him but he bounced back.  Eventually we found out that he has some pretty severe food allergies so I was particularly interested in his allergy testing.  The test results are below.

Allergic                          Not Allergic
eggs                              catfish
corn                               beef
soy                                chicken
duck                              rabbit
yeast                             milk
oats                               wheat
rice                                pork
turkey                            potato
lamb                              venison
peas                              barley

Grant's dog food was a lamb and rice food.  Clearly not a good choice given that he is allergic to both.  Since his allergy testing we have been feeding him chicken with a little pumpkin. However, his symptoms have not completely gone away so we decided to try an elimination diet.  We started him on just chicken and sweet potatoes.  About two weeks into the diet we discovered Grant is highly allergic to sweet potatoes.  They make him itch really badly.  We learned that allergens can stay in a dog's system for up to 8 weeks. The vet's office suggested giving him Benadryl for the itching.  That is when we discovered that Grant is allergic to something in the Benadryl also.  We also switched his diet to chicken and regular potatoes. At that point, I wanted to scream and I'm sure Grant did too.  We were given a prescription for an antihistamine with a steroid with a tapered dosage.  That medication helped tremendously but the itching never completely went away and since he finished the prescription it has steadily gotten worse again.  We started him on another round today.  

Wish us luck in our travels with our neurotic, allergic, terrified dog. 

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