Alas! A breakthrough on Ace's health. - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Alas! A breakthrough on Ace's health.

As everyone knows, the skin infections and allergies have been an ongoing issue for the past year, and I have done nearly everything I can to try to help him. And been at wits end for a while now. After getting an allergy blood test done, we have medicating those issues with Apoquel and other methods.

His symptoms were:
  • Extreme Dandruff
  • Scaly Skin in areas
  • Open Sores and Scabs
  • Dry, Cracked Paws
  • Dry Snout
  • Hair Loss on Tail

Not to mention I've always thought he had low energy for a dog of his age. We thought we got super lucky that he was naturally "chill" but now I see it may be related. He doesn't require much exercising honestly, and can tucker out fairly quick. He also is on the thick side, and probably needs to lose a few pounds.

Our current routine was lengthy and annoying, honestly. Apoquel meds, two types of medicated sprays, multiple balms, salmon oil, coconut oil, Wellactin Advanced prescription, etc, etc. I was doing everything daily and really hadn't seen much improvement since September.

Anyways. I had a hunch after some reading to get his thyroid checked. The vet ran the blood test, and diagnosed Ace with Hypothyroidism. It would explain so many of the symptoms he has, and why it has been so difficult to see any improvement! So now we have added a thyroid supplement and fingers crossed, should finally begin to see improvement! We go back in a month to check the dosage and his levels again, so it will have to be monitored, but I am just so relieved. I am so happy to potentially end the suffering he's been dealing with. Alongside of his allergy treatment (since his blood results showed he also has some allergens) we should be on the up and up from here thankfully! Just wanted to share!
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 05:18 PM
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Glad to hear your progress with Ace! Eva's HT treatment made a world of difference with her quality of life.

Here is start link to Eva's posting's in the Hypothyroidism Thread:

https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...ml#post3821497

Note, after start of her treatment, she had dramatic weight loss and continuous shedding of hair, which grew back in rapidly, nice, soft and shiny, as we removed dead hair with a Furminator brush daily. (I was thinking she might have a double coat at one point!)

As she lost weight, Eva got so feisty with Mr. Spock, I started calling her twice daily Thyro-Tabs, "Eva's Bitch Pills".
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spocksdad View Post
Glad to hear your progress with Ace! Eva's HT treatment made a world of difference with her quality of life.

Here is start link to Eva's posting's in the Hypothyroidism Thread:

https://www.dobermantalk.com/doberma...ml#post3821497

Note, after start of her treatment, she had dramatic weight loss and continuous shedding of hair, which grew back in rapidly, nice, soft and shiny, as we removed dead hair with a Furminator brush daily. (I was thinking she might have a double coat at one point!)

As she lost weight, Eva got so feisty with Mr. Spock, I started calling her twice daily Thyro-Tabs, "Eva's Bitch Pills".
That was a great read! Thanks for the info!!

I really hope for good results for Ace! We are on the Soloxine meds and I can't wait to see improvement in his coat. I can't wait for the silky soft hair to come around! Its almost wirey and dirty feeling right now.

Plus I never realized the shivering could be a sign too! Ace shivers alllllll of the time. We thought it was just dramatics but I bought him a Made by Meadowcat jacket to help. glad to know it may be related also!

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 06:26 PM
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Gosh, I thought you'd done a thyroid panel on Ace quite awhile back. (I guess I thought that because I'm pretty sure that several of us suggested a thyroid check. And didn't you have Ace seen by a vet dermatologist/allergist? Why didn't they have his thyroid checked if he had been seeing a dermatologist.

Hypothyroidism is very common in Dobes. And while there are several common symptoms there is also a whole array of symptoms that aren't as common but do show up with enough regularity that when you have a dog who has symptoms and the vets don't seem to be able to pinpoint the problem one of the first things you'd want to is a full thyroid panel.

Doesn't really make any difference now about whether anyone suggested thyroid as a possible cause of all the mysterious problems or not. I'm just glad you and your vets finally hit on something that is so often a problem,

About the coat--it should feel different after Ace is on thyroxine for several weeks. His coat should be a lot shinier but it really shouldn't be a lot softer--Dobe coats are supposed to be "hard" and a proper coat will feel a little wirery but should never feel dirty or oily.

By the way--for anyone else reading this--some of the very common symptoms of low thyroid are: hair loss (backs of ears and near the flanks, may lose enough hair to look pretty bald) Sensitivity to cold, weight gain with no increase in food nor decrease in exercise.

These are just the very common symptoms--there is a plethora of articles about hypothyroidism you can find on Google--look for the ones that were written by a vet. Even better are the ones written by a vet dermatologist/allergist and have been peer revued (spell check says I'm spelling revue-ed wrong but isn't giving me an alternate spelling--RATS.)

Keep us posted on Ace's progress now that he's on meds for hypothyroidism. it usually makes a lot of difference and pretty quickly too.

dobebug
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobebug View Post

These are just the very common symptoms--there is a plethora of articles about hypothyroidism you can find on Google--look for the ones that were written by a vet. Even better are the ones written by a vet dermatologist/allergist and have been peer revued (spell check says I'm spelling revue-ed wrong but isn't giving me an alternate spelling--RATS.)
You go out on the town too much. A REVUE is a light theatrical entertainment consisting of a series of short sketches, songs, and dances, typically dealing satirically with topical issues. From Oxford

You're looking for REVIEWED--past tense of review--to go over or examine critically or deliberately. Merriam Webster

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 06:44 PM
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Great news!

Frankly, I am surprised that nobody had previously suggested a full panel to test for thyroid issues earlier. When are now senior developed skin and hair issues, it was one of the first things his vet looked at. It turned out not to be hypothyroidism. Still it is a common problem in Dobes.

In any case... I am happy that this problem may be reconciled.

John Lichtwardt
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melbrod View Post
You go out on the town too much. A REVUE is a light theatrical entertainment consisting of a series of short sketches, songs, and dances, typically dealing satirically with topical issues. From Oxford

You're looking for REVIEWED--past tense of review--to go over or examine critically or deliberately. Merriam Webster


Mel , I have to stick up for Bug here ! People that are " Not right " should " Not " be expected to spell or use the right Revue - Reviewed when posting on here

Thank you very much

Sorry Chesa , Forgot to reply to you friend , Glad you found out somethings with Ace ! Good news !
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobebug View Post
Gosh, I thought you'd done a thyroid panel on Ace quite awhile back. (I guess I thought that because I'm pretty sure that several of us suggested a thyroid check. And didn't you have Ace seen by a vet dermatologist/allergist? Why didn't they have his thyroid checked if he had been seeing a dermatologist.

Hypothyroidism is very common in Dobes. And while there are several common symptoms there is also a whole array of symptoms that aren't as common but do show up with enough regularity that when you have a dog who has symptoms and the vets don't seem to be able to pinpoint the problem one of the first things you'd want to is a full thyroid panel.

Doesn't really make any difference now about whether anyone suggested thyroid as a possible cause of all the mysterious problems or not. I'm just glad you and your vets finally hit on something that is so often a problem,

dobebug
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4bike ped View Post
Great news!

Frankly, I am surprised that nobody had previously suggested a full panel to test for thyroid issues earlier. When are now senior developed skin and hair issues, it was one of the first things his vet looked at. It turned out not to be hypothyroidism. Still it is a common problem in Dobes.

In any case... I am happy that this problem may be reconciled.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
It may have been recommended here, and I am sorry if I previously missed that advice! I had asked the vet to do a full blood test check thing-a-ma-bob but I assumed that covered thyroid also. Honestly, I am a bit ignorant when it comes to blood tests. I called back to check to see if that had been done and what the results were, but they told me it hadn't. My fault for assuming the standard blood test checked that. I told them I was coming in asap to get that done, and luckily was able to correspond with his allergy serum delivery.

Ace's current vet isn't a dermatologist. We hadn't made it that far, but I was half a step away from seeing one. There just wasn't one local enough with hours that would fit my schedule in any shape. His current vet however was the one who offered the Spectrum Labs blood test for allergies that was recommended to me by another member. Good guy, but yeah kinda sucks he didn't check that early on. Probably would have saved me a few thousand dollars.

It also makes me happy that we can probably come off the Apoquel since its made no change, although we will be continuing his hypo-sensitization treatments to treat his current allergies. Since his blood test did show real allergies too. I assume that I can now ignore the blood test results of his "food allergies" since there is a lot of controversy over food allergies being diagnosed purely through a blood test. I'd really like to get him back on better food like Purina ProPlan vs the Iam's Adult Breed he was on now.

I can't wait to see the changes over the next few months!
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 08:54 AM
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Probably would have saved me a few thousand dollars

Chesa - after reading your findings on Ace - That is the first thing I thought of . You have spent so much time and money trying to find out what was going on with Ace .

Last spring -We took Kadin in for his regular check up , We always have them do a full blood work up , Mrs Doc asked them if it also checked thyroid - They said No it did not , they had changed somethings that use to be covered , I asked WHY ??? the Vet was honest - they said some people just don't want to spend the money to have it checked No , they would rather wait and do the test on a need to basis . That may be why your vet did not do it or they plain forgot it .

I did tell the Vet that it should be tested on all Dobermans that come in there - like other had said , it's not uncommon in this breed .

The MOST important thing is that you did find out something on Ace and glad for yeah

Give big boy a hug for me
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 11:10 AM
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I'm thrilled you've continued to be persistent and you got this diagnosis. It's possible he does have some environmental allergies in addition to the low thyroid...who knows?

For information for those reading along, and for you, in case you don't already have it...there are a couple of blood tests that can be run at your vet's office. The thyroid test they can run "in house" would not include a FULL thyroid panel, so even if you ask for a thyroid check, you need to be VERY clear with your vet that you want a FULL thyroid panel, one that is sent out to somewhere like MSU for analysis (some people like Hemopet, but I personally do not). The in-house thyroid check is typically just a free T4, and that alone can't diagnose low thyroid in most Dobermans, unless it's really low.

I do ask for a yearly "senior panel" on my dogs, which covers a lot of bloodwork - it checks kidney values, liver values, etc. I still need to add a full thyroid panel to that if I want it - it only includes the free T4. But I highly recommend everyone gets full bloodwork every year. Dobermans can also have liver issues, etc.

I personally don't put much stock in allergy testing - when it has been subjected to rigorous scientific testing it can't be backed up scientifically, so I don't find it terribly helpful. Most allergies in dogs are environmental. Dogs with food allergies tend to be diagnosed through elimination diets.

I'll be excited to see how Ace does on his thyroid meds, and I hope that's all you need! I totally feel you on the Apoquel - I know how pricey that drug is! (It's one of those I can use as an example of why to buy pet insurance...it's roughly $70 a month, and if you have prescription coverage at 90% reimbursement it's a WHOLE lot easier to pay for!)


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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 11:38 AM
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Hopefully this will make a big difference! I too am surprised that the vet never thought to do a thyroid test before.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 01:06 PM
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I'll be excited to see how Ace does on his thyroid meds, and I hope that's all you need! I totally feel you on the Apoquel - I know how pricey that drug is! (It's one of those I can use as an example of why to buy pet insurance...it's roughly $70 a month, and if you have prescription coverage at 90% reimbursement it's a WHOLE lot easier to pay for!)
Leo's Apoquel is $70.40 for thirty 16 mg tablets. Lucky for me, she usually only needs half a dose most of the time.


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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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I'm thrilled you've continued to be persistent and you got this diagnosis. It's possible he does have some environmental allergies in addition to the low thyroid...who knows?

For information for those reading along, and for you, in case you don't already have it...there are a couple of blood tests that can be run at your vet's office. The thyroid test they can run "in house" would not include a FULL thyroid panel, so even if you ask for a thyroid check, you need to be VERY clear with your vet that you want a FULL thyroid panel, one that is sent out to somewhere like MSU for analysis (some people like Hemopet, but I personally do not). The in-house thyroid check is typically just a free T4, and that alone can't diagnose low thyroid in most Dobermans, unless it's really low.

I do ask for a yearly "senior panel" on my dogs, which covers a lot of bloodwork - it checks kidney values, liver values, etc. I still need to add a full thyroid panel to that if I want it - it only includes the free T4. But I highly recommend everyone gets full bloodwork every year. Dobermans can also have liver issues, etc.

I personally don't put much stock in allergy testing - when it has been subjected to rigorous scientific testing it can't be backed up scientifically, so I don't find it terribly helpful. Most allergies in dogs are environmental. Dogs with food allergies tend to be diagnosed through elimination diets.

I'll be excited to see how Ace does on his thyroid meds, and I hope that's all you need! I totally feel you on the Apoquel - I know how pricey that drug is! (It's one of those I can use as an example of why to buy pet insurance...it's roughly $70 a month, and if you have prescription coverage at 90% reimbursement it's a WHOLE lot easier to pay for!)
Yes, they did an in-house test for Thyroid, although I am not sure if they sent anything off. I need to get better at asking these kinds of questions. His free T4 was very low though, which gave the vet confidence in starting him on the Soloxine, in which he will return in a month to check levels again, and alter the dosage as needed. Its right before his insurance expires (like one day prior) so I may just ask if they did the full panel test as recommended, and if not, push for it to be done. Need to make an appt list, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzmar Dobermans View Post
Hopefully this will make a big difference! I too am surprised that the vet never thought to do a thyroid test before.
I assume its because I came in strong from the start adamant that I wanted the specific allergy blood test that they offered. I pushed hard for that test right off the bat, and we went that route. I'm hoping atleast.... the vet is quirky but we have had good experiences there, unlike most of the other vets in our area.

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Leo's Apoquel is $70.40 for thirty 16 mg tablets. Lucky for me, she usually only needs half a dose most of the time.
Ace's have been around $85+ for his 16mg prescription. Probably because I have to order enough for the 1.5x daily pill prescription.


Honestly, I'm probably going to stop the Apoquel soon because its not been giving any improvements. Expensive product with long term side effects that I'd like to avoid.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Chesa View Post
Yes, they did an in-house test for Thyroid, although I am not sure if they sent anything off. I need to get better at asking these kinds of questions. His free T4 was very low though, which gave the vet confidence in starting him on the Soloxine, in which he will return in a month to check levels again, and alter the dosage as needed. Its right before his insurance expires (like one day prior) so I may just ask if they did the full panel test as recommended, and if not, push for it to be done. Need to make an appt list, lol.
I would definitely ask if it was the full panel, and if not, I would request one, especially since you have insurance coverage. It will get trickier to monitor his level with just the free T4 once he's back in "normal" range and you'll be wanting to see that full panel run. You'll want to be monitoring more frequently to be sure he's on the right dose and it may need some adjusting at first to get him to the right spot, and then rechecks at a regular interval to make sure it stays where it should be.

I don't disagree on discontinuing the Apoquel.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 01:52 PM
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Yes, they did an in-house test for Thyroid

Chesa - When they did Kadin's Thyroid test - they sent it off to someplace , Maybe in MN , maybe Meadowcat will know the name - they said there at the top of the list - I can call our vets office and find out where they sent if you want . I remember Beth saying something about the way they test it , And She would not trust there own equipment to do it in house .
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeadowCat View Post
I would definitely ask if it was the full panel, and if not, I would request one, especially since you have insurance coverage. It will get trickier to monitor his level with just the free T4 once he's back in "normal" range and you'll be wanting to see that full panel run. You'll want to be monitoring more frequently to be sure he's on the right dose and it may need some adjusting at first to get him to the right spot, and then rechecks at a regular interval to make sure it stays where it should be.

I don't disagree on discontinuing the Apoquel.
Yes, the full panel needs to be sent to an outside lab, like Michigan State University or Idexx. It will test T3, Free T3, T4, Free T4, TSH, as well as something else I've forgotten. The full panel gives a clearer picture of what's going on.
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 03:12 PM
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Yes, the full panel needs to be sent to an outside lab, like Michigan State University or Idexx. It will test T3, Free T3, T4, Free T4, TSH, as well as something else I've forgotten. The full panel gives a clearer picture of what's going on.
Let me correct terminology a little here. Thyroid that will usual show values that you get on either a "full" blood panel or on a "senior"blood panel is actually just called a T4. Rosemary lists the correct information on a complete thyroid panel above: T3, Free T3, T4, Free T4 (Free T4 usually if you are reading the full report says something like Full T4--by equalibrium dialysis), TSH and TgAA (TSH and TgAA the two parts of the panel that are usually the indicators for a genetic thyroid problem but it takes all 5 parts to really see what's going on.

About Idexx and full Thyroid panels--our clinic uses Idexx (who also supplies our in house testing equipment) for a lot of our in house tests but if something is showing up in abnormal ranges there is rarely anything that the in house equipment can test for. We send secondary (more sensitive or different secondary tests_ all over the country.

There are very few places that do full Thyroid panels--TgAA is the one that most places can't do. MSU (Michigan State University still is the gold standard for Thyroid tests--including the 5 part complete panel. So when one of our vets who was dealing with a full panel got to talking to Idexx about it they told her that they could now do full panels. And I had one done on one of my dogs and we sent it to Idexx instead of MSU--it came back and all was fine until the next dog I wanted a full panel on--we sent it to Idexx and when the preliminary results came in TgAA was not included but a footnote was and it said that the sample had been sent to MSU for the TgAA--and when the final panel report was in sure enough there was another footnote that TgAA results were as reported by MSU.

You can go to MSU/thyroid panels and in the information section there is actually a list of labs who can do full panels. Idexx, which used to be listed is no longer listed. I'm doing this from memory--the only other lab I can think of offhand that really does their own complete thyroid panels is the one at Texas A & M's vet school.

T4 as on a routine blood panel or a senior blood panel is useful because it's sometimes the first indicator (other than the dogs own symptoms) of a thyroid problem. But some dogs never show low T4 values or they show low values but still within the reference range for whatever lab is doing the testing--and a lot of Dobes should be medicated if within a low normal range.

Thyroid is so common in Dobermans it probably should be checked for sooner rather than later but it doesn't often happen and I know a vet who I highly respect except for his view on Thyroid. His contention is that the most over medicated problem is dogdom is thyroid--most dogs do not need the thyroid meds they are on. While I would agree with the "most dogs" part I would tell you from a lot of years with Dobes that many Dobes (if not most) have thyroid issues and it almost always is hypothyroidism.

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So since then when I want a complete thyroid panel we now send them to MSU--they really are the gold standard and generally less expensive that any place else.
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 04:35 PM
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Yes, I meant a full thyroid panel needed to be sent out. And TgAA is the one I couldn't remember.


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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to do a quick follow up!

We had our one month check up since beginning his hypothyroidism treatments, and its only been good results so far!!

His coat doesn't feel scaly, dirty, or oily anymore. He's not covered in extreme amounts of dandruff when he gets excited now. He doesn't have random sores on his paws that bleed occasionally anymore. He hasn't really been seemingly cold lately, and hes been full of energy! His nose is the biggest change. It went from dry and feeling like sandpaper to wet! He FINALLY has a wet normal dog nose! The sores on the tip of his tail are clearing up, and he's really just looking sleek and happy.

He's even been allowed to stay outside of his crate all day/night for the past week! He's done SO good with that. We have several rooms closed off, but he gets the majority of the house to himself, all day and night. It makes us feel better than having to worry about him being uncomfortable in his crate. He still goes in there to sleep, but I know he enjoys being able to look out the windows now too.

We've stopped the Apoquel, but are continuing his Spectrum Spot Allergy Test Serum treatments. His medicine has now gone from $80-$90 a month to $25. You guys have no idea how relieving that is.

Anyways. The progress is noticeable finally, and i finally dont feel like a horrible dog mom watching my boy suffer.

Any.... now for payment. Handsome boy is a fan favorite at the vets office. And he knows it.
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 10:37 AM
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best news ever on his continuing improvement.
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post #21 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 11:17 AM
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Great News Chesa !

Ace has turned into a top of the line ROCK Star ! Dang he's good looking !

This may not come out like I mean it - But when any of our Dobers are not feeling good - To me - It is rewarding when we do figure out what is wrong and make them feel good - It's then , we know we are doing our best for our Beloved Boy or Girl - that mean so much to us ! But then again - it would be nice if we never had to worry about them getting the blues or sick

So happy for you all !

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post #22 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 11:31 AM
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That's wonderful!!
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post #23 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys! I really appreciate the support. Seriously. I was feeling really embarrassed and down in the dumps there for a while with his condition. Now I am more than happy to get him back into training and go for the goals we have!!! His happiness and wellbeing comes before all else in my world. And atleast my fiancee knows that, lol.
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post #24 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 01:01 PM
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Thank you guys! I really appreciate the support. Seriously. I was feeling really embarrassed and down in the dumps there for a while with his condition. Now I am more than happy to get him back into training and go for the goals we have!!! His happiness and wellbeing comes before all else in my world. And atleast my fiancee knows that, lol.
I am just seeing this tread now, and I am so glad Ace is feeling better now, Chesa. We went through the same thing with Willie, except he had already been diagnosed with Hypothyroid and was on thyroxine, when his skin/coat went south. He wasn't itchy, but was getting small bumps on his skin, and then would lose hair, where the bumps were so had a lot of small (about the size of a pencil eraser) on his back and sides.

We checked his skin for fungal infects, and did some aerobic cultures, which found some anti-biotic resistant staph. We also did all the allergy testing - and got a laundry list of food & outdoor allergies. I am still not convinced that he is truly allergic to everything they listed, but it was more of an indication of overall inflammation.

We began feeding him raw to avoid the listed foods, and after his skin settled down we are slowly re-introducing some of the foods listed (such as eggs) in limited quanties and he has done fine.

We did find that giving him melatonin has really helped his coat grow back quickly and nicely. I hope things keep going well for Ace.
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post #25 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-12-2020, 02:55 PM
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At what age do you guys recommend thyroid testing if they aren't exhibiting any symptoms?
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