Friday, December 7

Simba Seems Sympatico!

As promised, here is the second installment of the Simba story. In his second week of foster care, Simba is learning his place in the scheme of things, and is getting lots of exposure to strange places and foods and dogs. Here's Simba's foster mom:

"Simbabwe (another nickname) is doing great. We live in a neighborhood with lots of dogs that we encounter daily on our walks; we've been to the vet office twice and Petco once; and this morning we went to our dog friendly mall where Simba tried to pick up on a stuck-up Bichon in Macy's, and I have yet to see any signs of dog aggression from Simba. He sleeps, eats, gets treats, chews bones, plays tug of war, keep away, and fetch with my two Frenchies without any problems whatsoever (Clementine is actually the one I have to keep in check- it conveniently slips her mind sometimes that everything is in fact MINE and I just let her and the other dogs share my things). For all her bossiness, she and Simba wrestle every morning and then curl up like best buddies-- Simba has her by almost ten pounds, but he plays very gently with her; he caught on quick that it's her way or the highway, so all play is by her rules. He and Hannibull are hilarious, two peas in a pod, we call them "the bookends."
He has wonderful house manners, if it would not cause a revolt I would crate my two and leave him out loose every time we left the house. LOL. He does not cry or bark in the crate; they are never in there for more than a three hour stretch, but as long as he has a Kong or an antler he is content to be in there, no problem. He does display the common import trait of a heightened alertness-- any strange sounds and he's got his ears up, back hair raised, a quick low bark; but since mine aren't barkers, it seems like he kind of feels silly that no one else is reacting, and he lets it go and ignores whatever it is-- gardeners, construction noise, etc.
He's just wonderful...
His skin has gotten so much better. Much less itchy and less red than when he first arrived. In fact, I would say in the last day and half he hasn't scratched at all. On the suggestion of a friend with an itchy Frenchie, we bought him some cotton tees that he wears underneath the harness on walks and to sleep in at night, to cut down on irritation from rubbing or scratching-- and the redness is almost gone. I switched him to raw food (it's what I feed my two and it just seemed cruel that he would smell it and then have kibble set in front of him instead--you should have seen his face LOL), not to mention we weren't sure if there were some food allergies.

I suspect he does have some grain allergies/sensitivities because there has been no more paw licking/biting since the switch. Stools are great, coat is great-- his little muzzle fur is all filling in, no more redness, puffiness, or bald spots.

Oh, I should also mention my husband is a dermatologist and he wrote a couple of Rx for Simba for topical stuff for his eczematic skin, because the shampoo from the vet and the antihistamines weren't bringing as much relief as we wanted to see to give his skin a break from scratching. The Rx fixed it up in two days of application.

So here are a couple of pics of Simbalicious (I just love the black ink that has "bled" on his chest and backs of his legs)- he is a very mellow, loving little guy."

There you have it--the new Simba is sympatico! Now with 80 per cent less itchies! announces
The Frog Princess


Unknown said...

I'm glad to hear Simba's doing better. :) I have an itchy frenchie too, also an import who barks at every noise, btw! He's on antihistamines and uses special shampoo as well, but like Simba, he still scratches. I am wondering about the ointment for his skin, as I have used a bit of my eczema ointment now n then for his flaky skin. What did you use? I am trying to find ways to help my frenchie without steroids for allergies. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I adore Simba!! What a doll!! Please continue telling us about his exploits with the Magnificent Clementine and the Irascible Hannibull Barka - joy, joy, joy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rita, Simba's foster mom here, sorry for the tardiness in replying to the question you posted, we have been traveling throughout the holidays without a laptop and for the most part staying places without internet access- I know, we are throwbacks to a forgotten age....
But as for Simba's skin, he was incredibly red and itchy and losing hair when he first arrived. He had some obvious outdoor/contact allergies (symptoms were worse coming in from outdoors) which I feared, and the vet concurred, expensive testing would probably not narrow down enough to make for a helpful "avoidance list". So, we worked on getting some relief by breaking the inflammation/itch/scratch/more inflammation cycle with some soothing medicated baths and hydroxyzine. When that didn't get results, we upped the ante and did twice a day applications of triamcinolone cream for four days- and typical of steroid topicals- instant relief. No more staying up all night scratching, which gave his skin a rest. Not advisable for a long term solution but it gave his skin the needed break for his own immune system to calm down. I should also mention that we dressed Simba in a 100% cotton tee every night to keep him from going at his skin while we were sleeping and we switched his food to a "no-grain" raw diet. Thankfully after only a couple of more sporadic applications of the cream (maybe twice more over the following two weeks,) and I am happy to report we have never had to use it since. In fact his allergies were seemingly under control over the whole next month until our recent trip to California where young Simba's eyes and skin "freaked out" and needed soothing relief ASAP. If you ever read Angela's Ashes, I now know what Frank McCourt meant by "two pissholes in the snow" when describing nasty conjunctivitis. Believe me, were it not for the steroid drops for his eyes, this guy was screaming out in frustration and discomfort, stabbing at his eyes, a few times a night- and when things are to the point that there are screams in the night, you do what you can, which sometimes means application of anti-inflammatories that include steroids. We applied
Neo/Poly/Dex Ophthalmic Ointment over the last few days we were in California and by our return to Arizona his big gorgeous brown cow-eyes have returned to their former dreaminess. Obviously, the Simba-kid has a mean allergy to certain allergens in SoCal.
Working with a knowledgeable vet, or veterinary dermatologist to identify the culprit allergen(s) and then avoidance, is the ideal method for getting a handle on allergies. But a high quality, low ingredient diet and common sense solutions, like the tee-shirts, rinsing off the dogs when they come in from outdoors (minimal rubbing of their skin), and washing whatever they lay on with hypo-allergenic detergents all help. And medications, as prescribed by a vet you trust definitely have their place as well. Just realize, the allergies can only be controlled (and it maight take patience, trial and error to get there- allergies are a very individualized thing), you won't get rid of them altogether. Good luck.

allie said...

Sorry so late in this one but I have to always post about Simba.. He is just to die for. I am so beyond sad that he can't come live with me and Bob in Connecticut. Pure heaven you have over there.

And a mall you can take the pups to?! I'm so jealous! Bob has gone a few times when he was still a baby that fit into a doggy bag (yeah, he loved Nordstroms just like MOmmy...), but not since unfortunatly. I end up staying home all the time because I don't go anywhere he isn't welcome really!

Unknown said...

Hi There, thanks soooo much for this informative site. I've been dealing with, what I call, an autoimmune defiency. My frenchie is miserable and spring is coming and I am terrified. She is now 4 years old and this disease manifested itself around 6 mo. She was misdiagnosed with mange and we did the dips and ivermectin which only made thing much worse. I do feed her a high end dog food (Nature's Balance Duck and Potato) "specially formulated" for dogs with allergies. We also give her additional fish oils and probiotics. This has helped tremendously but her skin is already turning red and she's itching a lot more. I use topicals on her when it gets bad and bathe her in soothing anti-ictch shampoos every two weeks to keep the "funk" down.

I am going to try the raw diet. I'll let you know how it turns out. There isn't a lot of good info out there. Vets want to do antibiotics and steriods and that's it! Thanks, Erin