Today my husband texted me six words no one ever wants to read about their dog: “I think she may have fleas.” Drat. While he was sitting next to her today he found two tiny black bugs on himself and when he tried to catch and kill them they jumped away. Ick.
We use Frontline every month and we couldn’t find any other evidence of fleas, but since its better to be safe than sorry where fleas are concerned I popped over to the vet to get her checked out. We also wanted to have the vet look at her because for months now we’ve been dealing with tiny sores on Pearl’s shoulders that look a bit like scabbed over blisters or bites. The vet has checked them out a couple of times; they’ve been cultured, tested for mange, treated with antibiotics, and washed with medicated shampoo. They aren’t fungal, they aren’t a staph infection, they aren’t from mites or ticks. Everything has tested negative but the bumps never seem to heal.
Thankfully, the vet said that she saw no evidence at all of fleas. Phew! (Although, I apparently have some other now-unidentified tiny black bugs in the house- hopefully they don’t resurface). The vet said that she believed Pearl’s bumps were allergy-related, especially since she has some other symptoms consistent with allergies: she can get itchy (but mostly her shoulders and ears, not near her rear end, where fleas are normally found), she sometimes chews her feet, she licks her butt excessively (which we had thought was related to her anal glands), she has dry skin, and a couple of times she has broken out in hives, which made her miserable and were pretty scary for us as well. The vet put her on an oral steroid to see if that would help clear up the bumps and relieve some of her other symptoms. She suspects seasonal allergies so I guess that is one reason to be excited about the colder weather. If Pearl’s symptoms subside this winter, that is a pretty good sign her allergies are environmental, but if they continue through the winter this likely means she is suffering from a food allergy and we will have to do some work to determine what it could be (due to some stomach troubles when she first came to us, Pearl is already on a grain-free diet). I am hoping the steroids work to give her some relief- anyone who suffers from allergies knows that they pretty much suck and I imagine Pearl probably feels the same about them.
It can be really frustrating when your pet is acting funny or has some sign or symptom of illness that you can’t identify. It is these times that I especially wish my pup could talk and tell me what is bothering her.
For now, I’m just relieved that my house and my dog are flea free and that we are making progress on helping Pearl to feel her best.