Back to Newbrook Farm (RSPCA Birmingham) again today.
Even though our appointment is at 8.10 a.m. the traffic is already nose to tail in Kings Norton and Cotteridge. We arrive with two minutes left to walk up the long drive. Isis senses the urgency and stops to smell every post, blade of grass and fallen leaf.
Once inside she dances under the overhead lighting to the accompaniment of her castinet teeth and sharp, excited yips. We are soon offered a room of our own to wait in. But not before three members of staff have gathered behind the reception desk to watch the display. “I’ve never seen that before”, declares a vet. The others nod in agreement.
Isis waits quietly in the ante-room and then behaves impeccably in the consulting room as James, the vet, examines the evidence: two bitten back paws, bald patches on front paws and clear evidence elsewhere of amateur hair layering – by Isis, not me.
James thinks that the next step is to eliminate any possibility of skin irritation before we call in the dog psychiatrist. He prescribes a course of low dosage steroids and wants to see her again before the new year. On the way home I contemplate the possibility that the steroids will make my dog’s already voracious appetite even worse. But I decide that I will not notice any difference – unless she eats her dish.
So, we will: stop the Metacam, continue with the hopefully de-stressing Zylekène, and begin the steroids. I will not try the DAP collar (with its calming pheromones) until we have seen whether the steroids have any effect on the self-harming.
If they don’t, I may wear the DAP collar and take the Zylekène.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.com