Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday August 10th 2016
For several weeks now, Isis has been worrying her front feet. Nibble, nibble, chobble, chobble, lick, lick. On and on and on. Close examination of her pads, between her pads and around her toes reveals nothing. After a while, bathing her feet with the Hibiscrub doesn’t seem to have any effect other than annoying her. The coconut oil appears to soothe her for a while – until she realises that she likes the taste and then nibble, chobble, lick is replaced by slurp, slurp , slurp. Although the mode of attack is different, the effect on her feet is the same: they are red with saliva stains and quite inflamed. I am climbing the walls.
Believing that variety is the spice of life, she also resumes her ritual of grabbing a hind foot – either will do – in her mouth while emitting ferocious gra-ra-as and biting it until it bleeds. This behaviour usually indicates that one of three phenomena: she’s having nightmares, her anal glands are bothering her or she is very, very annoyed. I wake her immediately when she has nightmares, bring forward her vet appointment and try to discover what might be annoying her.
In the meantime, the only intervention I can think of is to place a hand between her teeth and her poor, bedraggled little foot. Sometimes I shove Big Polar Bear under her chin instead. She growls menacingly and, although clearly tempted, never bites me.
Earlier in the year the vet said that the foot worrying problem is often seasonal and suggested more Hibiscrub. But this time, when we go for our monthly anal gland emptying procedure, the diagnosis is more serious.
“Has she been biting at her feet?”, enquires the vet, regarding four very red feet at the end of Hairy One’s fluffy white legs.
He asks how old she is and when I say we think she’s around four, he warns me that the breed is very prone to skin and ear problems and that she is of the age when these problems commonly first appear.
This is bad news. The poor little animal has enough to cope with without skin flair ups.
The vet recommends pre-emptive action and prescribes Prinovax. This, it says on the box, is for dogs ‘suffering from, or at risk from, mixed parasitic infections’. It is a spot on medication and is to be used once a month from now on.
It is ten days since she had the first treatment. What a relief.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk