Our border collie Yuna has been having an allergic reaction around her mouth for a few months since Christmas. We were referred to see a dermatologist in Seattle last month from our regular vet. So we travelled from the east side to Seattle to see the dermatologist.
There are a few other dermatologists in Seattle, but we decided to try DCA (aka Dermatology Center for Animals) as it's the only one in Downtown. The place was very clean and quiet, and it also has a couple of selections of snacks, fruit juice, water and coffee, which was very nice.
They also had Royal Canin Canine Selected Protein Adult PR Dry Food as treats, which made the place feel even more reliable and caring towards dogs with dietary problems. Yuna never tasted rabbit meat before, but she just loved those treats. She tried everything with everyone at the clinic to squeeze out more treats :3. LOL. Oh my! Thankfully, Dr Foster was very generous and kind enough that she pampered Yuna with lots of treats :). Yes, she's now Yuna's best buddy, I bet :P.
As Yuna has been losing pigment around her mouth starting from the center, we first talked about her diet, lifestyle..etc. Before visiting DCM, we tried to restrict chicken and also took away some of her toys for a week or two in a more scaled back manner, so we told this to the dermatologist too. Then, Dr Foster checked her ears, nose, pads and lips. She also took a sample of Yuna's skin, which wasn't aggressive, but Yuna certainly didn't like it much. It was a gentle version of waxing with a tape to give you some idea. Well, Yuna never had that done before, so I can understand why she didn't like it.
Anyway, it turned out that it's most likely an allergy since her paws are fine and she doesn't have any other noticeable problems in other parts of her body. The interesting part was that allergies are developed mostly due the protein in their diet, and since we pamper our Yuna with different kinds of treats it's hard to know what would cause it exactly. On top of that, we have been very cautious with our Yuna and Yena in general with where we expose them to outside, so it will be unlikely from other dogs or environmental factors. The dermatologist seemed very overwhelmed (in a positive way) that we do really try to give the best of the best in terms of the variety of food, treats..etc. And she could also tell by Yuna because she's very happy and in a good shape still after all that pampering :P.
At the end of the consultation, we were recommended to try Royal Canin Rabbit & Sweet Potato based food for limited protein ingestion for 3 months to begin with. She also told us to take away all of her other meat contained treats and hard or rubber based toys (basically any that weren't soft), which was a very sad news for Yuna the toy obsessed. Oh, she mentioned that Yuna might lose quite a bit of weight from the Royal Canin food, so she suggested us to give more amount than normal and/or give extra snacks such as sweet potatoes, bananas and apples when she gets hungry during the day simply because our Yuna's very active and she's already very lean compared to other dogs.
As you know, we have Yena (Yuna's baby sister) too, so we were a bit worried that Yena might get jealous of Yuna getting special food, but it turned out that Yena doesn't care :P. We can see that Yena loves the fact that she can have all those delicious treats all for herself XD.
Progress (A month after)
Yuna has been getting double the amount of food (Royal Canin Canine Selected Protein Adult PR Dry Food) every morning and night. And in the middle of the day, I've been feeding her extra lunch with Natural Balance Vegentarian Dry Dog Food. We have also been wiping the affected area with anti-bacterial pads daily.
The itch is gone and redness have gone down significantly and her skin texture looks a bit more even. We noticed some hints of dark hue around the area, so we assume that her colour might come back :). She has also been very much enjoying red apples as part of her new diet :P.
To be honest, Royal Canin Canine Selected Protein Adult PR Dry Food has been costing us a lot as Yuna finishes the large bag very fast that we have to order it monthly. In addition to that, we have been getting Natural Balance Vegentarian Dry Dog Food (full review) separately, so if you add it all up, it turns out pretty costly. The cost for a dermatologist visit was around $600 in total, which is lower than what we estimated as we thought they might perform biopsy on Yuna's skin. Nevertheless, it's expensive to visit a dermatologist :S. Just to let you know that Royal Canin Canine Selected Protein Adult PR Dry Food is a prescription food, so it's hard to get it elsewhere. However, if you really know what you do and you just want to get the food only without seeing a vet or dermatologist, you can also get it from Amazon. If you are unsure, please visit your nearby vet first to get a proper diagnosis instead of guessing as a wrong decision could affect your family dog.
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