Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coulee Update

I have no idea when I last updated you, so I'll do a quick summary.... We went to the dermatologist for her feet in early June.  Her feet were looking pretty darn good at the time, but she was able to see small issues on most of her pads.  She suggested a hypoallergenic food, doubling the oil supplements we were already taking and continuing with the zinc.  She also suggested using Uremol20 (an over the counter skin cream people with diabetes often use on their dry skin) on her pads.  Well the short story is, nothing was helping and they've been getting worse, not better.

For the last nine weeks, all four of Coulee's feet, and every single one of her pads have been dry, cracked and sometimes painful.  We are only walking her every second day or so because of her obvious discomfort.  At home she tiptoes around like she is on egg shells and on walks she is always raring to go but I'll see her hitching or running with her back legs together.  Gone is the graceful girl I used to see. :( But she loves it so much and doesn't seem to want to slow down, so we've been giving her Tramadol to get her through the more painful times.

A week or so ago, I thought we were finally seeing some improvement.  They weren't as cracked and they had softened up (usually the skin is rock hard).  But a few days later they had cracked again.  I think she was getting the "next wave" before the last wave had healed.  Poor girl. She was limping quite obviously at home and we were giving her pain meds every 4 hours or so.

Yesterday we went back to the dermatologist and she confirmed that nothing we were doing was helping.  So we've changed everything.  We've put her on a new hypo-allergenic food (again we don't think this is the problem, but it doesn't hurt to try), we've started some anti-inflammatories, we've stopped the oil and zinc and we will be putting a different cream on her feet.  In 5 weeks we'll check back with the vet to see if there has been improvement and to consider our next steps.  We are only putting the cream on half of her feet so we'll be able to see if the meds or cream is having an impact.

If there is no improvement, our options for the next steps are steroids and/or getting an ultrasound of her liver to see if there is something there that is causing the problem.  We are taking baby steps - we started with innocuous supplements, have moved on to meds with minimal side effects/long term impacts and are resisting steroids as long as we can.

These next few days will be filled with treats and chew sticks. We had to order her new food so she'll have a few days of non-hypoallergenic diet.  She'll be making the most of it, as we've been warned the new food isn't that tasty.

Coulee did really good at the clinic yesterday.  She was able to relax enough to lay down in both the waiting room and the exam room and for the first time in a while, didn't try to crawl out a window.


Jude said...

Have you tried Musher's Secret?

Paws on the Run said...

We haven't Jude. The vet mentioned it, but didn't have any direct experience with it so she suggested we try Dermoscent Bio Balm first. If that doesn't work, we'll try the Musher's Secret.

Taryn said...

Sorry to hear her feet are still so painful.

Two thoughts:
1) You have been trying different foods...have you tried a raw diet yet? Even if it didn't directly act on her feet, it might boost her immune system significantly.

2) For the pad cracks, how about something as simple as Shea Butter? John (spouse) gets hideous cracks in his heels, so deep they bleed and extremely painful. A few days of applying the cream at night covered with socks, and the cracks improve greatly. Of course, he gets lazy, stops using it, and the cracks come back.

WigglyZack said...

Poor Coulee, poor you. Having sore feet must be the worst. Hopefully the new treatments may help her situation.

Paws on the Run said...

Taryn - I've been researching home based diets and hope to be ready to switch to one if it proves to not be a hypoallergenic issue. Or if it is a hypoallergenic issue, i'm sure i'll switch as well but we need to sort it out first. I'm not sure if I'll choose raw, but at the very least will try a cooked diet.

When her feet first went dry and cracked, I tried some basic stuff - regular creams, balms, etc. and nothing seems to make an impact. I don't think I've tried Shea butter though. I'll add that to my list to try, along with aloe vera too. Thanks!

Jude said...

I'd try Musher's Secret pretty soon--it is a wax coating for the bottom of the feet. A balm doesn't seem strong enough. Esp given all you've tried up til now.