Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm Not a Vet, but I Play One on the Internet

There are days that I kick myself for not going to vet school. I've always loved the idea of caring for animals, helping them feel better and taking their pain away. I guess two things made me chicken out of taking the plunge - the idea of putting an animal to sleep and the math requirements to get through college. The panic that rises in me when I think of either of these two obstacles is equal - I kid you not.

But you don't have to have a degree to be an Internet animal health expert! Yep, if I see a symptom, I simply research it. And I don't want the stories about the dog who exhibited signs of XYZ but really had ABC. I like looking at the medical papers and reports that are being read by those up and coming vet students. So, I guess that's why I've spent so much time with Mr. Google tonight looking for diagnosing thyroid disorders in greyhounds.

We went in for a simple nail trim today (Dr. Hottie provides this torture service for free) and the young doctor (I call him Little Hottie) came over to love on Roxy, noticed her not-so-flattering skin and asked to take a closer look at her. We've been struggling with a horrible skin rash for the past two months - red bumps, puss, peeling skin, and her fur is coming out in tufts on her bum. It's not a pretty picture, but we've been managing it with benadryl, an herbal topical spray, a short-term antibiotic and a lot of telling her to stop licking. I don't do steroid shots with her if I can help it because it is hard on her kidneys and she is in constant need of going potty.

Little Hottie asked if we have tested Roxy for low thyroid. I know that greys have these issues. I also know that the medication is over-prescribed and the condition is poorly diagnosed. About a year ago, when we had a titer test done, we pulled a thyroid panel to see if it might be causing some of this itching and it came back low even for a greyhound. I chose not to medicate because she didn't have symptoms. Now I wonder if I should have done it anyway.

I will agree that Roxy has lost a lot of hair on her neck and back thighs. I'll also admit that her coat doesn't look super shiny, but she's never had the lush, long locks that Seka sports. We've not changed our food or feeding habits, so unless she has suddenly developed an allergy to chicken (in a multitude of forms) or ground beef I don't think it's a food issue. 

I know that just because the lab report shows a low number, doesn't mean it indicates a true thyroid issue. So I think that I'm going to bite the bullet, have Dr. Hottie pull blood for a particular thyroid panel and send it to a greyhound expert for a consult. 

Maybe it will help us find out what is wrong with little miss Itchy McScratchy Pants. Seriously, waking up every hour to a dog chewing, scratching, licking, or snarking herself isn't what I would call a good night's sleep. IMHO, as an expert Internet vet, we may be on to something.

PS: I apologize for the lack of photo today. Roxy would not let me photograph her from the rear.  Smart girl. 


Trina said...

I worked at a vet's office for over 6 years..you get used to all the 'baggage' sadly. I didn't go to vet school b/c they work very hard for very little compensation..I just play vet to friends. ;-) I hope Roxy feels better. Dante sends thoughts as he endures blood draws every two weeks as well.

houndstooth said...

I hope this is the answer for poor Roxy. It's a pretty easy fix if it is, from what I've heard. We've been lucky not to have to deal with it in our house.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Might check out Dr. Cuoto's info on thyroids. I think he wants a "TSA" test (I think, but could be totally wrong) before diagnosing a low thyroid. But his description of it all made sense.

Hiking Hounds said...

LOL, Dr. Hottie and Little Hottie, very funny. I hope they help find what's causing Roxy's problems.

IHateToast said...

poor thing. i hope they work on it. an uncomfy bum is bad, especially for a critter who is nearly 99% bum.

i just plan on watching you for creating diseases just to see the hotties. you and your suthun charm--i'm on to you.