Angel came into the care of JAWT (the Japanese Akita Welfare Trust) in April 2011.(Pictures will come)
She was found, in an area of Leeds notorious for drugs and crime, by a member of the public. She was in a terrible state…. She weighed 19 kg and you could see her ribs, her eyes were closed with scabs and infection, she had mange (mites) which looked completely untreated and she was almost bald.
She was also very dog aggressive, which was strange at such a young age. She went to stay with a trustee of JAWT, but was in kennels as she was too aggressive to be near other dogs. JAWT was desperate to find a temporary ‘foster’ home for her, whilst she underwent veterinary treatment for the mange and her eyes. They needed someone with experience with Akitas but had no other animals in their house for Angel.
I had recently lost my Akita, Kitsune, and wanted to foster a rescue Akita. In July 2011 we went to meet Angel and along she came to stay with us…..
She was on eyes drops and steroids for her skin as well as treatment for the mange and continued to see the vet at regular intervals. She began to put weight on, she was very food possessive and looked like she had been starved. Her temperament was very nervous, she barked a lot at strange noises, trembled a lot and was very nervous of visitors to the house. She also went crazy if she even saw another dog…… Which was difficult, especially as Kitsune was fine with most other dogs.
Throughout the course of summer 2011 she underwent treatment for the mange, and had various skin tests to ensure it had gone but her eyes remained scabby. Her temperament slowly improved and she got more confident when out for a walk and with visitors to the house. She is actually very affectionate with people. We decided to keep her and didn’t want her to go through the stress of having to be rehomed again!
We struggled with her skin all through the following winter.
As I said, I am not sure if it is weather related but she had a bad attack in Spring 2012, after we had a warm spell. This attack was worse than anything she had before, her eyes and head always seem to get the worst of it. She lost her coat and got horrible sores all over her cheeks, her head, back and stomach. It was horrible and I thought she was going to have to be put to sleep.
She ended up being hospitalised to have the scabs removed from her eyes, when they did various tests and biopsies as well and was diagnosed with SA.
She was put on Atopica, 2×100 mgs at first, which had an immediate effect but it actually took a long time before she started looking better. The sores turned into scabs and eventually her skin dried out and turned a normal colour. After a couple of months her Atopica was reduced to 100mg/ day. Around September/October 2012, she started growing new fur, although very slowly. She looked great on her medication of Atopica, steroids (Prednicare 5mg) as well as evening primrose oil, cod liver oil and a diet of James Wellbeloved turkey and veg food.
We tried to reduce her atopica, mostly due to cost, to 1x100mg every other day, which seemed OK at first, but then she then her eyes get bad so I up her dose of Atopica. Her skin looked so good in January this year that she well enough to be spayed (neutered) and I really thought she was starting to grow a proper Akita coat! Poor angel has never had a proper Akita coat and she shivers in winter!
All our friends say she is like a different dog, in terms of her temperament, she no longer barks at strange noises (although she still hates fireworks!) and is fine with visitors to the house. She can walk past other dogs, and has one dog friend but she’s still not great with dogs that come into her personal space!
However, she has just had a bad SA attack though…. In the warm weather again :-