Ida’s first allergy chock happened the day after we got her home, at her puppy check-up at the veterinary when she was given her inoculation.
In minutes her face got so swollen her head looked like a ball. First she scratched her face so hard it seemed like she was willing to rip out her eyes and the tip of her nose if only it would make the itching stop. Then she started to throw herself on to the walls, before the vets managed to ease the reaction with cortison. It was an incredibly disturbing experience. And also not a very encouraging one for us who already had one very allergic Akita.
She continued during puppyhood to react with swollen lips, running eyes, itching, diarrea on pretty much most food. She also reacted to most kinds of grass and tree pollen and dust and mite. We did try every sort of food available over the years, even special medical food for 500euro for 15 kg – to no avail. Barley and lamb continued to be her best option according to allergy tests all through her life. But with it the allergy was at least held at bay and she grew slowly and well into a tall and strong bitch. Her coat turned out to become just as functional as my American Akita Hulda’s. With exactly required length of overcoat and a double wool that protected her in every situation. As Hulda’s coat Ida’s needed no maintenance; a natural varnish of fat kept it always neat and clean. I never brushed or bathed her. If she got dirty, and this was a happy and active dog, all fell off her as soon as it dried.
At the age of two Ida had recieved Cacib in three countries and several championships, passed a mental description with pleasant result, declined an amount of obedience-classes – she considered them incredibly silly and very unnecessary – and started to become interested in tracking. I was starting to plan for a litter at the time she would turn three years old.
In summer 2001 we had an explosion of ticks everywhere. Despite a variety of protections I still had to remove about 30 ticks a walk of three dogs. Not surprisingly Sebastian and Ida tested positive on Erlichios in the autumn. They were both treated for it. Ida seemed to recover well.
Ida’s SA: March 2002
At the Malmö show in early spring Ida felt off. She didn’t have that bit of extra to offer. I got a spiceless, thick, warm feeling around her. She was unwell. But there was nothing to go on, no signs other than this; me getting a feeling.
Ida’s SA: May – June 2002
She started to shed but the shedding was strange. It started on the tips of her ears but there was no itching like with scabies. Then the coat on her forehead got oilier. She started to shed both overcoat and wool.
The coat that grew out was a bit oilier overall, still with wool but only a single layer of it, and you could see it was obvious something had happened. She was not well.
She ate and she played just as actively as before, but had less initiatives and wanted to sleep more and more. I started to ponder about SA and convinced a veterinary to take a couple of biopsies. They were negative for SA. But blood-tests showed hyperthyroid and the allergy tests this time were all time high.
Ida’s SA: June 2002
Ida’s SA: July 2002
She began to steadily loose all overcoat in the warmer places of her body; first the inside of her legs and belly, then shoulders and leg and eventually more and more all over her body. This time the re-growth of hairs defaulted and instead she got small scurfy sores. They pretty soon got infected. She was loosing weight and muscles systematically.
Ida’s SA: 2003
There came a day when all coat was destroyed. Under a very harsh period she was basically a naked dog. It was as if someone had dried plucked her and only left a couple of totts here and there.I looked up one of Swedens most famous skin specialists; Helene Raue. She confirmed the diagnoses of allergy and hyperthyroids and with new biopsies she could also confirm what already was very obvious; Ida had indeed SA.
Ida’s SA; 2003
The thyroid was continuosly treated with Levaxin. A hypersensibilation of allergy failed. The SA we tried to treat with A-vitamins, later cyclosporin, antibiotics and bathing in a wide range of medical stuff. All had a temporary progress which ceased as quickly. Worst of all was the persistent re-appearing staphylococcus-infections.Then we tried out Mikael Rampak’s oiltreatment, but she frose so horribly of all the baths, despite an amount of towels, a powerful hairdryer and bed covers of down.
The veterinaries at Bruksgården aided me in sending biopsies and bloodsamples to Dr Ina Pfeiffer’s research project.
Ida’s SA: 2004
Ida’s SA: spring 2005
In 2005 I tried a new approach. I stopped all medical treatment of Ida with the exception of levaxin for the thyroid. Instead I developed an oilmethod that revolutioned Ida’s and my lives. I began marinating her in oliveoil. No baths at all. At first there seemed no end to how much fat Ida’s body needed, but gradually the periods before her skin and coat dried out got longer and longer. Now things started to happen for the better. The coat grew strong and the hairs elastic. After a year of it she even developed a good compact layer of wool. The number of infections decreased considerably and could even be stopped at times with re-newed packings of oil.
She recovered a healthy weight and the skin and coat ceased to be a problem for her. The outbreaks of SA followed her allergy so when the system was affected by for example grass-pollen I had to increase the oilings.
Simply put: I pour a bottle of oliv-oil all over her, rub it thoroughly in everywhere, put a coat on and let her soak that up. Or let her lie near the warm stove which speeds up the drying. No washing it off – no water near her at all.
With this simple but efficient method all skabbs is softened and removed, all skin is cleansed and the coat rejuvinated. With the oil soaked up the coat would look as shiny and clean as if bathed and brushed. It has made Ida’s coat and skin function similar to what it once used to; selfcleaning and resistent.
To this I also add a large amount of oils in her food.
In the beginning even the heaviest oilsoak had gone into the skin and coat within one or two days. With time it has been enough to only fill a waterbottle with oil and spray a thin layer of it over her to keep the coat in condition.
Ida’s SA: 2008
Ida spends her days as she used to before she got ill. With a couple of exceptions. She doesn’t tolerate cold very well and getting wet even less. But a good protection coat helps a long way. She is just as funny now as she used to. And – if possible an even greater opportunist than before.
How it ended
This article will be updated in the future with the remaining story of Ida.