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Friday, June 22, 2012

My poor, beautiful Dakota has hotspots

   My best friend, my malamute Dakota, has HOTSPOTS :(    I've never had a dog with hotspots before, and after I discovered that her dry skin wasn't the biggest problem, I searched online for home remedies.  When that didn't clear things up completely, I used an otc treatment (another topical), which still didn't completely heal them.  My next stop was oral treatment really turned it around, but it still continued to spread.  After a visit to our veterinarian, I decided to follow his suggestion & shave/trim her coat.  Shaving her would not only help me find any more infection, but trimming her entire coat would increase air exposure and therefore help her heal faster.  I am treating her 2-3 times a day with a highly-oxygenated water (spray) that kills bacteria on contact. 
        Last year she weighed 112 lbs., so I cut her food back, plus began feeding her Purina ONE, per the vet's recommendations.  She looked her healthiest at 80-90 lbs.  She had lost 3 lbs in just a couple of weeks last year, but now weighs 121.3 LBS....GAINING BACK THE 3 LBS PLUS 9 MORE!   We discussed checking her THYROID since she has been gaining wait even though we have been walking every day.  It turns out that her thyroid function is terribly low (0.5)....low being between 1 & 2!  She is now on thyroid medication twice a day....the thyroid problem can also be contributing to her skin condition, preventing it from healing as it should. 
      I had already trimmed ALL the hair from her hotspots, with one of our neighbors saying that she looked like she had a reverse mohawk.  The complete shave was required to expose the area to topical treatments PLUS allow airflow & help drying.  Unfortunately, as I trimmed her remaining coat, she lost most of her beautiful black guardhairs.  She now is very gray (the color of her wooly undercoat) and looks much older than her 6 years (estimated since she is an adopted stray).
     I FEEL AWFUL about shaving her....I've been fighting suggestions for the past 3 years by local husky-mix owners who shave their dogs in the summer to supposedly help them to stay cool.  This is a very controversial topic not only among pet parents, but also among professional groomers.  Most groomers REFUSE to shave multi-coated dogs, as it may not completely fill back in, & if so, may take SEVERAL YEARS to return to normal, if at all.  Insulation works two ways: prevents heat loss & heat gain, but then again, she has a black coat....I've ALWAYS been stringent about helping her stay cool.
     Her hair has already been regrowing withing the completely shaved areas, as I had to reshave her to expose the skin to the topical treatments, but I have been PRAYING that her entire coat returns, healthy & full.....she is meant to be a beautifully, heavily coated animal.  I still feel terrible each time I look at her or think about it, but I am feeling more hopeful about it returning after seeing new growth already within the hotspot areas....
Wesley loves to make 'fur babies', 'fur puppies' or 'gremlins' out of Dakota's fur each time I brush her, but this pile is ridiculus!

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