A-Jay Has Allergies, a Lump and a Limp

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby Brownies Mom » December 16th, 2009, 8:42 pm

We adopted our 2.5 yo pit bull A-Jay on 9/20 this year. Just a couple of days later, he started holding his right rear leg up and limping a little bit. Then it went away. Then it came back. :confused: Then it went away. Then it came back really bad. :? Again, went away - you get the idea.... About a week ago, I felt a big lump in the back of his leg, where his lymph node would be. :shock:

The other thing that began to show up about a week after we got him was he began scooting his rear on the floor. He had a clean fecal, so we suspected anal glands. We had them expressed a couple of times, and each time he was back scooting in less than 24 hours. :? He also seemed to be scratching more and more. We switched both dogs over to the lamb and rice version of their kibble until we could see the vet.

A-Jay and I were at the vet's for over 2 hours last night. I knew this was going to be a process of elimination, and that I wouldn't have any final answers right away, so I was prepared for that. The vet asked me what I thought was going on and I told her allergies of some sort, which is causing the itchy rear and scooting, and maybe some skin infection that was causing the lymph node to enlarge. I told her I knew the lump could also turn out to be MCT or lymphoma, or the limp could be due to osteosarcoma, but it seemed like the lump was what was making him limp. She agreed with the allergies conclusion, and she said the lump seemed like an enlarged lymph node. I declined the fine-needle aspirate option, and asked for x-rays of the leg to rule out osteo. The x-rays showed no signs of osteo, no bone spurs, no arthritis and his hips look great. :highfive: She did see something on his cruciate ligament. He's been "drawer" tested a couple of times, and she had another vet there try it too, but no movement to indicate problems. She said if it was a small tear, the Rx would be rest, so if the limp doesn't go away when the lymph node goes down, we will try that as well. I will keep an eye on the lump to see if it grows, and if it does, we'll try aspiration/cytology.

She said he did have a staph infection and she gave him antibiotics, antihistamines, and a topical spray that has antifungal, antibiotic, and steroidal properties. The allergy attack plan for now is to get rid of infection, calm the itching and give the poor guy some relief. We'll keep doing the lamb and rice thing, and if that doesn't work, we'll try other novel protein source foods until we hit it. She said it could be a contact or inhalant allergy, but that food was the most likely source of the problem.

So this poor baby has been with us less than 3 months, and has already been to the vet 4 times, we keep messing with his butt, he gets itchier and itchier, his leg hurts sometimes, and he is still one of the happiest dogs I know, he has bonded with each of us, and you can tell he is happy living here. He is a great dog, and I just love him to pieces. :heartbeat: He is somewhat afraid of new people, but he went with the vet tech and he cooperated so they got the x-rays. I know that was hard for him and I was so proud of him.

I'll keep you updated as thing progress. Please keep him in your prayers. Thanks!!!
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Postby amazincc » December 16th, 2009, 8:55 pm

Poor A-Jay... :(

Did they do any bloodwork to check his white count?

Sending TONS of good thoughts and healing vibes his way!!! :hug3:
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Postby Malli » December 17th, 2009, 4:23 am

I am so very impressed to hear that you have taken a pro-active approach to these issues :)

I do have a "lemon" on my own though and sympathize with you on that front :rolleyes2:

Was the spray you got Topagen? This is what I use on my dog sometimes, and I find it makes him feel SO much better! Some dogs can't tolerate it but it's our best friend in terms of comfort levels

Hope A-Jay feels better soon!
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Postby Suzi » December 17th, 2009, 9:45 am

Oh no!!!! I am so sorry to hear about A-Jay's issues....
We'll be lurking for updates.....

The lump,,,,,,has it gone down? As you know,,,lumps are a scarey thing in our household....Please keep an eye on it (that was stupid,,,I know you will)....

Sending good thoughts to you and A-Jay...
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Postby Ino » December 17th, 2009, 11:55 am

Sorry to hear about A-Jays issues. I wish you guys the best of luck with the diagnosis and treatment. I have been fortunate that allergies are not an issue with Ino (only got hive type reaction from shellfish glucosamine- which was easy to identify and did not require treatment), so I have no personal experience dealing with a dog with a severe allergy condition; however, Ino did had a slight ACL tear when he was young (6 months old). He had intermittent lameness on his real leg and when the vet did the drawer test, he said it was not a total tear, but there was some movement indicating a slight tear. He was facing surgery if it did not heal on its own with (very) restricted leash walks only. He was prescribed previcox to be taken as needed- but I used it very sparingly since it has so many side effects. The knee ended up not healing (he would have times without lameness but it would return and his other knee started having problems)from the restrictions alone so I found a holistic vet that was not too far and decided to try that before I would commit to putting him through surgery at his age (by this time- he was around a year old-too young to rush on a life altering decision for him). The holistic vet (who also does practices conventional medicine- wanted one who wasn't opposed to non-holistic meds if he needed them) prescribed some suppliments- I believe she gave him some ligament repair stuff in a tincture that she mixed up, a joint repair pill and some antioxidents in pill form. I also bought some glucosamine suppliments from the pet store (I went with a plant based one to avoid a reaction to the shellfish - the vet said it was safe to combine it with her suppliments). I also started letting him swim a lot so he could get his energy out without the risk of reinjury. I am not sure which actually healed it, but he now runs, jumps and romps like he never had an injury and does not limp anymore on his rear legs. I am not trying to push it on you, but maybe it is worth looking into suppliments (not sure if your vet has suppliment experience or not- my regular vet did not but was supportive of me taking him to the holistic vet for suppliments)for the joints and look for somewhere he could swim or get hydrotherapy. Also, I was not comfortable with the orthopedic vet who I would have been referred to because they have a bad reputation for un-necessary tests/procedures and my regular vet is not an ortho specialist. My vet told me if it did not heal- going to the ortho specialist would be the next step and would likely result in surgery. I did a lot of research about the surgery and risks and decided we had nothing to lose by exhausting other options first because it was not getting worse, but it was not getting better either. This is just my experience with Ino- I am far from an expert (1st time dog owner and he is only 1 1/2)but just want to share our story. Please do not take it as advice and run anything by someone with medical experience before trying it. Just wanted to share this since Ino has had the ligament issue. Hope everything works out for A-Jay. Best wishes!! :)
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Postby HappyChick » December 17th, 2009, 12:09 pm

We are sending good thoughts you and A-Jay's way! :goodthoughts: :goodthoughts:
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Postby Brownies Mom » December 17th, 2009, 6:11 pm

Thanks for the good thoughts and wishes, everyone. We certainly do appreciate them!

Oh crap, Christine! The top three things on my list were blood work, x-rays and rapid relief from the itching. and by the time we went through everything, I totally forgot about the blood work until I read your post. :doh: There's so many things they can tell from the blood work and we could have established a base line for monitoring progress. Shoot!

The spray the vet gave us is called Gentocin. If we don't have any luck with it, I will ask about Topagen - it's always good to have a plan B, so thanks for the info! :dance:

I also appreciate the info that was shared about Ino's cruciate ligament story. I'm a big fan of naturopathy and a holistic approach. Like you, I also researched cruciate ligament injuries and treatments when A-Jay first started to limp. My intuition/gut feeling from the first time I saw the limp was that it's a cruciate ligament issue.

So far, I'm not seeing any improvement in the itching. He is still licking like crazy. Does anyone know if staph is infectious to other dogs? :| Remy keeps trying to lick A-Jay's scratches :crazy2: and it concerns me. Can he transfer the infection to us humans? :| I read about this somewhere, and I just can't remember, so I thought I'd check in with you guys.

The other thing I was wondering about is hemp collars. Anyone had any good or bad experiences with those? I'm thinking it can't hurt. His neck is all scratched up and that's where the signs of staph infection are clearly visible.
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Postby Malli » December 17th, 2009, 6:54 pm

Did a quick web search and Gentocin = Topagen, just different names, hopefully it'll work for you!

How many applications of the spray have you done? Is A-Jay taking any antihistamines or oral Steroids? Have you given him a bath? If you give him a bath (medicated shampoo would be best) it may be easier for the spray to absorb into the skin, irritation from allergies and infection makes oil production increase...

I think Christine has had good luck with her allergy dog and hemp collars :|
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Postby blabsforbullies » December 17th, 2009, 8:09 pm

Staph infections, generally speaking, are not contagious to other dogs. :wink:

I hope everything gets better! :hug3:
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Postby Brownies Mom » December 18th, 2009, 8:46 pm

Malli wrote:Did a quick web search and Gentocin = Topagen, just different names, hopefully it'll work for you!

How many applications of the spray have you done? Is A-Jay taking any antihistamines or oral Steroids? Have you given him a bath? If you give him a bath (medicated shampoo would be best) it may be easier for the spray to absorb into the skin, irritation from allergies and infection makes oil production increase...

I think Christine has had good luck with her allergy dog and hemp collars :|

The vet said spray it on him 3x day, so he got sprayed once Tuesday pm, 3x Wed, 3x Thurs and 2x today. He is taking an antihistamine called Tavist. I've been reading that bathing will help him heal and calm some of the itching. I guess I'm looking for a shampoo with benzoyl peroxide, which I read will flush follicles, so that's good. Anyone have any good luck with any particular shampoo? Also, I read for something like this, you do want to bathe him often - like 3x a week the first one or two weeks. Does that sound right?
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Postby amazincc » December 18th, 2009, 8:55 pm

Brownies Mom wrote: I guess I'm looking for a shampoo with benzoyl peroxide, which I read will flush follicles, so that's good.



Isn't that going to burn and/or sting like crazy on open sores??? :shock: :neutral:
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Postby hugapitbull » December 18th, 2009, 9:03 pm

We had good results with Melesab. It is an antibacterial/antifungal, but must from from the vet.
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Postby Malli » December 19th, 2009, 12:42 am

the benzyl peroxide is a common one, Oscar did ok with it (the shampoo we used was called PyoBen)
Yes, you need to taper off the baths, every 2nd to 3rd day for a couple weeks, then twice a week for a week or two, then once/week etc etc etc.

more recently, however, no shampoo seems to be best for us, Oscar will get super itchy after any bath, with any shampoo :neutral:

I can think of two issues, the spray isn't as effective because the skin and fur has too much oil on it, or perhaps the antihistamines(could be the brand/type or antihistamines as a whole) are not effective for A-Jay.
The spray SHOULD be working quite well by now. On Oscar, I've seen it be effective within hours. :|
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Postby Patch O' Pits » December 21st, 2009, 9:07 pm

I hope your baby feels better soon!
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Postby amazincc » December 21st, 2009, 9:38 pm

How's A-Jay doing?
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Postby Suzi » December 22nd, 2009, 7:37 am

amazincc wrote:How's A-Jay doing?


Hope he's feeling better....
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Postby jcoffey917 » December 22nd, 2009, 9:38 am

Cooper has gotten a couple of staph infections, my vet gave us a prescription shampoo- I'm not home right now, but I'll take a look at what it's called when I get home. He said to give him a bath once a week, but we do more like every 2 or 3 weeks at this point and he hasn't gotten any more rashes since we started.
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