Pass the Tissues! Joey the Dog Is Allergic to Everything
"He's the most severe of any case that we've ever seen," Adele Bates, a surgeon for Taylor Veterinary Practice tells PEOPLEPets.com. "The only things he's not allergic to, with regards to food, is potato, egg, oats and barley. He's allergic to everything else."
In addition to most meats (beef, chicken, pork, lamb, duck, turkey), wheat and cow's milk, allergens in the atmosphere affect Joey as well (just like a certain horse we know). Weeds, like daisies, dandelions and ragweed tested positive, as did various tree species and mites. Not to be left out, a canine's arch-nemesis, cats and fleas are itch factors, too.
"He couldn't walk down the street without reacting to something in the environment," Bates says. "Even when he's in the house, he's allergic to house dust mites."
It started in late 2008, when the normally healthy and lively Joey began to develop skin rashes and lumps. His owner, Lisa McCormack, noticed a change in his personality and lack of energy and motivation at home.
"He was a totally different dog," McCormack tells PEOPLEPets.com. "He seemed really quite miserable."
She took Joey to their local veterinary office, where his condition was treated with steroids and antibiotics. The routine kept the irritation at bay for a bit, but McCormack feared the long-term side effects, like liver damage.
So last summer, McCormack and her partner Scott Muirhead – who live in Hamilton, near Glasgow, Scotland – brought Joey to the Taylor Veterinary Practice in Cathkin, where doctors began a series of blood panels and allergy tests to figure out exactly what was bugging him.
Both the doctors and Joey's parents were stunned with the results: a shockingly long list. After identifying all the elements that caused an allergic reaction, Bates started Joey on a prescription-only hypoallergenic diet to combat the issue from the inside out. Joey was also prescribed a drug called Atopica, which will help alter the way his immune system works, and fight the environmental factors.
But this new food and medication doesn't come cheap. Because of Joey's size (he weighs about 88 lbs.), he will need to take two capsules a day for the first two months, which costs about $15 a day. McCormack and Muirhead have pet insurance, but the blood tests alone exhausted most of the approved allowance, which doesn't leave much for medication. In a generous move, the drug provider Novartis is supplying Joey with two months of free pills. Bates hopes that Joey will respond well to the treatment, so he can taper off to a lesser daily dose.
Having started this new routine just a few weeks ago, Joey is already showing signs of improvement. "He's a lot happier now," McCormack tells us. "He's back to being playful and happy, and has a lot more energy."
Regardless of the potential financial strain and Joey's restricted eating habits, McCormack keeps a positive outlook on life.
"We love him so much," McCormack says. "[As a parent], you do whatever you can just to make sure you get him back to health again. Make sure that he's happy."
Does your pet suffer from allergies? Tell us about it in the comments below.
See more extraordinary pets on PEOPLEPets.com:
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