For a while now Blue has been suffering with hot spots and constant itching, today was our biggest step forward, to seek some answers.
Since the end of November Blue has had a few hot spots, some longer lasting than others, but increasingly he has been scratching nibbling and biting. He has not been swimming for two months, and is one itchy dog.
We have changed his diet, provided him with Yumega oil, and coconut oil, alas to no avail.
Today we took Blue to the vets to see if they could help discover, what the cause could be, a time was booked for Blue to attend, to gather samples for testing.
When I say samples, we are talking blood and skin scrapings, neither would be given up without resistance, so sedation would be essential.
Leading up to today, my wife Sue and Blue had been making regular visits to help remove any stigma or anxiety that Blue had developed in attending the vets.
We had the entire waiting room to ourselves upon arrival, after a five minute wait Blue was greeted by the vet, Nadine, and in return Blue gave her the Blue greeting, barking and prancing, no less than we had experienced in the past.
Weighing Blue in at 48.6kg we joined Nadine in the consulting room, conversation was difficult with Blue's barking. At this point I took Blue out of the room to calm him down, a walk around the waiting room and back into the consultancy room, it worked, and after repeating this several times we were able not only to enter the room without Blue barking, but walk past the vet and back out again.
So we had a plan, I would repeat this three times, and on the third visit, the vet would administer the sedative by injection into his hind leg. On cue me and Blue walked in, and the barking began and he was agitated, the vet had been joined by a veterinary nurse, so we did a few trials and agreed the next time we enter the room we would do the deed.
Blue is a strong dog and as well as that he has a determined attitude, despite our best efforts it was not working, he was winning this battle. The vet was concerned that an excited agitated dog would resist the sedative. So this time we went for it and bingo, the deed was done.
The plan now was the vet and the nurse would leave the room and we would sit quietly without any interaction with Blue, to give the sedative chance to work. In his face he was fighting the effects of sleep, but slowly loosing the battle.
After ten minutes the vet returned, to be greeted by Blue barking and showing his displeasure, she quietly exited, and a further ten minutes elapsed, and he was under, sleeping soundly.
Nadine the vet, checked to see if Blue was asleep, calling his name touching and moving him, peace was confirmed, time for them to do their thing.
The first thing was to shave a section of his front leg to draw off the blood samples which would be sent for analysis to seek conformation of any allergy, being the root cause of his scratching.
Taking blood was difficult, because of the sedative, the veins were not pumping blood at their normal rate, and there were three entries required to gather enough blood for the eight sample phials. Stage one completed. Not a murmur or a twitch from the big fella.
Now came the skin scrapping samples, in order to check for mites etc, an affected area has to be scrapped to remove skin, tissue and blood, this was done from three sample areas.
While under the vet gave him a check over, and as she touched the top inside of his hind leg, he kicked out, she explained this was the muscles reaction to the high sensitivity of his skin, and she said the poor thing must be beside himself with the itchiness.
Mission accomplished regarding the samples, now Blue had to be brought around, a reversing agent was administered, and once again Blue, Sue and me sat quietly waiting for him to recover from his enforced slumber.
Blue took about fifteen minutes to fully come around, with a few false early dawns, he was back with us although very subdued.
By the time we left the vets, it was confirmed there were no mites in the skin samples, but results from the blood samples will take about seven days.
Blue spent the rest of the afternoon drifting in and out of sleep, but struggling to get settled, but after a dinner of turkey and rice, as recommended by the vet, he is much more settled.
So next time you have an itch or a scratch, think of poor old Blue, who will be waiting patiently, as patient as Blue can be for some answers that will relieve the itchiness.
Below are a few pictures of Blue resting, nice and snug at home.