Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

Sound Advice?

Thank you all for your positive comments and support! I actually took Sid to a brand vet on Friday and I left with a very good feeling about our visit. The vet said that Sid looked really good, his blood levels were all normal, and also to not worry about the dose of prednisone I have been using to handle Sid’s allergies as it is very low. She does not suspect a dose that low would not have any bad long-term effects, which was a huge relief for me to hear. So Sid’s back on his low dose of pred, he’s been de-coned, and (thank goodness) isn’t scratching his face off anymore.

So, in addition to taking the vet’s advice, I also took the idea that many of you had suggested in the comments and addressed Sid’s baby carrot deficiency with the following:

After the smoke that puffed out from his ears dissipated from the room, I saw the plate – now completely empty – slowly whir to a stop. And then I found Sid passed-out in this position nearby:

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and he’s already got a case of severe food coma!


Uh oh…

As most of you know, Sid’s severe allergies to mother earth make him the ultimate bubble-dog. We’ve tried elimination diets, Atopica, OTC medications (Benadryl, Zyrtec, etc.), (very expensive) skin allergy tests, (also very expensive) allergy shots, t-shirts, medicated shampoos, soothing sprays and lotions, and though all that the one thing that seems to work the best is prednisone (or prednisolone). I know that it’s not ideal to take a steroid long-term (remember CARL and his friends?!), but I also want Sid to have a comfortable life. When he’s been on the prednisone, the dose is very small and he only gets it every other day. It allows him to lead an itch-free existence and he can put the energy he would have expended on scratching to better use (e.g. pulling all his toys out and scattering them over the whole apartment).

First, the good news: Sid’s been off his low every-other-day prenisone routine for almost two months! He’s definitely been on the itchier side but it doesn’t seem to disrupt his normal pug activities (i.e. eating, sleeping, and staring at me until I give him treats).

The bad news: his allergies have started flaring up lately and he has scratched a few raw spots on his (adorable) face. It’s nothing major, I just don’t want him to scratch any more of the raw spots, which has led to the following…

PROGNOSIS: Cone head for the rest of the week. Sorry, little buddy!


Accentuate the Positive!

Okay, after yesterday’s public freak-out (Thank you, everybody, for your kind and supportive comments!  What would we do without you??), I’m going to focus today on the good aspects of Sid’s allergy treatment thus far, while Sid focuses on Jimmy-ing for carrots:

The no-nonsense Jimmy

First, it’s been almost a month and a half since Sid has had any prednisone, and it’s been almost a month since the Carls Jr wart colony was removed from his face.  The only wart that the vet didn’t remove was a wart that we nicknamed “Petra” – Petra was a majestic structure growing on the surface of Sid’s tongue (If you don’t recognize the actual Petra just for being an amazing wonder of the world located in Jordan, then you may recognize it from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” – I like to imagine that there’s a wart version of the holy grail stashed inside the Petra on Sid’s tongue…)  Well, guess, what.  Not only has Sid developed no new warts since the last bunch were removed, but Petra has disappeared!!!  PROGRESS, PEOPLE!!! 

The “How YOU doin'” Jimmy

Secondly, for not being on prednisone, Sid’s skin looks fantastic and he really isn’t scratching too much.  I think that the discovery of the yeast allergy during his skin allergen test really solved a HUGE source of his discomfort.  He’s just wrapping up a 28-day regimen of Fluconazole, and will now go into a maintenance dosage.  Also, we’ve gotten anti-yeast ear drops, face / skin wipes, and shampoo, so we can attack the yeast topically as well.  There are still some obvious spots that are irritating him, and he still gets some scratch-attacks, but he seems pretty comfortable throughout 80% of the day.

The too close for comfort Jimmy

Next, after administering the first two doses of the allergy shots, Sid’s had no severe side effects.  In fact, I don’t think he’s had any side effects at all.  Considering what a weirdo Sid’s immune system is, we’re amazed.  The vet gave us a print-out with all of the signs of severe side effects to look out for, so I was pretty much expecting him to swell up like Violet in Willy Wonka within minutes of receiving the first injection.  (No, becoming a gigantic blueberry is not listed as one of the side effects, but I wouldn’t put it past Sid to come up with some new and horrible reaction to the shots).  In fact, I don’t even know if he’s noticed what we’re doing – all he cares about is the fact that he gets a treat when we’re done.

Oh, and speaking of things that are good – PUG NECK SCRUFF!!  I can’t imagine doing these shots on dogs that don’t have a spare tire of neck fat to grab onto.

The Post-Jimmy-Success Smile and Sit!

So, yes, it’s going to take time to get used to this new routine, and to get used to jabbing a syringe into the neck of my beloved boy (?!?!), but when we focus on the positive, and focus on the minor successes we’ve had so far, it’s clear that in the end it’ll all be worth it.

Serenity Now!!!

So, we’ve officially started Sid on his allergy shots. He’s allergic to so many things that we have two different vials of serum and two concurrent dosage schedules that we alternate between. It’s very complicated. Right now, he gets a shot every other day, alternating between the two serums, increasing the dosage incrementally as we move forward, until early September when the schedule just starts getting CRAZY. Then it’s four days between shots, nine days between shots, six days between shots…Brian and I spent an hour the other day putting together a calendar to help us stay on track through the end of December.

But, after completing the first two scheduled injections, I think I’m going to need to add “Jenn Spa Days” to the calendar, or perhaps invest in a bulk supply of valium. Do they sell valium at Costco? Maybe I just haven’t had to do a lot of stressful things in my life, but, great holy moley, sticking your beloved pug with a hypodermic needle is STRESSFUL.

Did you get out all of the air bubbles? Did you remember to warm up the serum-filled needle by rolling it between your palms? Ack!  You didn’t warm it up – what happens if you inject cold allergen serum into his little body? 

Did you hit a vein? Oh, man – you didn’t think you hit a vein, but after you removed the needle there was blood in it – did you just inject allergens straight into his blood stream? What happens if you injected the allergens straight into his blood stream?  

Are you inserting the needle straight into the wad of Sid’s neck scruff that Brian’s gripping so that the needle is parallel to Sid’s body so as to not hit anything important? I mean, you think you did, but could it’ve been a 10 or 15 degree angle?  What happens if you insert the needle at a 15 degree angle?  Did you just inject allergens into his spine?

Why won’t he stay still?!


This is gonna get easier, right??


WOW!  We want to say a big “thank you” to everybody who’s contributed to Sid’s Treat Jar! I was a little hesitant when Sid came up with this crazy plan to replenish his “treat fund” after we had to empty it out to cover his big vet bills, but I guess I shouldn’t doubt a pug with a plan.

Wart-free flap-flip!

While Sid is hard at work on the Planet Cool Sid screensaver and other goodies, I want to take a minute to give an update on his health.  It’s been two weeks since he had all of those warts removed, and it’s been three weeks since he had his last dose of prednisone.  When we had big Carl removed from his muzzle back in April, he was still on prednisone and little Carl’s started popping up almost immediately after big Carl was removed.  Fingers crossed, but this time, with his immune system unhampered by the steroids, his muzzle is still wart-free after two weeks.  Amazing!

Also, as Brian mentioned in an earlier post, the skin allergens test uncovered an allergy to a yeast bacteria that naturally grows and lives on skin.  If you’re not allergic to it, you don’t even know it’s there, but if you are allergic to it, it’s basically like being allergic to yourself, and the more you scratch, the more the yeast multiplies, creating a super-itchy cycle of madness.  Sid has been on an anti-yeast medication since the day of his allergy test, along with anti-yeast ear drops, anti-yeast shampoo, and anti-yeast face-flap wipes, and we’ve never seen him so calm and relaxed.  It’s incredible.

Finally, we picked up our first supply of allergy shots on Friday, and the vet techs taught us how to do the shots.  Since he’s allergic to so many things, we have two different serums to administer – one every other day.  After seeing how great he’s been since getting the yeast nonsense under control, we’re feeling really good about the allergy shots’ potential to help out our bubble pug.

Thank you again to everybody who’s helped replenish Sid’s treat fund – I know it’s cliche, but every little bit truly helps.  The vet bills we racked up in the wake of the warts / allergy test were a shock, but the promising results we’ve seen thus far make me hopeful that we’ll be giving Sid a much longer and happier life than he’d have if we just kept him on the prednisone.

Here’s Sid’s run-down of the goodies he’s sending out to anybody who helps replenish his treat fund:


  • A special thank-you on the blog


  • Planet Cool Sid desktop wallpaper for your computer
  • A special thank-you on the blog


  • Sid Solves Your Problem – Submit a question to be included in my new Planet Cool Sid advice column.  I can answer questions about anything and everything! I KNOW IT ALL. MY INPUT IS PRICELESS.
  • Planet Cool Sid desktop wallpaper
  • A special thank-you on the blog



  • For those of you who are dogs: a Sid’s Picks Combo Pack featuring your very own confidence shirt and potato toy!
  • Or, for those of you who are humans: your very own set of Pug Slope note cards!
  • Plus all the stuff listed above!


  • Here’s where it gets crazy, guys.  A special VIP access code for the Treat-bone Live-Cam, good through the end of 2012.  Log in every weekday between 1pm and 2pm ET to see me chillin’ like a villain with my peanut-butter-filled Kong bone. It’s gonna be EPIC.
  • Plus all the stuff listed above!  That’s a lot of stuff!
Thank you so much!!

Pug Control Panel

Like the brave trooper that he is, Sid survived another full day at the vet yesterday, this time to see the Dermotologist for a full skin allergy test. This makes for two full days this week at the vet which wasn’t fun for anyone (esp. our flat-faced wonder). He was happy to return home and find solace in his bolster.

As you probably noticed, there is a patch shaved on Sid’s left side where they performed the skin allergy test. The little dots are Sharpie marks indicating where the various allergens were injected. We’ve dubbed this his “Control Panel”.

As you may have guessed, our bubble dog tested high for allergies to many common things: various grasses, trees, pollen, dust mites, fleas, flys, mold, sheep wool, and yeast – his OWN yeast in fact. So basically Sid is allergic to himself. Poor little dude.

Based on the various items Sid is allergic to, the dermotologist will put together a customized allergy shot that Sid will be getting twice a week. His own system will hopefully build up immunity to the various allergens which should desensitize him and basically not make him as allergic to mother nature (and himself) as he is right now. Unfortunately, this process can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months and even then there’s still a chance that the allergy shots won’t help him at all. We’re keeping all our fingers, toes, paws, and tails crossed (or “curled” I suppose) that he responds well to the allergy shots and our little dude will be able to get off the prednisolone train ASAP.

While we’re waiting for the allergy shots to kick in, we’re planning to try some various things to keep his itchiness in check. The main thing is an anti-yeast medication called Fluconazole. The dermatologist said some dogs with yeast allergies have responded really well to it. We also may try some other human drugs such as Zyrtec or Allegra (we’ve tried Benadryl in the past but that doesn’t appear to help him at all).

Thank you all for your positive juju and prayers this week. I know they certainly helped keep our spirits up and allowed Sid to make it through all these tests successfully. The results came back from the papillomas they removed on Monday and the good news is they are just normal papillomas and not the “C” word. Whew!

This weekend, Sid’s getting rewarded by having a sleepover party with Miss Timothy Buttons. I heard rumors that she’ll be wearing her new party dress.


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

What a Week…

Sid’s been at the dermatologist all day today getting his skin allergen test done.  He’s such a trooper.  We’ll be posting an update later tonight once he’s back home.  Brian says the little guy is getting “triple dinner” tonight.  Usually I’d say that’s a little excessive, but today I think he deserves it, don’t you agree?