Ollie’s Treatment Review

This afternoon, I had to take Ollie back to the Vet for his review of the recent treatment for the ear and skin infections.

My poor dog had started to shake his head again yesterday morning, and was ‘dropping’ his right ear constantly.

After the Vet had dug around in his ears long and hard enough for Ollie to start growling at him, the Vet concluded that the right ear was still infected, but the left was clear. He was pleased with the re-growth of fur, and declared that the skin was no longer infected.

As the Prednisilone Steroids had finished, he suspected that Ollie could once again feel the itch in that right ear. So he is back on those tablets for another ten days, accompanied by antibiotic ear drops that I will have to administer once a day. If things haven’t improved after those ten days, I have to take him back again.

Ollie was not happy at all, and couldn’t wait to get out of the Vet’s. But he had to wait until I had paid the £81 bill. ($111)

Back at home, he slurped down a whole bowl of water, then accepted a small treat from Julie for being good.

Now he is sleeping soundly beside me.

New Year, Same Ollie

I mentioned recently that Ollie’s fur is not growing back after his recent skin infection. If anything, the fur loss is getting worse.

Then over the weekend, he started to shake his head again, a sure sign of a developing ear infection.

So my first ‘normal’ day after the holiday season involved taking him to the Vet, yet again. I was lucky to get an afternoon appointment, even though the place was heaving with numerous dogs, and cats in baskets.

For some reason, the dogs in the waiting room yesterday were particularly distressed. One small French Buldog was in such a state, it was climbing over its owner’s head to try to get out of a window. A stocky Chow Chow was digging its front legs so hard into the flooring, the frustrated owner had to drag the poor thing into the consulting room by its body harness.

Next to us, a nervous Lurcher bitch spent her waiting time trembling and crying, and an unseen dog in the treatment room at the back howled through whatever process it was enduring. Ollie picked up on all the distress, constantly walking in circles around me.

Eventually, we got in to see the usual Vet. He diagnosed an ear infection in the right ear. I expected him to use the new ‘wonder-gel’ to cure it, but he told me that does not get into the bloodstream, so Ollie would have to have tablets. Back to Prednisilone and Antibiotics for two weeks. He has to go back then, to be checked over.

As if the Christmas season wasn’t expensive enough, that ten minutes and two bottles of tablets cost £126. ($171)

On the plus side, (looking for positives!) the squeaking noise from my car has stopped. Maybe it was just something caught in the wheel? I won’t be able to risk not getting it checked though, but that will have to wait for a while.

Ollie And Our Holiday

On Saturday week, we are going on our long-awaited seven-day holiday. Nothing too exciting, exactly the same place we went to last year, during the same week. But it wil be nice to be somewhere different, and in sight of a beach too.

Ollie is coming along of course. Ever since we got him, we have always taken a holiday where dogs are welcome, so he never gets left behind. With Covid-19 still very much on our minds, our accommodation is self-catering, and the small seaside place we are travelling to will be quiet from the Monday, as the kids go back to school.

Less than 100 miles from Beetley, the drive to the Lincolnshire coast is not arduous, and we know the area well enough to find enough things to do for a week. Ollie loved it there last year, as the lodge has a porch at the front. I put his bed there and he sat outside with us, able to watch the world go by. Well, not the ‘world’, but the other residents of the cabins and the hotel they are based behind.

With the holiday imminent, Ollie has begun to shed his fur in spectacular amounts. Everything we have is covered in fur, and we are stuck on a merry-go-round of dusting, vacuuming, and washing clothes. And to put the tin hat on it, he has developed an ear infection, as well as a skin infection on the skin exposed by the loss of fur.

He is due to go to the groomer the day before we leave on the holiday. A good grooming and shampoo should deal with the worst of the moulting and skin problems, but we have to tackle that ear infection before we leave Norfolk. So he is off to the Vet on Thursday, to see what can be done.

The treatments that have worked in the past, steroids and antibiotics, now make him breathless as he seems to have developed an allergic reaction to them. So we are hoping our regular Vet can come up with something to help poor Ollie.

Otherwise, we might all have a miserable holiday.

An Alphabet Of Things I Like: C


These nocturnal rodents from South America are often kept as pets. They are also farmed for the use of their fur. I don’t really agree with either, as fur should stay on the animals where it belongs, and Chinchillas can live for up to fifteen years, and become depressed in captivity. So I do not advocate ever being tempted to own one.

However, I used to know someone who had four of these as pets. They lived together in a very large cage, which had been adapted as well as possible for their habitat. They can grow to be quite large, and some varieties are as big as cats.

The reason they are mentioned here though, is because of their fur. I was given one to hold by my friend, and it had the softest most luxurious fur of any animal I have ever encountered. No dog, cat, rabbit, or other furry animal can compare to touching a Chinchilla. It is softer than velvet, almost impossible to describe just how wonderful it feels to cuddle and stroke those little creatures.

If you ever get the opportunity, I recommend it.

How Much Fur?

Ollie is a short-haired breed of dog, but when it is moulting season, you might be forgiven for thinking this makes no difference. The amount of fur he can shed on a daily basis is nothing short of phenomenal. It is a miracle he is not completely bald, believe me.

Substantial tufts of hair dance across the kitchen tiles like tumbleweed in a wild-west town, and the blanket on his bed looks like the floor of the local hairdresser’s shop. No amount of brushing makes even the slightest impact on the constant shedding, and our clothes bear witness to the fact that he only has to walk past you to completely cover you in a mulitcoloured selection of hairs.

Even as I type this, stray hairs have migrated from my sleeves onto the keyboard.

Of course, we try our hardest to tackle the seasonal fur invasion. Using the vacuum cleaner every day, often twice a day. The only thing in the container when it is emptied is a compressed cylinder of Ollie fur, which does at least show we are not untidy or messy otherwise. But no matter if I spent all day running the device back and forth across the carpets, I would never get to the point where it stopped scooping up yet more fur.

Ollie’s appearance suffers as a result. He is now at least seven different colours, with patches of dark brown in amongst lighter shades, and thin areas of fur on his legs that look like the back of a balding man’s head. This ragged patchwork appearance makes him look neglected and scruffy, which is a shame. Especially when I know the opposite is true.

Next week, he is going for a bath and grooming session on Thursday, the earliest appointment available. The last time, the lady removed a full bin-liner of fur before washing him.

This time, I suspect she might need a second bin liner.

Ollie: An update

Well, as expected, Ollie does not have ringworm.

After some ‘moral blackmail’ from the Vet, I paid over £30 to have him tested, even though I was 100% convinced he didn’t have that.

28 days later, she rings me to confirm what I already knew. ‘Ker-ching!’

However, his fur is not growing back as quickly as I had hoped. His ‘crop-circles’ are still evident, though minus the sores he had before.

The Vet suggested it might be his age. He will be eight in February, quite old for his breed. She suggested I wait for another eight weeks, and if the regrowth is no better, bring him back.

I always care for Ollie, as you know. But I am reluctant to line the Vet’s pockets to be told it will get better in time.

So for those of you that worry about him, and I know there are many, he is doing fine. He eats his dinner, doesn’t scratch any more, and is happy to play with any dog he encounters over on his long walks.

And now I have the ‘all-clear’, he can go to the groomer in December, and have a nice wash and brush up, ready for Christmas.

Thanks to everyone who cares about Ollie, and asks after him.

He sends a curly tail wag to you all.

(This is an old photo. Ollie in the sea, just one year old)

Ollie’s skin, and his fur

Poor Ollie has had a bad summer. The late arrival of extremely hot weather has thrown his system out completely.

The unusually hot weather has made him begin to moult with a real severity. His fur is covering the house, and coming out in handfuls every time he is stroked or petted.

We have seen a return of the large bald patches we call his ‘crop circles’, and the poor dog has been a martyr to scratching, and feeling uncomfortable. His only relief seems to come from dozing or sleeping, and he has little energy for play, or his usual antics.

Most daily walks have been spent with him spending too much time standing in the river, and I have become weary of telling him, “Stop scratching!”

So next Monday he has been booked in early with the dog groomer. He will get that fur hand-stripped, have a nice bath, his toenails cut, and his ears cleaned out.

We can only hope that this will cure some of his irritations, and frustrations. It’s the least we can do.

Thinking Aloud on A Sunday.


Earlier this week, I saw a feature on a BBC programe. It appears that many items being sold as ‘fake fur’ are nothing of the sort. They are real fur. Unimaginably, it appears that raising animals in awful conditions, then killing them for their fur, is cheaper than producing the fibres needed to simulate it as fake fur. The TV show had distressing images of rabbits and Raccoon Dogs (I had never heard of Raccoon Dogs) being kept in abysmal conditions. Crammed into wire cages, and stacked on top of each other. As well as coming from the Far East, this animal fur is also widely produced in Poland, a member of the EU.

Is it used to provide warmth at least? Perhaps to help people who live in very cold places survive harsh winters. Of course not. It merely provides decoration. Bobbles for beanie hats, facings on sweaters, and adornment on the sides of handbags or on the toes of high-heeled shoes. Those poor animals endure pitiful lives, painful deaths, and all for something that serves no purpose on top of a winter hat, or fashionable bag. That’s appalling.

But when I woke up today, I was thinking of a time when fur was not only desirable, but acceptable in the mainstream. A time when my aunties coveted a fox-fur stole, worn around their neck with the head of the poor creature still attached. Fashion. Fur collars on the overcoats of wealthy gentlemen. Fashion. Chinchilla-fur wraps covering the shoulders of starlets, who never walked outside anyway. And let’s not forget the mink coats, the ultimate symbol of sexuality and wealth; worn by film-stars, and the girlfriends of sugar daddies all around the world. Worn in the heat of a Californian summer, not the desolate wastelands of Siberia. White Arctic Fox, one of nature’s most beautiful animals, Reduced to a bolero jacket discarded at the entrance to a film festival in the south of France.

The poor made do with dyed rabbit skins, even dog fur. But they still had their furs. Fashion.

Then came the backlash, and rightly so. Protesters threw blood or red paint at models and actresses wearing fur. They mounted permanent demonstrations outside shops selling furs in big cities like London. We signed petitions against the fur trade, and the companies began to listen. Over the decades, they changed to fake fur, using man-made materials. These eventually became so convincing, only an expert could tell the difference between the two. Fashion was changing, and reflecting the sympathies of a better-informed public. A public learning respect for the small animals previously bred for an early death, and just for their skins.

Now it is 2018, and you might have hoped that the fur trade was a memory, outside of places in certain countries where there is little or no alternative for warm clothing. But profit rules, and if it’s cheaper to kill a rabbit to provide a bobble for a hat, or slaughter a Raccoon Dog to have some bits of fluff to stick on the front of some high-heeled shoes, than to use commercially-available alternatives. Market forces rule, and the animals are being caged and killed once again, in ever-increasing numbers.

I am not a vegetarian, I hasten to add. And I wear leather shoes, as well as owning leather furniture. But when it comes to breeding animals for adornments to woolen hats, shoes, or handbags, then surely that is a step too far in animal exploitation?

Let me know what you think about the Fur Trade.

And if you feel inclined to do so, please share this post on social media, to spread the word that fake fur is mostly real fur.

Ollie’s crop circles

Last year, Ollie began to lose some hair from a couple of spots on his side. The area grew quite large over time, so we took him to the Vet. They prescribed antibiotics, as they often do. It didn’t seem to make much difference. We kept an eye on it, and after some time the hair began to grow back. We speculated that it could have been one of many causes; diet, stress, insect bite, but we were never really certain.

At almost exactly the same time this year, about three weeks ago, it started to happen again. We noticed a few embryonic bald spots, with the tell-tale crusty ring inside. The hair eventually fell out completely, leaving clean pink skin showing. We thought that it would follow the same course as last year, so we were not unduly concerned. However, it started to get worse, with the circular patches appearing all down one side. They were all completely round in shape, and from a distance, it  looked as if a random design was forming. It seemed that Ollie was getting crop circles in his fur. I looked up to the skies…

It didn’t bother him at all. He played the same, ate the same, and walked as far as ever. He didn’t scratch the areas, and they carried on quietly spreading, and getting bigger. Last week, they started to appear on his other side, and on his neck. The largest one on the neck was at the point where his lead rests. So that was being rubbed, and became inflamed, and unpleasant to look at. It has been a topic of much conversation, and accompanying speculation, in our small group of dog-walkers. Some suggested keeping him out of the river for a while, in case it was water-borne. Others were a little concerned about infection, and kept their dogs close, not allowing them to fraternise with Ollie. Most were just concerned for his welfare, and worried about his appearance,  feeling sure that it must be uncomfortable for him.

As it was not getting any better, and no hair was re-growing, I decided to take him to the Vet today. We are using a different Vet these days, in Swaffham, some twelve miles away. As soon as he saw the dog, Vet John pronounced that it was a fungal infection. It is from the same stable as Thrush, apparently, and might be a type of Ringworm. (As I discovered, this is not an actual worm) He took hair and skin samples, which will be sent off to the lab for testing. He thinks that they may well confirm Ringworm, which can be mildly infectious, though the contact has to be very close, like sleeping on the same dog-bed. More worryingly, he also believes that it might be difficult to eradicate, and that it may return, at any time.

Ollie now has a new shampoo, to be used on the affected areas only. He has an up-graded flea and tick tablet, and we must buy some Canesten cream from a chemist, to apply directly to the bald spots. This is a fungicidal cream that is normally applied by women, to their ‘delicate’ areas. Just as well Ollie is spared the potential embarrassment of having to go in and ask for it himself.