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’s Skin: The Saga Continues

So many times I have written on this blog about the skin conditions afflicting my poor dog, Ollie. After the last bout cleared up, the fur grew back slowly. But by the end of March, he was looking pretty good. Good enough for other dog-walkers to remark on how well he was looking, and how shiny his coat was.

Then the weather warmed up in May, and he started to moult. Nothing excessive, and to be expected. Just a lot more of his shed fur collected in the vacuum claner. Two weeks ago, he started to smell rather ‘doggy’, and I thought about booking him in for a bath at the groomer’s by the end of June. But while the tiling was being done, I wanted to stay around the house.

Then last week, we got the real mini-heatwave I have mentioned. Ollie started to scratch a lot, and I noticed the fur that had grown back had fallen out again, leaving bald patches of inflamed skin. So today, he had to go back to the Vet yet again.

They have a new procedure for Covid-19 safety, whereby no customers are allowed inside the large building. You telephone on arrival, and let them know you are there. Then a Vet comes to inspect the dog in your car, or outside it, before deciding whether or not he has to take your dog (or cat, or whatever) back inside for treatment. In Ollie’s case, the regular Vet knows him well, and carried out a car-park examination while Ollie stayed on his bed at the back of the car.

Allergies and skin infection was diagnosed, as it has been so many times before. He returned with steroid tablets, antibiotic tablets, and the suggestion that we give Ollie a cheap antihistamine tablet every day of the summer months. I had to come home and pay over the telephone, as he wasn’t letting anyone use the card machine, for fear of infection.

Ollie now has two weeks of tablets, twice a day. We already know they make him extra thirsty, and increase his appetite too. So I will give him slightly bigger dinners while he is on them, and make sure to keep his fresh water filled up.

I phoned as requested, to make a card payment over the phone. £160. Pretty hefty, for ten minutes in a car park.

But he is worth it of course.

Ollie At The Vet (Again)

Ollie had to go to the Vet again today. That’s why I am late posting my serial episode, (for those of you that noticed) and just running late in general. Any break in my fixed routine makes me feel that I lose the rest of the day trying to catch up.

Anyway, Ollie had to have his annual booster injection, and general health check. In addition, I was worried about a sore eye that was troubling him, and the fact that he just cannot seem to stop shedding hair out of season.

Excited to get in the car, he was less impressed after the 12-mile drive deposited him at the hated Vet. Not that he balks at going in, but once inside he shows obvious signs of distress about what may be about to happen. Luckily, there were lots of other dogs there already, so his attention was distracted. Two Golden Retrievers, a young Rottweiler, a barky Labrador, and a nervous Poodle all gave Ollie the eye as he came in, and there was a great deal of mutual sniffing. Only the trembling Poodle made sure to avoid my dog.

He weighed in at thirty kilograms. This is a one kilo increase on last year, and a two-kilo increase on his weight at the age of two. The Vet checked his heart, looked in his ears, and gave him the booster jab. Then he was examined around the eyes, as I talked about the never-ending moulting of fur. He had to have an ‘indicator solution’ dropped into the bad eye, and after a short delay, the colour change (to green) indicated Conjunctivitis. The issue with the fur was diagnosed as yet another yeast infection on the skin, causing the fur to constantly fall out and re-grow.

The treatment will be seven days of eye drops to clear up the right eye. The Vet agreed that we should avoid yet another dose of oral antibiotics and steroids for the skin, but has suggested weekly baths in the special shampoo for the foreseeable future. That in itself is going to be a mission, getting Olie in and out of our small corner bath, and trying to dry him off. I could take him to the groomer every week, but at £32 a time, that option is too expensive.

As he filled out the report on his computer the Vet also discussed Ollie’s age. He will be 8 years old in February. For a Sharpei, that is the human equivalent of 65 years of age, and is why he is slowing down more each month, and sleeping longer. He casually added, “If he sees double figures, I will be happy, but surprised”. I was shocked, and asked him if that was really true. Might Ollie only live for less than two more years? He shrugged. “The oldest one I have ever seen was ten years old. I have never seen one older than that. Too much in-breeding, I’m afraid.”

I paid the £60 bill, and we left. As I was driving home, I wondered if the Vet’s gloomy prediction could be correct.

Life without Ollie in it just doesn’t seem possible.

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)

Old Man Hands

It is unusually bright here this morning, and as I was typing the last part of my fiction serial earlier, I noticed something.

It was something I didn’t like.

I have the hands of an old man.

Thin, papery skin, heavily wrinkled. Visible veins, and numerous red blotches probably caused by a lot of ice-scraping yesterday, as I defrosted a freezer. The slightest impact with the side of the appliance as I was scraping caused almost immediate bruising.

My hands have never been that big, but now they look puffy around the finger joints, and the sides of my wrists display a definite swelling that feels soft to touch. But my wedding ring feels loose, and is easy to slip on and off.

I am far from ancient, by modern standards. If I make it to next March, I will be 68 years old. But my hands are getting ahead of the calendar, and already look to be in their late seventies.

I took a photo of my right hand, and was going to add it to this post to illustrate what I mean.

But I didn’t like it, so you will just have to imagine.

It was a photo of someone else’s hand, as far as I could tell.

The hand of an old man.

Ollie At The Vet Again

Just over a week ago, we noticed that Ollie’s fur had still not grown back completely, after his last skin infection during the hot spell.
I took a photo of it, when we were out on his walk. You can make out the circle of bare skin, and the mark where a scab had formed.

Then over the weekend, his back got a lot worse. Hair was falling out in more circular patterns, and it was soon looking like this, with more scabs appearing.
(Notice his tail is uncurled, a sure sign he was unhappy at being photographed close up.)

On Monday evening, we noticed this awful sore had appeared on his neck, just above his right leg.

I rang the Vet on Tuesday morning, and managed to get an appointment for today.

Now we are back, with a diagnosis of a yeast infection of the skin, an ear infection in the right ear, and a sample sent away for laboratory testing in case it is Ringworm. Ollie has a week-long course of antibiotics and steroids, ear drops for the right ear, and the sore at the bottom of his neck has to be washed twice-daily with salt water.

I may have to bathe my wallet too, so it can recover from the amount taken out of it…

He was very well-behaved, and allowed the lady Vet to scrape, prod, and poke. For his good behavior, he was rewarded with some delicious cooked chicken pieces once we got home.

Let’s hope that it clears up soon, and he gets no more infections for the remainder of 2019.

Ollie and his ears

Unfortunately for them, Shar-Pei dogs have a lot of problems. If it is not their eyes, then it is their skin, or both. If none of these, you can be sure that ear trouble will arrive one day. They have tiny ear-flaps, and much of the inside of the ear is exposed as a consequence. Not unlike us humans in some respects, though of course they cannot wash them, poke fingers into them, or clean them out properly. They also run through undergrowth, rub their heads in grass, and jump into muddy ponds and streams, none of which is conducive to good ear health. As a considerate owner, you have to check their ears on a regular basis, and be prepared to clean out the unpleasant residue that sometimes builds up. When all else fails, a trip to the Vet normally results in a prescription of medicinal ear drops.

Ollie has had a few ear problems in the past. He had to have them cleaned by the nurse, and you could see him wincing as she dug deep. They sold us ear drops with a long nozzle that has to be inserted quite far into the tightest part of the ear. This is not a nice thing to do, especially when you can plainly see that it is hurting your dog. He has been free of this particular irritation for some time now, but spent many weeks enduring an annoying skin condition instead. I wrote about this in the post ‘Ollie’s Crop Circles.’ Just as that seemed to have cleared up completely, and the fur had grown back over the bald spots by the end of last week, he began to shake his head. All dogs shake their heads of course, but this was not the normal sort of occasional shake. This was intense, and carried on constantly, unless he was fast asleep.

A quick inspection of the ears showed them to be a little congested with a waxy substance, and we cleaned this out, deciding to apply some ear drops, in the same way we did it last year. It didn’t appear to help a great deal, and he continued to shake. By Wednesday, we could even hear him at night, constantly shaking as he lay on his bed. He had also ‘dropped’ one side of his head too, carrying one ear lower. A sure indication that he was feeling pain, were his constant attempts at getting attention, and rubbing his face and head around our legs. We continued with the drops, but by Thursday, one ear felt hot to touch, and was red and inflamed on inspection. An appointment was made with the Vet, for Friday afternoon.

I took him out for a walk earlier than usual, to make sure that we would be back in good time for the twelve-mile drive to Swaffham. We had left off the drops, so as not to inflame his ear further before the Vet examined him. When he saw me getting the bed that fits into the back of the car, he was beside himself with excitement, spinning in circles, and skidding on the stone tiles of the kitchen floor. He was no doubt anticipating going somewhere nice in the car, a different place to explore, and the chance to meet other dogs that he had never previously encountered. I felt very guilty, as he jumped into the vehicle enthusiastically. The Friday afternoon traffic was exacerbated by emergency roadworks on the A47, causing an unusual delay. We made it to the Vet with one minute to spare before the time of the appointment, and as he jumped out, I could see a definite look of disappointment on his wrinkly face.

Once inside, he became agitated; panting, and red around the mouth. He pressed hard into my legs, probably concerned that he would be abandoned there, to be pulled and prodded at will. He does behave well though, never venturing far from my side, and no muzzle has ever been required, so well does he tolerate the worst possible probings of the animal medics. The Vet produced an auroscope, which he pushed deep into Ollie’s ears in turn. He declared one to be free of blockage or problem, but could soon see that the other was a different story. There was a definite infection, together with an inflammation of the surrounding tissue, not helped by the constant shaking. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were prescribed, with the Vet confident that it should clear up in about a week. I paid for the treatment, and Ollie couldn’t wait to get back into the car, relieved to be departing with me, and not staying overnight in a cage.

When we got home, he ate his dinner happily, and also took his tablets from Julie, with the promise of a biscuit treat for afterwards. He soon slowed down the head shaking, and as I type this, I can hear him snoring on his bed in the kitchen. Once again he trusted us, and we didn’t let him down.