Both my dogs are finally resting comfortably under the covers in bed next to me, but I’m wide awake hours before dawn.
Rudy has developed some kind of severe allergic reaction, or maybe it’s an infection (the vets don’t know) on his face that has him frantically clawing and scratching and rubbing at it every chance he gets. His face is pink and swollen, and his whole body is hot. The poor little guy is so miserable. I gave him a Benadryl tablet a little while ago and he was able to get back to sleep after an extended bout of scratching at 4 a.m. He will get an antibiotic in the morning also, and I’ll wash his face with Betadine in hopes of relieving this incessant itching.
What happened to him? It’s a mystery that will probably never be solved.
We left home Monday morning headed to my parents’ house for Christmas, and he was 100% fine then. We made a couple of stops along the way to stretch our legs, including at a deserted rest stop where I let the dogs run off the leash for about 10 minutes. At one point Rudy was quite a distance from me and I thought I saw him eating something on the ground at the base of a tree. I shouted and whistled at him to no effect, as he seems to have gone mostly deaf in recent weeks. I ran over to him and got him to move away from the tree, and I didn’t see anything left behind where he’d been.
Monday night we were in a motel, and he was restless all evening. He kept wanting to go out but wouldn’t produce anything, and he refused his dinner (which he very rarely does). He settled down eventually, slept quietly through the night, and seemed okay in the morning. We continued on our way with several more potty stops, and he seemed fine. Some time in the evening, he threw up a little bit of foam in the car.
When we arrived at my parents’ house, he had his usual dinner (which he ate enthusiastically) and went out in the yard to pee. When he came back in, he immediately began frantically scraping his face up and down on the sofa, and continued this for so long that I finally took him to the local emergency vet hospital. They diagnosed an allergic reaction to an unknown agent, gave him a diphenhydramine (Benadryl) shot and sent him home with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. I was sure that would be the end of it, that he’d just brushed up against a plant or something in the yard that had irritated his face. I hadn’t yet put all the pieces together about his getting into something at the rest stop and acting oddly on Monday night.
I had to take him back to the vet twice yesterday because his scratching got so frantic. The swelling that was initially just on his lips has extended all the way under his chin and the hair on his muzzle is falling out in clumps. Every bit of visible skin on his body is deep pink and he is hot to the touch.
The vet we saw Tuesday night who diagnosed an allergic reaction was less confident about that when we came back on Thursday night. An allergic reaction should have cleared up in 24 hours once the allergenic agent was removed. Rudy’s face is just getting worse. If the antihistamine and antibiotic don’t clear things up by tomorrow, the next step is to give him a steroid to reduce the inflammation. We also need to get him an e-collar to keep him from tearing his skin open and causing a secondary infection.
I try so hard to keep my dogs safe and well, yet this is undoubtedly my fault for not keeping them under my control every minute. The rest stop seemed like a safe place for them to run around, but it’s in an isolated area with wildlife and who knows what all. I should have been more careful.
Rudy turned 11 years old on Tuesday, as it happens, and the emergency vet told me that “these old dogs” are prone to all kinds of health issues. Could be anything from an allergy to cancer. Which does nothing for my peace of mind.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a resolution soon so that we can all get back to quiet nights and peaceful sleep in good health.