My French Bulldog and His Allergies

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Dog, a man’s best friend. I have had my French Bulldog since he was about 12 weeks old. He is the cutest, most loving, quirky, stubborn little guy. Words can’t express how much I love him! Owning a French Bulldog is very complicated though. They come with health concerns and allergies. Brutus, my Frenchie, comes with LOTS of ALLERGIES. The poor little guy has been suffering with this for about half of his two years of life. There have been several vet appointments for him, lots of medications and tons of money. This is his story.

It all started when he was about a year old. He had this rash that was on his stomach. It was slight, but never went away. After an appointment to a vet, he was diagnosed with a staph infection and given an antibiotic. They had stated that he had some sort of irritation that made him scratch his stomach so much that it had became raw and this was how the Staph started. After a few days on the medication, he was better. The rash was gone, and no more thought was really given about it.

A few weeks later, the rash came back. Not as bad this time, and he didn’t  seem bothered by it. This time I had thought it was the common “hot spots” that dogs can get. I bathed him with a shampoo that was for hot spots and sprayed over the counter Cortisone spray on him too. Much to my disarray, it did not go away. There was another vet appointment. Before the appointment, they were running about half hour behind. While waiting, we went to a local park that was nearby. After playing there for a while, we went back to the vet. They found ONE flea on him after that. They told me that he was probably allergic to fleas and that’s why he was breaking out with this rash. I knew that he did not have fleas, but they would not believe me. This led to another round of antibiotics with a steroid added this time.

The rash went away quickly. Just a few weeks after finishing the antibiotic, guess what? The rash came back yet AGAIN! Still slightly upset that I was told this was a flea problem, I went back to the vet once again. She seemed more understanding this time and started thinking that it was more than fleas because he actually did not have them. He never had them, but instead picked one up from the park. We now started changing his food to a higher quality food that they recommended. We were sent home with new food samples, another round of antibiotics for a whole month and another round of steroids. Just like I figured, the antibiotic would clear up the rash.

Brutus was now on a high quality food getting absolutely no treats to see if the food alone was going to do the trick. After the month of antibiotics, he looked just like a healthy Frenchie.  I was afraid after the last dose of antibiotic that he was going to get his rash back. I was told that if the food change didn’t work, then he was going to need to go thru allergy testing. This was something that I was not necessarily fond of doing because I was looking at about a $400 vet appointment. Needless to say, I had to do it. The food was not helping and soon after the antibiotic ended, he was a red-spotted itchy Frenchie. I could not stand to see him like this. Living in Indiana, just south of Lake Michigan we get lake effect snow in the winter. One of the worst days in the winter was when Brutus had his appointment for his allergy test. We braved the weather and made it to the vet. I was nervous for him because I had no clue to what he was going to have to go thru for this test. It was very simple and they drew a syringe of blood and he was done. We left the vet this time knowing that we were going to get better answers to what he was allergic to and which route to go. There was another round of a full month antibiotic given. Then we waited. After about a week or so, there was a call from the vet. The results were in. Come to find out, he was allergic to about EVERYTHING!

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There were a few things that I was extremely worried about him being allergic to. The first one is human dander. He was fine with this. The next was cats and dust. He was also not allergic to those. Good thing, because I am not sure how we would be able to keep a house free of human dander and dust. And the cat, well, he comes inside too and he was first. Not real sure what would have come with that result being positive and don’t really want to think about it. On to the food allergies. Brutus was allergic to most filler in dog food. This explains why the change in to the higher quality dog food was not working. The company that did the allergy testing gave some options for food that would be good for him. The vet then looked at those options and recommended that he start Iams KO food. The KO stands for kangaroo and oats. Yep, you read right. I was now going to feed my precious dog kangaroo! This food is a special food that you can only get with a vets prescription. So now we knew that he was HIGHLY allergic to a lot of his dog food and I was willing to pay around $75 for a 30lb bag of kangaroo food. There were also several environmental things that he was allergic to, but the vet was highly confident that this was just a food problem

After being on the new food for over 6 months, we are still experiencing breakouts of the rash. We are in the process of trying Atopica. This is a medication that is supposed to keep Brutus’ body from being so sensitive to all the environmental and food allergens. Only a month in a half into this medication, I am staying positive that this will work.