So. This will be fun. Right?

Caena had a vet appointment this morning. Normal,, 6 month check up type dealio, but with bonus blood draw at our request to do a full thyroid panel.

Why? Because we figured out that she has Excessive Skin Yeast- it's where the natural yeast in her stomach goes haywire and starts attacking her skin, making her want to chew it raw, loose fur, hyperpigmentation (dark patches on the skin), an odor, eventually working up to rough, scaley, hardened skin if left untreated.

(See- http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_yeast_infection_of_the_skin.html
http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/diseasesandconditions/a/CW-Dermatitis.htm )

This started in Dec 2012.

We ruled out mites in Jan, did a round of antibiotics and Prednisone. That cleared it up for about a month. Yay, we thought, she's fixed!

Only, not so much. It came back, with a vengeance. This time, it wasn't relegated just to her legs, it spread to her entire body. Twice weekly baths with Malaseb shampoo were the only thing keeping it in check, but she was still so unhappy, what with having to wear a cone of shame almost all the time. And take Benedryl 3 times a day.

We tried switching out her food- taking out one protein for awhile, if that didn't work, taking out a different one, and so on. She's already as grain free as we can get her as well as poultry of any kind free (she's definitely allergic to chicken). Nothing worked.

Then about a month ago, another Akita owner mentioned on the Akita Rescue list that their Akita had ESY and they were looking for an article by Barbara Bouyet about it, where they had briefly read about Apple Cider Vinegar in the food and water helping. The symptoms they described were almost exactly what Caena was experiencing.

So I started researching it and found that Caena has almost every, single symptom. The only one she didn't have was the hardened skin. Suggestions were to add greek yogurt to the food and ACV to the water and we found that in the 3 weeks since we've started doing that, the ESY has diminished back to her legs, a few patches on her face and her tail. She still has angry pinker areas on her flanks and neck, but the majority of the lesions are gone. Yay, right?

Well, not really. Because she STILL wants to chew herself raw. She still has to have the cone of shame on. She still takes the Benedryl. It essentially halted the ESY but it didn't completely fix it.

Hence, the vet visit. Research had also suggested a thyroid panel to rule out anything wrong there. The main vet website we looked at stated that adding yogurt and ACV were quick fixes but by no means cures. That if the cause was not found and corrected, the ESY would come back repeatedly.

So now, we are trying a food trial. Starting Monday, Caena will be on a strict diet of hypoallergenic food and nothing but for the next 6 weeks. If the ESY clears up, we know it's a food allergy that we haven't figured out yet- the only protein we hadn't swapped out was beef, so we'll feel really bad if it turns out to be that. Unfortunately, this means we may have to take her off the raw diet. She may end up on hypoallergenic food for the rest of her life.

But like Mark said, we'll do what we have to. And I say, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

For now, Prednisone for the next few weeks and hypoallergenic food for the next 6 and then a return trip to the vet. Assuming of course, the thyroid panel comes back clean. And that we'll find out tomorrow.

With her genetic issues and chrondodysplasia, it honestly would not surprise me if it's a simple food allergy. Well, at least, that's what we're hoping it is.}:)


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