I took Isaac to the vet today. Because for the past three weeks, he has been itchy and scratchy. He does not have fleas. His diet has not changed. I'm not using any new or different cleaning products or anything like that.
I thought maybe his skin was extra dry because he's been getting more baths than usual, since we've been spending a lot of time at various parks where he plays in mud and rolls in stink, he's been swimming a lot, and he has to get a bath before we visit the nursing home (says me, not the nursing home). I've used baby shampoo on him as long as I've had him, but I thought I'd buy some expensive dog shampoo that might help, so I got some all natural, environmentally-friendly doggie shampoo that has tea tree oil and aloe vera (and, no joke, cost 15 times as much as the cheap baby shampoo I've always used). It's supposed to be good for itchy dog skin.
I also started giving him coconut oil. My skin gets dry and itchy in winter and I take flaxseed oil capsules for it and it helps a lot, but someone suggested he might enjoy coconut oil better. He gets a teaspoon a day. Cayenne gets some, too, about a quarter of a teaspoon. They both love it. They think it's a yummy treat. They argue about who gets theirs first. It hasn't seemed to decrease the itchiness, though, not yet.
Until two days ago, I noticed no rash or other abnormality on his skin. And I've checked. Daily. Monday I noticed a red area in the crease of one back leg. I think it's from excessive licking, due to the itchiness. The red area isn't infected and the skin isn't broken or anything like
that yet, but I wanted to prevent the problem from worsening.
So today we went to the vet. The vet said it's probably seasonal allergies. He said we could do allergy testing to find out for sure, but that costs about $500, and he doesn't think the information would be particularly useful anyway. He gave Isaac an injection of something for allergy symptoms and told me to keep track of what seems to make symptoms worse (which I've tried to do but haven't really noticed anything so far).
He asked what shampoo I use on Isaac and I told him I just bought some that has tea tree oil and aloe and he said, "Oh! Tea tree oil! That's good." He is pretty into natural stuff. I told him about the coconut oil, too, and he was also enthusiastic about that. The vet tech was looking at us like we were nuts.
He told me to bathe Isaac after he's been playing in weeds or rolling in weeds and stuff like that. He said if he's not dirty or stinky, don't worry about shampoo, but just rinse the pollen and allergens off. And to call him in a month or so when the effects of the allergy injection wear off if he's having symptoms then.
Isaac had a nice time. He likes going to the vet. So unlike Cayenne.