(Read Parts 1 and 2 first)
“She scratches…usually on her sides, and sometimes on her back or legs. Not so much hair loss, but maybe some here and there.” Her flames seem to be withdrawing their heat ever so slightly.
My problem solving continues. “When you say her sides, do you mean her flanks, like on the sides of her abdomen? And do you ever see her just sit there and gnaw at her feet or scratch at her face and head? Do you ever see that?”
“I don’t ever see her chewing on her feet or scratching at her head and ears. And yes, that is what I mean by her sides. Like right in front of her back legs. Sometimes she will chew more on her butt and her back legs, but her sides are what seems to bother her the most.”
Note to self; predictable testimony of history ninety-nine percent consistent with expected problem. I paint a warm gentle smile on my face before opening my mouth. The smile is composed of empathy and understanding. It is also absent of smirkyness or attitude. I truthfully don’t want to slam her that bad. What I am doing isn’t about a power play or being an artful puppeteer. My primary goal, my main intention, is to reach her. Through all that shit clogging up her mind, and I would argue most of it fear, I can understand how a high drive creature can mislead themselves and become very skeptical of others. I would really like to help her and help her dog. “Dogs with with allergies to everything, like grass, hay, dust mites, blah, ba blah, ba blah, gnaw at their feet and scratch at their head and ears ninety to ninety-five percent of the time. That is the distribution of the lesions….how the condition presents itself. Dogs that chew and scratch their flanks, tail and tail base, hind limbs, and genitals are nine-nine percent of the time suffering from fleas or a flea allergy.”
She quickly counters with the oh so often heard retort, “I don’t see any fleas on her. I never have. How could she have fleas?”
And I resist the urge to say “Well, she has the coat of a black bear making it very difficult to actually see the tiny little creatures, she spends all of her days roaming around on horse farms full of other animals and wildlife who are probably all independent flea factories themselves, and I’m not exactly sure of the reliability of your method for performing a flea check,” but I let those issues rest for the greater good. I do say “Flea allergic dermatitis or FAD, is a very, very, very common disease in the southeast. I see multiple cases of this every week, even through the winter. FAD does not mean that your dog has a flea infestation or that he is covered with a number of fleas. The condition is an ALLERGY to fleas and just like I have an allergy to yellowjackets, dogs can have allergies to fleas. One yellow jacket, not twenty, thirty or fifty, can make my head swell up like a balloon….and dogs with FAD can go crazy, itching like hell, from just a few flea bites. Even when these dogs are on a good fleas product, if they trample in a new or wide open area, they constantly pick up more fleas. Those fleas get to bite the dog for two to four to six to twelve hours before the kill time of the product does its job. Regardless of whatever flea product it is, it is difficult at best to control FAD dogs who run on a lot of land or get continuously exposed to new flea populations. It sounds like that might be her problem.”
She says “I don’t know…” and seems on a low grade boil of frustration. I have no choice but to let her simmer some more.
We head on down the road and eventually find the sign to the entrance of the festival. As I approach the parking area, an older man stops me, He has a big smile on his face and he seems to be enjoying his duties. Instead of rushing into the delivery of parking directions, he says “A Subaru WRX…..man, I love your car. They are awesome aren’t they. I wish I had one. I don’t think my wife would let me, but maybe someday.” He fills my bucket more than he knows and I respond, “Yeah, I have really enjoyed this car. It has been a great vehicle. She is a little beat up right now. I need to pay her a little more attention and clean her up some, but she has taken care of me in a good way.” He says “Have fun, enjoy you day” and points to an open parking space. I pull into the space and turn the engine off. It is a beautiful day outside and I am ready to explore the festival. My friend seems like she is ready to do the same.
To be continued (one more time)….