Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update

After four days, Cookie's bumps cleared up completely.

Then, the next day she spent at the farm. When I was checking the belly, I found that her belly, groin and thighs were covered with large red patches.

These were not longer a few bumps, this I would call a rash.

My main question was whether this is a new reaction to something or next stage from the bumps. This could hardly be from jumping through bushes and it t looked quite menacing. However, it didn't seem to bother Cookie, just me.

Next morning I was calling the vet describing my findings.

His first thought was poison ivy.

Dogs typically don't get reactions to Poison ivy because their fur protects them from the harmful chemicals contacting the skin. On the belly and groin, though, there isn't much fur to speak of.

Other plant, which, according to our vet, is even more likely to cause contact dermatitis in dogs is Wandering Jew.

The main question whether Cookie's body can deal with this on its own or would need some further intervention.

By the end of the day, though, the skin looked better, though some new bumps started showing up. The redness was going down.

When I looked up what Wandering Jew looks like, it seemed very familiar.

Wandering Jew. Photo Dave's Garden
Both hubby and I could have sworn that this was the plant growing all around the friends' house. Though it's been there all along and Cookie didn't have any skin reactions in the fall, even though all dogs love to explore through it looking for mice and things.

When we talked to the friend about what's happened, and examined their plant more closely, it turned out it is not Wandering Jew.

However, we found out that this year they're having an explosion of Poison ivy, suddenly growing everywhere.

Poison ivy. Image wikiHow

So there is likely our culprit.

The good news is, that now we likely know what's going on. The bad news is, how the heck do we protect Cookie from it?

The best strategy would be to remove the offending plant.

Well, it is not our property, it is large and the damn thing grows everywhere. So that is not likely to happen.

Second best strategy is to keep the dog out of it.

That's not going to happen either, short of having Cookie on the leash or tied up the whole time. She spent enough time tied up, we're not going to do it to her. Plus the best part about the trips to the farm is the freedom to run around, play and explore. How could we take that away from her?

Covering her body with something like a t-shirt would create a protective barrier.

I'm quite sure it wouldn't stay on very long, plus she still needs to pee and poo and if you expose the belly enough for that, how much protection is left? Though the groin and thighs would stay protected. We're looking into some doggy pants, but most of the same concerns remain.

The best thing we can practically do at this time is to wash her belly after the day at the farm, to remove the irritant.

The last time she was at the farm it seemed to have worked. But maybe she just managed not to go through the poison ivy this time. So we'll see.

Freedom or safety, that is often the question.

For now, we're going with freedom because we are sure that's what Cookie would choose. As long as the reactions aren't too dramatic, or we can keep them in checked by washing the belly, that's what we'll do. Hopefully this will get us through until the move. And hopefully we didn't have an explosion of Poison ivy on Jasmine's ranch too.

Did you run into a similar problem? How did you solve it?

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks  
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog? 
Cookie Knows A Farm Day From A Work Day 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Don't Panic. Don't Panic ... Too Late: Our Call To Pet Poison Helpline  

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  1. Hello,

    My guess would also be a contact allergen..here are my concerns and advice..Absolutely try to minimize exposure by either removing the plants (or suspect allergen) or avoiding the area that they are in.

    After traversing the area of the potential allergens either take Cookie for a swim or hose her off. This will decrease her allergen load immensely. The other options are protective clothing or a pre-med of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to minimize her reaction to the allergen.

    Lastly, remember that allergies develop over time and a dog that reacts to one allergen today might react to four tomorrow, so be prepared for the potential of the allergies to progress and diversify.

    A great diagnostic tool is an intradermal skin allergy test done by a dermatologist to see which allergens, or classes of allergens, that she reacts to. From there they can tailor a cocktail to de-sensitive her against those allergens..(although I have not had the best of luck with these cases long term..but thats another discussion).


    1. Thank you so much, Krista.

      It seems that the Poison ivy is all through the area there, which is what makes the first two so difficult. Since we'll be moving soon (mid July) the area will be avoided completely then.

      I am still looking into those pants and we did start washing her after she spends time running at the farm which may or may not meat exposure.

      Pre-med of Benadryl is a good idea. Immunotherapy is in the back of my mind.

    2. So I ordered a pair of those shorts, will see how that works.

  2. Thankfully I've never had to deal with this with Ace. I don't think he's ever had a reaction to a plant that I know of. My parents' dog will get some round, red spots on her tummy about the size of pennies sometimes in the summer. They don't seem to bother her and they go away. We're never sure if they're bug bites or an allergic reaction to a plant.

    1. Sometimes it's hard to tell, with all the bugs out there. Not so many bugs at the horse farm at this time and the Poison ivy is causing problems to them too, so it's the best bet. Knowing Cookie and the way she can trash through vegetation, it's not a surprise that she'd rub her belly on that stuff really good when chasing squirrels and things.

  3. I hope that cookie feels better soon! I get really paranoid over bushes and plants sometimes, but I can't keep my dog away from them. Thank you for sharing this as well, I have seen a few of this plant around a friend's house. I know now to keep my dog away from it. Thanks! - Maria