Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vet Trip

So both the girls had a trip to the vet. Scout had her two baby canines removed (HOPEFULLY this ends her nonstop chewing. She wasn't a big teether from the 3-7 month age when she got all her adult teeth in but lately she has been chewing everything from my wood furniture to electrical cords/wires/headphones). She's eating wet food and on antibiotics for the next 10 days but doesn't seem too painful. On the other hand there's Peanut. I might have told you she has had a lot of skin issues (the result of her crappy breeding but that's another story). She was first diagnosed with demodex even though her hair loss was very localized to the top of her open fontanel. Well, after 8 weeks of Ivermectin treatment it didn't clear up at all. So I let it go and then it seemed to be getting worse (or expanding) which made me think it was something infectious even though Scout's coat was perfectly normal. So off we went to UPenn's Animal Hospital. Fortunately I know a doctor (a vet with a Ph.D who studies the pathology of skin disorders in animals) that could accurately diagnose Peanut. I had an idea rolling around in the back of my head and was pretty sure I knew she had follicular dysplasia. After a few skin scrapes/biopsies the results were in: color dilution follicular dysplasia. Follicular dysplasia in dilute colors such as silver fawns/blues is the result of POOR breeding as it is a genetic disorder. In Peanut's case, excess melanin clumps around the hair shaft and causes it to break resulting in her little bald head. Fortunately it doesn't have any impact on her health or well-being. She will continue to live a long and healthy life she'll just be my little bald girl. It's possible that she will lose more hair over time so I have to use a conditioner to help keep the hair as flexible as possible. I have to minimize hair breakage by not putting on collars/brushing excessively. Because her head is unprotected I have to keep her squeaky clean to avoid secondary bacterial infections as well. Sigh. At least it's figured out and I know how to manage it.

NOW for the worst part :(
While Peanut was hanging out at UPenn, one vet decided to tell me how I have raised a "bad" dog. According to her I am an enabler and only baby my dogs creating small dog syndrome. Now, I'm willing to take some of the blame for Peanut's behavior but I think a large portion of it is very very poor breeding. Peanut knows commands and she does listen though on this particular day she was quite stressed from having her skin scraped until it bled on the top of her head and on her ears and so she was a little skittish. She did try to bite the one vet (the one was criticizing me) after which she proceeded to hang my dog in the air by her harness (hoisting her up by her leash). Now that doesn't seem like the appropriate way to correct her behavior. Peanut is incredibly fearful and has resulting aggression, Scout does not display such behaviors and has never bitten anyone so I'm inclined to say it's not entirely the environment Peanut was raised in but also the genetics (the old nature vs. nurture argument). I do not baby my dogs and I rarely carry them around. Peanut has had a LOT of socialization however she still reacts fearfully. We had a break through this weekend when she rolled over on her back to two friends that she never met before who stayed at my apartment. Slowly, I think Peanut is learning. I was just very insulted by this woman's critique (not to mention she later added that I would be the type of person to raise murderers as my child judging by the way I handle my dogs. She told me she is used to military style dog training and when I look at Peanut I need to see a rottie and not a chihuahua). While I will continue to work with Peanut and help her get out of her shell, I refuse to acknowledge that I "destroyed" my dogs. BOTH are a work in progress and I give them all the effort I can. Sigh. Sorry for the long post I've just been really upset by Peanut's follicular dysplasia and the commentary from this "professional."


  1. Oh, good heavens!! I am just about speechless... Where is the empathy and caring, not to mention understanding?? These dogs are stressed out and do not exhibit normal behaviour in that type of environment. I am glad to hear people like you going into the profession!

  2. Oh my word - not a good vet visit at ALL! So is the "color dilution follicular dysplasia" a fancy name for alopecia?? Or is it something different? I'm sorry P has this but like you said it isn't too much for concern health wise. There is a pup on another Chi forum (Chi People) who's blue Chi was bald most of his life. They changed foods & I kid you not that pup is growing hair back! Matilda also has a little bald spot on her head & the top of her tail (been the same for forever) but when I changed her to the red meat formula of EVO her whole coat got super fluffy & silky soft. It was really neat! Just a thought...maybe explore some new diet regimines & see if it helps. Granted, a lot of this is because of her genetics but sometimes diet does help or at least slow down the progress.

    And as for the vets comments - let them roll off your back!!! Obviously they are someone who is very unfarmiliar with Chi's. Matilda is the same as your Peanut. She was socialized like crazy but just has a total fear aggression. :o( She love being around people & other dogs but if they get close to her or have a high energy she freaks out. Any contact with strangers, she freaks out & will bite. None of my pups are crazy about stranger contact (except Marley who could care less) but hers is the most severe.

    So we can relate & think sometimes people (even vets) don't know what they are talking about!! You are a GREAT Chi owner & I know you don't over baby your dogs. You will make a fine vet someday...I only wish you would move up here, to Maine, to practice! ;o)

  3. Unbelievable about that vet! I don't know myself how I would've reacted if I was in that situation, especially hoisting my pup up in the air like that (I probably would've freaked out at that part), she really has a helluva lot of nerve!!! Poor little Peanut, she's still a cutie, even though she is going bald! Sam, keep up the good work with her!!

  4. What an awful vet! The way she handled your dog was so unprofessional and not right, especially a Chi. Jemma is well socialized and lately, has been acting out at the vet clinic because every time she goes in there, she gets a blood draw or two. Nothing good ever comes out of it. That doesn't mean I raised her to be that way - she just associates the clinic with bad things now. Ugh at the vet.

  5. Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your kind words. I was in a state of "OMG I raised them both wrong, I ruined their lives, I should have let someone else take them home" for about 2-3 days after this incident. I've just got to keep telling myself that they are both works in progress and every dog has issues...we just work on our issues one at a time. Thanks again all, it really cheered me up!!

  6. Oh Sam, that is horrendous that someone would say such things. It sounds like this person really shouldn't be working with animals as her bedside manner is appalling. You should have said as much to her. I am inclined to agree with you that behavior can largely be a result of breeding. Lexi is very scared of other (mostly larger) dogs and reacts to them if they come too close. Bentley on the other hand likes to meet other dogs and rarely fusses unless he is backing Lexi up. We raised them both the same way but Bentley is just a more well-adjusted dog all the way around. Lexi is a wonderful dog, don't get me wrong, but she requires more work at socializing than Bentley does. So, I think this woman is very small-minded and really doesn't know what she is talking about. I think you are doing a wonderful job with both Peanut and Scout. They are lucky to have you as their mommy!


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