It’s been a difficult month with regard to our 13 year old rescue boy Fin. We adopted him from Vigil German Shepherd Rescue when he was just 2 years old (who can resist a ginger GSD!), and for most of his life, he has been fit and healthy. However, last year he was struggling to go to the toilet, and since he absolutely refused to be examined the nearest diagnosis we could get for his symptoms was colitis. He had a course of steroids which affected him quite badly at the time but seemed to cure the problem, along with a complete change of diet. He was doing pretty well until recently.
The symptoms were back so we returned to the vet and this time he was sedated to allow a thorough examination. The conclusion was anal furunculosis, also known as perianal fistula, which may have an underlying allergic or autoimmune cause. We had no knowledge of this horrible disease so set about researching it online and joined a group dedicated to it, which was very useful.
Although steroids helped last time we didn’t want to risk the side effects again so, along with our vet, looked for other options. The most popular treatment seemed to be Cyclosporine (Atopica) which is incredibly expensive and although we were offered an alternative drug, it ran the risk of pancreatitis. We rejected that and plumped for the cyclo, combined with Ketoconozole, which reduced the cyclosporine dose and therefore the cost. Having agonised over it and made the decision, we discovered that the keto had been withdrawn due to severe side-effects in humans.
We were back to the Cyclosporine on its own, although once the problem was under control, we could use a cream to keep on top of it. We requested a prescription from our vet, which they gladly supplied, and sourced the cyclo from an online pharmacy at a considerably lower cost.
Once again we had to change his diet to a “novel” protein to try to rule out food allergies. Given that our dogs are raw fed and we raise a lot of our own meat here on the croft, it was difficult to find something that he had never eaten. Buffalo or kangaroo came to mind! In the end we chose duck. He has started his diet and seems quite keen on it and we are awaiting the arrival of the drugs.
We will let you know how he gets on and if anyone has any experience of this disease or advice to offer, we would be pleased to hear from you.
On another note, lambing has begun with three sets of twins so far and the cameras are worth their weight in gold – no more spending hours in the freezing cold watching the sheep puffing and panting!