Beau Blue's story told by Jennifer
My name is Jennifer and my beloved Sheltie is named Beau Blue. Gone With The Wind had some influence there! My boy is a bi-blue merle and the love of my life. He was born on Sept. 20, 2006 and I will never forget the day I picked him up from the Chesapeake, VA mall animal shop. My (then) husband and I went in looking for an Aussie but fell in love with Beau immediately. The day I brought him home his 1/2 blue eye had not shown yet in the store. The moment he looked up at me when we hit the outside sunlight, the blue came through like walking out of a jungle onto a beach in Bali. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life! I do not have children and don't see having any in my future...Beau is my most handsome and loving boy and I don't know how I would have gotten through my divorce without him.
This past summer (year 2010) Beau started developing bumps or nodes on his rear quarters. From there, within a few weeks, I started noticing the spread towards his neck. Gratefully to this day, October 21, 2010, the bumps are only on the main part of his body (not on his head, legs, private areas, paws or tail). I became increasingly concerned when they started showing up on his upper and lower chest. I have him signed up on a Banfield PetsMart medical plan so I took him in on one of my free visits.
The 1st doctor was puzzled and we thought maybe it was an allergic reaction and prescribed me a dermatitis shampoo. The only problem was that Beau wasn't chewing or scratching. I've always tried to stop him from scratching or chewing for sake of bad habits forming and loss of hair. I've seen my friends Aussie and my mother's Shitzu have stained red paws and hind end fur. Beau is such a good and obedient boy that I can see him not chewing, even if it itches badly, because I've asked him not to. He's such a good listener...in fact I started training him with my friend's Blue Heeler to corral cattle and horses. Very smart pup!!!
Anyway, I changed his food to all natural, no soy, corn, wheat or animal bi-product and started giving him Benadryl. Neither seemed to help! So, I went back to Banfield and consulted with a 2nd doctor. This one took scrapings but not deep enough to bleed, which I've heard is the proper way to scrape. She then prescribed him a skin antibiotic named Ceflaxin (similar to the human version of Keflex), had me pay for another shampoo that was more for fungal and bacteria and asked for me to come back in two weeks.
In two weeks there I went...back to Banfield. Where I saw doctor #3. She took aspirated three sections of bumps for a microscopic look and gave me Cipro with instructions to come back in two weeks.
The last time I went for a Banfield exam for this issue was about a month ago. Doctor #3 said that the cells were definitely inflamed and that it might be an auto-immune disease. Not the most confronting news!!!! She prescribed me Tetracycline, Niacin / Vitamin B and said if that doesn't work the next step is a biopsy of the lesions. By this time, they had stopped spreading but are getting redder, more scary looking and had a flat top and occasionally had a white dot in the middle.
Before I filled the tetracycline I decided to get another opinion for a more local vet clinic called Crain Veterinary in Grain Valley, MO. My mother goes there for her 4 small dogs and they have a 4 vet staff, odds were they would find a cure if no one else would. Four heads are always better than one, right!! So off I went to Crain Vet.
The lead vet immediately right then and there performed a biopsy and sent it away to a Kansas City vet pathologist. The waiting period was a killer! The prelim report said his lesions were non systemic and lymphomas (praise the lord....you know I cried when I heard that one) and a blah blah blah 12 word dermatitis. So, the four vets got together to talk about the course of action. They came up with a steroid and antibiotic course for a approx. 3-5 months.
I ran out of the antibiotic today, so back I went for another check-up at Crain Vet. They convened again briefly in the hallway and concluded that they are going away but it's gonna take some time. One of the vet's Dr. Susan Shatz, hadn't seen the bumps yet so after reviewing my chart, remembering the convening of minds and had a hunch about something she recently seen in a small animal derm book. She prescribed Linocin antibiotic, just to change it up so Beau didn't become immune to anything, and said that tonight she would look into her hunch.
I received a call not even 15 minutes later that her hunch was correct and she couldn't wait to look at her book tonight. Dr. Shatz has concluded that what the pathologists have reported and the visual aspect of the bumps are most likely Cutaneous Histiocytosis. As she stated to me, "everything fits"! She then convened with the other 3 docs and they agreed that it would be best to up the dosage on steroids and add a 20 mg Prednisone to the recently given 500mg Linocin. The docs think I should be seeing a change very soon and would like to up the dosage every 10days to see if they can send this horrible looking thing into remission. Luckily, the pathologists have deemed the issue non systemic so there can be a remission but understanding the disorder is prone to Sheltie's, I am ready to fight and win!
Good luck to you all (Sheltie and other breeds) and my prayers go out to you that have lost your best friend and confidant.
UPDATE, September 13, 2011
Beau is doing alright. He's around 50 lbs now and his vet (the one who diagnosed him with non-SH) says his thyroid levels are up so he's on a thyroid med but he goes back in this Friday for a well-puppy exam and rabies. We'll see!
Beau's red bumps are still very visible but have centralized to his chest and underside belly and ribcage region. Nothing on the legs, head, tail or neck yet!