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Old 05-25-2016, 02:44 AM
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My Carolina had been diagnosed from our regular vet more than a year ago with what we thought was seasonal sinus allergies (no signs of skin problems ever, to date) and it was being treated with just Benadryl and saline nose drops, as needed basically Spring through Fall. I also chose the route of adding a more natural approach by trying to help boost her immune system; pre-made raw and home cooked meals, omega fish oil supplement, raw goats milk, and yogurt to name most. Up until now those things lessened her symptoms. Lately, she has been really stuffy, that it was affecting her ability to breath normally. Her Benadryl was not enough. Of course, I had an appointment with her regular vet right away and I ended up caving in and agreed to a one time round of steroid treatment. I was not happy about it, but her eyes were so swollen, watery and blood shot, her nasal passages were swollen and she had a clear runny nose, but still all stuffy and throat was also swollen that I was afraid she was not getting enough oxygen and if it continued, something more fatal could happen. She's so tiny to begin with and has a shorter muzzle. They also ran blood tests, along with another heartworm and lymes test. Those came back negative and all her blood test results are within normal range along with the organ function test being normal too. No sign of infection either. Her lungs sounded mostly good, he heard a little abnormal sound but felt it could have been because she was shaking so bad. We were going to do a chest xray if her red, white blood cell count or platlets came back out of normal range. His diagnosis was she came in showing every symptom of severe enviromental allergy attack (atopia, I think he called it). He actually said her symptoms were no different that humans having severe allergies. So far since taking the steroid the swelling at her eyes has gone away and she appears to be breathing normally and her sinus's sound almost clear. I left the vet's office with the plan that I am going to think about seriously considering the allergy testing route and go from there. I have a little time to gather more information before I make a final decision because Carolina has to be off the steroid for weeks before I can get any testing done.

In the meantime, I contacted an allergy vet specialist to consult with him and get his thoughts and opinions and to possibly make an appointment for testing. He feels at this time I should consider and look into the possibility of Upper Respiratory Diseases first before the allergy testing route . This coming from the allergy specialist now has me a little more concerned. His suggestion is to consult with an internist and possibly do diagnostic testing to rule out Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome,Tracheal collapse, etc. I briefly starting researching this and besides her having difficulty breathing at times due to a stuffy nose that you can clearly hear, she doesn't have or show any of the other symptoms I've read about so far. Especially the most common symptom of coughing. She never coughs. She does sneeze occasionally, more so lately, but normally she can go days or even weeks without sneezing.

So now I really don't know which direction to consider doing first. Do I re-consult with our regular vet to discuss what the allergy specialist recommended? Should I move forward with the allergy testing first? Consult with an Internist? Possibly seek out yet another opinion from a different vet or specialist altogether? Continue with a more natural/holistic approach and travel to see a holistic vet? Would the steroid treatment give relief this quick if it's an Upper Respiratory Disease issue?

Sorry this is so long, but if any of you have opinions, personal experience with any of this or just general thought for me to consider I would greatly appreciate it. I want to pursue something so Carolina never gets to this point again that her normal breathing is affected I'm just very confused which direction I should start first.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:49 AM
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Oh no...I wish I could offer more than support. -hugs-
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:02 PM
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Hugs! I would start more simple with the allergy test and work your way up.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:49 PM
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I agree with Huly. Good luck💕
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:13 AM
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How long does she have to be off the steroids? If it is a month or more, then I'd try some other allergy med other than benedryl. I know there are some that are out there, but I'm sorry I can't remember any of them. Then when she is better (fall or winter?) I'd do the allergy testing. I don't know if the vets want to test when her allergies are bad, or whether that makes a difference.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:19 PM
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When I had to put my coco on steriods which I might add has been three years now she wasnt eating for over 5 days and the next day she started eating thats how fast they worked. However we worked our way down to a point where she is still maintained on 1/4 of a 1 mg tablet every second day. It basically saved her life and my vet monitors her blood work every six months to make sure nothing is happening we cant see.
So do the steriods work that quickly yes.
I would do the allergy thing first and like susan and huly said work your way up.
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:21 AM
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts about this and the HUGS!! I really appreciate your input, thoughts and HUGS.

UPDATE: Since I have the personality of not letting something rest until I have a better understanding of it or answer on something or it makes sense to me; I decided to re-consult with both our regular vet (who has seen Carolina since the day after we brought her home) and then the allergy specialist again. Our regular vet assured me at this time, not committing to saying Upper Respiratory disease could not end up being the cause, respectfully, but he has not seen any symptoms or indicators over the last almost 2 years that would lead him to go the route of an internist first for diagnosis of an Upper Respiratory disease and he felt that was an aggressive approach at this time. He reminded and restated to me it is not like she is in the office every couple weeks/months for this problem, that we were managing it with a satisfactory level of comfort for her up until this one episode. He also said humans are also having a bad time right now in our area with allergies. He still feels sinus allergies are the more likely problem based on her symptoms and the fact that it seems to come and go, where diseases present themselves and tend to progressively get worse as times goes on, but there is always the possibility that it is something more than allergies for her. He also said she is still very young, so we can't fully rule out getting progressively worse as time goes by. He also said he's only seen an allergy test come back completely negative twice in his career. His final opinion was start with diagnosing for allergies and work your way from there (just like some of you have suggested, lol). It is also the cheaper place to start, I was given of price of $297.00 for the blood serum allergy testing. Not sure if that's high or average, but to me it's reasonable for a starting place to diagnose further.

My re-consulting with the allergy specialist ended with him agreeing to start with the allergy testing and go from there. He admitted it may have been a more aggressive approach to recommend first, but he has seen time and again were they ( the referring regular vet) thought it was allergies only to find it was an Upper Respiratory Disease and her particular breed along with having the shorter muzzle than some within her breed, falls into that possibility. He also stated skin allergies have been studies most and a lot is still unknown or not understood when it comes to sinus (respiratory) allergies for dogs or cats. He spent time going over the two test options again and about waiting 3-4 weeks after steroids stop and you tend to get better results during the prime season they have the most problems with. We left the conversation with if I chose to do the testing and anything comes back positive he would be more than willing to see her as a patient and discuss and make an agreeable plan to build up immunity against those allergies first and then if problems still continued (12 to 18 months later) we'd explore further options at that time. I was informed it could take that long to see results after starting allergy injections or sublingual.

What a learning experience this is becoming. But, as of now I really think I will do the testing in July or August while it's still a problem time for Carolina and enough time after the steroid treatment ends in June.

I will try to remember to update as I learn and make progression on this for Carolina.

Thank you all again.
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:47 AM
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sounds like a good plan!
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