Our poor, lovely old Akita, Bailey, is really suffering. His hair is so thick with a very dense undercoat. This has always worried us, but it seemed to serve as an insulation. He's now either 11 or 12 years old, so is fairly old for such a large dog. I think I mentioned in a previous post that he lost a patch of hair on his back, which I attributed to fleas. We've fought that problem with all three dogs. We finally got my order of Stronghold from the UK, which seems to have alleviated the flea problem for this month. We had a vet out to our farm and after he took skin scrapings and had them analyzed, they determined that it's actually a fungus. Not surprising as we've had a lot of rain periodically, followed by heat. We're not alone in this fight, but that fact doesn't help our poor old guy. The vet gave us medicine to make a spray, which helped the first spot, where the hair is regrowing, but his hair is now falling out in huge clumps and he has black patches on his usually pink skin. I use a ferminator to strip out the dead hair and I fear that he'll soon be bald. Actually the vet suggested that we shave him down, but we've had such cold nights that we don't want to as we're afraid he'll get too cold.
Rene looked at Bailey when he was working and suggested we prepare a bath for him of Ix-canon (Red head polly). It's a common plant here that grows in cleared areas. I checked it out in "100 Rainforest Remedies" and they determined that it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. I collected the leaves and tore them into little pieces, trying to crush as much as possible. By adding water, it made a tea type bath. We have a large, shallow watering trough that I bo't especially to bathe the dogs. In the book they suggest you actually boil it for tea, but we needed too much, so he told me to make it a day ahead and then pour it over Bailey, and even leave some of the leaf material on the sore spots. Mayan medicine often uses the term "one-in-one-out" meaning every other day, so that is what I'm trying to do. This seems to give him the most relief. The vet, Eduardo, is local and he agreed that the Ix-canon is a good remedy.
The vet now feels that Bailey's immune system is shutting down as his body seems to almost be shooting the hair off. We're supplementing his food with vitamin C and cod liver oil and he's been given antibiotic shots. Today he actually seems to have lots more energy, but he's starting to look old. Our poor daughter just had to have her beloved dog, Shadow, put down and we fear that if Bailey can't fight this off, we'll have to follow suite. This is a really tough climate for dogs, but especially for double coated dogs. I hope after the holidays we'll have good news to report as we're sure not giving up on our wonderful friend and family member. Blessings and keep your fingers crossed.