Sunday, August 29, 2010
So about 2 weeks ago as Koda (now 50 pounds!) passed his 7 month birthday, I noticed a spot of hair missing above his eye. I figured it was ringworm or scabies (yikes!) and took him into work with me only for my vet to diagnose him with Demodex aka Red Mange. Inherited from the dog's parents in their first week of life, red mange is a mite that all dogs have inside their hair follicles but only when the dog's body can't defend itself is it actually an issue and the dog is diagnosed with this non-contagious condition. When it is localized, in Koda's case, it's not as difficult to treat...or so I thought.
What we saw under the microscope:
The cure for demodex is to give high doses of Ivermectin (an anti-parasitic drug). Well, low and behold, Australian Shepherds and other herding breeds are known to have a gene mutation in their brains that do not allow them to process Ivermectin out of their system. Ivermectin has been known to kill Aussies and Collies...so, after giving 2 doses of the nasty stuff, I talked my Vet into getting Koda tested for the gene. If his test came out negative, we would could give him ivermectin...if the test was positive, he would have to be dipped which has horrible side effects and makes the dog very sick. I crossed my fingers that his gene mutation test would come back negative, but we weren't so lucky. :(
Friday the results came in. Koda carries the gene (of course!). Now, we have to dip him this week which i am NOT thrilled about. I don't want to make my little boy sick. It hurts my heart. I had to shave his beautiful coat off...
I feel blessed that the MDR1 gene mutation test is available thanks to Washington State University because without that we would have continued to treat him with Ivermectin and he would have most likely died. It was $150 to find out that he has the multi-drug sensitivity and a lot of the drugs Koda cannot take are common ones used to treat diarrhea or sedation drugs. He now will wear a medical alert tag just like some people have to. Koda's story will be featured on Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine's website and I'll let you all know when it's available to view. :) He may help save another dog!
If you know anyone with Aussies, Collies, Shelties please forward them this link: http://www.busteralert.org/