Skye - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011


Carolina Westie Rescue found Skye through Petfinder in late May.  She was in the mountains of North Carolina, quite a distance from us here on the NC Coast, in Wilmington.  I contacted the shelter to make sure Skye was still available and was informed that she was, so my daughter and I made the trip to the mountains to bring her home.  When the shelter attendant brought Skye in she was very frightened and very skittish.  She flinched every time she was touched.  It was evident that she did not like being there.  As Westies are normally outgoing and inquisitive terriers, we knew that she was not a happy dog.  We were told that the owner brought her in because he could no longer take care of her.  The shelter attendant told us that Skye had a small skin infection.  Skye’s hair was very long and overgrown.  She also needed a good bath before we could tell how bad her skin was.  Even though the hair, however, it was clear that she had not been treated for her skin infection.  We made the trip back home with Skye in my lap the entire way.  When we arrived, Skye met all of the other Westies and had a good meal.  She slept very well that night. 

The next day it was time for me to bathe and groom her.  While I was grooming Skye I noticed just how bad her skin looked underneath all that hair.  I could tell that she had a very deep, nasty infection on her back.  I made an appointment with a new veterinarian who is known to be rescue friendly, getting her worked in for an appointment for the very next day.  The veterinarian looked at Skye and said she had a deep bacterial pyoderma skin infection.  He gave her an injection of a very strong antibiotic called Convenia, and also put her on a very strong dose of Baytril.  Skye also went home with a bottle of Pharmaseb spray.  In addition, I had a bottle of Pharmaseb shampoo at home.  Skye seemed to respond to the treatment almost immediately, for a time.  I gave her baths with Pharmaseb shampoo two to three times a week and treated also her lesions with the spray.  

In the middle of June, we returned to the same vet for more shampoo and spray. Skye was not progressing as quickly as I thought she should be.  Four days later, seeing no real improvement, I decided to take Skye to my original vet as her condition actually seemed to be worsening.  My vet, who we affectionately call Dr. K, examined Skye and put her on a regimen of 100mg of Simplicef.  After a time, the Simplicef did not seem to be working either and in early July, Skye was put on Baytril again, but at a lower dose.  Now, at this time, the last week in July 2011, we have discontinued the Baytril altogether, as Skye seems to be the worse for it and I am afraid she may be having a reaction to it. 

Here in Wilmington, we do not have a veterinary dermatologist.  However, we do have one that visits every three weeks from Cary, NC, two and a half hours away.  It goes without saying that it is very difficult to make an appointment.  After some difficulty involving playing a voice mail phone tag, I finally made an appointment for August 26th in Wilmington.  However, I do not think that will be soon enough for Skye to see a dermatological specialist and so I called again and bumped up her appointment to August 2nd.  But, the caveat is that I will have to make the trek to her office in Cary, NC. 

Skye is a two-year-old Westie.  She is sweet and a very smart little girl.  She was extremely shy when she came to us and was not housebroken.  She learned very quickly to go outside to do her business just by watching the other Westies.  She is becoming more and more social every day with the other Westies.  She loves to lie at my feet when I am at the computer and she follows me everywhere I go.  Her future is uncertain, but we are going to give her the chance she deserves.  We all know what stubborn little fighters these Westies are, and hopefully, she will overcome this illness and live a long happy life.

Thank you WestieMed for helping Skye.  Carolina Westie Rescue would not be able to continue with the right treatment for Skye without your help.  We will keep you updated on Skye’s progress and let you know what the dermatologist has to say.

Sydney Christian Carolina Westie Rescue

Update August 20, 2011

I took Skye to Cary NC to see the dermatologist on the 2nd of August. Dr. Atlee did a very thorough job. She spent about two hours with Skye and me examining Skye and explaining to me what was wrong with Skye and how to treat her condition. She explained her medication, bathes, food and the environment that would work best to get her well. The dermatologist said it could take anywhere from months to over a year to get Skye’s condition under control. It will be a very long and grueling journey for Skye and me to get her well enough to go on to her forever home.

Skye - WestieMed Grant Recipient July 2011
Skye – WestieMed Grant Recipient

Skye has Demodicosis (Demodex mites) or what some call “The Red Mange”.   It seems that all dogs have these little cigar-shaped mites on their body, but their immune system keeps them in check. At some point in time, Skye was under some type of stress and it caused her immune system to be compromised causing the little critters to multiply.  Skye has the “pustular form” of Demodicosis. This can occur when the condition is advanced. Opportunistic bacteria such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus species colonize the affected areas and the condition has spread over large portions of her body.  At this stage of her disease, her skin had become greasy, red, swollen and scabby. This secondary bacterial condition had caused Skye to have itching. Her lymph nodes had become enlarged due to the systemic spread of the mites and bacteria. The mites and the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and affect her organs. If allowed to progress, Skye’s condition could become fatal due to the overwhelming sepsis.  I am doing all that I can to see that Skye recovers. In the past three weeks, I have noticed how much better Skye’s condition has improved. Dr. Atlee told me to have Skye shaved and I saved her hair very close except on her face as she did not seem to have an infection on her face except under her chin and I shaved her there. Skye’s protocol is capacious, consisting of rules to keeps her hair clipped short, treating her Demodicosis, treating and preventing infection, flea control, treating her itching, environment control and ways to maintain healthy skin and hair.  I am very pleased with Skye’s improvement. We will see what Dr. Atlee thinks when we return to see her for Skye’s follow up on the 26th of August.

I want to thank WestieMed for taking care of Skye’s initial dermatology bill. If it were not for WestieMed I would not have had the financial resources to take Skye to a specialist to determine what was wrong with her and just how to treat it.

Sydney Christian Carolina Westie Rescue Wilmington NC