Well, Indy got to go see the vet yesterday. He was tickled pink, going to vet is like going to Disneyland for him, all the smells, sights, new people and animals ... did I mention smells? He always reverts to his hyperactive puppy from hell behavior when we go to the vet, bouncing all over the place, whole body wagging, typical lab "smile" from ear to ear, tongue hanging out, happy as can be. Though labs in this state can be downright aggravating with their over exuberance, they absolutely exude the joy of life, and everyone present smiles despite themselves.
Indy has been an itchy, sneezy dog since we got him a year ago, he had a noticeable worse spell in the spring where you could hear him clearing his throat and he sneezed and scratched and nibbled even more than usual, but I really didn't want to put him on drugs unless it was necessary, so we went into wait and see mode, and things seemed to improve. I've been supplementing his diet with fish body oil capsules and a little vitamin E, his coat became even softer and shinier, but it still seemed like he scratched more than a normal dog and with the arrival of fall, his severe itchiness has returned. He was nibbling so hard he had marks and little pustules on his skin, easily visible on his belly and inner hind legs. He was scratching his ears all the time and they were starting to look a bit pink. The diagnoses is mild atopy or atopic dermatitis. We're trying out Hydroxyzine Hcl 50mg twice per day. It's a prescription antihistamine and should be more than enough to give him relief from mild allergies. There was a noticeable difference within an hour or two of the first pill, I only saw him scratch once all night and no nibbles or rolling around on his back. The vet said that he would probably get drowsy on this medicine, I don't mind saying, that sounded rather appealing at the time :) It didn't happen though, he was wide awake and his wild and crazy self. By this morning, 12 hours later, it was clear that he was ready for his second dose as the aggressive scratching had returned. That's to be expected, it's not a cure, it just offers some relief from the symptoms. I really don't care for the idea of keeping my pets on medication long term, so hopefully (fingers crossed) this drug will only be needed to get him through allergy season.