a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Sep, 2011

A Piper update

Posted by andrea tomkins in: dog stuff

Piper, post trim

Piper had an appointment for a full grooming today. (I really should post another set of before and after photos eh?)

One of the last things I wrote about Piper included a very sad photo of her and her bionic listening device. Well, I have some other interesting dog-related health news to report.

About a month ago we noticed that Piper was getting increasingly itchy. We tried everything we could. We switched shampoos, gave her oatmeal baths, looked high and low for fleas and ticks, took her for long walks in the cool night air to distract her from scratching, looked closely at what she’d been eating… but the itching got progressively worse. I was really hoping we could solve this problem ourselves but then she started waking us up with her scratching. She was clearly unhappy, poor thing, so we made her an appointment at the vet’s. They couldn’t see her for a couple days, so we gave her Benadryl tablets (at their direction) to lessen her discomfort.

A couple days later we were sitting in the waiting room; me and Emma and Sarah and Piper and my sinking heart. I felt terrible for Piper and also wasn’t looking forward to what would surely be reams of expensive diagnostic tests to help determine the source of the allergen.

I was in for an unexpected surprise. The vet took one look at her, ran his hand over her fur and said the one word I wasn’t expecting: RAGWEED. He gave her an injection of something to dull the itch, a special shampoo, a course of doggy-Benadryl and sent us on our way. All for $178 – which I was actually pretty happy about because I had expected it to be a lot more.

Can you believe it? We have a dog with a RAGWEED allergy. Mark looked it up and apparently it’s fairly common for wiry terriers like Piper. Piper is officially the third member of the family who has a ragweed allergy. (So now I’m REALLY looking forward to first frost.) But seriously, have you ever heard of a dog with seasonal allergies before?

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12 Responses to "A Piper update"

1 | Wendy [mapsgirl]

September 20th, 2011 at 10:25 am


My mom’s cat was allergic to fleas. She started balding from scratching so much :( So she became and indoor cat. He hated it.

I hope the new meds work!

2 | Giulia

September 20th, 2011 at 11:00 am


Yup, my cat would walk through ragweed and get a swollen face and sneeze, sneeze, sneeze like crazy. Our Westy is REALLY allergic to ragweed, so bad that he needs steroid treatment or else he pulls out all his hair and scratches until he bleeds…poor guy.

3 | Joy

September 20th, 2011 at 11:54 am


So does our dog – i had NEVER heard of this before, but this year, i am hearing about it all the time – what’s up with that?? Thankfully, the meds do work, as she is no longer scratching, licking, biting herself – which was driving her, and us, up the wall.

4 | Joy

September 20th, 2011 at 12:01 pm


P.S. – if she is taking the same pills as our dog, watch for excessive thirst (and resultantly, excessive … peeing) and increased appetite!

5 | andrea

September 20th, 2011 at 12:14 pm


Someone was telling me that this is a particularly bad ragweed season, maybe that’s why it’s suddenly becoming more prevalent in dogs? Don’t know.

Joy – our dogs are probably on the same meds because we were also told about increased urination. Thankfully she’s on a 1/4 dose now so it’s not as bad as it was at the beginning. But the vet didn’t mention increased appetite. Now that you mention it, she has been extra hungry these last couple of weeks!! That explains it!

6 | Glen Gower

September 20th, 2011 at 1:50 pm


We have seasonal allergies here too! After taking the dog to the vet, we walked away with ear drops, eye drops, 2 different shampoos for the skin, allergy medication and he got a shot . Also took home a receipt for $350.00, but well worth it to have a happy dog with a very full bladder.


7 | Hellcat13

September 20th, 2011 at 3:43 pm


My cat has spring seasonal allergies of some sort. Just random sneezing but no other symptoms. Once we closed up the house and turned the AC on, she was fine.

8 | Rochelle

September 21st, 2011 at 6:02 am


It is indeed very common. Your Piper is a cutie!:)

9 | Nadine

September 21st, 2011 at 10:05 am


Look at that adorable face ! I hope she feels better !

10 | Harry

September 21st, 2011 at 11:09 am


My parents have a very nice mutt who could scratch her skin off if it wants for the ragweed relief medication.

11 | Jen_nifer

September 27th, 2011 at 1:06 pm


My mother’s boxer had allergies every August/September. Looking back it must have been ragweed.

12 | Anne

October 6th, 2011 at 12:38 pm


My standard poodle developed ragweed allergy but it subsided greatly when I stopped all extra chemicals going into her such as annual vaccinations, flea meds, heart guard.
I used benadryl as needed and longed for the first hard frost. Sadly I lost my Bella to cancer yesterday. Good luck with your sweety.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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