A few weeks ago, I noticed he was scratching a lot. But it's hot out and he is a dog after all. Then I noticed his tear ducts were particularly active. That happened last summer too, with the tear ducts, but it eventually went away. Then, last week, I noticed he was scratching ALL THE TIME. I gave him a bath in just water, thinking maybe I didn't wash the soap off well when he had a bath a few weeks ago. Then I realized Scout wasn't scratching like crazy, so maybe there was something wrong with Jett. Then I gave him an oatmeal bath and that did nothing. Then I noticed that he was chewing/scratching the fur off his arms and he was getting little red spots in his ears from scratching them.
Call me unobservant I guess, but this worsened over a period of a few weeks. I just didn't pay attention to it at first. I also knew the dogs had a vaccine appointment this week, so I figured I'd wait it out. When I saw the spots in the ears last Friday, I decided to just call the vet and I took him in Saturday morning (during office hours, thankfully).
I kind of figured it was allergies, and they said that's what it was, but it just seems to be one of those things you treat and manage like you would with humans. I don't have allergies in Colorado (or Alaska), but I definitely did in Pennsylvania in the fall and I did in Missouri too. And these dogs run through tall grass a lot too. Scout has his own version of allergies; he does a little snuffling reverse-sneeze thing.
Anyway. $122 later...Jett has steroids to take for a month (and maybe until the end of the allergy season, depending), a spray I'm supposed to put on his "wounds" (which he hates), and an antibiotic pill to clear up any possible infections from the scratching. I'm also supposed to put antibiotic ointment on his ears and give him Benedryl if necessary. And he has a cone.
He is not a fan of the cone. He doesn't try to take it off. He just stands perfectly still and stares at the floor and it's the saddest thing you ever did see. He won't come to me for a treat or try to eat or drink. He just stares at me or the floor and won't turn around because if/when he runs into something with it, he jumps in the air like he's being attacked.
I noticed that once he started the steroids the scratching kind of stopped so, as long as I'm watching him, he doesn't wear the cone. He never stops to scratch if he's outside either, so he can still run around unencumbered. I put his shock collar on him and just give him a little vibrate if I see him scratch and he really hates that (almost as much as the cone) so that works well and he can still be comfortable and run around. He does have to wear the cone if I'm not home and I'm pretty sure he just stands in one spot the whole time. Poor little thing. If I try to make him wear it at night (i.e. while I'm sleeping), he just lets out a high-pitched never-ending whine...so I might just take my chances with that.
He did spend some time barking at himself in the mirror.
Edited: I had to put the cone in the closet because he would just stare at it and be sad.
This ties in nicely with the post Jen wrote this week. If you have pets, you need to be able to take care of them, whether that be taking them to the vet, paying for medication, giving them medication, etc. They deserve to be healthy and comfortable too.
Also, they are a lot of work. Time, energy, money. If you're not prepared to hand all that over, don't get a pet.