Roxy was collected from the Midlands in 2014 after the family of an elderly man (who had died) discovered her in a terrible state. The family (who were unaware that the gentleman even had a dog) took Roxy to a local rescue centre who advised that they did not have the space, time or resources to provide what she would need to get her back to health and recommended that she be put to sleep. The family felt that as she was only young (approx. 9 months) they wanted her to have a chance, so offered her to a friend who already had 2 female shih tzus. After a couple of weeks of being bathed in a medicated shampoo and being given good food, the family admitted defeat and contacted SSTR for help. Roxy needed proper medical treatment and care from a vet that they just couldn’t afford.
Roxy was frightened, underweight, matted and bleeding and was wearing a cone on her head that looked like it hadn’t been removed for a long time. We booked a vet appointment for the following morning and our foster carer and rescue co-ordinator proceeded to clip her coat right back and give her a soothing bath to try and make her feel more comfortable. She let us do all this without a murmur despite the fact that she must have been in considerable pain. After her grooming session, she was given a good meal which was devoured in seconds. She then settled down for a nap on her foster mum’s lap till bed time.
The vet diagnosed her with Demodecosis (Demodex mange infestation, which are eight legged mites that reside in the hair follicle and oil glands of the skin) she also had a small ulcer on one of her eyes. She was immediately prescribed antibiotics, a fortnightly parasite treatment, antibiotic eye drops, antibacterial/ antimicrobial shampoo and a worming treatment.
We saw a big improvement straight away, however this seemed to plato after a few weeks. A scrape test was performed which showed that mites were still present and that the original parasitic treatment, hadn’t been effective in her case. The vet then prescribed a special dip treatment which is the most effective way to treat Demodecosis, which is very strong smelling, but very effective.
Within a very short time after her first treatment Roxy suffered a severe allergic reaction. She was trembling, off her food, healing wounds opened up and pustules started to form all over her body. She became very withdrawn, so we contacted the vets who advised us to wash the treatment off. She was given 2 lots of antibiotics and daily medicated shampoo to treat the infection, it took a couple of weeks before all the pustules and wounds had healed up.
Due to the allergic reaction and limited success of treatments previously prescribed that are normally very effective, our vet referred Roxy to a Specialist Dermatologist. Roxy started on a new regime which included a new shampoo, foam treatment to be applied directly to the skin and a newly developed parasite control medication that could be taken orally. The results were really pleasing and her foster mum and all at the rescue were delighted when we finally had the results of a scrape test that came back negative for mites.
Most healthy dogs are not affected in any way by demodex mange mites, it is most commonly dogs with a compromised immune system like Roxy who suffer terribly and need to be closely monitored and regularly treated to prevent future flare ups. Roxy’s condition was so severe it took over a year to get her skin under control and she will always need regular treatment to keep her condition stable. The rescue is very grateful that her foster family agreed that she can stay with them as a long term foster dog, it wouldn’t be fair to part her from her family after all this time. If you would like to sponsor Roxy, please click on the donate button below.
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