This old man is feeling the best he has felt in literal years. We finally shipped over to DC to see a dermatologist about his skin woes after local vets continued to be perplexed and the medicines they prescribed ceased to benefit Kenai. He has been an absolute itchy mess despite multiple prescriptions over the past year. His skin was inflamed and itchy, his hair was coming out in large clumps, and he was generally miserable all of the time. It sucked.
The dermatologist we saw was wonderful and quickly diagnosed him with Alopecia X with an underlying secondary bacterial skin infection. She prescribed two new drugs and a follow up appointment to touch base 5 weeks later. The goal for the follow up was to have the lesions/inflamed skin resolved with the beginnings of hair regrowth in those areas.
Within 48 hours of the new meds, Kenai was a new dog behaviorally; he went from constant biting/gnawing/scratching/pacing to simply chilling the fuck out. Neither Dave nor I realized just how miserable he had been until he simply wasn't. We knew he'd been itchy and had done all we could with what we had to resolve it, but damn. Our entire household is much calmer now, and I am so incredibly happy to see my best guy so calm and content again. He's even playing with Taiga more!
|He wouldn't square up for his birthday photos. Or generally stand still and pose. So this awkward shot is the best I've got.|
|The odd, patchy hair on his truck is all regrowing. His caudal thighs, tail, and back of neck will very likely remain bald fo'ever.|
Learning he has Alopecia X was a HUGE WEIGHT off my shoulders. I'd known it was an option based on how his symptoms were presenting, but I was never fully convinced he had it because it isn't as commonly seen in huskies as it is in other plush breeds. What this means is that he will likely never regrow the hair on his tail, caudal thighs, or back of neck. He may continue to have permanent hair loss on areas of his trunk for the rest of his life, but his legs and head should be spared.
I could care less that he has hair loss now that I know the cause of it. All this time, I was so worried it was something else. Something I overlooked. Something that was possibly wreaking more havoc on his body that I knew. Knowing now that it's just alopecia is the best answer possible. He's not in pain. He isn't reacting to some bizarre allergen I couldn't figure out. He's a happy 10 year old husky with weird hair...or lack thereof...that he could care less about.
For Kenai's birthday, we went on a lovely 3-mile ride at his pace. With the gnarly arthritis in his stifles, he doesn't keep up like he used to on our rides. He also doesn't do super well for more than 3 miles on our local trails due to the nature of the terrain. So to treat him to a ride at his pace where he could keep up and/or lead for much of it was a thrill for him.
And miracle of miracles, as Kate and I were prepping to head out for the ride, Dave asked if he could join, too! He never wants to ride. In fact, when he asked he prefaced the request with, "So, you're not going to believe this, but..." I was over-the-moon that he wanted to come! It's always wonderful to be able to get all three horses out at the same time. Doubly so when I get to ride with my husband.
|Dave laughing at something Kate said following our first sunset gallop|
|The last patch of snow had the sunlight shining on it so prettily. Even though I only had my cell phone, I made Dave and Kate gallop it for photos. Wish I'd had my DSLR to capture the snow spray and lighting better than this.|
|Look at those happy Staniel ears!|
|Taught Dave the best gallop position about 10 minutes before these photos by using skiing terminology lol|
Dave's birthday is the day after Kenai's. So the ride ended up being a little mini celebration for both of them. Dave, of course, enjoyed more celebration the following day.