By Dr. Kerri Marshall
Chief Veterinary Officer at BabelBark
What is the #1 reason dogs go to the veterinarian? Diarrhea? Anal Gland issues? Respiratory issues? Nope … it is skin allergies (according to Nationwide Pet Health Insurance). And what happens when the pet parent has to deal with skin allergies? Frustration? Expense? Trial and Error? Yes, yes, and yes.
Truth be told, skin allergies can be one of the most frustrating pet conditions a pet parent must struggle with.
The struggle includes everything from itching, scratching, and excessive grooming to paw chewing, rashes, gastric upset, and skin inflammation. Just ask anyone whose dog has started that excessive licking and scratching at 2 a.m. and you will hear the pain in his or her voice.
Take the case of a golden retriever named Sadie. Sadie was keeping her owners awake every night with the licking and head shaking. Sadie’s veterinarian conducted an exam and diagnostics to determine the issue was allergic dermatitis and an ear infection.
In addition to medication, the veterinarian recommended a food elimination trial. We all know the effort that goes into an elimination diet – stick to a strict ingredient list, trial and error, and don’t give up too soon. Using BabelBarkTM, Sadie’s owner was able to scroll through 6,500+ diets and choose a few to discuss with the veterinarian.
Journaling the diet changes and Sadie’s response to the new food and treats helped with feeding the correct amounts and monitoring Sadie’s appetite, and it allowed the veterinarian to see the diet changes. (Because Sadie’s veterinarian uses BabelVetTM the veterinarian and Sadie’s owners can share information quickly and easily.)
Sadie’s owner then used the BabelBark app to upload the medication list from the veterinarian – the primary reason to do this was to set up medication reminders for the family (Sadie was on multiple medications at different times throughout the day), and the second reason was to share the medication list with the groomer and the kennel (both of them use BizBarkTM which allows for sharing of patient information). The groomer and kennel personnel add their information about Sadie, and now everyone is working together to ensure Sadie stays healthy. Sadie and her owners were able to manage Sadie’s condition successfully.
Sadie’s neighbor, Flip, is a cat. Lest we forget, cats also suffer skin allergies. Although not as common as dogs, skin allergies are in the top 10 for common feline issues resulting in a trip to the veterinarian. Sadie’s parents had introduced BabelBarkTM to their neighbor because Flip’s owners wanted to connect with a good groomer. (Trust me, no human wants to attempt to give Flip a bath – one just needs to see the scars.) Flip was having some skin issues so his owners thought a therapeutic bath and skin treatment would be helpful.
While at the groomer, the skin situation appeared to be a little more involved than first thought. The groomer snapped a few pictures and sent them via the app to the owner, who then contacted the veterinarian. Long story short, Flip was seen by the veterinarian who wanted updates on the skin via a picture every few days, the groomer was aware of the treatment plan and his role in Flip’s care, the owner was able to access details about the medications and refills on his BabelBark app (and the BabelVet portal linked Flip’s owners to the veterinarian’s online pharmacy so they didn’t get dumped into an outside vendor when they needed a refill).
The latest neighborhood update is that Sadie and Flip are much more comfortable. The pet parents are sleeping better, and no one is nursing any new scars. The groomer, the veterinarian, and the kennel are all “in the loop” whenever Sadie or Flip schedule an appointment. (That is, when the pet owners schedule the appointment – BabelBark isn’t to the point that animals can do their own scheduling.) Guess there IS something to that old saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” – be that “child” a dog or a cat.