Mr. Gomez has another nasty belly rash, so I schlepped him to the vet yet again today. I'm fairly positive this is NOT poison ivy! In addition to giving him shots (ampicillin trihydrate and dexamethasone) and pills (cephalexin and prednisone) to vanquish the crud creeping across his belly, the vet recommended that we start a food trial to determine if there is an allergy involved. (I'm increasingly convinced that there is.)
So in the morning we will start transitioning him to a prescription "allergen-free" food, which we will feed him for 8 weeks. That part seems easy enough, but then the vet pointed to my little baggie of chicken bits (I always take food to the vet--it makes it so much easier on me and the dogs!) and said "That means no more of those." Egads--what about agility? Gomey loves tugs and balls, but he's food motivated enough that a toy alone isn't enough of a reward ... what am I supposed to feed him? Her answer: baby carrots ... or actually anything that's not a protein source (so nothing with eggs, dairy, any kind of meat, or peanuts.) The good thing is that Mr. Gomez isn't so picky about his treats--he loves fruits and vegetables (Lucy is a bit more demanding--she's a meat and cheese girl). Mr. Gomez seems to like the act of receiving a treat more than he cares what the treat is, and he seems to like getting fruits and vegetables as much as any other food. So I've got a fresh supply of baby carrots and broccoli, and I can supplement that with apples to keep it interesting for him. I can also use the prescription kibble as a treat ... but it's so expensive I think I'll hold out and see how long I can keep him interested in fruits and vegetables first.
After the eight weeks, if he remains rash-free, we can decide to introduce other protein sources one at a time to see what, if anything, triggers a reaction. Or we can just decide to keep him on the prescription food. At this point I'm hoping it's a food allergy--if our food trial doesn't turn up any answers the next step would be to take him to the vet school at NC State for allergy skin tests. I don't even want to think about the cost involved. This is a good antidote to all my inclinations toward getting a third dog!