Sisko Has the Dreaded Food Allergy

Sisko’s on his back, Juno’s on her back head to head with him as they do their dance of mouth wrestling, but wait, what’s this?  Sisko’s got a rash and it’s around his crotch.

This little event caused a small trip to the vet to confirm what I feared that yes, he has a food allergy.  The dreaded food allergy we hoped against all odds to avoid has hit Sisko right in the crotch and left us scratching our heads on what on earth he’s allergic to.

Because food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent in dogs, I asked the vet if I could get some good information from him.  He’s great you know and after disappearing  for a bit he came back with his show and tell medical book and a 6 page photo copy of a great article all about food allergies, the top culprits, elimination diets, and the physiology behind the food and the allergy etc.  The article came from the book Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, a book I jut might go out and pick up.

With this it’s now time to think what the allergy could be.  We only just noticed the rash recently and because Sisko has no shame and spends a good amount of time flat on his back, things like this are hard not to notice.   We can eliminate right off the bat what he has eaten his entire life right up until just before the rash appeared and not a whole lot new has been added to his diet since then.  In theory that’s a pretty good start, but it doesn’t always work that way.  The only real choice is the elimination diet.

Martine makes all of Sisko and Junos’ food so after deciding on the elimination diet, it was off to the store(s) for lamb and rice.  There are a lot of prepared lamb and rice dog foods, but when starting an elimination diet, you have to make it yourself to make sure you are free of preservatives and any other funky chemicals that could be the culprits.

If you’ve never had to put your dog on an elimination diet, it’s not so bad, but it does last a while.  You just prepare a diet of what they are not likely to be allergic to.  The best idea is the well known lamb and rice diet and then arm yourself with a lot of patience.  This rash will hang around for 3-4 weeks according to the vet so micro-managing the rash will kind of drive you crazy.  “I think it’s getting smaller don’t you?” or “It’s not as red as it was yesterday I think“.  I’m not much into this so I just give it a check once a week.

Food prep day is always an adventure around here and moving into the realm of large quantities of lamb and Uncle Ben’s is a book in itself.  I’ve never seen so much rice boiling on the stove and two boneless legs of lamb chopped up on the cutting board ready for cooking looks kind of daunting.  When all is cooked and ready, it’s off to the scale to measure the mix and the weight and then mash it into 2lb Tupperware containers and into the freezer.

Now it’s meal time.  Would he like the lamb and rice or would he turn his nose at it?  He can be pretty picky so this wasn’t a slam dunk by any means, but it worked, breakfast time is a success, but…oh no!  It’s rice everywhere.  The floor, the wall next to his food dishes, it’s flying all over the place.  The Uncle Ben’s rice is a success but it’s jut too fluffy.  It’s like a rice bomb went off.

Now what!

Here we are with a freezer full of lamb mixed with fluffy rice and the prospect of having to quarantine the area to contain the rice.

The obvious answer to the rice bomb was to use a more sticky rice in hopes we wouldn’t have to spend a half hour cleaning up after the dog’s meal.  When we ran out of this mix and new food needed to be prepared it was another day of prep and this time it was a mountain of sticky rice next to a mountain of chopped up leg of lamb, all waiting to be cooked and mixed together once again.

Success, the rice is in the bowl!  We have succeeded in preparing a meal fit for a dog.

I’d like to report that Sisko’s crotch rash is much much smaller now and for the most part disappeared.  This all started about 3 weeks ago and we are almost at the point of reintroducing the eliminated foods one at a time back into his diet so we can find the culprit.  Oh, man, I hope it’s only one he’s allergic to.