Last Tuesday evening on October 20th, I was rubbing Lucie's ears and noticed lumps that started at the tips of her ears and ran up both sides of her ears. She was not scratching her ears or acting like she was not feeling well. Since Zoe had lots of lumps and bumps as she aged that we needed to keep an eye on, I got in the habit of thoroughly checking our dogs. To place my mind at ease I scheduled an appointment with our favorite Vet Dr. Johnson.
Lucie was the first to ride in my new FJ Cruiser SUV. On the ride out there I noticed a smell in the car. My husband said he didn't smell anything so I thought it was just my over-active nose at work. Once we arrived at the Neighborhood Pet Health Center and were waiting in the examination room I noticed the smell again. I immediately looked at the bottom of my shoes, nothing there. My husband looked at his shoes and BINGO there was dog poop on the bottom of his shoe! Oh well, I wanted this SUV as my fun dog car so what better way to break it in.
It was great to see Dr. Johnson! He got down on the floor with Lucie so they could get reacquainted. Lucie made sure she gave him lots and lots of kisses. She is a sucker for a good belly rub! Then he started examining her and started asking many questions. From this preliminary examination without any blood tests or biopsies, Dr. Johnson believes that she may have Vasculitis. He said he does not see this very often and that it can be related to other underlying conditions. He mentioned something about immune mediated something or other at this point I started to get concerned.
Don't know what it is? Neither did I, but I am learning now.
- Besides hair loss, there are lesions, which can be cluster like and then the skin on the ear margins can begin to die (looking like an injury with a scab) and slough off.
- The only definitive way to know is with an ear biopsy.
- Vasculitis is not common in dogs, but can occur most frequently in short haired dogs and can be found in the Dachshund breed.
I was not ready to hear the words, "I don't see this very often and immune medated" from Dr. Johnson. The last time I heard these words was when K-8 was diagnosed with Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia and Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia. Dr. Johnson reassured me that Lucie's condition is different than what K-8 had and that a "normal" person probably would not have even caught these lumps on Lucie's ears. This made me laugh, he knows me very well at this point. I pay close attention to any changes in our dogs. I believe if I can catch an issue early enough, the better off my pups will be.
So where do we go from here? It is possible that Lucie will grow out of this, but we need to keep an eye on her for any changes. We will watch for any sores in or around her mouth and eyes. We will make sure she is eating and playing like she should. If the lumps don't go away or show changes of any kind within the next three weeks, Dr. Johnson wants to see Lucie back to re-evaluate her.
What is Lucie doing right now? She is sprinting around outside after Hailey, rolling her in the dirt in the yard!