Saturday, 4 February 2017

Not so sure about this Apoquel stuff...

The vet gave me some new pills last week, a drug called Apoquel, to calm down my inflamed paws. (Both front paws are now affected with these horrid interdigital cysts.)

I took my first tablet on Wednesday evening, with my meal, and it slipped down nicely. But in the middle of the night, I started to feel queasy and my supper reappeared in slightly altered form on the bed I share with Gail.

When Gail woke up in the morning she didn't seem too happy. 

But she gave me another tablet in the morning, and went to work looking worried, leaving me in my lampshade.

By midday when my dog walker George arrived I had 'decorated' my lampshade with my regurgitated breakfast. I totally refused to go out for a walk with him.

A little bit later my nice neighbour Neil came over and carried me across the road to his and Yvonne's house. I like it there, and I even roused myself for a few minutes to explore their back garden.

When Gail turned up later, muttering something about a busy project at work, I thought she might have sprouted a few additional grey hairs.

She did cook me a nice dish of chicken and rice, and gave me another of these tablets.

Since then, I have been having chicken and rice and Apoquel twice a day but I must say my paws are still very itchy and very sore, and I have been feeling so tired and generally unwell these last couple of days that I can't even be bothered to follow Gail around the house like I usually do when she is at home. I just lie immobile on the sofa, feeling sorry for myself. 

As for walks, well NO THANK YOU!

I guess Gail doesn't like her new grey (strictly 'even greyer') look because I heard her say on the phone to a friend that she is "tearing her hair out"...

Oh and apparently I am due to visit the vet again on Wednesday.

PS from Gail: A big thank you to all of you who responded to my last blog post with helpful suggestions. I do appreciate your advice and support. I am trying soaking his paws in warm water and Epsom salts (which he seems to find soothing at least), and am reconsidering his diet. Bertie has had these interdigital cysts before, but has never been as lame or miserable as he is just now. I shall continue giving him the Apoquel tablets until we next see the vet, but as far as I can tell they are not doing him any good at all. It has been a difficult week.


  1. Aww, Bertie, that's too bad you're not feeling well. We're sending lots of POTP and good thoughts your way. Enjoy the home-cooked meals while they last!

  2. Bertie, we are sorry that the meds aren't making you feel better. We hope the vet can figure something out soon. POTP for your paw.

  3. Dearest Bertie I am so sorry to hear your poor paws are giving you so much bother.
    Ummmmm, if the Mr Vetman's medicines are not working ( and lets face it who wants to barf in the cone of shame) would you like me and my BFF Maggie Mae to mix up a potion for you? I'm sure we could help!!!!!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx
    PeeS anyone remember where I left my eye of toad?

  4. Hari OM
    Oh Bertie lad, this is not at all fun to read, so how much less so for you and Gail to be directly experiencing it?! I am of the opinion that if that med was going to work, it would certainly be showing benefit by the third day, even if only a reduction of inflammation. Wednesday must seem an awful long way off for you both right now... All I can do, in this hapless environment, is send all my Love and healing 'vibes' with 87xPOTP turbo-powered. Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. Sounds difficult all the way aroun! Our poor boy. What a mystery. We're sure you have wracked your brain to find the cause. Don't like the sound of those tablets. Full marks to the neighbours. Good luck and POTP for Bertie.

  6. Poor Bertie - a friend who had a dog with that issue sent me their treatment, which helped. It couldn't hurt.

    "The most common home remedy I read about was to soak or compress the affected foot several times per day, then apply antibiotic ointment. A few people recommended applying Preparation H or other hemmorhoid creams. We decided to do a bit of each.

    Three to four times per day we’ve been soaking Elliott’s foot in Epsom salts. The easiest way we’ve found to do this is to fill the laundry tub up with 2 to 3 inches of fairly warm water, to which we’ve added a cup of Epsom Salts. We then stand Elliott in the tub, and sit beside him for ten minutes or so. Luckily for us, he’s a good boy, and just stands there patiently so long as we give him the occasional head scratch.

    After ten minutes or so have elapsed, we put Elliott on a thick towel and gently pat his affected foot dry. I then fill a large, wide coffee cup with about an inch of hydrogen peroxide, and hold his foot in the cup for a few moments. The affected areas on Elliott’s foot, in particular the cyst itself and the surrounding hair follicles, respond to the hydrogen peroxide with bubbling, whereas the rest of his foot does not. This shows that there is catalase enzyme present in these areas, which is one of the components released when blood or damaged cells are present.

    After soaking in hydrogen peroxide, we again pat Elliott’s foot dry. I then apply either Panalog ointment, or Anusol hemorrhoid ointment.

    We’ve been treating him using the above method since Saturday morning, and in that time period his swelling has reduced by approximately 40%, and the redness is almost completely gone."

    1. Gail says: Thanks for passing this on. I am trying bathing his paws on Epsom salts. Can't do any harm, I think, and at the very least the warm soak seems to provide some relief.

  7. Bertie, we are so sorry to hear your paw and your meds are making you feel so icky...We are sending POTP X 6(including Mama and Daddy) that you feel better soon!

  8. I#m so sorry that it seems the meds will not work for you Bertie... and I hope so much that you find a treatment for that cysts... maybe one of the suggestions is the magic potion you need? that would be so great... POTP to you!!!

  9. Oh Bertie, we're sorry to hear that both your paws are poorly now, and causing you so much pain. We hope that the Epsom salts bath works - it sounds a gentle way to soothe those nasty cysts.
    Sending you and Gail more hugs, and hope that somewhere there is a cure and you'll soon be Bouncing Bertie again..

    Inca xx

  10. Oh Bertie! Poor poor you. Horatio really empathises about the sore paws. Following ,toe-gate' when he was one he's very protective of his front paws. And the vet remains persona non grata...
    it sounds like two allergies. One yet to be identified and the other apoquel. Have you tried steroids? Horatio was on them first before we tried apoquel. They alleviated the symptoms of the allergy but He suffers from the side effects of steroids though hence the switch to apoquel.

  11. Hi Gail, more recently I've joined a support group on Facebook for dogs with allergies. It's a well meaning group (not qualified) who share their experiences. I wouldn't have felt so lonely or helpless with Harris last year had I known about them. A couple of dog owners with the exact same condition were able to provide advice and reassurance which was most welcome. They did bang on a lot about raw food diet... which for Harris is a completely no no but then you have your head well screwed on and know to query advice. Good luck!

    1. Thanks. Yes it is in my nature and scientific training not to unquestioningly accept all recommendations, but it is good to hear from people whose dogs have the same or similar problems, and I know all the advice is well meant. Bertie was given Prednisolone in December; it worked a treat on the itchiness but made him ferociously hungry and thirsty, which is why I am keen to find a different plan.
      Sending hugs to Horatio and Harris.
      Cheers, Gail.

  12. We like chicken n rice, it makes everything nice! Bonnie is prone to tummy upsets, even on the duck and potato diet. SHE just makes a big batch of chicken n rice every week and gives us a scoop with every meal. Yummmm.
    Bonnie n Kemzie

  13. Dog World (a UK site) seems to have some interesting and varied treatment suggestions for these cysts.
    I saw your comment to Angus this morning regarding the soft collars. Amazon in UK seems to have some. The most popular one here in the States is made by KONG.

  14. Gus loved his soft collar...and when he didn't need it, I liked using it in the car just like a travel pillow. Plus it smelled like Gus, and on a long trip, made my seat feel like home.

    We also used something called Micronex + Triz, a spray. Gussie hated it when it was sprayed, but it also helped with the licking, because he hated the aftertaste too.

  15. So sad to hear how poorly you are Bertie. We all love our raw food here and have been eating it since we were weaned and no allergies :-) Hope you are feeling better very soon. Sending hugs and nose licks from Moth xx

  16. Gail,
    Just read your comments about a soft collar for Bertie, on Angus's blog.
    Have a look at the Miscota Website. It's an International company with warehouses all over the world, and one we've used for some years. They sell all things relating to animal care and comfort, and seem to have a soft Elizabethan collar, as well as the rigid plastic and inflatable ones. If Angus can't find his, then you may find a suitable one there.
    They also sell some rather fetching socks, which might be useful to keep Bertie's poorly paws covered!

  17. Bertie Bertie Bertie...bless your little WFT heart. When my friends feel bad it makes us both sad and I expect your WFT tail is not very happy these days either. I'm glad the Epsom salt is soothing some. When mom was a wee girl she used to get terrible mosquito bites (kinda like she was allergic to them). Her granny would dab the bites with Epsom salt too. Over the years I have developed things I didn't used to have Doc says the body changes. Worst being I get is about every 4-6 months I get an eye thing. I start blinky blinking at Mom and my eye runs. Doc says it is an auto immune thingie. I have to have Tobarmycin drops 3 times a day for a week. Currently I'm in that phase but surprisingly, it is no biggie I don't mind the drops. Anyway good buddy this auto immune stuff is a mystery no rhyme or reason so I send you my potent healing kitty kisses and mom sends Gail some L'Oreal #87 and a hug
    Madi and mom

  18. Hi Gail,
    It is so worrying when they can’t give us the answer, and my reply is long and maybe covers things others have already said…

    With your scientific mind I am sure you have looked back over your blog entries, vet visit dates and own diary (in case your blog posts of walks etc. were delayed) to try to find a pattern. It took me years to work out Riley’s incessant paw licking and chewing of certain areas creating hotspots is mainly due to two things and has nothing to do with the diet he has twelve months a year. The first is a grass pollen every Feb/Mar and the second more obvious one is R’s paws being sore as his spondylosis & arthritis (diagnosed 8 years ago) has progressed, so just like we rub a sore spot on us to make it feel better, Riley licks and licks the bones in his feet if he’s done too much exercise or run on uneven ground. The licked bit then gets infected, red, etc.

    Anyway just wondering if Bertie’s issue occurs after longer than usual walks/walks on uneven surfaces or if a change in your work/home/where you both go routine (e.g. after Christmas holidays, travel, etc.) causes him to be anxious when you leave and so he starts licking for something to comfort him, creating a moist spot that turns into an inflamed cyst. Maybe when Bertie is better set up a video camera (or even a security camera linked to your cell phone) and see what he does when you go out. I found it interesting seeing what my boys do after their “I’m going to bark the neighbourhood down if you leave me” routine that they settle quickly and have a nap once they hear the gates close and my car drive away.

    I am thinking of you both and hoping you find the cause for Bertie’s paw condition and a safe and effective treatment that works soon, and if you haven’t already, please ring your vet today to tell him the side effects Bertie is having from the new drug (which I have heard good and bad things about from people here in NZ that use it for their dogs) as anything that makes Bertie sicker can’t be good so maybe you and your vet need to rethink dosages or try something else before your Wednesday appointment.

    Kind regards,

    1. Gail replies: Thanks F for this long and thoughtful email. I have spent many hours trying to discern a pattern to the problems with Bertie's paws, but other than that it seems to be mostly, but not exclusively, a winter thing, I have drawn a blank. Bertie has never shown any signs of separation anxiety, and in fact over the past year my work days have reduced from 4 to 2.5 days a week. Although Bertie has not vomited since Thursday, I am now convinced that the Apoquel is not helping him, and plan to try to speak to the vet tomorrow about this.

  19. Bertie, I'd invite you to visit us in California, butt while the weather her is warmer than in Scotland, it's certainly no drier this year. My Angel sister Ruby had a fungus on her paws. The vet thought originally she was licking because of pain in her feet, but later decided that it was a fungus. An anti-fungal medication did the trick. We have no suggestions, but send Power of the PAW!

    -Otto and Osa