Client success story: Louie

This entry is article 3 of 6 in the December 2013 issue

Name: Louie

Age and breed: 9-year-old golden retriever.

Medical challenge: When Louie first came into Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals, he was in very bad shape. Louie had been diagnosed with adult-onset generalized demodicosis, which means he had an overgrowth of Demodex mites. His symptoms were severe hair loss, low energy, and not wanting to eat or play. Louie had been treated for demodicosis for a couple, but his owner, Bonnie from Waban, Massachusetts, felt that Louie was getting worse instead of getting better. She was considering euthanasia to end Louie’s suffering. Visiting Tufts was her only hope.

Treatment plan: Dr. Andrea Lam first ran tests to confirm Louie’s dermatological condition, one which generally affects young dogs and whose most visible symptom is patches of baldness. “Generalized demodicosis is a pretty common condition, and it’s something that every veterinary students learns how to treat,” Dr. Lam said. “You can go by the textbook 80% of the time and your cases will do just fine. Once in a while, though, a case like Louie’s comes in, where they don’t respond quite as well as you would expect. That’s when you need an expert to step in and tweak things a bit more to resolve it.”

During a skin scraping, where a veterinarian uses a blunt metal tool to scrape skin and examines the contents under a microscope, Dr. Lam found a lot of mites, alive and dead and at different life stages. “The Tufts Dermatology team changed some of Louie’s medications, the frequency of his Amitraz dips, and added a medicated shampoo into the treatment mix to help fully resolve Louie’s clinical signs

Outcome: Louie came back to Tufts for monthly check-ups so his progress could be tracked and treatment plans could be adjusted as needed. Within a few weeks into Louie’s new treatment plan, Bonnie noticed that he was starting to feel a whole lot better, gain energy and started to “look like his ‘old self’. Each time the Dr. Lam performed a skin scraping, fewer and fewer mites were found. “Since I first saw him—not having any hair, looking like a raw mess—Louie has come a really long way,” Dr. Lam reports. “He acts like himself, has almost full hair regrowth, and feels fantastic.” Likewise, Bonnie is enthusiastic: “Dr. Lam is a miracle worker! She has made all the difference in the world with Louie and has been great at communicating with our family vet. It seems it takes a village to fix a Louie!”

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