|A different course -
Shortly after his third round of antibiotics was complete I began the experimental "Retinoid" therapy. The pills were $10 each and the dosage was one per day. A staggering amount to pay but if it helped it was worth it. By the end of the fourth day his front legs were covered in blisters he had chewed into open sores. His legs were oozing and bloody and I truly felt the end was near. The dermatologist diagnosed the outbreak as a reaction to the Retinoid so we stopped the medication and put Taka on his fourth, and last, round of antibiotics. The vet also informed me at this time that I was probably looking at a lifetime of constant care and continued antibiotics for Taka, which I knew was not good for him.
While Taka healed, I saw a post on the Natural Akita list from a girl named Susie Keener. She had an SA dog (although never "officially diagnosed) and had helped him using two herbal supplements that she found on the Internet. So I wrote her, we shared stories and I ordered the supplements Moducare and Primal Defense.
Taka started the Moducare immediately after the antibiotics. Within a week or so, his appetite improved and he began eating his "normal" diet again of raw food. He gained weight and his energy level increased. Then about three weeks later I noticed something else…. no lesions. Usually, after two weeks off the antibiotics the lesions would return but so far that hadn't happened. Could it be that this would work? Could I really keep him off the drugs?
I continued the long, arduous process of the allergy vaccinations. Another dear friend, Karen Campbell, was tremendously supportive and helpful in guiding me what to do when, and how to help his eating process. By this time Taka had not seen a vet since mid-February, his health was now totally in the hands of two strangers I had never met.
By late April his hair loss was severe. I wasn't sure what to expect, I looked at photos of other SA dogs and they all seemed to have much more hair than Taka, but then in photos Taka appeared to have more hair as well. I wondered if his allergies were compounding the problem and I had little hope that his allergy shots would help him. He is allergic to trees, grass, dust, etc - all the fun things to try and keep a dog away from. When the allergy shots were complete I began the regime with Primal Defense, not thrilled about all the pills but determined to try anything that would help him.
In addition I also added several supplements to his food - things suggested to me by Susie, Karen, and Cathy Suggs. They included Omega 3-6-9, Fish Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Vitamins E & A and Ester C. Fortunately these could all be mixed with his food so it didn't involve more pills for him to swallow.
On April 28, 2000 I photographed Taka and built a web page showing "before and after" and shared it with my email List. It proved to be a painful wake up call for me and another very good face for SA. After that I rarely photographed Taka again.