Last year, Ollie began to lose some hair from a couple of spots on his side. The area grew quite large over time, so we took him to the Vet. They prescribed antibiotics, as they often do. It didn’t seem to make much difference. We kept an eye on it, and after some time the hair began to grow back. We speculated that it could have been one of many causes; diet, stress, insect bite, but we were never really certain.
At almost exactly the same time this year, about three weeks ago, it started to happen again. We noticed a few embryonic bald spots, with the tell-tale crusty ring inside. The hair eventually fell out completely, leaving clean pink skin showing. We thought that it would follow the same course as last year, so we were not unduly concerned. However, it started to get worse, with the circular patches appearing all down one side. They were all completely round in shape, and from a distance, it looked as if a random design was forming. It seemed that Ollie was getting crop circles in his fur. I looked up to the skies…
It didn’t bother him at all. He played the same, ate the same, and walked as far as ever. He didn’t scratch the areas, and they carried on quietly spreading, and getting bigger. Last week, they started to appear on his other side, and on his neck. The largest one on the neck was at the point where his lead rests. So that was being rubbed, and became inflamed, and unpleasant to look at. It has been a topic of much conversation, and accompanying speculation, in our small group of dog-walkers. Some suggested keeping him out of the river for a while, in case it was water-borne. Others were a little concerned about infection, and kept their dogs close, not allowing them to fraternise with Ollie. Most were just concerned for his welfare, and worried about his appearance, feeling sure that it must be uncomfortable for him.
As it was not getting any better, and no hair was re-growing, I decided to take him to the Vet today. We are using a different Vet these days, in Swaffham, some twelve miles away. As soon as he saw the dog, Vet John pronounced that it was a fungal infection. It is from the same stable as Thrush, apparently, and might be a type of Ringworm. (As I discovered, this is not an actual worm) He took hair and skin samples, which will be sent off to the lab for testing. He thinks that they may well confirm Ringworm, which can be mildly infectious, though the contact has to be very close, like sleeping on the same dog-bed. More worryingly, he also believes that it might be difficult to eradicate, and that it may return, at any time.
Ollie now has a new shampoo, to be used on the affected areas only. He has an up-graded flea and tick tablet, and we must buy some Canesten cream from a chemist, to apply directly to the bald spots. This is a fungicidal cream that is normally applied by women, to their ‘delicate’ areas. Just as well Ollie is spared the potential embarrassment of having to go in and ask for it himself.