Nutmeg and Nora Develop Spots

Well, it’s been five months we’ve checked in on Nutmeg and Nora, our two Cairn terrier rescues. You might have been wondering if we gave them away, gave them back, or just gave up. I’m happy to say that Nutmeg and Nora are still here and are making progress every day. Do they still have accidents? Sure. In fact, one of them left a gift in the upstairs hallway tonight. Do they still fight? Yes, but not as often, or as intensely, as they used to.

Nora in the sun on the deck.

The most-recent challenge with these Cairn terrier rescues is the skin disease they contracted. I was giving Nora a bath one day about a month ago and noticed a multitude of dark spots on her skin. I’ve had a few dogs in my life and have never seen such a thing. Of course, my first thought was skin cancer. When you have two dogs die of cancer within six months, your mind does funny things. Well, maybe not yours, but mine does.

I searched on the Internet and found that a lot of people have posted about this phenomenon. The concern for me was that no one seemed to have an answer. Veterinarians were shaking their heads all over. Oh boy, would my vet have a clue?

Wary, I made an appointment right away for Nora, but it would be three days before they could get her in. By the time the appointment day came along, Nutmeg had a few spots, too. This made me feel a bit better, because it seemed to disprove my cancer hypothesis. At the vet’s office, the exam was inconclusive. The vet had never seen anything like it, but she offered to scrape one of the spots and view the cells under a microscope.

Nutmeg sunning on the deck

She disappeared for quite a while with Nora, and it reminded us of how, just 18 months ago, we sat in the same room for an extended period of time before the vet came in and told us that our black lab mix had a huge growth in her abdomen.

Finally, the she returned and shared her findings. She told us she had seen bacteria and yeast on the slide. Our dogs were moldy, like bread. She prescribed the antibiotic Clavamox and a special shampoo called Sebozole.

The pills wouldn’t be a problem, but the shampoo had to be kept on for ten minutes and repeated every week for a month. Our dogs aren’t fond of the bath, so the fact that we would have to have them sit with wet fur for ten minutes was nothing I was looking forward to, especially when I knew I’d have to do this for Nora and then for Nutmeg, and then, repeat the fun week after week. Would they freak out when forced sit and shiver? Would they bite me? Trust me. They’ve bitten me enough, and I finally have managed to avoid that quite well, so I wasn’t thrilled about putting myself in that position again.

Surprisingly, the bath treatment was not that bad. I bathed them in the kitchen sink, because I could use the sprayer rather than a pitcher of water in the bathroom or the utility tub in the laundry room, and I didn’t want to get the medicated shampoo in their eyes. The experience was not their most favorite, but they were actually pretty good about it, especially since I turned the 10-minute wait into a quasi-massage session.

Nora taking a bath.

Tomorrow is supposed to be their last shampoo treatment, but I noticed that the biggest spot hasn’t quite disappeared on Nora’s chest, so I might treat her again next week. Now you know. If your animals ever develop dark spots on their skin, don’t worry, it’s probably not cancer. It might just be mold.

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