This is gorgeous Quinn who scared the life out of her mother, Sherie De Bella, by becoming violently ill one day because of an allergic reaction to chicken. This is Sherie’s story.
1. Firstly, how would you describe Quinn?
As the most loveable, cuddly, inquisitive, sweetest fur baby anyone could ever ask for. She is much like Toby in that she really is a real life Teddy Bear. So many people comment on her loving personality, and always say they want to take her home with them.
2. How did you realise that Quinn was allergic to chicken?
It was the 27th May 2012, a day that will forever be etched in my memory. Quinn and I went down to her favourite place on earth, the beach for a swim and a play. All was fine and she was running around happily and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. After she had exhausted herself playing we headed home for a bath. Straight after her bath I was drying her with a towel when she started to convulse and her eyes were rolling back into her head. She snapped back out of it pretty quickly but gave me this look of fear, worried I began to dry her off quickly again when she started to convulse profusely this time vomiting blood all the way from the floor tiles to the ceiling.
I raced to the car with her still vomiting and headed straight to emergency vet. I presented Quinn to the vets and she was still vomiting blood. They took her out the back straight away and gave her a shot to stop the vomiting and put her on fluids. The vets first thoughts on her sudden illness was that a small stomach ulcer may of burst as nothing showed up in an x-ray, but they would keep a close eye on her blood levels throughout the night and keep her stable. She stayed in overnight for more test and observation- which was the longest night of my life as I was all alone in my house as sadly my husband was overseas for work and I couldn’t get a hold of him at the time.
Upon arriving at the vets the next day Quinn looked much better- her blood levels were back to normal and she hadn’t vomited through the night. The vets gave her some ulcer medication stating that it was most likely a ulcer that had burst and she should be back to normal in a few days. All was well that afternoon with Quinn just sitting out in the sun relaxing and recovering from her ordeal. That night at 9pm she started to look unwell, and then it started all over again -convulsing and vomiting projectile vomit all through the bedroom- yet again I rushed her to the emergency vets where they went through the same story of making her stable again. At this point I had no clue what was going on and thought I was loosing my baby and had to face the possible reality that I may never see her again. The head vet said that it does appear that something more is going on here than just a possible ulcer. Lucky for myself and Quinn a leading canine surgeon was in town that night and was asked to do a endoscopy on Quinn at the veterinary teaching hospital with students watching on to learn, fortunately for us she agreed to do the procedure. The results that came next were a huge surprise.
The camera showed that Quinn was suffering from a 10cm gastric band of ulcers that were so big they were holding open the valve between the stomach and the intestine. Washing bile back and forward over the ulcers aggravating them even more. The endoscope took a biopsy which after many tests proved that she was allergic to a Protein found only in chicken…. and chicken is in almost every type of commercial dog food! You could imagine my shock when I was told this, allergies seemed in my mind to only affect humans, I never would of thought a dog could get an allergy quite as intense as this. She was kept in again overnight for observations, I was told that they had to put a lock on her cage door to stop staff taking her out for kisses and cuddles, I’m sure she would not of been complaining about the free love. She was sent home the next day with different tablets for her ulcers and ones to keep her stomach acids low as to not upset those ulcers anymore giving them the chance to finally heal. She took about a week to really get back to normal after her horrific ordeal. I myself am still slightly traumatized from the event, and never ever want to go through that ever again.
3. What is it in the chicken that gives her an allergic reaction?
It’s a Protein found only in Chicken and Poultry that causes and allergic reaction in her.
4. Have you had to make changes to the types of dry and wet food you give her?
I was always quite pedantic about the foods I gave her, which in the past were, Royal Canin, Hills Science Diet, Nutro and homemade treats. Now she alternates at night between a product called Wellness (fish and sweet potato), homemade Beef/Kangaroo with rice/pasta and vegetables. As well as her morning treats of either homemade Apple biscuits or Peanut butter biscuits. I wouldn’t say it has changed too much as I was paranoid about her food to begin with. But I do have to read the back of every label of any treat I buy her off the shelf as its too risky to let her anywhere near chicken.
5. If someone thinks that their dog may be allergic to something what are some signs they should look out for?
Anything from chronic ear inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, vomiting and chronic diarrhea to chronic gas, licking their feet, or an itchy rear end. Food allergies is a genetic problem, and when it’s triggered, it’s by exposure to whatever they’re allergic to. The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. And, most dogs are usually allergic to more than one thing.