One of your recent articles discussed a small dog with a collapsed trachea and its breathing problems. I think our experience may be of interest.
Buddy, our tiny Yorkie, had a serious coughing problem from the first day we brought him home. Sadly, even with many visits to several vets and many ineffective medications, we resigned ourselves (and him) to living with it. More than 10 years later, I realized the coughing was at its worst when in the house and when on his pillow on our bed. Yes, we did tell the vets these details. Finally, I realized he might be allergic to our laundry soap. We changed it to Ivory Snow, and I shampooed the carpet with plain water.
Immediately, his coughing subsided to an occasional chuff. Unfortunately, by this time he had less than a year to live. A combination of things, including an enlarged heart and a collapsed trachea, took him from us. I deeply regret all the years he suffered because none of us realized that allergies were his problem. Should not at least one of the vets have considered this?
M.L., Springfield, Va Nov 29, 2010
Many readers will appreciate your insight, and your story may help many dogs (cats and humans) who develop asthmatic symptoms following repeated exposure to laundry and other household products, especially room fresheners and scented cat litter. Synthetic fragrances and other volatile chemicals are to blame. Buddy had other health issues, owing in part to hereditary factors; but you were at least able to improve his quality of life, even though it was close to his end.
Those in-house chemical pollutants can also cause allergic skin reactions and lead to other health problems by impairing the animal's immune system, the standard treatment with steroids causing further complications. The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org, 202-667-6982) has some excellent materials on these and other house and garden chemicals that we are best advised not to use for our own health's sake, as well as for pets' sake.
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