Oh, Oliver. He came into our lives unexpectedly. An owner relinquishment we were to foster for Central Ohio Pom Rescue. Oliver was a MESS. Obese- a whopping 24.3lb (but I’ll cover that another time), fearful of everything (again, another time!), and FLUFFY! Oliver immediately got the nickname Fluffy Puppy.
Everywhere we went his fur was noticed. It was thick and shiny; the kind of fur you wanted to rub your face in.
Around 4 months in to Oliver’s life with us we started to notice a change. His hair started to turn gray, especially on his back and hindquarters. The texture had gotten more coarse and less luxurious than it had been. He had recently turned a year old, so we thought maybe it was a normal part of his change to getting his adult coat and didn’t think much of it.
Then “the day” happened. Thanksgiving, 2015. Oliver ended up hospitalized at Purdue with pancreatitis. It was an incredibly stressful week for all of us. Oliver ended up with his belly shaved for some testing, and we didn’t think much of it. Jack and Bebe Belle used to get shaved on a regular basis with no ill effects. (Note: I am not a fan of shaving double coated breeds, but with all of the medical testing they required it was easier on all of us to keep their hair short!)
Flash forward to January, 2016. About 3 months post-pancreatitis episode, and Oliver was back at Purdue for a follow up appointment.
One of the vet students mentioned that he should be easy to prep for a follow up ultrasound as he didn’t have any hair on his belly anyways. It hit all of us in the family then- his hair hadn’t grown back since his belly was shaved in November! We had made sure to keep his belly bundled up in the snow so it didn’t get cold, so we didn’t really realize that the hair had never really grown back! There were wisps, but not really significant growth. We spoke to the vets at Purdue about it, and they threw out the A-word- Alopecia, but were hopeful it was just taking time to grow back because of the trauma of the pancreatitis.
As time went on it became more obvious. It wasn’t coming back. Then it also became obvious Oliver probably needed patella surgery, so we headed back to Purdue for orthopedic AND dermatology appointments. That’s when we got the diagnosis… the two words no Pom person wants to hear… ALOPECIA X.
Part 2- Life post Alopecia diagnosis, coming soon!