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Hello, my 18 month old toy breed mix has been struggling with severe pruritis for most of her life. I didn't expect to love her as much as I do, but somehow I was able to max out the credit cards, keep the car running, and eventually get a diagnosis of severe environmental allergies. Even though Laurel's health issues are extreme and won't be resolved by switching to a different brand of dog food or laundry detergent, I was relieved to have a diagnosis, told my vet to go ahead and order the serum for Laurel's immnunotherapy, and looked forward to what I was told was a 50% chance of a cure after a year, a 25% chance of significant improvement, and, yes, a 25% chance that it wouldn't do any good at all.

I am aware that most people carry smartphones these days, that I am an outlier, and that nobody likes being inconvenienced by weirdos, so I pretty much stayed at home for a week waiting for a call that never came. I gave the vet a piece of my mind and made Laurel an appointment with another vet. The Cytopoint that she needs just to survive is losing its effectiveness and there are horror stories about it causing sudden organ failure in healthy dogs. This was a serious emergency and I felt that people weren't taking my dog's health seriously because I am low income and I spend most of my discretionary money on my pets.

The backstory is that I'm not into hypochondria and figured I'd just pass on the latest medical drama in the news. This happened during the end of February or the beginning of March. I live in the US and am currently under shelter-in-place orders. I have, of course, apologized to my vet, cancelled Laurel's appointment at the other practice, cried a river of tears, and dumped my problems in inappropriate places. This dog is like the daughter I never had.

I wanted some honest, objective opinions on Laurel's chances of living a decent life under our current circumstances.

1.) Has the supply chain been cut off? Is immunotherapy a thing of the past?

2.) Where can I buy meds online? I can't administer injections, so I would be looking for Temeril-P but I don't have a prescription.

3.) Any advice on temporary interim measures while we hunker down; the best I have come up with is children's benadryl and a "cone of shame".

Laurel is very resilient and good natured, but my other dog is already showing significant behavioral problems from the stress of current events. Am I cruel and selfish to even think of such a thing?

Would the only humane solution be to euthanize the dog, arrange a payment plan for my veterinarian, and accept my lot in life as one of those people who should never, ever be allowed to have dogs?

We aren't talking about annoyingly jingly license tags here, she has scratched large patches of skin bald, red, and subject to secondary bacterial infections (which she does catch) in the time it takes me to answer the phone if I take her shirt off when I'm a few days late for her Cytopoint shot. She will probably die without meds, and it will not be painless or humane.

This is breaking my heart, but I can't be expected to be rational right now. I have not had face to face contact with another member of my species since the 17th and do not expect to, other than dropping Laurel's crate off at the vet's for her Cytopoint shot, for another month or so. I need an objective, unselfish, unbiased, and informed opinion about what is right for LAUREL.

Thank you for reading and please stay safe and make sure that you have several months worth of your fur babies' meds (and prescriptionjfoods, if they need them) in your home if you don't already.
 

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Hey, sorry to hear that this is happening to you. It's evident that you care about Laurel and any decisions you need to make seem very hard. I don't have an answer for you. But I do recommend writing a list of what you can afford to do, and writing down some quality of life markers. Perhaps that can help you reach a timeline or a decision. "Afford" takes into account not just financial, but emotional and mental.

An example may be "I can afford to put Laurel in a cone and give her benadryl, but her quality of life would be _ because she would be able to do (insert normal happy dog behaviors here), but she would suffer because of (potential conditions that benadryl may not address, or positive behaviors the cone might inhibit, or negative behaviors the cone might induce). I will evaluate in _ days to see how sustainable this course of action is and how Laurel's quality of life changes."
Of course, this isn't an answer and it doesn't spit out a number that will make any of this easier. But it can lend some objectivity and evaluation to what sounds like a very difficult and emotional situation.

One thing you wrote that stuck out to me is "Would the only humane solution be to euthanize the dog, arrange a payment plan for my veterinarian, and accept my lot in life as one of those people who should never, ever be allowed to have dogs?"
I don't believe, IF you end up choosing euthanasia, that you would be a horrible person who shouldn't have dogs. You are writing and acting in the BEST interest for your dog. And, speaking generally, I do believe that many pet owners faced with medical (or behavioral) challenges in their pets make brave and kind decisions by choosing euthanasia. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't wait until my dog was scratching holes in his skin, or in total distress and discomfort but was unable to relieve any of it. But your dog is not in that position right now, and I hope she never will be.

It's hard to say how businesses will act as this pandemic carries on. I can't speak for all vets since I'm not a vet and I don't even know what all vets in my area are doing. But I know that some of my local vets are only doing emergency procedures at the moment. However, I imagine your vet would still be able to counsel you remotely and give you advice on everything you've asked. I sincerely hope Laurel is able to get her shot in the near future.

EDIT - sorry, I don't know why a portion of my response was bolded and I don't know how to change it. Didn't do that on purpose.
 

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I can tell you what my vet is doing: They've switched to essential visits only, and of course they will handle emergencies. However, you can still buy meds and they will bring them to you in the parking lot. They said that if worse comes to worst, they could write a prescription that could be filled by a human pharmacy (those will stay open no matter what happens) or online. Your best bet here is to call or email your vet and find out your options. You can make a plan from there.
 
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