There has been something in the air recently and sadly it hasn’t been Spring. Whatever it was has made an impression here at THF. We have had two outbreaks of skin rashes, one major reaction to a sting, one sliced paw and one very unhappy bank account. 
 
It started with me stupidly thinking spring and summer were on their way with lovely warm sunny weather, that out came the cropped trousers. Oh and the joy of not wearing socks. Trouble was I started to itch and itch big time on my feet and ankles. I woke up scratching, I couldn’t stand anything against my skin, the rash wasn’t much to look at but boy did it itch. Knowing I wouldn’t get a doctor’s appointment for weeks, I decided to go to a pharmacist instead. The first one in South Molton was rude and unhelpful. The other one was so busy I gave up waiting after half an hour and purchased a bottle of calamine lotion. Ohhhh a blast from my childhood past. I remember being covered in the stuff time after time and if you were really lucky Mum had put so much on you that the cotton wool stuck to you as well. My legs might have looked like they had been whitewashed but after two days the itching and little red spots vanished.
 
Then it was Bunty’s turn. Now Springers do have a habit – as whirlpools of enthusiasm – of coming back from a walk with a mass of scratches over chest and tum as they hurtle themselves through the undergrowth, brambles and gorse. Most are kept under control with a wash in Hibiscrub and Camrosa cream. At times there has been the odd sort of whitehead type blister, which then bursts, creates a nice scab and heals. Only for the process to be done time and time again walk after walk after walk. Yes I can hear all you Labrador owners say “well what do you expect from manic dogs?” The trouble was that Bunty was covered in a mass of white pustules. So many that I decided it was best to go to the vets. She had a skin infection. So 70 quid, steroid injection and antibiotics later we were back home. Next day the pustules were bigger, the following day they had burst resulting in pus matted fur. More washing with hibiscrub. Next day a mass of scabs which meant Bunty had to be kept away from Auntie Karen. Karen, owner of Jack the horse, LOVES scabs and will pick any scab going. Mud fever, rain scald, you name the scab and Karen will pick, I just pity her children. So scabby Bunty was kept out of Karen’s sight and the scabs cleared nicely. 
 
In the meantime, Betsy in her Springer Spaniel wisdom decided to get stung. By what we haven’t a clue but within a matter of minutes her face started to swell. No, not an Adder, it was too wet and cold a day for them. I called the vet and drove straight there. 200 odd quid later, injections, blood tests and four lots of drugs we were back home with a very very unhappy swelling puppy. Next day she was worse so back to the vets, luckily it wasn’t affecting her breathing but her whole head was swollen. More injections, more tests and more money spent. It took four days and two more vet visits for the swelling to start going down. Then just before we were due at the vets for Betsy’s last visit, Bunty went lame.  
 
She had sliced her paw, so local anaesthetic, stitches, more drugs and MORE BLOODY MONEY SPENT.  She is now on the lead, no walks, has a plastic bag taped to paw to keep the bandage dry. She may look ridiculous, but it is a Waitrose plastic bag… she has standards you know………………