Common Sense Dog Allergy Tips

Here are some suggestions and tips
that may improve your dog’s physical condition, lessen the effects of an allergy, and make your dog feel better.

Bathing & Shampoo Therapy
Give your dog a nice cool bath or shower and use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo or oatmeal dog shampoo. These are designed for dogs with sensitive skin. This is a cooling way to soothe your dog’s itchy skin and help control the allergy at the same time. Note: I advise that you not use a medicated dog shampoo unless specifically recommended by your vet. Also, do not use any human shampoo, especially a baby shampoo, as they are mostly detergent based and can irritate dog skin.

A bath or shower will wash away allergens in the fur and some antigens (a substance that can cause an immune response) on the skin. It is now known that antigens are absorbed through the skin and can trigger an allergenic reaction. There is no question that frequent bathing or showering will wash away allergens and will lower antigen exposure.

But how much bathing is too much? Well, there are differences of opinion. Some say you can bathe or shower a dog with allergies as often as twice a week, some bathe or shower once a week, and some will not bathe or shower their dog more than every other week. But whenever you bathe or shower your dog, make sure the temperature of the water is cool and not hot or warm. This is very important as the cool water will calm and soothe irritated skin. Warm and hot water will irritate his skin. You can read more about bathing and grooming your dog in How to Give a Dog a Bath (or Shower) which is located on my Dog Care site.

Holistic Dog Foods
I fully support the use of holistic natural dog food. The evidence is growing as we become more aware of the limitations and problems with regular commercial dog food. To put it in simply terms, many dogs have their allergy problems go away by simply taking them off regular brands of commercial dog food and switching to one of several holistic natural dog food brands that are on the market. Unfortunately, even the “Premium Brands” of commercial dog food contain corn, wheat, soy, various chemicals including preservatives, and very poor quality of meat. Some of them are not healthy to eat; and all of these items are very common allergens. It makes no sense to feed this stuff to your dog. Even many veterinarians now recommend using holistic dog foods, only (assuming you do not cook for your dog).

Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, EFA’s, that are a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acids that play a crucial role in brain function, encourage normal growth and development, and have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. The anti-inflammatory aspect of EFA’s is especially important to dogs with allergies. EFA’s are not made in the body and are not thought to be generally harmful. Omega-6 fatty acids should not be taken in excess. A balance between omega3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is important, so you should aim for a ratio of omega-6 to omega3 fatty acids of 10:1 to 5:1. As Omega-6 fatty acids are common in food, so a dog’s diet should be supplemented to insure omega3 fatty acids levels are sufficient.

Omega3 fatty acids are in fish oil capsule, especially in cod and in krill, which is a shrimp-like marine invertebrate animal. Omega-6 fatty acids are derived from certain plants such as the oil from the evening primrose. Research indicates that EFA’s supplements aid in reducing allergic reaction to allergens. They are very helpful to many allergic dogs, and are useful in the prevention of allergies especially in puppies. In fact, dogs with inhalant allergies (atrophy) can especially benefit from taking essential fatty acids supplements.

Unfortunately fatty acids in food have a short shelf life. Improper storage or preparation can cause rancidity in dry dog food fairly quickly. Also, overcooking destroys fatty acids. For this reason, it is not a bad idea to add a fish oil capsule, preferably one with vitamin E, to your dog’s diet. Organic flaxseed is another EFA that is an anti-inflammatory, so it is not a bad idea to also supplement with an organic flaxseed oil capsule to your dog’s diet. They should be given with food for best absorption into the body. A daily fish oil capsule will also benefit your dog’s coat and will help keep it in as good condition as possible. This may be more important if your dog is periodically taking steroids. If your dog is allergic to fish then you can supplement with the seeds of the Salvia Hispanica plant, which provides a rich source of omega3 fatty acids. This should be available in health food stores.

The Holistic Approach
Some dog owners use a natural approach in dealing with dog skin allergies. Holistic methods include massage, acupuncture, vitamin therapy, herbal baths, trigger-point therapy and the like. These are designed to develop a healthier dog that is better able to deal with allergens. This approach may lower medication requirements.

Having Trouble Getting Your Pooch to Swallow Canine Medications?
Getting a dog to swallow canine medications can sometimes be a chore. Some dogs are too darn smart and eagerly root out and push away their pills. Well, be aware that some pharmacies will alter the form or flavor of some medications so your dog will be more willing take it. You may need to ask. Also, you may want to try altering doggy canine medications yourself at home. Some quick methods are to crush the pill and then mix it into some ground meat or other food. You can hide liquids in fruit juice. Use your imagination and try to out smart your pooch.

Dogs with substantial allergies need some pampering. It is a good idea to give cool baths or showers to your dog using a hypoallergenic dog shampoo or oatmeal dog shampoo. The frequency of bathing is in question, but once a week should be safe. Ask your vet for his/her opinion. Most commercial dog food is not as good as you may think. Some of it is dangerous for dogs with allergies; it can even be unhealthy for dogs without allergies. Holistic natural dog food is far better in many ways. I recommend you use it. Omega3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids at a ratio of 1:10 to 1:5 should benefit your dog’s fight against allergies. Adding a fish oil capsule (cod) and an organic flaxseed oil capsule is a very good idea.

If your dog is allergic to fish, then instead of a fish oil capsule you can use the seeds of the Salvia Hispanica plant, which should be available in pill or capsule form. It is important to keep in mind that the suggestions and tips
mentioned in this article are meant to supplement and not replace normal veterinary care and canine medications as prescribed by your family veterinarian. In many cases these techniques may reduce the need for such medications but only in a few will eliminate their need.

Allergy Shots for Dogs

Allergy shots for dogs should be administered only by a veterinary dermatologist, who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies in animals. In the United States, veterinary dermatologists should have board certification of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD). The idea behind the involved process of getting allergy shots for dogs is to cure middle-aged or older dogs from a year-round inhalant allergy. This form of dog allergies treatment is not as effective in younger dogs. At the present time allergy shots are not advised for food allergies because the reliability of desensitization so low. This form of dog allergies treatment involves a series of vaccination shots administered over a period of time, usually between four and twelve months, on average. Each dog allergy shot contains a hyposensitising vaccine that has been created for the allergies specific to your dog. The vaccine is safe but must be administered on a strict schedule.

At the beginning, a small dose of the vaccine is injected into the dog daily. As time goes by, the amount of vaccine is gradually increased and the frequency of vaccination is reduced. If all goes to plan, the dog will tolerate the allergen and will no longer have an allergenic reaction. However, this treatment does not always work. The rate of complete success is about 50%, with about 25% having partial success. The treatment fails about 25% of the time. This is the same response rate for humans undergoing desensitization. Many dog owners give the shots to their own dog. You will be taught the correct procedure. If this is not done, then the dog will have to be driven to the veterinarian’s office for each shot.

Also, be aware that this form of dog allergies treatment is expensive. In fact it is the most expensive form of treatment available. But it is the most effective and desirable—if it works. In a few cases, this dog allergies treatment is successful as long as vaccinations continue, sometimes for several years, and in a very few cases for life. This could mean a vaccination once a week, once a month or only an occasional booster. Although there are distinct draw-backs to this form of dog allergies treatment it is nevertheless the ideal way to treat inhalant allergies. Whether allergy shots for dogs are a good choice depends on you and dog’s circumstances. Every case is different.

Dog Allergy Test: The Blood Work & Skin Test

A dog allergy test refers to both the blood work and the Intradermal Skin Test (IDST) which is the diagnostic testing done before administering allergy shots for dogs. These tests and the arrangement of allergy shots are the domain of the veterinary dermatologist who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies in animals. In the United States, veterinary dermatologists should have board certification of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD). It is best to have the dog allergy test performed during the season when the allergies are at their worst.

House Cleaning Prior to Dog Allergy Testing

Before going to a vet dermatologist for dog allergy testing and allergy shots for dogs it is very desirable to try one last at-home procedure in a final attempt to stop the allergenic reactions your dog is enduring. Surprisingly, this procedure sometimes works wonders.

Temporarily remove the dog from the home so the house environment can be thoroughly cleaned without the dog being present. This may mean several days at a boarding facility or at a relative or friend’s home. The house cleaning should be a very thorough cleaning, like a major spring cleaning where everything is completely cleaned and aired out. A HEPA air purifier can be introduced into the house to better remove air impurities and airborne allergens, if you don’t already have one. When the cleaning is complete and the dog is again living back in your house, it is possible his or her dog allergies symptoms may be substantial reduced or possibly eliminated. If this is the case, then the home environment can be controlled so the allergy symptoms can be greatly eased. This is good news. However, if there is little or no change in dog allergies symptoms then depending upon circumstances it may be best to proceed with dog allergy desensitization (allergy shots).

Your Veterinarian

Your veterinary dermatologist will expect your family vet has already conducted a comprehensive workup to rule out other possible causes of skin irritation, such as fungal or bacterial infections and other medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism before sending the dog to the vet dermatologist. However, sometimes in obviously difficult cases, a vet may send a dog immediately to a veterinary dermatologist for all preliminary testing. If this is the case, then your vet dermatologist will perform the tests just mentioned before the following pre-allergy shot diagnostic testing.

Pre-Allergy Shot Diagnostic Testing

Before dog allergy shot therapy can begin, a full medical history is taken along with diagnostic tests, which include blood work and a skin scratch test. This is done to establish an accurate diagnosis of the allergy and exact allergen identification. This dog allergy test is very important as the allergy shot vaccine will be based on these results.

1. Blood Work testing will check for antigen-induced antibodies in the blood of the dog. The old standard is the radioallergosorbent test (RAST). However, many vets now prefer the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test (ELISA). ELISA is similar to RAST but ELISA is usually more accurate and is the one normally recommended. In essence, blood is drawn and is sent to the lab. The lab may be able to identify allergens. It is more accurate in identifying inhalant allergens than food or contact allergens. Unfortunately, testing usually will take several weeks. The accuracy of results can be a problem as false positives may be evident. Therefore, blood tests are less favored except when a skin test is not possible. Circumstances when blood tests may be desirable also include when the dog has skin infection, the allergy condition is especially serious, a skin test was negative when atopy is still suspected, the dog is too young for skin testing, or the number of suspect allergens are many. Of course there can be other circumstances.

2. The Intradermal Skin Test (IDST), or skin scratch test, is usually the most important dog allergy test. The dog is put to sleep in order to avoid any distress to the animal. An area on the dog is prepared (shaved), usually an upper or lower arm, the upper back or a side. Within a grid layout, the skin is scratched or injected with the most likely, common, or suspected allergens. Within several hours redness and swelling may become evident, thus identifying the allergen or allergens. However, in this dog allergy test identification is a bit of an art and it does take experience to determine accurate results (which is why you are paying for a specialist).

With allergens identified, sometimes another test may be able to discover more allergens. With the dog allergy test complete, a determination will be made whether or not allergy shots are appropriate. See the next article, Allergy Shots for Dogs.

Antihistamine for Dogs

Antihistamine for dogs can be an effective treatment for dog allergies just as it is for humans. In dogs it is used primarily for the control of itchy skin. A dog antihistamine alone has a 10-to-20% chance of being effective. However, when part of a treatment plan that includes increasing fatty acids into the diet, specifically omega3 fatty acids, and allergen avoidance, the success rate can be as high as 40%. Certainly, dog antihistamines are among the most important canine medications available to veterinarians today. Essential fatty acids, or EFA’s include omega6 fatty acids. But these are found in abundance in daily diet. Only omega3 fatty acids need to be supplemented, such as adding 3V capsules, or 3V Caps for dogs.

Often, an antihistamine for dogs with an omega fatty acid supplement will be used as part of an effort to find an alternative to the use of Cortisone or other related steroid. Steroids should be used only for short periods of time during intense itching episodes, assuming other means of itch control can be found. In some cases, antihistamines can be an important medication in achieving this goal. Antihistamine for dogs is usually well tolerated. The most troubling side effect of any dog antihistamine is sedation. While on an antihistamine dogs will often exhibit lethargic behavior and may sleep more often and for longer periods of time. For this reason, during an initial dog allergy treatment process using an antihistamine, some dog owners while noticing a sedation effect may ask veterinarians to discontinue its use. This is a mistake. There is a fair chance that another antihistamine may not have the same degree of sedation.

It can be very worthwhile to try at least three other types of antihistamine to see if one works better. It is normal to try several different antihistamines before a final selection. The one with some of the best results is Atarax. However, others find the best dog antihistamine to be Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton, Tavist, or Seldane. As each dog responds differently, there is no way of knowing which one may be best for your dog. The selection and use of any antihistamine for dogs should only be done under a veterinarian's guidance. While antihistamines are a very good treatment for dog allergies, they are powerful medications with widely different reactions. The use of any powerful dog allergy treatment requires knowledge and experience in order to avoid a medical emergency.

Canine Antibiotics Used for Skin Infections

Canine antibiotics are used in treating dog allergies by eliminating bacterial infections that are harmful to dogs. When used in conjunction with other canine medications in treating dog allergies, a canine antibiotic are administered when a dog has scratched his/her skin to the point when it has become raw and a bacterial skin infection has developed. This is typically seen in moderate to severe skin allergies in dogs. When this occurs, the area of the infected skin will probably need to be treated with an antibiotic, which is often used along with a medicated shampoo.

One reason why the veterinarian gives a through physical examination is to check for skin breaks and for skin infections is that if he finds any he/she will then try to determine if the skin infection is due to scratching as the result of a canine skin allergy or if it is due to scratching due to another unrelated condition or disease. Sometimes blood tests may be needed. There are a variety of canine antibiotics that are available for use in dogs with canine skin allergies. Of course, canine antibiotics are not all the same, they are for different types of infection and they work very differently. So it is important you understand the specifics in administering the canine antibiotic your veterinarian prescribes for your dog. Antibiotics have side effects, so it is also important that you know what to look for.

Use Antibiotics Only When Needed

Many dog owners want an antibiotic prescribed every time they take their dog to the veterinarian. Unlike what many people think, canine antibiotics should only be used at highly selected times when they are actually needed. If given too often, antibiotics quickly loose their ability to be effective. That can create a very serious situation when a strong antibiotic is desperately needed but none are found to be effective. This does happen and it is usually completely preventable.

Never ask your vet for an canine antibiotic prescription for your dog and tell your vet you want the antibiotic only if absolutely necessary. Some vets are far too willing to write a prescription even though there is no good reason to prescribe an antibiotic. Some family physicians do the same thing for humans. As a result people and dogs are given far too many antibiotics for mild illnesses that do not require an antibiotic. There is no such thing as taking an antibiotic “just in case.” Either it is needed or it is not. If it is not needed, then it should not be taken. To give an antibiotic when it is not clearly required is irresponsible.

The Four Principles of Canine Antibiotics

Correct antibiotic use is based on four sensible principles of the administration of canine medications:

1. The correct antibiotic needs to be selected for the type of infection. Because it is not possible for the veterinarian to always select the appropriate antibiotic, in more serious cases blood testing may be needed at an early stage to confirm the antibiotic is working. If it is not, then another needs to be immediately started.

2. The proper dose must be given. Look at the instructions on the prescription bottle and follow them carefully.

3. The dose must be given at the correct times. Giving the antibiotic too early or too late can have a major effect on the outcome. It is important to maintain consistent tissue levels of the antibiotic in the body. Timing is very important.

4. Lastly, the antibiotic must be taken for the entire length of the administration regiment in order to correctly effect a cure.

Early withdraw of canine antibiotics by a dog owner, when the infection “looks cleared up,” is one of the main reasons for relapse and secondary infections (sometimes internal) that are usually more serious and more difficult to treat. Therefore, you should never end canine antibiotic medication early without very specific instructions from the prescribing veterinarian.

Canine antibiotics are an important classification of canine medications for treating dog allergies. They are capable to curing a variety of diseases and infections, if given correctly. Sometimes antibiotics may be needed for a lengthy period of time for especially difficult infections. But that is not usually the case. As with all canine medications, canine antibiotics should be used in treating dog allergies only when needed and only as instructed by the veterinarian.

Atopica for Dogs: For Skin Allergies in Dogs

Atopica for dogs is a new, popular and commonly prescribed medication for skin allergies in dogs, specifically for atopic dermatitis or dogs allergic to airborne allergens. It contains cyclosporine, a drug that suppresses the immune system. It is not a cure and may not remove all symptoms of dog allergies but is highly effective with the symptoms of a dog skin allergy. In these cases it may substantially improve your dog’s enjoyment of life. It takes about four weeks for this medication to take full effect. Because of this, cortisone for dogs or a closely related steroid may be given for immediate relief while testing and diagnosis takes place. Because of the advantages of Atopica over cortisone for dogs, Atopica is often selected for treating skin allergies in dogs and often after initial attempts in identifying and removing the allergen have failed, or when the allergen cannot be completely removed from the dog’s environment.

A daily dosage will be required to control dog allergies symptoms. It is normally given once a day at first, in time it is often tapered down to once every other day, every third day, or less.

Atopica for dogs is usually very well tolerated; however dogs should be monitored for side effects. Some dogs do experience upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhoea. However, most dogs have no problem with this drug. Also, be aware that if the dog is still exposed to the allergen and the drug is stopped, it is likely your dog will have a bounce-back reaction and feel the allergy again. Atopica is a treatment for a symptoms of allergies in dogs, it is not a cure. Once started, this prescription medication may need to be continued indefinitely or until the allergen can be identified and removed from the dog’s environment.

Officially, Atopica is not FDA approved for cats. Nevertheless, veterinary dermatologists say that Atopica is extreme well tolerated in cats and that it is very effective in treating a variety of diseases including Atopy, food allergies, and miliary dermatitis. Like all medications for the treatment of symptoms of allergies in dogs or of skin allergies in dogs, a certain amount of trial and error with alternatives may be needed to determine an appropriate treatment for your specific dog. Not all dogs should take Atopica; dogs less than four pounds in weight, dogs that are reproducing, and dogs with a history of malignant neoplasia should not take this medication. That said, many family veterinarians and vet dermatologists have found Atopica for dogs to be a superior treatment for the symptoms of allergies in dogs.

Allergy Diagnosis

An allergy diagnosis is the result of a systematic process of discovery and elimination. This is done by examination and evaluation. This requires some experience, and knowing what to look for. Dog illness diagnosis is medical detective work. Factors must be considered that may indicate whether an allergy exists, and which one type of allergy it may be. All the while, remember the dog cannot speak with the doctor, cannot voice complaints, and cannot answer questions.

Dog Symptoms and Diagnosis

To start, the veterinarian reviews with the owner the dog’s diet, the home physical environment, recent activities, and medical history. The information the owner provides to the veterinarian will in some cases provide important clues. When this is completed, a thorough physical examination is conducted. Blood test may be taken to rule out other diseases. When the results are evaluated, an allergy diagnosis may be confirmed. If this is so, a likely allergen may be identified as the probable cause.

If this is not the case, depending on the circumstances and the dog’s discomfort, the process of allergies diagnosis may proceed with allergy skin tests. This will be performed by a veterinary dermatologist. Allergy skin tests are simple but important dog allergy testing in which the dog is put to sleep and the skin of the dog is scratched with various common allergens in a grid layout. Because the dog is asleep this test is not stressful to the dog. In about 20 minutes there may be an identifiable allergen indicated. The ultimate goal in treating the allergies that dogs have is to identify the causing allergen and if possible to restrict or remove the allergen from the dog’s environment. While at times it is surprisingly simple to diagnose an allergy and to locate the exact allergen. At other times, with so many possible allergens the search for one allergen can be more difficult. However, there is no better way of controlling an allergy than by identifying the allergen and restricting or eliminating it from the dog’s environment. Working in coordination with your veterinarian and with appropriate dog allergy testing, hopefully the goal of an exact allergy diagnosis will be reached.

Dog Steroids: A Blessing to Be Used with Awareness

Dog steroids are highly effective in providing quick relief of allergy symptoms, especially chronic intense itching. The most common dog steroid is cortisone, sometimes called “corts,” which is a naturally occurring hormone. There are quite a number of other dog steroid medicines that are very closely related to cortisone. Cortisone and related medicines should not be confused with anabolic steroids, which are used for body and muscle growth. Cortisone and related medicines are quite different and are used for the treatment of pain, immune system irregularities, ear and eye disorders, inflammation, allergies, and chronic itching. As such, these steroids for dogs are a very useful veterinary medicine. However, they should be used with caution.

Side Effects of Steroids in Dogs

The problem with steroids for dogs is in the side effects. While short-term use of these medicines very rarely lead to adverse health problems, dogs on cortisone and related medicines should be monitored for side effects and symptom improvement. Common side effects include thrust, frequent peeing, weight gain, and exhaustion. The dog’s coat can also turn dry and dull. Prolonged use is associated with internal damage including a weakened immune system and damage to vital organs. If used over a longer period of time, these adverse effects can become life-threatening. It should be clearly understood there are serious conditions and disorders for which dog steroids are the only effective treatment.

Steroid Dogs

It is sensible and reasonable to use the lowest dose for the least amount of time. However some owners refuse to allow the use of this medication under any circumstances. This is not an appropriate decision. Dog steroids can bring profound relief to a dog under distress due to a severe allergy reaction. As a stop-gap reprieve, steroids for dogs can be invaluable. It can allow time for the cause of the dog’s attack to be calmly diagnosed, for testing to be performed, lab work completed, and a reasonable treatment determined. When dog steroid treatment is to be concluded, depending upon the dosage, the amount of dosage is gradually lowered over a period of time. Often an antihistamine for dogs will be phased-in as the steroid is phased-out. This allows an important lap-over time so that the antihistamine for dogs can take proper effect. While there are concerns for the side effects of steroids in dogs, it must be kept in mind that the use dog steroids are clearly desirable under certain circumstances.

Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Atopic dermatitis in dogs is an inherited hypersensitivity disorder, a dog allergy skin disorder that can affect any pure or mixed breed of dog. However it is seen most commonly in German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians, Miniature Schnauzers and West Highland White Terriers. Symptoms usually occur between the first and third years of a dog’s life. Some people think of this condition as a dog skin allergy. However, it is the reaction to the allergy that brings on this disease. It is normally caused by an allergic reaction to something in the environment such as dust mites, instead of other causes such as dog food.

Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

Symptoms often begin in subtle ways:
  • The owner may notice the dog is apparently grooming himself more often than usual, including during the night. However, dogs never groom themselves in the middle of the night. The dog is actually rubbing and scratching due to skin irritation.

  • The dog may be seen in generalized scratching, which may first be thought of as normal, but you may begin to think it is done too often.

  • If you scold your dog about scratching, you may find your dog scratching in private when he thinks you are not looking.
  • Then the owner may notice the dog often licking, scratching, and biting the paws, ears, armpits or groin area. These areas of the dog’s body are often the first to become irritated.

  • Red ears that feel hot and ear infections are a leading result of atopic dermatitis. But it is not the only cause.

All along, you may think the coat appears normal. This is why the problem called “an unseen itch.” At times,
  • Hot spots will be noticed, or

  • The coat may appear wet. That means your dog is licking when you are not looking.

Any of the above symptoms may be isolated skin eruptions that are unrelated. However, a series of such incidents is enough to suggest a dog allergy may be the culprit.

In time, atopic dermatitis in dogs will develop additional signs:
  • The skin will change color from pink to black. This will be clearly noticeable when your dog turns over on his back so you can give him a belly rub.

  • You will also usually see a reddish brown thin line or stain at the corners of his mouth, chin, between the toes, in the armpits, and in the groin.

  • Frequent scratching will become very noticeable.

If left untreated, the skin will continue to deteriorate and develop bald spots and red skin will be easily seen. At this point a veterinary dermatologist will need to be consulted for a comprehensive evaluation and a treatment plan selected.

Aatopic Dermatitis Diagnosis

Diagnosis for atopic dermatitis in dogs is difficult. There is no one single blood test to detect the disorder, so diagnosis is obtained through observation, the process of elimination, along with blood testing to eliminate other possible infectious causes, and sometimes a comprehensive skin test for likely allergens. Atopic dermatitis in dogs is not to be ignored. The condition must be diagnosed, the allergen identified and if possible, eliminated from the dog’s environment. Medication and treatments should be given to ease the discomfort.

More About Me

I guess you could say I am from West Palm Beach, which is located on the Atlantic coast of the state of Florida, USA. At least that is where my parents now live and it is my official residence. I am a born US citizen. However, because of my father's employment I have lived primarily outside the USA for most of my life.

I have lived in New Zealand (Wellington), Canada (Vancouver), and in Scotland (Glasgow), which is of course part of the UK.

I attended high school in Glasgow (city centre pictured left) and played on the school football (soccer) team. I am a true football (soccer) enthusiast and miss it very much now that I'm living back in the States. (Yes, I know its also in the States but its not the same thing.} I also regularly swim, run, and since early teens I've been into Thai Boxing. My father insisted that I learn it. One summer I even attended a Muay Thai boxing camp in Thailand. I am now at a level where I could teach, but I have no time except for practice. In Thailand, I also learnt to meditate, which is something I feel everyone should learn and practice. I have been playing the bagpipes since I was about 12 years old, I played in the school Pipe Band. I have played at various gatherings.

I love animals; so over the years I have spent time as a volunteer in various animal shelters and on an SPCA Animal Rescue Unit. I am now a veterinary medical student at a university in the American Northeast.

West Palm Beach, or "West Palm", is a municipality of about 100,000 people. It is the “county seat” or administration centre for Palm Beach County, Florida. It is the home of some of the wealthiest families in America. Private mansions line the shoreline with public beaches squeezed in here and there. Some of the mansions are palatial. West Palm is a very pleasant community.

West Palm has a "vibrant" new downtown centre, City Place (pictured left). Of course, the beaches along the Atlantic are great. West Palm is also not far from Disney World (love it), Miami’s South Beach (love it even more), and Cape Kennedy (interesting, I guess). The weather is perfect during the winter. But as it is, I’m mostly "up North" (as Floridians say) during the winter. As for the summers in West Palm, they are ~~hot~~. (I be talk'n about the temperatures.)

So, that's a bit more about me and my new "hometown." West Palm is quite nice but I didn't grow up there. It's OK, but me heart and many friends are in Glasgow. You can see some really nice music videos about Bonnie Scotland on
More About Me on my Cat Allergy Relief blog (that's another of my blogs).