Rebel with his award from dog school

Rebel the Staffordshire Bull Terrier X Gets Allergies


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Rebel the Kiwi Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross has a good life. But recently his traumatic past has started to affect everyday living in the form of dog allergies. When Rebel was a pup, he and his brothers and sisters were abandoned in a cardboard box.

No one can say with certainty how long the little puppies were left alone trapped in that box. But the animal rescue workers that took them in weren’t convinced any of them would survive at first. The little cardboard box that had been the puppy’s temporary shelter was full of puppy poop and diarrhoea.

But worse still (If you’re feeling squeamish, skip to the next bit), there were worms in the faeces that were nearly as long as the puppies.

This is Rebel’s story of survival, trial and tribulation.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier X with love to give

A rough start to life makes some pets harden to love. Not Rebel.

He loves and adores his mum Teresa. He believes every dog he meets is a worthy playmate. And, he’s also fond of the cows on the farm he stays at sometimes (it helps that they’re fond of him too)!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier isn't afraid of cows, in fact he's friends with them

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier X lifestyle

Rebel chooses from two daily morning routines. Either he brings one of his teddies to play chase with Teresa, who spends quality time with Rebel every day, or he loves to romp on the bed. On other days this adorable Staffordshire Bull Terrier X goes to doggy daycare and comes home exhausted from running around with 50 dog friends on an ex-farm, complete with its own creek.

Rebel is allowed on the sofa (where he likes to sleep after a long day at doggy daycare) and gets to sleep curled up in his mum’s bed. Read about why sleeping with your dog in your bed has many potential health benefits!

In many ways you could say he’s living the dream. His happiness with life is obvious as he puts a paw across Teresa’s shoulder during our video call.

Rebel gets dog allergies

Sadly his rough start in life means his immune system isn’t well-developed. Not only did he lose out on the adequate antibody boost he should’ve got from mum’s milk, as one of the key puppy health care milestones, the horrific conditions he experienced have also held him back.

As a result, the Kiwi Staffordshire Bull Terrier X has recently developed severe allergies. They flare up after 24 hours but can last a whole week long.

The allergies may be triggered by a plant called Tradescantia, but vets are testing and the verdict’s still out.

Rebel hugs his mum Teresa

Dog allergy symptoms

Dog allergy symptoms can take on several forms. For Rebel, they come in the form of itchy welts across his chest and belly. The itch is enormous and impossible to ignore.

Naturally he can’t resist scratching the painful welts but that leads to damaged wounded skin and infections, which in turn can cause a vicious cycle.

Dog skin allergies and treatment

Teresa’s had dogs with milder allergies before, so she’s seen how they can affect a pup’s happiness. But she’s never seen allergies as severe or long-lasting as Rebel’s.

Vets initially prescribed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier X with a cortisone treatment for immediate relief. Although being a steroid, cortisone isn’t an ideal long-term remedy because of side effects.

Treatments helping our Staffordshire Bull Terrier X

Rebel’s currently on a newer medication called Cytopoint. It’s an injectable treatment developed by Pfizer (now Zoetis) that helps dogs fend off allergic reactions caused by environmental factors.

The treatment used to be called Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic (CADI) before being rebranded as Cytopoint. Instead of being a chemical compound like many medicines, it’s a protein that helps block the neurological urge to itch in a similar way to how a healthy immune system would.

While the treatment lasts up to eight weeks at a time, the ultimate goal is to get Rebel on immunotherapy.

Rebel the Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross is a proud PD Pet Insurance member

The process of dog immunotherapy

Teresa’s signed Rebel up for immunotherapy, but he’s a bit young to start right away. Until then he has to use Cytopoint to avoid flare-ups of welts across his chest and tummy.

Once the immunotherapy starts, the lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross will have to go through a gruelling trial to establish which allergen is the culprit. Poor Rebel will be exposed to all sorts of potential triggers from pollen to dust to mites, plants and more.

Once they know which one’s triggering the reaction, Rebel will be administered small doses of the allergen over 11 months until his immune system knows how to fend it off on its own.

Read more about dog skin conditions and other ways to help boost your canine’s skin and fur health.

This Kiwi Staffordshire Bull Terrier X is a proud PD customer

It’s taken many vet visits and trials of treatments to reach this point and the costs are rolling and open-ended. Teresa says she’s glad she signed Rebel up as a PD Pet Insurance customer before any of the allergies started.

Of course Rebel is her baby (and first dog since all her human kids have left the nest) so she would’ve paid for treatment with or without pet care cover. But having a pet plan has a big benefit in not needing to max out credit cards and comes with peace of mind.

If you’re a cat mum or dad, also be sure to read about Herc’s struggle with cat leprosy.

Choosing New Zealand pet insurance

Teresa says she didn’t choose PD Insurance easily. She did her homework and thoroughly weighed up different plans from several New Zealand pet insurance providers before coming to a decision. She says:

“I highly recommend PD Pet Insurance because I think you’re awesome. And I’ve got peace of mind. You know, we’re really like a team because I will do the best forever for Rebel because that’s my responsibility to him. But it goes back to PD insurance enabling me to do that without worrying.”

PD Pet Insurance would like to thank Teresa and Rebel for sharing their story. We’re glad we could be part of the journey to well-being. Let’s put our best paw forward together!

If you have a new puppy or kitten (or dog or cat) find out about getting one or more months of FREE pet insurance. Click below to get started with a quick, free quote.

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