This gorgeous girl is Belle. She was surrendered to a refuge in July 2023 and made her way to Les Amis where she was in foster with Linda Walsh then in October became a lifetime foster with me, Caroline Mills.

Belle arrived in a terrible state, very itchy with little fur on her back. Linda worked hard with her vet and Belle made a good recovery, but in the Spring the problem came back. 

After a couple of appointments with our local vet, I took Belle to the ENVT (École Nationale Vétérinaire Toulouse) to see the dermatologist, Dr Combarros. He has a team of 3-4 students who work alongside him, learning as they go. After taking notes about what treatments had been tried, he did his own tests. This involved Belle being vigorously scratched by three people, she was in heaven! Then they collected the dead skin off the table and looked at it under a microscope. They use Sellotape to take skin samples too. They use a camera to inspect the ear canal, another place that was infected. He diagnosed it as an allergy to aoûtats, harvest mites. This is becoming a lot more common as these mites have a much longer season than just August now, thanks to climate change. 

So, in February this year, Belle started treatment. All the tests were repeated at each follow up appointment. She was given the all clear at the end of May. So now we keep her coat shorter, and all my fur family take their oral flea treatment on the same date each month. I know there is some controversy over these stronger treatments so it’s important to consult a vet as there are some breeds that have very bad neurological reactions. They must always be given with food. If you prefer a milder spot-on treatment, the dermatologist recommended shaving a small area on the back of the neck, so it gets absorbed and doesn’t get lost on the fur.

I would highly recommend the ENVT, and consulting a specialist. They are very kind and helpful, speak fluent English, and the consultation fee is under 50€.