Rescuers puzzled by dog’s ‘incurable’ skin—then, his blood test reveals the strangest allergy

When rescuers saved a dog from a pound, they thought that with tender loving care, he’d soon recover from his skin conditions. But when he didn’t, they sent him for a blood test. When the results were announced, they were taken aback to discover what he was allergic to.

In July 2014, Robin Herman, the president of Lucky Dog Retreat Rescue in Indianapolis, Indiana, saved Adam, a black Labrador mix with itchy, red skin, from a local pound, where he faced possible euthanization.

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“When we first saw him, he looked just absolutely miserable,” Herman told ABC News. “His skin was just seeping. He felt like Vaseline. Reddish-pinkish fluid would just ooze out of his skin.”

The rescue center had saved a number of dogs with skin conditions in the past, and figured that Adam just needed someone to take good care of him … and then he’d come good.

“For the most part, it’s just a matter of feeding them good food and giving them a stress-free environment,” Herman told The Dodo. “They usually heal up pretty quickly.”

However, Adam’s condition didn’t get better with time.

Dr. Rachel Anderson, a veterinarian from Indianapolis’ Animal Medical Center, who was treating Adam, suggested that Adam go for a blood test.

When the test results were out, they realized what caused Adam’s allergic reaction—he was allergic to human dander, which is the microscopic flakey substances that fall from humans’ skin and scalp.

“It was a really interesting phone call,” Herman recalled the conversation with Dr. Anderson. “She was like, ‘You’re not going to believe what he’s allergic to! It’s really remarkable, he’s allergic to humans the same way some people are allergic to dogs and cats.’”

“I laughed. I thought the vet was kidding. The vet said she wasn’t, and I laughed again,” Herman recalled.

They finally understood how to treat Adam, and in a year, he was nursed back to health by Beth Weber, an employee at the rescue center, who had been keeping track of his medications and giving him baths every three days. In addition, Adam was taken to Dr. Lori Thompson, who’s the veterinary dermatologist at the Animal Dermatology Clinic.

“He’s come such a long way since Dr. Thompson started treating him,” Herman said. She added that due to Adam’s conditions, he will be on medication for the rest of his life. As part of his recovery, Adam’s carer has also been bathing him every three days, whilst alternating soaps.

But, at least now Adam can be around people again without suffering from his allergy.

“He loves to climb in a laundry basket and get comfortable in the warm, fresh laundry, and you can see him smile and be coy,” Herman said. “He’s got a great sense of humor about him. He’s absolutely adorable.”

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