Peek on Hilma’s summer condition

2013, Jul, 18 | HILMA - SA & more | 0 comments

Luckily no dramatic changes

Summer is turning soon to autumn and our life with Hilma’s SA has luckily not had any dramatic changes.


On 10th of June I forgot to give Hilma her Atopica-pills, so I decided to try to cut-down the dosage to 200 mg five times in a week. Hilma is still having isotretinoin 20 mg every other day. Beginning went fine, I did not notice any changes except some itching in her lips. She has had this problem for two years now. I think it is allergic reaction to something, don’t know what though… Well, the itching stopped when Hilma started Atopica on March. Now itching started again in June. In the beginning of July I also noted that her ears were completely in brown crush. Her ears also cleared after she started her Atopica in March. In the beginning of July I noticed that the fur on her front legs strated to come loose, she had some brown sebum on her chest and cheeks. At the same time I also had diminished her washing regimen to once in a three weeks.

So now,  we are back to Atopica with 200 mg/seven days in a week dosage. I can see already, that her ears are starting to clear. I don’t know if problems with her fur were caused by the diminished washing regimen or cutting down of Atopica’s dosage. With her ears the cause was in my own opinion clearly the tapering of Atopica.

As a conclusion I must say that maybe I was too hasty to make this decision to elevate regimen back to seven days in a week, but I am planning to try this again some time during this year. Next I’ll have to try to get rid of the isotretinoin…

Some thoughts about isotretinoin and vitamin A

I’ve been thinking about cutting down Hilma’s isotertinoin 20 mg every other day completely. Isotertinoin is a less toxic variant of the equivalent dose in vitamin A. 20 mg isotertinoin equivals on 20 000 IU in vitamin A (hopefully I am correct in this, I have no medical education, just have been digging this information by myself…)

Golden retrievers daily adequate dosage of vitamin A is 3 000-6 000 IU. Though for therapeutic purposes, a level of 2-3 times as much is sometimes used with no ill side effects. That means up to 18 000 IU. For a golden retriever, vitamin A dosage needs to reach 165 000 IU per day over several months in order to observe any problems. Still the problem with vitamin A is that it cumulates to body.

What I have tried to demonstrate here is that treating with vitamin A in short periods of time is not seen so harmful. Source:

Still these things should be checked from veterinary. Though my observations are that their opinions may vary a lot. One vet once said to me that cortisone is not so bad on dogs because dog’s life span is so short (compared to humans, who have more problems in long-term usage of cortisone). Other vets opinions on cortisone were completely different; she would never use cortisone long-term in dogs. So I have decided basically to form my own opinion on things… And these thing I write here are just my opinions, someone else may have completely different point of view in these subjects.

How much does Atopica, Isotretinoin and supplements cost?

I have planned to write several times about this topic and now I found some time to do this.

I once calculated, that with our current medication and supplement Hilma’s whole life span’s medication and supplement costs are 25 000 euros. Hilma is now four years old and calculation is done for six years time span. Yearly costs are little over 4100 euros and monthly cost is 340 euros.

Atopica costs about 260 euros in a month with 200 mg monthly dosage. Isotertinoin costs 34 euros 30 tablets. We are using also  wish oils, which cost maybe 20 euros in a month. Other supplement (vitamin E and biotin) make maybe 10 euros in a month.  Shampoo is 25 euros bottle and then there is baby oil (few euros). So these make about 25 euros in a month. These all make 330 euros. Plus those accasionally needed veterinary clinic payments.

Insurance for dog and SA?

In Finland we have insurances for dogs. Treating SA in Finland is treating chronical disease and some insurance companies compensate only one year in medicating chronical diseases. With SA this one year does not necessarilly help a lot, so this thing should be checked from company before taking insurance. In Finland typical maximum compensation level yearly is about 1700 euros. SA’s yearly costs are in Hilma’s case now 4100 euros in a year. So with insurance, I’ll still have to pay 2400 euros in a year. That is about 200 euros in a month.

If the dosage of Atopica can be decreased, then the costs are also lower. But, with some dogs this 200 mg daily dosage is not enough, so the dosage according to my vet can be increased to 400 mg per day. This means that this medication (plus all others) cost about 600 euros in a month. Yearly cost is stacking 7200 euros!!!

Hilma wishes to you all very nice end of the summer (or what ever season you are having)! Ain’t she looking great now?

Anna Soininen

Anna Soininen

American akita owner from Finland struggling to get along with SA diseased dog.

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