METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) – A local celebrity’s pet is under the care of Dr. Stephen Lemarie at Southeast Veterinary Specialists. The patient is a bulldog named Bentley– and Bentley belongs to Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan!
Ryan’s wife Kristin tells WGNO that she had been cooking special meals for Bentley “salmon… every night, and rice and carrots and peas” because Bentley’s been bothered by severe itching. Kristin suspects it’s a food allergy, so she brought Bentley to Dr. Lemarie, who specializes in animal dermatology.
To perform an allergy test, Dr. Lemarie sedates Bentley, and then pricks the dog’s skin with sixty-seven separate environmental allergens — everything from mold to weeds.
Dr. Lemarie says it’s a standard test for itchy dogs, and he says that in our pollen-filled part of the world, most dogs will have a reaction to more than half of the injections.
Lemarie calls it the New Orleans region “the allergy belt,” and he says that “typically, there’s something out pollinating, year-round.”
In fact, the results of the skin test show that Bentley is allergic to all but a handful of the sixty-seven allergens. But Dr. Lemarie says the treatment is fairly common and easy.
Itchy dogs need immunotherapy—basically giving them a low dose of what they’re allergic to, in order to train their immune system to tolerate the allergens over time.
Dogs like Bentley will need either a daily dose of liquid medicine or a bi-monthly shot, probably for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Lemarie says in Bentley’s case, with Coach Ryan and his wife often on the road for Saints games, the bi-monthly shot is probably the most convenient treatment.
When we asked Dr. Lemarie if it makes him nervous to treat a celebrity’s pet, he just smiles and says all pets at Southeast Veterinary “are treated equally well.”