In the course of our visit to the specialist for Offspring #2 today he felt that she needed to have some allergy tests to help us rule out (or rule in!) some of the things that needed to be considered. In all she was tested for 20 common allergens today and the results?
Nil. Zip. Nada. She had absolutely no reaction to any of the common household allergens - dust, grasses, dog hair, cat hair, etc, etc. This is absolutely fantastic news though it does present its own set of questions. Generally she'd show a reaction to something today and that would help us work out the trigger for her asthma. If it is asthma that she suffers from, it's 99% sure she'd have had a reaction to something today.
So... the newest theory is that it's not asthma at all. It's probably recurrent croup which presents quite similarly and is treated in a similar way. We're continuing with the meds she was on, as they seem to be working, and we're also trying a steroid treatment. Please don't tell me all the negative things about kids and steroid treatments. Believe me I've read it, worried about it and eventually decided that this is the best course for now. #2 is to see the doctor again in a month when he'll check up on her and reassess the new meds he's put her on. I liked the doctor, he agreed with a number of points that I made (good tactic that, agree with the Mum!), explained everything clearly and was quite happy to clarify points. I haven't ruled out other options, such as naturopaths, but we're going to give this a good shot.
PS: No, she didn't wear spots and stripes to the appointment. She wore what I laid out for her and then changed into her own selection when we arrived home. I do have some standards!