Monday, February 20, 2006

Only love makes the tail wag

Last week Lady was to be spay. I took her to the vet’s office at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. She is around two years old and has not had any vaccinations. I asked that she be given everything to bring her up-to-date (rabies, distemper, etc.) and that she be checked for Heartworm and Lyme Disease; one is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, the latter by the bite of an infected tick. I left Lady in their capable hands thinking I would pick her up around 4:30 that afternoon.

About an hour after I left the vet called my cell phone to say that Lady’s pre-op Heartworm and Lyme Disease tests had come back positive! This meant Lady could not undergo surgery because she Heartwork makes her a high-risk under anesthesia. Although easily prevented by a monthly chewable tablet called Heartguard Plus (for dogs and cats), once Heartworms are contracted they must be killed with injections containing small doses of strychnine. She got two injections 24 hours apart and is now on six weeks of rest, meaning she cannot go out of the house without a leash and she must walk not run at all times so as not to overexert her cardiopulmonary system. This is because the strychnine kills the worms that live in her heart and their dead bodies break up and are passed through her lungs as they exit the body.

According to some on-line sites: "Lyme Disease is named after the city in which it was first discovered, Old Lyme, Connecticut. Humans also get Lyme disease; however they do not get it directly from dogs. We get it from being bitten by the same ticks that transmit it to dogs. Preventing exposure to ticks is important for humans and our dogs.

"Many dogs affected with Lyme Disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were "walking on eggshells." Often these animals have high fevers.

"Dogs may also become lame because of the disease. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later."

This lameness is what Lady is dealing with now. Yesterday she would not/could not move from her rug. She is better today, enough to accompany me for barn chores this morning and to relief herself in her usual spot in the yard. She gets 750 mg of Tetracycline twice daily for 30 days and 325 mg of aspirin as needed for pain.

Lady’s vet bill to treat the Lyme Diease and Heartworm was $400, which was a shocker considering I was expecting $280 for her to be spay and vaccinated. She is scheduled to be spay in late March and will receive all of her vaccinations then.

Tiger that cat needs to go in for a round of vaccinations and will be tested for Heartworm and Lyme Disease. He’s an indoor cat now, but was quite the mighty neighbor hunter in the years before he came to live with us. At least he is already neutered!

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