Sunday, May 3, 2009

Vet check and heartworms

Since I’m working at getting this blog up to date where Darlin’ is now in her rehabilitation, I forgot to mention her Vet check. I called a mobile Vet in the area and spoke to her about Darlin’, but we decided to give her a month here before we scheduled an appointment. Even then I felt it was too soon for anyone to handle Darlin’, but I couldn’t wait any longer. Darlin’ sometimes has very labored breathing, which may be due to stress, but it also causes me concern about her health. I had given her Drontal Plus here at home which kills all parasites, and like a good Mom I checked her poop and didn’t find any worms.

She was home five weeks when she was vetted. I am scared of losing her because if she were to escape I would probably never get her back. I tightened her collar, put the leash on her, wrapped it around my wrist several times, and then carried her to the Vet’s van. She was like a limp noodle in my arms and because of that she felt like a ton of bricks. I put her on the exam table and she didn’t fight it, but she was shaking like a leaf. I half expected her to be bucking or jumping around, not this sweet girl! I held her close to me as the vet got a stool sample. That was easy because Darlin defecated when the Vet touched her. After that she had her blood taken for a heartworm test and she was wonderful about it. Since she did so well having her blood drawn, she then had all of her shots. Just before leaving the van we checked her weight. I had been thinking she was 40 – 45 lbs because she was so heavy but she weighed in at 34 lbs!! Which means she was about 20-25 lbs when I first saw her so skinny at that parking lot! I put that weight on her while I had been feeding her. Nevertheless, I thought she weighed more.

I felt like a real weakling because running up and down the steps and carrying her was really taking a toll on me, my knees, and guess who’s gotten a hernia since carrying her?

I had examined Darlin’s teeth and thought she was 5-8 years old based on the staining. The Vet said she thinks she is 3 yrs or younger, but her teeth are darker (at the gum line) than my 9 yr. old Blue Heeler. My regular Vet has asked me what I use on my dogs teeth because he was impressed. They have never had their teeth cleaned; we have lots of chews here. They prefer the small Dingo treat chews and beef pizzle which I have ordered online for more than 5 years. Beef Pizzle or Bully Sticks are easily digestible, perhaps they don’t stick to the teeth either, I’m not sure, but my dogs get a piece every evening. If you’re thinking that they are expensive, you are correct, but if you buy in bulk, they last a long time and are more cost effective than buying other chews. All natural, no dyes, and easily digestible. Darlin’ use to act so happy when I left her a chew or pig ear, but here at home she hasn’t touched them. I wonder now if she knows what to do with a chew or if she’s just too nervous to relax enough to chew them.

Darlin’ tested positive for having heartworms. My vet classified her as stage one, or class one since she shows know obvious signs of illness. I haven’t had a dog with heartworms in 27 yrs, but the one I did have back then did extremely well on treatment and she fully recovered her health. Several Pet Finder members recommended that I check into putting Darlin’ on an antibiotic for 30 days before treatment. I did some research and found that the Doxycycline helps weaken the female heartworms so that they stop reproducing.

My mobile vet didn’t suggest the antibiotics so I called my own Vet and he doesn’t do it either. I called the mobile Vet about it and she wants to treat her different, but we do have her on Doxy. I thought it was ironic when the Vet told me that a grocery store in the area gives the Doxy for free. I know it’s cheap, but free is good. The store is the same one where I use to feed her. Darlin’ will take her Doxy for two weeks, then have her injections and continue on the Doxy another two weeks. Activity is limited which shouldn’t be a problem since Darlin’ doesn’t move around much. I’ll carry her up and down the stairs if the Vet thinks I should. I have given her Heartgard and hope it’s working and killing off the microfilaria (immature worms) in her bloodstream.

Darlin’ receives the heartworm treatment injections on May 7th and 8th. I’m not looking forward to it!

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