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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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I figured it was about time that I break down and get a blog. So here I am!

Took my dogs to the vet today. Well, my new dogs anyway. Penelope and the puppies, as you may remember, are our new dogs adopted from a kill shelter (we used PetFinder.com.) Penelope was picked up by animal control when a neighbor called about her digging in the garbage. When she was picked up, it was clear she had a litter somewhere but no one could find the pups. Penelope stayed in lockup for over a weeke before we busted her out. A few days later the puppies were dumped at the shelter. A rescue organization had been notified, and we ended up fostering the litter of four for them. They were all loves, and after two weeks we were smitten. Two of the puppies were adopted last week from a local pet store, but Jay and I ended up keeping two boys – Sparky and Tiger. So now we have a total of four dogs.

All of them were in bad health when we got them. Penelope had heartworms, fleas, roundworms, tapeworms, and every other vermin known to mankind. The puppies were covered with fleas and had roundworms, hookworms, coccidia, and tapeworms. All of them are on high-quality dog food now, and have had the best vet care money can buy. Penelope will hopefully have no long term effects from the heartworms; she’s undergoing treatment, and is looking better than she ever has. It’s taken her a month, but she’s now doing some of the things that normal dogs do. Instead of sleeping all day, or cowering against someone’s legs, she now chews her bones, chases after balls, and plays with the other dogs.

The puppies are growing like weeds now that the worms aren’t taking all of their nourishment. They also like chewing their bones, playing with squeaky toys, chasing the ball, and of course, wrestling with each other.

  1. Please, please – if you aren’t breeding champion stock, spay and neuter your pets. Even if Fido is an indoor dog/cat, accidents can and do happen. And unless you’re going to take personal responsibility for the litter and raise them personally (about a 15 year committment), do everyone a favor and just say no. Remember that every year, millions of dogs and cats are put to sleep because there just aren’t enough homes. Help save a life – don’t contribute to the problem.
  2. Heartworms are fatal if left untreated, and there is no easy treatment. Currently, the only successful remedy endorsed by the American Heartworm Society and the American Vetrinary Medical Association involves injecting an arsenic-based drug into the epaxial (lower-back) muscles of the dog. Three injections are needed, usually with a month between the first dose and the second and third doses. (The second and third are given twenty-four hours apart and require an overnight stay.) Moreover, the dog has to be kept completely calm with little to no activity during the entire treatment period. The treatment itself is painful; being caged for two – three months is no picnic for the puppy, either, not to mention how inconvenient it is for an owner.Heartworms can be prevented by giving your dog or cat a monthly heartworm preventative. Our dogs take HeartGard Plus, although Interceptor, Sentinel, and Revolution are other popular preventatives. With the exception of Revolution, the only effort required on your part is popping the chewable pill out of the foil wrap. (Revolution is a topical treatment that is applied from a plastic vial on the fur between your pet’s shoulder blades.) It’s a very small price to pay, especially when you consider that a six month supply of HeartGard Plus is approximately $45 here in Houston, as opposed to the heartworm treatment, which runs a few hundred dollars.

Vaccinations, flea and tick eradication, and microchipping are other preventative measures you can take to make your pet healthy and safe. Now what are you waiting for – don’t you need to call your vet?

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