October 19th, 2007
|jimbojones||09:45 pm - omg omg DOGGIE!|
So, I decided recently I wanted to get a little indoor/outdoor dog. I am not going to lie: a lapdog. Nate's wife Kristin has a little rat terrier / chihuahua / something mix named Kade who decided some time back that I am the bestest thing since t-r-e-a-t-s, and while my entire life I've always preferred big dogs - the bigger the better - having Kade cuddled up in my lap for football games over at Nate's got me to thinking how awesome it would be to have a little TV buddy. (My cat, Tom, is a great companion and I love him to death but he hates TV. He won't go anywhere near the living room if the TV is on.)
Sooo, I started doing a little research on breeds, and I decided if I could possibly find one, what I really wanted was a feist, and if I couldn't find a feist, then a rat terrier. And after digging around some on the internet, I found Molly!
Molly is, if not a purebred mountain feist, then the spittin' image of one (esp. check the brown-and-white in the next to last photo). Of course we'll never know for sure, because she wandered in out of the woods one day in Manning, SC (about an hour and a half away from here) and, after being coaxed a little, reappeared with a couple of very young puppies and was taken in to the shelter. I always did have a weakness for "critter that wandered in out of the woods" pets... anyway, her puppies disappeared immediately since they were 1. puppies and 2. not heartworm positive, but Molly herself had heartworms, so she was still there in spite of being OMG ADORABLE. I sponsored her heartworm treatment last week, and as of this coming Wednesday, I get to take her home! Sharon (the lady at the shelter)'s description of her personality sounds dead on for the breed too - sweetheart, intelligent, extremely attentive and treat-motivated, loves to run and run outside and do little frisbee-dog flips for no apparent reason, but just as content to come inside and curl up for a nap after. She said it only took five or ten minutes to teach Molly to sit.
I am soooo excited. I have to keep her quiet for the first month (indoor only except for walkies on a leash, no running around) until the dead heartworm bits finish flushing out of her heart, but I think we'll be okay. I'll just keep her confined to the living room the first month (and make sure she's got lots and lots and lots of chewy toys) and I think she'll do fine. After that, doggie-door insert in the sliding glass door in the office so she can hit the big back yard as she pleases, and we'll be good to go.
Current Mood: omg DOGGIE!
I can't really take credit for the towel idea - it was in a booklet that came with "Dr. Elspey's Cat-Attract Litter, guaranteed to cure all behavioral litter box problems in any cat in 20 days or your money back!" - which I bought with the sure knowledge that it was utter snake oil but with at the end of my rope when I was having litter box troubles with Tom (long LONG story, he hasn't had a healthy history with litterboxes) but it turned out that Dr. Elspey wasn't bullshitting me after all - it IMMEDIATELY cured Tom.
Anyway I read the little booklet because, well, hey, little booklet, why not. And the towel trick was in there as a way to introduce a new adult cat into a household - confine the new cat to one room, and wipe the scent glands at the chin of each cat with a hand towel each day and put them under each others' food bowl. Sounded like a great idea to me, so I figured why not give it a shot with Moll and Tom?
The living room's interior door is a French door, too, so they'll get plenty of chances to see each other in the meantime also. And Tom shouldn't resent getting shut out of the living room since he almost never goes in there anyway - I am not kidding about how much he hates TV. If I go in there to read a book on the couch he'll eventually wander in and curl up with me, but he waits AT LEAST an hour to make sure I'm not going to turn on the hated bright-loud-stuff-box first, whereas if I hang out in the office or the reading room he's in there with me in 5 minutes or less.
| ||From: jimbojones|
Date: October 20th, 2007 - 03:35 pm
Adult heartworms infest the heart, never leaving it. They grow about six inches in size but very thin (like angel hair spaghetti), and produce "microfilariae", microscopic offspring that live dormant in the bloodstream. IMPORTANT: microfilariae CANNOT grow further in the host. Next, a mosquito comes along and bites the dog, sucking up some microfilariae with the blood. Inside the mosquito, the microfilariae then develop into larval forms which CAN grow into adult heartworms. The next time the mosquito bites a victim, the larval heartworms enter the bloodstream of that victim and travel through the circulatory system to the heart, where they lodge and grow into adult heartworms.
A few heartworms don't present any clinical symptoms to speak of, but the longer a dog is left without preventive medication in an environment where heartworms are present, the more the dog will accumulate as he or she is bitten again and again by infected mosquitos.
In a dog who already has heartworms, the treatment for removal goes like this: sedate dog, inject arsenic compound into the muscles of the dog's lower back, wait a day, sedate dog and inject arsenic compound into the muscles of the lower back again. The arsenic does a slow kill on the heartworms (a fast kill could cause them to go berserk in there and do serious damage as they die), but the corpses are still in the heart. Over the next five weeks or so, bits and pieces of dead heartworm dissolve and are encysted and naturally get flushed out of the heart - during that period, the dog has to be kept quiet, because vigorous physical activity greatly increases the risk that enough little heartworm bits get flushed at once to plug a brachial artery.
Once the first month or so is up, they can have some exercise again, but you're still supposed to try to keep it light, as they do still have some damage healing from the whole episode. But now it's more of a "don't strain healing tissue too much" thing than a "don't give them a thromboid embolism from dead chunks of worm plugging their arteries" thing.
... oh, and after four months you get them checked again for the presence of microfilariae in the bloodstream, which would indicate that you likely missed some of the worms with the first treatment, in which case they have to do it again.
Depending on the size of the dog and who your vet is, the treatment costs between $500 and $1000. So um. Don't ever EVER forget the heartworm prevention meds on your puppy...
| ||From: jimbojones|
Date: October 20th, 2007 - 08:37 pm
Yeah, they're fucking horrible. I never really knew anything about heartworms until I decided to adopt Molly. The expense is BRUTAL, too, which is sad because it means so many shelter dogs are probably never going to get treated. =(
I was trying the other day to think of some way you could tackle eradicating heartworms - I mean, they very literally serve no purpose at all in the food chain, nothing can get at them! - but they've found a pretty ironclad niche. Short of either completely eradicating mosquitoes - an ecological mistake (mosquitoes DO serve a significant purpose in the food chain) even if you could somehow manage it - or regularly medicating or eradicating all dogs, INCLUDING feral dogs, which is obviously impossible, I don't see how it could be done.
The typical way to try to get rid of insect, arachnid, or nematode pests is to interfere with their reproductive cycle chemically, but these damn things just don't spend any time outside a host, which makes that problematic in the extreme. Grrrr.
I'm just thankful human immune systems make short work of the damn things. (Ever been bitten by a mosquito? I can just about guarantee you've had heartworm larvae in your bloodstream then... but lucky for you, your immune system is WAY better than a dog or cat's at killing them.)