4-legged chick update, plus heartworm in dogs

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The chickie died. His hind end was messed up beyond the extra legs. The same day, one of our dogs died from heartworm treatment. The experience makes me want to offer this plea to loving dog owners: keep your dogs tested and on preventative! "Holly" was a stray I rescued several years ago, in the days when I was lax about such things. This spring, in an effort to get on the ball, we had all 18 of our permanent dogs tested and put on the monthly preventative. Holly's test was positive, which meant she needed very powerful & poisonous drugs to kill the worms. She died of liver failure less than a week after the treatment. I feel incredibly guilty and sad, and hope that by sharing this ordeal, I can maybe persuade others to be vigilant about keeping their dogs on preventative. I now know first hand what happens if you don't, and I'm telling you, you DON'T want this kind of guilt in your heart!

-- Shannon (Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary) (gratacres@aol.com), June 17, 2000


so sorry to hear this. one thing that has come from her death is a call to our vet a.s.a.p for blood work. i have become lax about it my self. also where we live lymes {sp} is a big deal.

-- renee oneill (oneillsr@home.com), June 17, 2000.

just took the dogs to the vet. we had a terrible time with fleas last year, so i asked him for a pill form of heartwrm and flea control. last year we used to advantage which was useless. he put them on sentinal. nearly dropped when he gave me the bill. my morgan, a yellow lab/pryreness is 107 lbs.$185.00 for 12 month treatment. arthur is full pyreness 129 lbs. $220.00. this did not include the heartworm test, rabies vaccine, distemper, lyme disease vaccine and the visit it self. total cost for the 2 dogs.... $612.22. next week the two cats go in for their checkup. this sucks, but what else can you do? probably spent about 200.00 last year with all the flea powders, advantage, flea spray, shampoos, and bombs for the house. so this better work!!! laura

-- laura cavallari (ladygoat13@aol.com), June 17, 2000.

Two of our 5 dogs tested positive for heartworms last year, we put them on the very expensive medication, one died withing 5 days, it was awful, the other came through fine, it is something we really stay on top of now.

-- Hendo (redgate@echoweb.net), June 17, 2000.

The drug used for heartworm prevention is ivermectin If you are counting pennies, and can do without the extra flea protection you can use plain ivermectin, expecially if you already have some for goats/sheep. The caution is that collies and shelties often are sensitive to ivermectin. The ivermectin sheep drench comes in a liquid, not as concentraited as cattle or horse ivermectin ( which you could use, but it is hard to accurately measure such a tiny dose). At the vet clinic, all of us with many large farm dogs use the sheep drench, not as convenient as the chewables we sell the clients but much cheaper!! Very safe, exact same dosages can be used. Post or email if you are interested in amounts. Don't just use the sheep dosages.

-- Marci B. (daleb@kent.net), June 17, 2000.

I am sorry to hear about your dog. It's really sad when we lose a friend and then see that we might have prevented it. It is hard to be ever diligent....

I have a stray that was hit by a car sometime in the distant past and wasn't treated for that by a vet; he has one rear leg that is much shorter than the other and I seriously think he was hit in the head real hard, too! But he has heartworm, as well. I did a bit of research on it and found that there are basically two ways to attack it. If the dog isn't over 70 pounds the less aggressive method seems better as the poisons they use cause the worms to rush to the heart and liver and cause death in weaker or smaller dogs.

The "soft" treatment is putting them on Heartguard preventitive and trying to halt the spread of the worms while slowly sterilizing the existent adults. It isn't without problems either, as if a dog has a large amount of worms this can kill him too. I'm taking this tack with Wiley, and hopefully he will be okay.

-- Doreen (livinginskin@yahoo.com), June 17, 2000.

Shannon, We have also lost several dogs (all collies) to heartworms. On the advice of a healthfood store friend, we started using Equimectrin which was available at our local feed store. It is meant for horses and comes in a handy doseage-metering device which allows you to give doses based on the dog's weight. It costs about $14/year to treat two dogs in this manner and so far no trace of hearworms. Much better than the old $150/year treatment. Good luck, John and Pat

-- John and Pat James (jjames@n-jcenter.com), June 17, 2000.

shannon,just think what kind of life would she have had If you hadnt got her? most strays die of desease or starvation or cars or other dogs ect.You loved her and cared for her, A much better death then dying alone on the streets.Some of these posts sound good for the future on saving costs.I am sorry for your lose.

-- kathy h (saddlebronc@msn.com), June 17, 2000.

On the chick, just look at it as nature's way of culling the species. A guy not far from here has had two double-headed calves born a year apart. Different cows so it must be something in the bull. Both calves died within a couple of hours. He had one stuffed. Looks like a normal calf, just double-headed. I 100% support what you are doing. Last year I had one calf come up with a damaged leg joint. Vet thinks a cow laid on the leg until it caused permanent nerve damage. Put an ad in the paper and a local couple who rescue animals such as this came and got her. She was wild when I had her, but has tamed down for them to where they took her to the county fair so other kids could pet her. Will never walk correctly, but she will live out a fairly natural life.

-- Ken Scharabok (scharabo@aol.com), June 18, 2000.

We have 5 dogs at present, 3 Great Pyrenees, a German shepherd and an overweight mutt. The cat population is only 2 at the moment but we have had as many as 13 (all neutered or spayed, I want to add!) Needless to say, vet bills were out of this world. My husband was an EMT with a volunteer fire department and learned to give shots quickly and relatively painlessly. I buy single dose packages for the dogs from a vet supply outlet and meds for the cats from my vet then husband gives the shot while I distract the critter. The dogs' shots contain distemper,hepatitis, lepto, parainfluenza and parvovirus. We also buy Lyme from the vet and use Ivermectin injectable mixed with goodies monthly year round for heartworms. I still take the animals in yearly for a check up and for rabies vaccinations so that we can document that the particular animal has had it with the vet's signed certificate. We also have goats and sheep and except for emergencies and the really tough deliveries, we do all our own work there too. It takes a vet who is willing to work with you and educate you as ours is. Unfortunately, they are few and far between and most would rather keep the owner in the dark so they can charge hefty fees. I don't patronize those guys very long and have no qualms about warning others about them.

Sorry about your dog. Sometimes I think the poet who wrote the line about it's better to have loved and lost was wrong. Then I look in any one of my dogs' eyes and know how my life would be diminished without their love and companionship.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), June 19, 2000.

Marci, Please post the ivermectin doses for dogs. That sounds like a gret way to save money. Thanks,Chris

-- Chris (mdehne@ccpl.carr.org), June 23, 2000.

are there any areas where you don't have to worry about heartworm? i live in northern new mexico, it is a high desert climate. i know this is supposed to be an answer instead of a question, but i am new to this and am not sure how to post a question. thanks in advance. tina

-- tina shrout (clia88@newmexico.com), June 23, 2000.

Our local farmer/vet offers a once-a-month clinic at the local feed store for vaccinations. 5-way canine plus rabies or 3-way feline plus rabies for $10.00! He charges half the amount of the "town vet" for spays/neuters. He sends in the county rabies paperwork as well. Maybe you could talk to your favorite vet about offering a vaccination clinic too. We do boosters of the canine & feline (not rabies) ourselves. Here, Farm & Fleet has them for around 3 or 4 dollars and you can order them from some mail order sources. It would at least help cut down your vet bills! I am curious about the ivermectin dosages, as well. Don't you need to test the dog for heartworm first? We have a collie/shepherd/lab mix, around 60 lbs. Are the mixed breeds as susceptible?

-- Jean (schiszik@tbcnet.com), June 23, 2000.

P.S. Shannon, I am so sorry about Holly.

-- Jean (schiszik@tbcnet.com), June 23, 2000.

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