Heartworm Rampant on Island - Please take care of your dogs!
Reading about the stray in Fredriksted - so Loving and so wonderful... and knowing how many of us here online love our pets.... I thought I'd post this for people moving here that may not be aware... and for all of us that too often forget. Heartworm is alive and well on this island and it can kill your dog! Please make sure your pet is on medication monthly.
Heartworm is spread by a simple mosquitio. It is rampant in the stray dogs and the local dogs on the island and typically every dog over a year old that is not on medication has it if they live here. I recently learned from the animal shelter that at least 70 to 80 percent of the adult dogs that are surrendered to them (not just strays from the streets but the even ones people decide they just don't want anymore) are heartworm postitive. Heartworm disease is spread by the mosquito. it bites a dog that has it then bites a dog that doesn't. If one dog in a neighborhood has it ... then other dogs that get bit by that same mosquito will have it too... unless they are on heartworm meds.
Heartworm disease is virtually invisible. Many dogs will show little or no sign of infection even after the worms become adults. They may look healthy and strong... and still have it. Active dogs and those with heavier infections may show the classic signs of heartworm disease which include a cough, especially on exercise and early exhaustion upon exercise. In the most advanced cases where many adult worms have built up in the heart without treatment, signs progress to severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood and, finally, congestive heart failure. Heartworm can be treated. Talk to your vet. If caught early it is easy to treat. Depending on how advanced it is, the treatment can take months though. Talk to your vet. The test for heartworm is quick and easy.
Its so preventable. I'm posting this only to remind everyone to get their dogs on regular heartworm medication and to remember to give it to them monthly. Even though I am aware of it and all... even I need reminding to give my dogs their medication monthly. It just takes one mosquito. 🙁
love your dogs and kittys too and merry christmas to all!
Excellent reminder!! Heartworm preventative is under $10/month. Heartworm treatment is can be $400 - $900 approx depending on the size of your dog, 1 - 2 months long of treatment and can be very tough on your dog. One simple chewable pill per month saves your dog from so much suffering!!!
If your dogs are like some of mine and won't eat a chewable pill. Just find someone who sells the beef and chicken flavored "Pill pockets ". If you can't find them on island,they should be easy to ship. Real light weight package.
Thanks for the reminder limetime2. We try to put the little heart sticker on the calendar, so we stay on schedule. I'm also glad you mentioned the dog in F'sted. I was thinking about that and didn't want to be a nay-sayer, but I would caution people with other pets to know more before bringing this dog into their home. We brought a stray home about a year and a half ago. On the street, he was all lovey-dovey, tail wagging, nuzzle,nuzzle, etc. When we got him home, we kept him on a leash for a while to see how he would react with our other dogs and our cat. BAD idea! Street dogs are used to hunting and scrounging for everything. He was the only dog I have ever seen that was sneaky. While on the leash, he was fine. There was some positive interaction with the two dogs, and the cat walked right by him and actually sat on one side of the glass door while he was on the other side. There were no throat growls or any aggressive behavior. He didn't even blink. The second we took him off the leash, he was on our cat so fast it would make your head spin. Two hospital stays...one for the cat and one for my husband. The dog went to the shelter, where he was adopted by someone we know. As far as I know, he's doing fine. I don't ask!
Not every street dog is the same, but do be thoughtful of other pets and children. It's probably best if he starts out in a home of adults and no other pets, just to be on the safe side, or perhaps the shelter, where he will be tested and evaluated.
Chockman, (yes I am awake again...can't get used to Pacific time). I learned a good trick with giving pills to my horses and it may apply to dogs too.
On several occasions I had to give pills on a daily basis (sometimes several times a day). At a very wise old vet's advice. I took the pills and crushed them up into fine particles. Once I had done that I mixed that with baby food (like Gerber without preservatives or additives). I put enough in baby food in the mixture to camoflauge the texture and taste but not too much so that they had a hard time consuming it. When it had the consistency of a paste I put it in a large syringe (without a needle obviously) and squirted it on the side and towards the back of the mouth where it kind of stuck like peanut butter until they swallowed it. I made sure it wasn't too thick. It worked every time and I made sure that I didn't do too large a quantity at a time because I wanted to make sure that there wasn't a chance they could choke or something. Now, I used either carrot or apple baby food for the horses but for a dog maybe there is another flavor that would work better.
I highly recommend that you run this idea by a veterinarian prior to attemptiong with a dog. Make sure that the medication will have the desired effect and no adverse effects if delivered in a different method (crushed versus pill), it does make a difference sometimes. Also double check that the meds are okay to be delivered with a particular nutrient (food).
It is worth talking to a vet about if it makes it easier to give pills. My horses came to think of it as a carrot or apple treat and they were extremely cooperative even wanting to lick the end of the syringe afterwards....LOL
The standard heartworm "pill" is a cube that is evidently very tasty for dogs and they eat it like they think they are getting a treat. For other meds though... I'll definitly be looking into those pill pockets or babyfood mush techniques.
My Mom used to give me my pillls mushed up like that in a spoon full of honey .... no syringe though thankfully... then she'd shove it in my mouth (maybe I'da preferred the syringe come to think of it). It stuck to my mouth, tasting awful between the sweet, until I could finally get it all down . I quickly learned to swallow pills.
When you grow old with your dog, medication time becomes a ritual, for both you and the dog. I have experience with a syringe and found it best to inject it very slowly, if you do it to fast they have problems breathing and get scared (what a mess) they shake their heads and expel everything out of their mouth, and then the chase begins. Some Pills/medications must be taken in its original form so I would wrap the pill in roast beef. Why Roast Beef because he got bored of bologna and cheese.:S
Make sure the syringe is the platic type, they (the dog has a tendency to bite down on it)*-)
Liverwurst (aka Braunschwagger). It is $1.00 for a big ole' tube of it at Plaza in the meat section near the pork. Dogs will snarf a pill wrapped in Liverwurst.
Or just cheese. We have been giving one of our dogs medication for years, and her morning ritual involves a pill wrapped in cheese. She so looks forward to it. The vet actually took her off the meds a couple of months ago, but of course, she still gets that morning cheese before I get my coffee. We often gets looks at the grocery when one of us will say to the other..."Do we need dog cheese?" LOL