The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Anaplasmosis’

Heating Hazards of NWO

[Scribal Caution: This is not pleasant reading/viewing for insectiphobes.]

The temperatures have been high this week, into the high 20C range (low 80s for my American friends). I still have all my wool. I’m hot.

Feeling too hot isn’t my only problem, though. With the heat, and all the melted snow collected in forest pools, and with the rain, we have other problems starting. Pesky, whining, biting, bloodsucking mosquito problems. Elizabeth has rigged my doghouse opening so that it both brushes flies and skeeters off me as I go in, then flops back into place in such a way as to deter biting insects from entering later. But when we go for our walks in the morning and evening, the mozzies flock to my nose area and feast away.

Elizabeth has always been a mosquito magnet, too. She’s been trying a homeopathic remedy called Mozzi-Q. It works. The mosquitoes just buzz around her. She still gets the odd bite, but not very many. She won’t give me any. She says she doesn’t know if it’s safe for dogs. Some two-legger things aren’t…

So, I suffer. I am coming into the two-legger house more, but I can’t stay inside all the time. So, I suffer.

Mosquito bites make me itchy. When I'm itchy, I look more like a Shar Pei than a Great Newfenees.

Mosquito bites make me itchy. When I’m itchy, I look more like a Shar Pei than a Great Newfenees.

Mosquitoes are not the only problem that comes with Spring. Now that the weather is hot and with all the rain, the grass is growing. Elizabeth says the military have special devices called mine sweepers that detect dangerous explosives hiding in the ground. I am a tick sweeper, not just detecting ticks but gathering them up into my wool as I patrol the estate’s meadows. It’s a tough job. I have already contracted one tick-bourne disease, anaplasmosis. But the job is not without its perks:

Elizabeth checks me for ticks every time I come in from outside. The blue thing on the floor is a tick key, used to remove engorged ticks safely. Every once-in-a-while Elizabeth misses one and it gets big. I look pretty fierce here, don't I...

Elizabeth checks me for ticks every time I come in from outside. The blue thing on the floor is a tick key, used to remove engorged ticks safely. Every once-in-a-while Elizabeth misses one and it gets big. I look pretty fierce here, don’t I…

but really, I love getting deticked. It feels like a doggie spa treatment as Elizabeth goes through my wool and massages my skin with her fingertips.

but really, I love getting deticked. It feels like a doggie spa treatment as Elizabeth goes through my wool and massages my skin with her fingertips.

Oh! And look what she found. This one is small so not a great picture. Sorry, but you get the idea....

Oh! And look what she found. This one is small so not a great picture. Sorry, but you get the idea….

Fortunately, some other forest folk are taking up residence in the neighbourhood to give us a hand with insect control.

I might start hanging out in the garden with this little guy. He's a Gray Tree Frog puppy Hyla versicolor is his latin name. Hiya, Hyla!

I might start hanging out in the garden with this little guy. He’s a Gray Tree Frog puppy Hyla versicolor is his latin name. Versicolor indicates that he changes colour to blend in with his surroundings better. If you look closely, you can see his skin is just starting to turn green. It isn’t an instant process. Hiya, Hyla! How’s the Rhubarb?

Like the rest of us here, this spider enjoys a hearty breakfast. She was too busy eating to tell us her name. If any of you know her, please tell us who she is!

Like the rest of us here, this spider enjoys a hearty breakfast (I don’t think she’ll be dining on any mosquitoes for a while…). She was too busy eating to tell us her name. If any of you know her, please tell us who she is!

Anaplasma Blues II

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Dr. Celia. I wasn’t sick or anything. In fact, I was kind of surprised to find ourselves at the vets’ place. I felt just fine, thank you!

I was ushered into the metal platform room, and I went directly to it and sat, just like I’m supposed to. “Good girl, Stella,” said the vets’ assistant. I turned my head and looked at her. I’m always good at the vets’.

“112.7 pounds.”

Well. That’s a bit disgruntling. I was 108 last time I was in.  ~:o/=

Dr. Celia came in armed with a bunch of little bottles and stingy pricking things. She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a friendly tussle. “What a beautiful coat!”

I glowed inside. I think I have a lovely growth of wool, too, and it means so much to me when people notice….

“But you’re feeling a little bit fatty here, Stella.”

Kay would say that’s just like a cow to give a good pail of milk and then stick her foot in it.

I got all my shots up to date. That was it. No other poking and prodding, no glass tubes stuck into unmentionable places, no lights shone into my ears, no prying my jaws open ’til they felt about to unhinge…. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Stella healthy before,” Dr. Celia continued. “It’s so nice to see you when you’re not sick, Stella!”

Elizabeth says Dr. Celia must’ve jinxed me.

Thursday morning, when Elizabeth let me out of my run, she found my giant cheese and bacon flavoured cookie from the night before lying on the floor outside my house. I’d tried a couple of times to eat it. I LOVE my bacon & cheese cookies. But somehow, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it that night.

Nor could I bring myself to eat breakfast. Or to drink.

I took my bacon & cheese cookie from Elizabeth at lunch so she wouldn’t feel badly. But I couldn’t eat it then, either. She found it when she went to lock the front door at closing time.

So, she called the vet. “Wait and see how she is tomorrow,” the assistant said, after asking Dr. Celia.

Worried, Elizabeth decided I could stay in the house overnight. She thought it would be better to keep an eye on me. So, while she was in the bathroom getting ready to go to bed, I snuck into her room and went where I knew I’d feel best, lay down and waited for her. When she came in, I didn’t have the energy to move. I stayed there all night.

I really didn't think she'd mind....

I really didn’t think she’d mind if I slept on her bed with her….

Elizabeth was a bit cranky the next morning, but I felt a bit better. Even though she was being a grump, Elizabeth made a fuss over my breakfast – she soaked it in water used to poach their salmon and added some canned chicken . I made a real effort and ate it. I even licked the bowl a little. It was all I could manage that day.

Ozzie is a neutered male mixed breed that was born around June/09. He is a very gentle mellow dog that presently weighs about 80 lbs. He needs to put on about 5 lbs. He also is recovering from from wounds (from either another dog or from a wolf/coyote) He has just come into care on Jan19/13 so watch for updates as DA Dog’s Life gets to know him better. – photo & text courtesy It’s a Dog’s Life website

Ozzie is a neutered male mixed breed that was born around June/09. He is a very gentle mellow dog that presently weighs about 80 lbs. He needs to put on about 5 lbs. He also is recovering from from wounds (from either another dog or from a wolf/coyote) He has just come into care on Jan19/13 so watch for updates as DA Dog’s Life gets to know him better. – photo & text courtesy It’s a Dog’s Life website

Saturday morning, Elizabeth dropped her things off at the shop and Kay drove us down to the vets’. I sat on the platform like always. “108.6 pounds,” read the assistant, and we went back to the waiting room.

Holly, a Shih Tzu, tried to coax me to play, but I didn’t really feel like it. I supervised her play with Sparky, a hound/husky/shepherd mix whose parents are sled-racing dogs. I was ready to step in if Sparky got a bit too rambunctious for Holly – Sparky’s still just a (big) pup.

Then Ozzie came out. Ozzie is one of the dogs from It’s a Dog’s Life who is looking for a new home. He was abandoned on the highway to Winnipeg and attacked by a wily wolf. He looks much better now although he still had a shaved spot on his back. He’s a lovely brindled dog, and I hope he finds a forever home soon. I told him so, and he waggled his tail stump and said he hoped so, too. He loves two-leggers and just wants to settle down somewhere homey, he told me. He’s very grateful to all the two-leggers of Kenora who have donated to help pay his big vet bill. If you’d like to offer a bit to help – there’s still some left to go, and he isn’t finished his treatments yet – you can follow the It’s a Dog’s Life link and click on their ‘donate’ button.

Dr. Celia gave me a thorough check-up. She and Elizabeth talked together about me for some time, and they decided to treat me for anaplasmosis again.

So, I’m on the heavy antibiotics for another three weeks. The good news is that I feel much, much better again already. I’m eating my food, and last night I was excited to taste a giant bacon and cheese cookie once more. I lay out under a starry sky, and when I wasn’t dreaming about saving Ozzie from wily wolves, I was thinking about what a wonderful life I have with my own house and run and a whole bunch of wonderful two-legger friends to hang out with, look after and be looked after by. Life is good.

Anaplasmosis Blues

*SIGH*

Well, at least I don’t itch as much. That’s the good news.

I wasn’t feeling very good at all on Saturday. Even Piggy was feeling sorry for me. He’s nice to cuddle with, and he always makes me feel a bit better.

I was in on Saturday to see the vets again. Dr. Celia was taking a much deserved weekend, so I got to see Dr. Roseanne for the first time in a long time. My back legs weren’t working properly – they were very weak – I was really tired and feeling pretty depressed about being sick. Again… And while I was in the examining room, my skin began to twitch. The two-leggers thought it was itching that made it convulse up my spine, but it wasn’t. I didn’t feel itchy at all. But when someone or something touched me, my skin just rode in a wave from my back end to my shoulders.

Dr. Roseanne thought my Blasto had come out of hibernation again. Then Elizabeth had a thought. This same thing happened to me last Spring when I had a bad bladder infection. Dr. Celia thought the Blastomycosis had struck again then, too. But it turned out that I had a tick-bourne disease no one had ever seen in this area before, something called Anaplasmosis.

“Trust Stella,” Elizabeth said.

Anaplasmosis is much easier and cheaper to treat than Blasto, though.  ~:o)=

Dr. Roseanne seemed to think it more likely that it was Blasto than Anaplasmosis this time, however. “I’m going to x-ray her lungs and see what’s happening there. With that wet cough (I’d also coughed once in the examining room) and one lung sounding louder than the other…. If the x-ray doesn’t show anything, then we’ll do a blood test for the Anaplasmosis.”

The x-rays were clear. But the blood test showed that I have Anaplasmosis again. My skin infection compromised my immune system enough that the Anaplasmosis, which must have been lying dormant in my body, perhaps from this Spring or, more likely, says Dr. Roseanne, from another tick, has erupted.

Dr. Roseanne put me on a stronger antibiotic and within two doses I felt much better. Elizabeth has been feeding me some really yummy food, too – soaked kibble mixed with tuna and salmon that she got from Doyle the Dog Food Man – because my throat and tonsils were really raw and so sore that I was refusing to eat a thing. But I feel much better today. For the first time in weeks, I pulled Elizabeth up the hill on our walk. She had to run to keep up, even with my paws slipping a bit on the ice and snow on the driveway! It was fun.

I must continue on the antibiotics for another two weeks at least, though, to beat the Anaplasmosis into submission, hopefully out of my system altogether. It might decide to just stay there and wait until I have another infection. It’s an insidious sort of disease, just like the ticks that carry it. No one here is very familiar with it, so Elizabeth isn’t too sure what to expect. But I know she’ll always be there to look after me, so I’m not worried.  ~:o)=

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