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The Terminator approach to animal control?

Schwarzenegger Wants Strays Killed Faster

From Yahoo News: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to repeal a state law that requires animal shelters to hold stray dogs and cats for up to six days before killing them. Instead, there would be a three-day requirement for strays. Other animals, including birds, hamsters, potbellied pigs, rabbits, snakes and turtles, could be killed immediately. .[more]

I’m having trouble coming up with a more rational, coherent response than instinctively blurting out a descriptive expletive of what I think of the Governator and his brilliant idea… I hope the animal groups jump on this one and squash it…

Geez, how about putting some thought and effort into how to prevent so many unwanted animals from ending up in shelters to begin with, instead of focusing on trying to kill them faster once they get there?

Update on the fainting Bull Terrier and puking cat

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately and I suppose the lack of posts lately has reflected this. Continuing from June 11th’s post, here’s the latest:

Wednesday is feeling fine now, the vet thought maybe the intense vomiting was brought on by stress but with all the surgeries and boarding she’s undergone because of her bladder issues, never having an episode like this before, we’re a bit skeptical. My paranoid, suspicious side wonders if in the heat of a busy day at the clinic, a vaccine (she has a history of vaccine reactions with symptoms like what she showed) or other medication was inadvertently given to Wednesday. I suppose we will never know, we’re just relieved she is OK. Joy’s big fear that night was that that her bladder had burst along the scar of one of the previous incision sites when they were trying to express it. She’s even better than I am at conjuring up worst-case scenarios.

On to Mojo, who was becoming uncoordinated, stumbling, and collapsing in the midst of vomiting up bile. Several members on the Bull Terrier Neurological Disorders group suggested syncope, or fainting, and one person said that her dog had suffered the same symptoms and the vet diagnosed something called ‘vasovagal syncope’. When I took Mojo to the vet, that is what he diagnosed in Mojo’s case, too. Basically (and I am sure I will garble this explanation terribly) the pressure from the hard abdominal press when he was vomiting stimulated the vagal nerve, causing a sudden drop in blood pressure and brief loss of consciousness. I am guessing because he stopped heaving as he fell each time, this remedied the situation and that is why he didn’t go ‘out’ completely.

Apparently it’s a pretty well-documented quirk, and based on what we’ve seen, the vet did not feel there was any underlying heart condition causing this, he said we should just document it and see if anything else happens. If he started having spells at other times we would want to do an echo cardiogram, even have Mojo wear a monitoring device for 24 hours, but based on just what had happened he didn’t think there was anything to worry about. He did a thorough exam including listening to his heart for a good long time, and everything checked out OK. We will make sure that he gets some sort of midday snack from now on so he doesn’t have an empty tummy for so long. I worry that his medication is a contributing factor to both the syncope and the vomiting, but an attempt this week to try and lower the dosage slightly had very negative results so right now I guess it is just a risk we have to take.

The other furkids are holding up. Lilly is still plugging along same as always, the bloody stool has resolved so it was most likely the different food we had been giving her, setting off her irritable bowel. Olive’s allergies aren’t too bad right now, but Simon has a weird lesion on his nose. Joy has been doing some research and it looks like his nose and eye issues may be due to feline herpes. Lindsy had some sort of spell for a few days where she was really grouchy but she’s feeling better now.

Chiggers revisited

I see from the webstats that we are getting steady traffic from folks searching on things like “chiggers in dogs” and “cats + chiggers.” While I feel bad that they’ve come here to find very little useful information, I am at the same time somewhat comforted to learn that, apparently, we aren’t the only ones suffering. And as I sit here scratching my ribcage like a monkey, that makes me feel a wee bit better somehow…

So here’s what little we do know about chiggers, for whatever use that might be to others whose Google searches lead here. They are the larval form of something called a harvest mite, the adult is actually a beneficial insect and if it’s any consolation, we aren’t even the ideal host for the larvae, they prefer birds. The larvae are a little smaller than a grain of salt and sit at the top of plant stalks waiting for an unsuspecting meal to walk by, scrambling on and running along very quickly until they find a chewable body surface.

They feed off skin cells which are predigested by the saliva they spew into the bite site, and it is the saliva and not the chigger itself that causes the intense itching and the swelling. Usually the chigger is long gone by the time the itching starts, in fact, which is why remedies like dabbing with nail polish to ‘smother’ the mites are worthless — except in the sense that they give you something else to do besides tear your skin off with your fingernails for a few minutes. Oh, another thing we now know about chiggers, that is probably of no interest to anyone else but of immense interest to us, is that our new yard is infested with the damn things!

Joy seems to be having some luck with spraying her legs with Off! spray anytime she goes outside. I am reluctant to use chemicals unless forced to, so I have been sporting a dozen or so chigger bites at any given time the past month and a half. The dogs, particularly Mojo, are getting bit in their groin areas. Supposedly sulfur applied to the yard will kill them but I am not sure what environmental impact it will have on other living things out there and I worry about the dogs sniffing/walking on that. I’ve also read that Frontline kills them and wondered if treating the dogs for a few months would gradually decimate the chigger population. But again, I hate to use chemicals unnecessarily. So for now, we are just coexisting with the evil buggers.

I did come across an amusing essay on Chiggers today. Enjoy.

The view from here…

Just thought I would share a typical view from the chair in front of the computer at home.

argh argh argh argh!

This past week hasn’t been the greatest. All sorts of chaos at work, Joy’s schedule (if you can call not knowing from week to week when you are working until the last minute a ‘schedule’) has changed again, for the worse of course, and Lilly, Mojo, and Wednesday have all been having health issues.

Wednesday went in for a routine urinalysis recheck, and had to be left overnight to get the sample. We picked her up yesterday evening, they finally had to do a cystocentesis to get the sample, which she’s had done before (this involves drawing the sample directly from the bladder with a sterile syringe and needle inserted through the belly) and she was sent home with another round of antibiotics. On the way home she began puking violently, threw up repeatedly again at home, acted very painful and freaked out, and had diarrhea. We were ready to rush her to the emergency clinic when she finally seemed to feel a bit better, so we decided to watch her instead. This morning she seems back to her old self, we have no idea what was wrong. The only time she has ever acted like that before was the time she had a vaccine reaction but she did not receive any medication or vaccines yesterday. We’re just relieved she’s better.

Lilly is having what seems to be a colitis flareup but we are worried it is something worse. Lots of blood in her stool. Usually with her colitis she vomits and there is more mucus than blood in the stool, this is streaks of frank blood and we’re worried. There was a slight diet change recently, though, so we’ve got her back on what she was eating previously and she’s on a course of metronidazole and we will see what happens. If it isn’t better in a few days we’ll need to have her checked out. Mojo has had two episodes where he had to vomit recently because of an upset stomach, and during the retching he became unsteady and collapsed. He is going to the vet’s today.

When we tried this new vet I knew I was going to have a problem with the ‘walk-ins only policy’ (no scheduled appointments, it is first come first served) but I am getting more than a little frustrated. Feels like we are going to a ‘McVet’ and it sucks because I really have liked the actual Dr. we have seen, but not the way the clinic is run. Experience has taught us that weekday mornings are a bad time to go because there is a big rush of drop-offs and the vets scurrying around trying to see appointments in between setting up for the day’s surgeries. So I figured, since I am off today, I’d go early in the afternoon. Called yesterday to make sure we’d see our vet. When I asked if he was seeing appointments Friday, the recep. says “Oh yeah, i think so” and I said “when in the afternoon would be a good time to come?” and she said “anytime, we don’t close for lunch.” So today, just to make absolutely sure everything is a go (we’ve been turned away two different times when we’ve gone, because they had too many people already waiting) I call, ask if Dr — is seeing appointments today, and she says “yes, but he is at lunch right now.” and told me to come after 2pm. I resisted the urge to eat my phone. She couldn’t tell me that yesterday why??? I really would like for Mojo to see that Dr. so I’m trying to be patient, but that is just a crazy way to run a clinic.