The Evils that Bloom in the Spring

I wanted to write about how beautiful things are here right now. The greens seem greener than ever following all the snow of this winter. The sky is a gorgeous blue (possible aided by volcano ash!) that makes you wish you could keep the color in your heart forever.

But evil lurks in that luxuriant grass.

My Shmoo is a big, powerful, healthy boy who learned all he knows from the BCs in his life (the late Diva Maggie McMiggins and his new girl, Miz Peaches LaRoo). In the almost four years that he’s been a part of our family, the only time he was really ill was when he ate Maggie’s leather collar!

So, on Friday when he wasn’t acting himself, I knew something was wrong. Yesterday it was clear he wasn’t feeling well. He wouldn’t play with Peaches and he turned down his favorite dried chicken treats. Then, last night he felt warm to me and was panting a lot.

This morning I checked the color of his urine and it seemed dark to me, although not brown. But I still thought that there was a good chance that he had picked up canine piroplasmosis (canine babesiosis) so I called our vet who is a good man and will see you at ANY time there is an emergency.

Shmoo definitely had a fever and a blood smear showed that my suspicion was correct; it was definitely the dreaded piro.

I’m lucky I got him to the vet’s in time, as three injections later we were out the door and on the way to recovery. He still needs to take a diuretic for the next five days to protect his kidneys from damage, but the chances are strong that he’ll make a complete recovery.

This proves that not even careful tick protection can keep the little nasties totally at bay. There is a vaccine available. It has had mixed results, but I’m thinking that if I use that and continue the tick protection we’re upping our odds of keeping the dogs from getting this again. I know we can’t wrap them in a cocoon of protection, but sort of wish that I could!

My boy is resting comfortably now, and we are all grateful to modern medicine at the moment.

Ciao for now.


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6 thoughts on “The Evils that Bloom in the Spring

  1. Hope that Shmoo feels better soon! Being surrounded by woodland trails (which is what Jacksonville is known for) we know there are many insidious things awaiting us and the beasts who reside with us. We do have both dogs innoculated with the tick vaccine (which I’d never even heard of before we moved north) and they both have on tick collars during the heavier tick season (which seems to be autumn and spring around here). I also know several people who’ve either had Lyme disease or been tick bit and their docs have given them antibiotics as a preventative. Sigh. Hate ticks, but you can’t hide from nature forever. You are a good mom for keeping a close eye on your wards!

  2. Thanks, Paula. We’re about 24 hours post treatment and he ran with Peaches a bit in the garden for the first time in three days. They didn’t do a lot, but it made my heart sing to see it.

    Most people here don’t do the tick vaccine, but I will from now on. I don’t want to take this risk again. The problem with this disease is that antibiotics don’t do anything; it’s more like having malaria.

    Great choice we have: chemical poisons or deadly diseases. I’m not sure I like either of them all that much.

    Take care of your fur-kids out there!

  3. what a relief that Shmoo is feeling better. you are the best dogmom ever, first to have paid close attention and recognized the problem, then to have sucked it up to take him to the vet on a sunday, rather than waiting for the next day. you saved our Shmoo’s life, i’m certain! 🙂 speaking as someone who has been fighting for the lives of several new lambies this spring, three successes and one sad loss, i know how terrifying and urgent it is when our animals suddenly get sick. you done good!

  4. Thanks, Rave. And you know that if it had been ME that was sick, I’d just have sucked it up and suffered! Seeing him slowly getting back to normal is really making me feel so good.

    When the vet looked at the blood sample from Shmoo’s ear, he said I had done exactly the right thing.

  5. Randy- I am so sorry to hear about Shmoo. But at least he is back to normal. Keelo sometimes have them too from the hiking trails over here. I have heard about ticks causing serious problem for dogs but I have yet to experience it myself, not that I want Keelo to have to go through this kind of scare. Shmoo is loved. Lucky dog…

    And I did not know that Shmoo eats strange stuff also. I thought it was only my dog. 🙂

    • Actually, Gene, it’s Peaches who eats everything in sight. Shmoo was like that at the very beginning, but soon realized that he could always hold out for something “better!”

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