Hi. Our names are Dottie and Daisy. We had a really hard weekend. It started with Daisy finding one of those long skinny squirmy lifeforms in our yard. Daisy started barking at it, to alert the family that there was an intruder, and Mom and Dottie came to see what all the ruckus was about. That thing started rattling, we started jumping at it, and it started lunging and biting us. Whew, those things are fast!!!!! Never saw it coming at us! We did save Mom, though, no bites on her! But alas, when the altercation was over, the score was Rattlesnake: 6, Dogs: O. It didn’t hurt so much at first, then our faces and ears started swelling. It was off to the vet rather quickly, then. Here’s what Dr. Paula has to say about rattlesnake bites: Number one, try to avoid them. Leave those squirmy things alone, and they usually will leave you alone. But that’s hard for us canines. We usually have to go to a snake avoidance class to ever learn that lesson — it just isn’t in our DNA to leave them alone. If you do get bitten by a rattlesnake, you need to get to a vet as quickly as possible. The more quickly the antivenin is administered, the better it will work. You have to have an IV catheter, get IV fluids, antibiotics and that antivenin, to have much of a chance to survive and keep your skin. You see, the most common rattlesnake in this area is the Diamondback, and it injects a hemotoxin into your blood — it causes your platelets to dysfunction, and you can bleed, and it causes the skin in the area of the bite to swell and die. So you get this really bad swelling, the skin starts to die, and you can start bleeding internally and/or externally. Bad stuff. That’s the kind of snake that bit us. There is also the Mohave Rattlesnake in this area that injects a neurotoxin that causes paralysis – glad we didn’t tangle with one of those, this guy was bad enough. So we spent the weekend in the hospital, getting IV fluids, the antivenin, and lots of pain medication. We don’t really remember a lot of it. We should get to go home soon, it looks like we’re both going to make it this time. I think next time maybe we’ll just bark and run inside to tell the family that another one has invaded the yard, but we’ll stay inside as the fire department comes to remove it. Now understand, we are still quite the brave little canines, just perhaps maybe a little wiser now. Well, maybe a little wiser, but it is so hard to ignore those things — how do they move? Have you ever seen a snake’s legs? Where do they hide them? It just isn’t right, you just can’t move like that without legs…..and they are so fast……What do you think Dottie, should we go outside and check again? You go first…..you’re bigger…..I’m right behind you.
I have seen two dogs within the last two days, whom I believe have the disease called Valley Fever, or Coccidiodomycosis. It is a deep fungal infection that any species can develop after exposure to the sporulating fungus. The fungus lives in the desert, especially in our Sonoran Desert, and is kicked up by anything overturning the earth. That means the wind blowing, dogs digging, any construction jobs……..all of which is probably always going on somewhere near you. There are “hot spots” of the fungus around, but most of us don’t really know where those are in town. You know where your “hot spot” is, if you, your family, and all your dogs, have always gotten valley fever. It can be a devastating disease, if your immune system can’t throw it off. The dogs are much more prone to getting the full blown disseminated type of disease, instead of the flu-like self-limiting disease that healthy people usually get. The fungus can cause a cyclic fever, that comes and goes for a while, so your dog just doesn’t seem right, one day she’ll eat, the next day she won’t, or if the fever cycles on a 12 hour timetable, maybe they are good in the am, but not in the pm, or vice versa. It can also go deeper into the body and cause a pneumonia of the lungs, or it can invade any tissue of the body. Too often it invades the bone and causes a lysis, or eating away of the bone. This is very painful, and requires immediate treatment. The treatment can last from a minimum of 6 months, to a lifetime of treatment, depending upon the tissues attacked, and the immune system of the patient. The disease is particularly potent for the newcomer to the area, because they do not have any immunity to the fungus at all — their body has never encountered anything like it before.
So if your dog is just ” not acting right”, maybe it’s time to have a valley fever test done. The test can pick up the disease sometime after it has been in the body for at least 4 weeks. The test picks up the antibodies that the body makes against the fungus, so the body has to be strong enough to make the antibodies, and it has to have time to make them, before the test will show a positive result. Your vet will know how to interpret the tests.
If you are reading this and you have just visited our area with your dog and you are now back home, not in our Sonoran Desert, be certain to mention to your vet that you have been here, because Cocccidiodomycosis will not be high on their differential list of your dog’s problem, without that information.
Hi, my name is Niki, and I really scared my Mom a few days ago. I tried to walk to her, but I kept collapsing on one of my legs, and sitting down to catch myself. She really couldn’t tell what was wrong with me, and I wasn’t making it easy for her. So off we went to see Dr. Paula to see if she could diagnose my problem.
When we got to PAWS, I did my thing across the exam room floor, trying to walk, collapsing on one leg, and then sitting like any self-respecting kitty will do to not look like I am not in control. Well they hoisted me right up onto that table and started touching me from one end of my body to the next. When Dr. Paula got to my knee she knew — there it was, the problem. No doubt about it, my knee is only supposed to move in one direction, like a hinge, but it was sliding forward a good quarter of an inch. That’s why I couldn’t walk right — I’d put my weight on that leg, and instead of it supporting me, it slid forward! It surprized me and hurt me, so I’d just sit down. I got to get off that table then and hide back in my cage while Mom and Dr. Paula discussed my options. That anterior cruciate ligament is deep inside the knee, and it functions to keep the knee stable, to keep the knee just moving in one plane, as a hinge. The best treatment for a young animal is surgery, to repair the ligament. However, I am not spring chicken — I have a few years on me, and perhaps a few extra pounds. You see, I also have pretty significant arthritis in both my hips, so I can’t exercise like I should, to keep the extra weight off, and that makes me a poor candidate for surgery. But there are other options, Dr. Paula tells us. We can do acupuncture, herbs, and natural anti-inflammatory meds. We opted for the herbs and laser acupuncture. After just one acupuncture treatment and a week of herbs, I am now walking with just a slight limp in that rear leg — I can walk to wherever I want to go, again. It will continue to get better, unless I slip and fall, or pull it in some way to strain the ligament again. I will have arthritis in that knee, because of the injury and the instability of the knee, but Dr. Paula says I should be able to walk again, almost normally, in the future. I guess when it gets cold and damp, my arthritis will really act up, but I can live with that. I live in sunny and dry Tucson, AZ, how many bad days can there be???
Hi, my name is Buddy, and I am so lucky to be alive! I was found when I was only a few days old, in an alley up against a dumpster. I was taken by an angel person to the wonderful folks at the Center for Animal Rescue and Adoption. My first human Mom Cynthia fostered me and took me to see Dr. Medler and the Veterinary Technician named Beth, to see if they could help me to be able to walk better. Maybe you can see on the video or the pictures of me that my spine is not straight at all — it seems to make an abrupt turn where its supposed to be straight. Everyone is amazed that my spinal cord is still intact and that I can walk at all. I guess that happened because I was so young that my bones were soft and they could just bend instead of break. So I had a rough start in life, but I really got lucky after that! After Beth met me and started to do the rehabilatation exercises on me, she fell in love with me (of course, who doesn’t?) and adopted me!!!! So I get rehab exercises and massage every day, and I am growing nicely in my own way. My big ole heart is finding some room in my chest, not quite where everyone else’s is, I guess, but it works for me. I can’t play or run but for a few minutes, because my lungs don’t have the room they need to expand normally, but I play for a few minutes, then I rest, then I can play some more. It really is a good life! Thanks everybody for loving me so much and not just tossing me in to that dumpster!
Hi, my name is Fearless Joy, Fearless for short. I am Dr. Paula’s personal assistant. She really just couldn’t function without me. When we are working at Companion Animal Clinic I get to hang out with my buddy Lisa up front, and when we work at PAWS, I get to stay on Dr. Paula’s desk. So if you come in to either clinic, say Hi to me. I love people and other dogs. In case you can’t tell, I’m a parti poodle, that means I am not a solid color, but am black and white. I weigh 10 pounds, and I eat about every other day — my Mom gets worried about that because sometimes I vomit when my stomach has been empty for a while, but it works for me. They call me a “throw-back” to the wild dogs who eat like that, but I will tell you, I’m not a throw-back to anything — I am my own entity! You can also call me a “farm poodle,” because I spend some of my time running a farm in Missouri. I really like that — no leashes, wild turkey and raccoons to chase, deer to watch and feed…. paradise! However, during those long weeks when we never see the sun, I miss my Tucson! So there you have a little information on me — I look forward to meeting you!