Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Parasites, Worms and other bad things

Ruby (l) and Stella (r) checking on her.

I noticed about halfway through this last trip to New Mexico and Arizona, that one of my dogs, Ruby, was getting pretty lean. I made several comments to my fellow hunters about how hard she was working and eating a lot and, still, she seemed to be losing weight.  Her energy level was high, as usual, and she would eat every morsel of food placed in front of her. I've had dogs before that would work so hard, no matter what I fed them, they would lose weight on a hunting trip.  Ruby seemed to be one of those dogs.  When we were on our way home, I wondered about the weight loss- she was basically skin and bones at this point.  The day after we got home, I went in to feed and she turned her nose up.  I feed Royal Canin Medium, a super quality kibble with excellent digestion and protein/fat ratio.  Normally, she attacks the bowl, after spinning around about 15 times in anticipation.   She wouldn't touch it.  The next day, same thing.  Too late for the vet on Saturday, I called him on Sunday, at home.  "Bring her in Monday, first thing!" he said.  Monday at 0730, this boy was standing at the office door with Ruby in tow.  She tested positive for Coccidea, a single-cell parasite in the digestive tract.  Normally seen in puppies, it is a killer- and she was full of them.  Apparently, she ate or drank something which compromised her immune system and this opportunistic parasite started to multiply in her gut.  It only took a fecal sample for diagnosis and some strong antibiotics to get her back on her feet.  By Wednesday, the next week, she was back to her old self, flying over the fields and putting the boy dogs to shame.  She'd lost 7 lbs. from her 35 lb. frame!  I think that was a close one!