May 18th 2009 3:49 pm
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It’s flea & tick season. Some places, it ALWAYS IS. There are many dangers to our furry LOVED ones in the form of tick-borne diseases (TBD) but there are also dangers in the toxic chemical repellents used in industry today. We’ve added a link here to the second part of NRDC’s Poison on Pets II
There is also a link where you can check to see HOW YOUR product rates.
Check YOUR PAWticular product here
Making informed decisions about the use of toxic chemicals should be a priority in the lives of anyone, PAWticularly those with children present. Our mom is severely disabled because of an exposure to a mixture of solvents on the job many years ago.
The mixtures are those similar to pesticide formulations in hundreds of OTC products.
We often wish she didn’t know all she does, because then she’d (hopefully) be well.
We take her as is though, but because she HAS to know alternatives to common household poisons, for her own health, it helps her also take MUCH better care of us.
Thanks FUR listening mates.
If you want to learn more, do a search first on Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Maybe we’ll talk again later. We practice a diligent version in our lives, and PAWlease, don't be fooled. There are many who propose chronically reaching for something they can buy off a shelf in a store. Just think of this first.. words that end in 'cide' mean death to whatever "PEST" you're seeking to eradicate.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The English suffix -cide denotes an act related to killing. From Latin caedere "to cut, kill, hack (at), strike". In its wider meaning, it may also signify the destruction or dismantling of an object or concept. When attached to a word indicating an animal or plant considered to be pestilent, the combined word is frequently used to indicate a substance used to eliminate the pest in question. E.g. Pesticide, insecticide and herbicide.
Next, consider this.
Even natural products can be dangerous if used UNwisely. Taking time to think what your needs are and making a plan to effect whatever change you need takes time and thought. The very last means to employ FUR us EVER gets to anything that ends in 'cide'..
but even though we have learned alot of how to DO things differently, which safeguard mom's health, we still spend MOST of our free time working on finding that CURE for what took mica..
you might surprise yourself when you learn how simple it is to find the other ways & means.. Meanwhile, be well & stay as healthy as you can as long as you can. Taking good health FUR granted should never be what anyone does.
Once you lose it, you can almost never get it back.
Love, m, m & angel m,
who never use chemical input but have also been Blessed to be doing something right,
and pray it remains so.
May 15th 2009 8:24 pm
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this was actually posted yesterday, but once this many days goes by, what's in a number anyway?
may be way too long for most mates to feel like reading, but it is a day that something more needs saying..
we owe it to the wonderpup..
first, TY, always!! Daisy Mae & Margaret.. i wish that we could say few understand what you know- having lived with IMHA... but that would NOT be true. i can hardly keep count anymore, as there are SO many that we have met in 1007 days. most, though i'm sad to say have LOST their battle, but regardless of how IMHA touches you, ANY number beyond 1 is far too many FUR us.
today it is 1000 days since mica got her wings.
a milestone of a thousand days without her love & smiling face is STILL unbearable, and i feel the pain as much today as when it was day 1. mica was my first dog. she deserved better than what she was dealt.
then again mirra does too.
in a few weeks (30 May) she’ll be 2!
how much time have I already lost with her ‘raising awareness and funds’ for IMHA?
PAWhaps if we had found a cure, or PAWhaps rallied more than the few supporters we have, then maybe the difference would have been worth it.
but WAY too many OUT THERE SIMPLY rely on ‘the others’..
too many never come back- to give something back that might benefit some other dog. maybe yours.
they want what they need for their own loved one, but the rest be BLAHBLAHBLAH.
I hate to say that but damn it it’s true.
and it’s sickening.
I hate the way it makes me feel too.
since we lost the wonderpup, i HAVE come to want to spare even one person, even one dog we may never EVEN know- the pain & sheer indignity of the disease called IMHA.. if i could have spared mica what it did to her and taken it upon myself to bear i'd have done so in a blink of an eye.. i thought of that very thing on mothers day- [which] was also mica's 12th birthday.. and I have at least a thousand times since we lost her too..
she WAS the picture of health..
no inkling that within days she was eaten alive by her own immune system..
just the thought of the rupture of your own red blood cells, that carry the most simple and complex (simultaneously) aspect of life-functions.. AIR!
we take FUR granted, most of us, each breath we can take..
we don't know which one may be our last.. but as a mother, i wanted to look after my baby the best I could.. give her every chance to live, free of pain, free of disease.
so these last thousand days have in part, been dedicated to trying to make some frigging difference..
because I couldn’t spare mica, that maybe we could spare your dog…..
************we know that there are a handful that understand, but it is STILL a mere handful.***************
there is always an excuse, or a denial..
as if 50 cents or a dollar- even IF given once for Christ’s Sake, would be too much to bear.
those few have helped support our undertaking, and have done it in part in mica's honor, or also FUR your own loved ones taken by IMHA and or one of its companion blood diseases..
or did so because they LOST a loved one too, to a different disease, and know what little it takes sometimes to make a difference. we are so proud of you guys.
but at a thousand days out from our LOSS, I’m here to tell you it's a war that we're losing mates.. it needs MUCH more than it's receiving.. the fight is blinding!
i can no longer see.
the degree of interest and funds to study it is all but ignored.
and why is that?
i take SO MUCH time away from the sweet angel mirra, who helped spare my life in absolute grief, and who sincerely deserves my time and resources that afford your dog or cat a chance.. i believed i owed that good dog named mica- more than what i see most others give their own, alive or not. i believe that if we share the burden, it isn't as heavy as if it is carried alone, and because I DO feel that we can make a difference. there are times I still believe, and others like today, I say, why?
I have to question what kind of mother I am, really. I try and balance it, but the more I fight for the masses, the less I have to give my own. I don’t see where the trouble I go to is really helping all that much. PAWhaps when it no longer helps me, it’s time to throw in the towel? I mean, what on earth am I getting out of it?
loss of sleep, time away from my family, donating all of my time, art et al, to build a foundation? the building blocks of undertaking a fight such as this must be strong going in, or the foundation would crumble under its own weight.
I don’t have any more to offer, and my poms-poms need time off.
I don’t speak the right language it seems, to generate the enthusiam a battle –rather, a war like this needs. I wish there was some glimmer of hope on the horizon out there..
and to top it off, when we have to pay back a benefactor for mates withdrawing a corral, well, I question whether all it means is PAWhaps I have rocks in my head for doing any of it.
nothing hurt more than that.
i want to honor mine.. so i'm torn, mates.. if i honor the angel mica, on her 1000th day of her wings, i leave here- and help the newest SOS- that appeared only yesterday- a 10 yr old GSD.. to drop everything to get her pawrents the best tools we know how to offer- and hopefully save her life.. mica would be proud, and smile that intense Belgian smile, knowing she has saved a few lives around here.. single-handedly.
then, some of them say so, but do they lift a paw?
no, they don’t.
they talk about it. they ask others to pony up, but they themselves couldn’t be bothered. they, like most, won't come back and give back a little of what they received, and help another..
i could name dog after dog.
and what good would it do?
makes me want to growl, honestly.
or do i simply say a prayer and wish my angel a good day without us, and spend the rest of the day with angel mirra, who always deserves better than she gets, because we spend so much time for everybody else. i'm tired of doing it all the time. i'm tired of the bottom line.. either we keep it up or the flame on the candle of hope goes out, FUR good.
so it’s a little like being between a rock and a hard place.
i feel as though it's about time i hand the reins over to someone else.. i've spent a thousand days now, and part of the 6 more we spent, watching her literally waste away and life FUREVER leave that glorious belgian body of hers...
i won't hold my breath though, seeing who steps up. we got involved because we saw how little was being done.
so, PAWhaps it’s best to thank those who stood up on behalf of mica's memory, FUR their own, regardless of whether it was IMHA, or a loss to cancer or no loss at all- because whether you had lost or not, you still GAVE something FUR someone else..
which is more than most of you ever do.
I stop then to think about what your life is about. is it always about you, does it ever count unless you are involved? my family doesn’t have a lot of money, but we still give. it makes me feel ill thinking that some people never know the depth of goodness that giving to others feels like. I suppose that we all do things differently, and we have different expectations when it comes to charity.
I am sick of the PAWson who chronically asks me for a handout BUT would never, and never has given one in return. I feel like hoping to do good things can make you feel really jaded now and again. I don’t like the feeling either but I’m losing faith in others. they talk the talk, but they have no clue about walking the walk.
mica nor mirra would ever utter such words.. they’re good dogs, and if they were people, I’d be proud of them still. i take and bear the full responsibility for any and all words herein myself. but before you cast the 1st stone, make sure you your glass house can handle the brunt of what comes next.
mica and mirra's mom, mel
i bet 10 to 1 too that no one outside the regular parties who are members of mica's team will bother to utter a word here. mirra just said, mom, you never know.
i love my dogs...
we checked back since yestrday.
there was no reply whatsoever.
sorry mirra, i like your upbeat attitude, but, i'm sorry to say i was right.
sorry mica, we tried baby.
May 6th 2009 12:58 pm
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Thank God & Dog..
Ginger has just been found..
it must be a horrible thing, when your loved one is missing..
We hope that everypup missing can come home safely & swiftly..
m, m & m
May 5th 2009 10:31 pm
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From her owner:
I am in desperate need of help! I live in West Salem and on Sunday May 3, my 7 year old
Belgian Tervuren Ginger, escaped from our yard.
Reply to: email@example.com
Lost female Belgian Tervuren
She is a long haired, black & tan; tan body & black muzzle & ears, approx 45 lbs, 7 years old.
She was last seen wearing a neon pink collar.
She answers to "Ginger".
Please call with any info.
* Location: West Salem, OREGON
(see photo on my page)
TY to anyone who can help bring her home. PAWrayers welcomed too mates!
April 28th 2009 12:09 pm
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Many of you know Angel Asena & her pack.. her mom Donna has a blog- she's a very clever writer. Has held a number of FUND RAISERS fur Mica's IMHA RESEARCH FUND. THIS weekend is the American Cancer Society's Dogswalk for Cancer!!
Led by Angel Asena!!
They are always putting mica’s quest FUR a cure first. THIS time it's our turn to help them. Get involved IF you can & HELP a mate who helps others... this is an amazing cause..
What follows is written by Angel Asena's mom Donna.. The lovely ASENA LOST her battle with CANCER, but her mom is helping OTHERS in Asena's honor. ANYone who has lost a best friend knows how HARD but how MEANINGFUL a task like this IS. They're BOTH good friends-not just to us, but to many. This is a cause very near the hearts of many we love. CANCER is a fight we all need to take up..
PAWlease, offer HOPE to OTHERS by making a donation. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS!!!
angel mica, mirra & mel
find a tissue now while you can..
“On my 36th birthday, I was told my sweet Sena had "pre-cancer cells" in her urine. What in the world did that mean? Ultrasound revealed no signs of tumors growing in the bladder, which was where the vets felt it would likely manifest itself. We'd caught it early; lucky us, is it better to know ahead of time or not? For each person that situation will differ. For me, it was hard to grapple with the knowledge and I found myself dazed and shocked, because I couldn't face losing my best friend. But Sena quickly reminded me that she lived in the moment and I should too. With medication that kept the cells from forming in the bladder and frequent monitoring of her urine, we enjoyed another six months of "making every moment count." I often said she was the dog who didn't know she had cancer. Just a few days before the really bad symptoms took a hold of her, Sena was herding sheep. She really enjoyed that day and I'll never forget it. The decline in her health was rapid and within three weeks, we learned that the cancer had basically eaten into her vertebrae. How she was still walking was a wonder to everyone. She showed no signs of quitting until that last day she gave me that look no pet owner ever wants to see in their beloved pet's eyes. It has been almost two years now since she's been gone, and while I know I chose the right path for her by deciding against invasive procedures, I would give anything to have her back. My two sisters also lost their dogs to two different types of cancer, and we consider the three of them our angels waiting at the Rainbow Bridge.
This walk is in their memory.”
April 13th 2009 12:41 pm
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this morning we had two very different PPRs arrive..
both dogs have (although one now an Angel, too) IMHA in their world.
each one with an attitude like night & day. we'd like to share the one from the Angel, because it speaks to what this disease is all about..
May God keep your family's undying spirit going and light the way ahead.. IMHA is more scary than what one can imagine.
Until it happens, human kind itself will never understand how fierce it is.
we thank our Angel for speaking volumes in a tone that hit us with such magnitude & understanding we couldn't wait to share it with others who truly want to understand what it is all about. we just hope you never understand it the way some of us do.
it's THAT simple.
with love & prayers,
angel mica, mirra & mel
April 4th 2009 10:53 pm
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Our friend Gil kindly gave us PAWmission to reprint this article that just came out in the April newsletter from B-Naturals.. there are links to Gil's excellent website on mica's page, should you wish even more information. There is some discussion of IMHA herein too.
Tick-Borne Disease in Dogs
Lew Olson, PhD Natural Health
In September 2003, B-Naturals featured Gil Ash’s article on Erlichia. Gil began researching tick disease when her beloved German Shepherd dog, Thunder, was dianosed with Erhlichia risticii. She has generously shared her knowledge with others for many years in memory of Thunder.
B-Naturals is pleased once again to bring you another article written by Gil, titled ‘Quiet Killers: Tick-Borne Disease in Dogs’. We will present this article in two parts, with Part I which includes her introduction, the definitions of different tick diseases, their symptoms and disease progression, transmission of the diseases and tick removal. Part II will come out in May and will provide information on tick prevention, testing and treatment. We trust you will find the information in this article not only timely with the season, but also eye-opening and very informative.
PART I: quiet killers: tick-borne disease in dogs
by Gil Ash
. . . for Thunder and all the dogs who were diagnosed too late or not at all
Something was wrong with Casey. Instead of bounding around with her usual energy and good spirits, she always seemed tired these days and her eyes were constantly bloodshot. Where once she would have been up like a shot and ready for the day, getting to her feet was becoming more difficult and sometimes she'd limp, first on one leg, then on another. Even her behavior had altered; the ten-year-old Border Collie/Keeshond mix had become aggressive toward one of the cats she'd lived with all her life. It was as if Judith Sookne had gradually acquired a dog that only looked like her Casey and she was at a loss to know why - until one evening an answer jumped at her as she checked through Casey's fur for ticks, something so obvious she wondered that she hadn't thought of it before. Judith took Casey and her newly aroused suspicion of tick-borne disease to the vet.
Tick-borne disease? Impossible. Her vet dismissed the idea. Evidently, where Judith saw a dog that might be helped, she saw a dog that was just getting old and refused a request for tests to find out if Casey had been infected with a tick-borne disease, saying that some minor arthritis was normal in a dog her age and Casey's bloodwork was normal. As it happens, however, signs of infection do not always show up in routine bloodwork and Judith knew it. She remained firm in her belief that there were reasons beyond age for what Casey was going through and eventually demanded the tests that her vet opposed so adamantly.
Annoyed, her vet changed tactics and agreed to comply - up to a point. She would draw blood and prepare the serum sample but if Judith wanted these tests run, particularly if she insisted on sending them to a lab specializing in tests for TBD, she would have to mail the sample herself. As a deterrent, it failed miserably; Judith had no problem at all with using Fed-Ex and, a few days later, held the test results in her hand: Casey had tested positive for both Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichia canis.
As is often the case, Casey responded almost at once to treatment, made her peace with the cat, regained her spirits and stopped limping. Now past thirteen, she is slowing down but not so much that she has lost her zest for life or her interest in squirrels. She was lucky.
Every day, dogs like Casey are taken to the vet because they just "ain't doing right" and every day, vets look at common, all-too-familiar symptoms and address them separately rather than asking themselves if they might not be looking at a syndrome, a group of related things that might point to something far more serious. The usual approach would seem to make sense. After all, how alarming, say, is a slight fever and diarrhea in a dog that has lost his pep and been off his feed for a few days? The trouble is, the usual approach doesn't work when you're dealing with TBD. In his foreword to Ehrlichiosis, a Silent and Deadly Killer, the first Internet website to make clear, well-researched information on TBD available to everyone, Ibulaimu Kakoma, DVM, Ph.D. notes that "the spectrum of syndromes and disease entities imitated by ehrlichiosis are incredible" and emphasizes the need to rule out ehrlichiosis for common infectious disease.
Tom Beckett, DVM, of Austin, Texas, whose years of experience in the field parallel Dr. Kakoma's in the research laboratory, has come to the same conclusion. "Many of the TBD cases I see have vague, nonspecific, "nagging" health problems rather than the more specific and dramatic symptoms the textbooks describe. The dogs seem to be somewhere 'in between' the symptoms-free subclinical stage and the definitively symptomatic chronic stage. Unfortunately, quite often one of two responses occurs: either the problems are dismissed as a (mis)perception of an overprotective owner or due to 'normal' processes such as aging; or a whole host of tests and other diagnostics is done - but the diagnostics do not include tests for TBD. There needs to be greater awareness among owners and veterinarians that dogs with these presentations should have a comprehensive panel of tests for TBD antibodies as part of their initial workup."
The key to curing all tick-borne disease is early diagnosis and treatment.
There are vets who refuse to consider TBD as a possibility and say "it can't happen here". That attitude can have serious consequences for dogs and one hopes it is becoming less common as knowledge of TBD and its danger spreads. Anywhere in the United States that the hard-bodied Ixodid ticks are found, the diseases they carry can be found. Dogs travel with their owners, or to new owners from kennels or rescue facilities, and ticks go with them. A warming climate increases the range in which ticks can live and in places where it was once assumed that TBD could not happen, it does. Clearly, there are places where it is more likely, but no one can say, "it can't happen here", until they know where the dog has been and they make dead sure that tick-borne disease has never been found in their area.
Those veterinarians who have never seen, or more properly, recognized a case of TBD may be handicapped by their lack of knowledge. Focused on what appears to be wrong, they treat for it and are puzzled when the dog gets no better. Well, that wasn't it. What else could it be? Considering a list of possibilities, the vet chooses another and the outcome is unfortunately the same. In the end, stymied and more than a little frustrated, he or she may suggest a specialist for what the dog appears most likely to have, or fall back on the diagnosis that is no diagnosis at all: a genetically defective immune system. There is nothing that points so suggestively to tick-borne-disease as a vet who is stumped or who sends you running to one specialist after another. It is a red flag alerting the dog's owner to think hard about having a tick panel run and doing it quickly. One luxury you do not have a great deal of in dealing with TBD is the luxury of time.
The Tick-borne Diseases: A very brief introduction to the five dollar words which can spell trouble for your dog.
Ehrlichia canis, found world-wide, is the most common and one of the most dangerous tick-borne disease organisms known to infect dogs; as it has been the object of the most study and as many of the TBDs follow its general pattern, it will be discussed in more depth than the rest.
Parasitic bacteria which share some of the traits of viruses, E. canis proliferate inside the white blood cells manufactured in the bone marrow. As the disease they cause progresses, it cripples the ability of the white blood cells to replicate correctly or, in the end, at all, and the immune system is effectively destroyed. But that's not the end of it; the list of symptoms and conditions that can be caused by E. canis seems almost endless; it can be mistaken for or cause leukemia, heart disease, cancer of the spleen, the brain and other organs, to name only a few. This is a dangerous, treacherous organism.
In the first, or acute stage of E. canis, the outlook for cure is best, but symptoms can be vague and easily missed or put down to a mild viral infection. If a dog is feverish, if his lymph glands are enlarged and he's generally off-color, a vet looking further may find the characteristic signs of early TBD: an enlarged spleen, an abnormal decrease in blood platelets, an abnormal decrease in white blood cells, and/or nonregenerative anemia. And just to make things more complicated, a high white cell count may be seen instead. Testing for TBD is useless for two or three weeks after a dog has been infected, however, as the immune system will not have had time to make the antibodies that register on a test until enough time passes. But a correct diagnosis depends on much more than numbers on a sheet of paper. Some dogs with E. canis never do mount a detectable titer and some have a very low titer that, by itself, would not indicate the need for treatment. It is your vet's knowledge and experience of TBD that can make all the difference then.
If a dog is unable to throw off E. canis by himself in the acute stage, the disease passes into the second, subclinical stage where there are no outward symptoms, hides out in the spleen and the dog becomes a carrier, although he may appear to be completely normal. E. canis may remain in this stage from months to years until something - another infection, stress, or simply a body worn out by an unending struggle with the disease, particularly if he is ill with another - causes the dog to go into the final, chronic stage.
Once it becomes chronic, the prognosis for recovery is poor and the end can come with shocking suddenness if no one is aware the dog is infected. A serious deficiency of all the blood elements (pancytopenia) is quite possible at this stage; death may come from hemorrhage, multiple organ failure or secondary bacterial infection.
German Shepherd Dogs, many of whom died of E. canis serving as war dogs in Vietnam, "appear to have depressed cell-mediated immunity as compared to other breeds and are more likely to develop severe disease", according to Cynthia Holland, Ph.D., an authority on tick-borne disease in dogs and horses. For GSDs, prompt, early diagnosis and treatment of E. canis is especially critical. The primary vector for E. canis in the United States is the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus.
Ehrlichia chaffeensis is a less common cause of ehrlichiosis which was first identified at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in the United States. Its known geographic distribution ranges from the South and South Central states to lower New England. Significant lameness is a marked symptom and E. chaffeensis is thought to be both serious and harder to clear from a dog than E. canis, which in many ways it resembles. It also occurs in humans. The brown dog tick, R. sanguineus, and the Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum, carry E. chaffeensis.
Ehrlichia ewingii, found mostly in North Carolina, Florida and Missouri, has been identified in ticks in Texas but its geographic distribution may be wider than currently realized. It shares characteristics of A. phagocytophilum and E. canis but does not appear to cause as much damage to the dog and, like E. chaffeensis, has been known to infect humans. E. ewingii is carried by the Lone Star tick, A. americanum.
Anaplasma phagocytophilum, once known as E. equi, is presently considered less of a threat than E. canis, though anecdotal reports of dogs suffering serious repercussions and/or dying from it may cause that conclusion to be reconsidered. A. phagocytophilum can cause painful arthritis in several joints, lethargy, high fever, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Less commonly, a dog may have neck pain or seizures due to central nervous system dysfunction. A. phagocytophilum is carried by Ixodes scapularis, the black-legged or deer tick, and Ixodes pacificus, the Western black-legged tick, both of which also carry Lyme disease.
Anaplasma platys, once known as E. platys, causes severe cyclic thrombocytopenia, targeting the blood platelets that stop bleeding and promote clotting. A few days after infection, platelet counts drop dramatically; in another few days, they rise to normal, then the cycle begins again. A. platys is self-limiting and gradually goes away except when another TBD is also present to aggravate it and be aggravated by it. There is grave danger of hemorrhage during surgery on a dog with A. platys unless the surgeon knows about it and exercises caution. A. platys is carried by the brown dog tick.
Neorickettsia risticii, once known as E. risticii, is best known as Potomac Horse Fever or Shasta River Crud and is not carried by ticks. So why is it here? Well, until a few years ago no one knew exactly what the vector (the agent carrying it) was and ticks seemed the likely candidate. Now, we know that it gets to the dog by a complicated process that starts in some freshwater snails and ends by the dog ingesting one of the insect vectors that live and fly over water. How? It may fall in his food, he may lap it up from a river or puddle, or, as many dogs do, he may snap at and swallow the infected insect. And the damage is done. Once established in its canine victim, N. risticii behaves like E. canis but with a virulence that makes it fortunate this disease is not considered common. Dogs which develop chronic N. risticii have almost no chance of surviving.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, oddly enough, is found more often in the East than the West, though it occurs all over the continental US. Caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, RMSF is an acute disease which has no progressive stages. In considerable pain from the infection, a dog may be unable to keep his balance; he may hold his head at a tilt, act as if he is only half conscious, suffer seizures or go into a coma. Without treatment, he will either get well in two weeks or die.
Because of the speed with which this disease can kill, chances of survival are much higher if the dog is treated with doxycycline immediately the disease is suspected, without waiting for test results. A pair of tests are run to confirm a diagnosis of RMSF, the second 21 days after the first. If the second titer is four times as great as the first, the diagnosis is rock solid.
Dogs which survive become immune to any further infection with RMSF, though they may carry detectable titers for a considerable time, perhaps for life. Those which manage to make it through on their own without help may always suffer varying degrees of neurologic dysfunction. The vectors of RMSF are the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, the wood tick, D. andersoni, and the brown dog tick, R. sanguineus.
Babesia canis and Babesia gibsoni are protozoal parasites, not bacteria like the other organisms that cause TBD. Hemolytic anemia, essentially destruction of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the blood, is the hallmark of babesiosis and half of all infected dogs will need transfusion. In the peracute (violent, sharp) stage, clinical signs may appear suddenly, followed by shock that cannot be reversed and death. The peracute and acute stages are not seen often in the US, however, as most adult dogs diagnosed with babesiosis are subclinical, i.e., carriers without evident clinical signs, and remain so unless something upsets the precarious balance between the immune system and the disease.
In the chronic stage, the jaundice and anemia of earlier stages is not as apparent but dogs are weak, their mucous membranes may be pale and body condition deteriorates along with appetite. The spleen of a dog with chronic babesiosis is very enlarged, according to Ron Hines, DVM, Ph.D., and often kidney and liver function is poor. Feces may be yellow and the urine may appear orange. Babesia canis can infect any dog and is very often found in greyhounds rescued from race tracks, while B. gibsoni is almost always found only in pit bull terriers. Babesiosis is generally detected in blood work done on a dog without symptoms or in the chronic stage. Direct blood-to-blood transmission of B. gibsoni has occurred in fighting dogs. Unfortunately, the disease can be mistaken for Auto-immune Hemolytic Anemia (also called Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia) as an infected dog will test positive for AIHA.
Dr. Hines notes that another strain, B. canis vogeli, occurs all over the Southeastern US. While it is the weakest of the Babesia, an occasional dog will develop severe anemia from this strain and his blood will fail to clot. It is especially common in greyhounds. The brown dog tick, R. sanguineus, is the vector for B. canis and presumably B. gibsoni as well.
Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, hardly needs an introduction to people in the Northeastern US where it is most prevalent and where it was first identified in the town of Lyme, CT. Lyme is not, however, as destructive as many of the other TBDs; as a rule, active Lyme disease may cause crippling arthritis but it doesn't kill. The exception to that is when it causes Lyme nephritis (glomerulonephritis), an inflammation of the glomeruli of the kidneys marked by a drop in the production of urine which will have blood and protein in it (proteinuria). The end result is renal failure. So far, Lyme nephritis does not appear to be common but it would be wise to have regular blood work done on a dog diagnosed with Lyme disease to keep an eye out for signs of kidney problems.
Bartonellosis, caused by Bartonella vinsonii, subsp. berkhofii, like most of the TBDs, is characterized by vague symptoms at first: lethargy, weight loss and lack of appetite. Fever is not one of the early signs. Half of all dogs with B. vinsonii develop thrombocytopenia (a serious reduction in blood platelets), according to Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, of North Carolina State University, world-renowned for his work in vector-borne disease in dogs. He notes that, at present, the incidence of bartonellosis seems to be low and the disease occurs most often in dogs which roam free, live in a rural area and are heavily infested with ticks. Many of these dogs are also infected with Ehrlichia canis or Babesia canis. The brown dog tick, R. sanguineus, is a probable vector.
Infection with more than one tick-borne disease is common and results in more serious illness.
Hepatazoon americanum is an oddity in that the dog bites the tick, Amblyomma maculatum, rather than the other way around. The dog becomes infected by swallowing A. maculatum, found mostly in the humid regions surrounding the Gulf Coast, and the infectious parasites it carries migrate through the intestines to the muscles and the membrane covering the bone. The rapid proliferation of these parasites inside cells causes the cells to rupture which, in turn, causes severe pain. Many of the symptoms found in other TBDs are also seen, including fever, lethargy, lameness and anorexia. To date, there is no cure, though good supportive care may relieve or lessen a dog's symptoms.
Tick paralysis is very different from other tick-borne disease in this respect: it doesn't depend on an infectious organism. It occurs when an engorged female tick produces a neurotoxin in her saliva, then injects that saliva into the dog on which she's feeding. The onset of signs is sudden and includes difficulty breathing or barking, rear end weakness and staggering. Starting with the hind legs, paralysis moves rapidly toward the head and the dog will soon be unable to move, stand, sit, or lift his head. If the tick is found and removed in time, improvement is generally seen within 24 hours. If the tick is not found and removed soon enough, the outlook is grim.
Animals have a great many more chances than humans to encounter ticks, so while the incidence of tick paralysis in humans is low, the threat to livestock and dogs is a good bit higher. No matter what the probability of tick paralysis might be, however, dog owners should be aware of how it operates as the outcome can be severe injury or death if it is not recognized and dealt with quickly.
Ticks can be carriers for more than one TBD. Cross-infection is common.
When a tick has found a likely place to feed - often on the ear, close to the body under the leg, between the toes, on the neck or shoulder - it punctures the skin with pincers finer than a hair (chelicerae), then inserts a specialized mouthpart that it will use to drink the dog's blood. This mouth part, called the hypostome, has barbs along its length which are efficient at cutting in and help to anchor the tick in place. To make itself even more secure, the tick secretes a cement around the edges of the wound that will later dissolve when it is ready to detach. Once that is done, it is ready to feed.
It is the tick's saliva that contains an anticoagulant to keep blood flowing freely and the saliva that carries disease. As the tick alternately regurgitates it into the dog and sucks blood out, peristaltic action causes the infectious organisms in its midgut to move up through the large salivary glands branching to either side of its body. Fortunately these organisms move sluggishly; it takes a minimum of 24 hours as a rule for them to reach the point where they will be pumped into the dog. On occasion, infection has occurred in less time but this probably doesn't happen often so we have a grace period after the tick latches on to remove the tick ourselves or for a preventive to stop the tick's ability to feed and kill it. Because the relatively small male is under the female as she drinks and is mating with her, when they die an entire new generation has no chance to be born. Sometimes nature is both wonderful and frightening.
Never remove a tick with your fingers. Never burn it, put petroleum jelly on it, twist it or jerk it off the dog. Ticks breathe only a few times an hour so attempting to suffocate one is next door to useless. Grasping one with your fingers, you are all but guaranteed to squeeze the tick and propel any infectious saliva into your dog. Burning or using irritants on ticks can cause them to convulse and achieve the same outcome. As for 'unscrewing' a tick, they do not screw themselves in the first place. The best and safest way to remove a tick is to use a small, inexpensive, curved Kelly forceps, a pair of tweezers or one of the tools especially made for the purpose, catch the tick right behind the flattened 'head' (capitulum) as close as possible to the dog's skin, and pull gently straight out. Drop the tick in a solution of water and dish soap to kill it.
If your dog is covered with the tiny nymphs called seed ticks which are far too numerous to remove one by one, you can bathe the dog with Ivory dishwashing liquid. Work up a good lather, leave the suds on for 15 minutes then rinse thoroughly with plain water. Ivory liquid is gentle enough not to cause skin irritation but it will kill immature ticks.
In Loving memory of Bauernhoffen's Thunder
2 September 1997 - 2 June 2000
This concludes Part I of ‘Quiet Killers: Tick-borne disease in dogs by Gil Ash. Please stay tuned for next month’s newsletter when we conclude with Part II.
February 25th 2009 9:00 pm
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this past weekend, a fellow dogster (Angel Asena) held a Funds & Spirits Raiser for Mica's cause.. there are some FURrific dogs around here..
all i can say is "woof!"
this message is from the mom..
if ever you find spare change in the couch cushions or other and are looking FUR a good cause to spend it on, we'd be proud to help you out. hence we've changed our PAWsition on taking as little as a dollar-at-a-time, for Mica's IMHA Research Fund from here on!
many of you are quite special to us. some mates have causes near & dear to their hearts too, and a few give to many causes willingly. a few of you NEVER ignore ours and are pretty exceptional the way you treat us. i hope you know how much we appreciate it.
it's not a comfortable place to be, asking people FUR money. try it FUR even a day, but be diligent. chances are the following day, you'll have a different take on it, not to mention be SO glad yesterday is long gone! i've come to learn how hard this is, since i lost my best mate to IMHA. i know times are hard. times are also RUFF. some have it even more RUFF, but they still do great things with what little they have to work with too. you might literally weep if i could tell you the story of one in PAWticular. they have lost the most precious thing next to the loved ones of their pack, [thank DOG it isn't that] and even these dogs, cats & their peeps PAWticipated in the fund raiser. it breaks my heart & makes me so incredibly proud simultaneously. i can't speak FUR anyone else, but i know how much i lose yet also how much i gain when i think about this disease and its insidious nature.
i wish sometimes i could go even an hour without it coming to mind. how terrible is a thought like that? i almost see that as the ultimate betrayal. BUT it's so hard when it does come too. it isn't always the same, the way i think about it. i usually don't have a choice in it either. the times i consider the nature of the disease itself, then apply them to one so fair, and gentle, and lovely... i could lose my mind in a heartbeat. i also know that just thinking about it doesn't change it. who it affects, what it costs someone. what it costs others to be forced to live with it or die from it. or, what it costs those who bear witness to it.
what i realistically can do is raise awareness of it, so we try. it frightens me, truthfully that most vets don't know that it is IMHA they are dealing with until it nearly costs your loved one its life. alternatively, i can try to raise money for study of IMHA.
in that last sentence, the operative word is try.
and we do. try, that is.
i can't sit here doing nothing. i also cannot help but care about others, knowing their plight. it matters little that i don't know them. i 'KNOW' enough about 'IT to know 'THEY' can use all the 'US' they can get!
we have often said, even a dollar helps. there is nothing glib about that. but even that's too much trouble for most of us it seems. that i don't get. don't get me wrong. i am not speaking of those who have given of themselves. what i don't get most of all is why most mates-here on Dogster that have been touched by this illness are the ones that fail to join in, even in the smallest way.
BUT on the upswing there's the ones who make a difference ON BEHALF OF OTHERS, and that ripple effect raises our hopes and our spirits at times when they get very low..
so low, it's so dark i can't even tell you what shade of black it is..
you've heard before that we have lost an unfair number of dogs and cats to this.
it keeps happening.
yet, there is one thing i do know for sure and that is we could not even begin to hope to accomplish anything good without the likes of some of you.
saying thank you never seems enough to me.
i hope and pray that those who know about IMHA & its companion illnesses never know it in the sense that some of us do.
what you do though, on behalf of others makes it PAWsible [to believe] that you never will.
once again it is time FUR a thank you.
we hope that you'll join us on the prayer side of things too, if that be your choice, FUR all. just keeping a good thought can't hurt any one nor any thing either..
well, here's hoping that you have a good day and sleep well at night too..
love, mel & mirra
angel mica (at the Bridge)
from IMHA & IMTP
18 august 2006
February 20th 2009 11:19 am
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We thought we'd share a little of the information we have about the weekend of LOVE. there are 12 dogs to thank FUR trying to make a difference FUR those WITH IMHA, those LOST to IMHA & then those who will unFURtunately, get IMHA.
Bcuz it's important to BEHOLD, CHERISH and THANK those who did something swell AND, even more importantly, Bcuz we face a daunting task with this disease, mates.
we need all the help we can get.
Undoubtedly you have heard us say it b4 & likely we'll have a need to say it again.
SOME DOGS & their peeps ARE so VERY SPECIAL TO US, in PAWticular.
THANK YOU, on behalf of our Angel, mica-the wonderpup & all those you HELP...
we also appreciate the pack members of these mates, named or unnamed.
everypup named here was already a member of MICA'S TEAM
(named by RemDyRu).. TY
Angel Max, who earned his wings from IMHA
Angus the Warrior, whose had IMHA since he was a pup
Mica's sister Frannie, in New Zealand
Angel Bingo & the Tater Tots in bluejean, orygun..our former hometown.
Hannah the Brave
Remdyru (REMington, LaDYsmith & RUger)...BOL!
The Sisters 3
Angel Asena, whose mom Donna ONCE AGAIN played our special benefactor, setting UP the special "Hearts Day FUND & SPIRIT Raiser".. AND adding $5 to every donation, regardless of the amount.
The totals aren't in yet, but it's noteworthy that not one dog herein contributed one dollar, even tho ANY DOG or CAT in the UNIVERSE could, and WOULD be WELCOMED with loving HEARTS.
There is an addendum too, and it may only make sense to the kind fella & his mom, but an extra special nod goes to Angus the Warrior, who made an additional donation after the fact..
He sets a PAWsome example FUR his niece mirra, who cranes her sweet little neck back so far, looking up [just to see] this fine fella, and he deserves special attention too. Some dogs & their people are Stand UP types, who should take bows but never do.. I wish a few words herein spoke the volumes in thanks we'd want to extend mates.
mel, mirra & angel mica
February 14th 2009 12:10 pm
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Angel Asena has once again whispered kind & inspiring words to her mom Donna & their wonderful pack, on behalf of Earth Angels, in memory of her pal Angel mica-the wonderpup, to find a CURE fur IMHA..
We’re asking mates to visit the BLOG by way of the link, and to PAWticipate!
PAWlease, furGET flowers & candy FUR Valentine’s Day-dogs can’t have the latter anyway..
even a dollar counts… but the more, the merrier..
• The fund raising to benefit MICA’S IMHA RESEARCH LASTS until midnight PST Sunday the 15th.
• For every email Asena’s mom receives their pack will add $5, BUT ONLY with a donation.
• For the 10th email, their Angel mom will give $10; 15th email $15; 20th email, $20, etc.
• Mates must follow the blog instructions FUR it to work.
BTW, Dogster pals…Yesterday was Angel Asena’s little brother (a Belgian Laekenois) Chatham Light’s 4th WOOFday, and only last week Donna rescued LO a 12 yr old Belgian lass, the same flavor Belgian as Angel Asena & Mirra. PAWlease, come meet the whole family.. and SHARE some LOVE, with them FUR all the goodness they spread, on behalf of OTHERS.
Angel Mica, Mirra & Mel
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