Saturday, January 03, 2009

Return To The Big Dipper

This morning came early. I turned off my alarm clock and stumbled out of bed, got dressed and ready to take Carmella to the vet. My ride was here at exactly 8:00 am and we arrived at 8:05. The male vet tech seemed as if he'd just woken up himself, and blinked under the flourescent lights above the receptionist desk. The office seemed unusually quiet that time of morning and he came in to check Carmella in, then went to the back to tell someone that she was here. After a few more minutes in the waitingroom one of the twins emerged. It was Jocelyn. Vivienne who took me over there (and whose dog and two cats also go to that clinic) always gets the two of them mixed up. They really do look pretty much identical.

Jocelyn made small talk with us and a man came out with a 13 year old Maltese that didn't look a day over 6 or 7. When we commented on how young the dog looked he said, "Yes, it's the special food, and nutrients, and the doctor."

As we were called back I saw a man come out from one of the rooms with a tiny black and white puppy which was not much bigger than a soda can. I asked what kind it was and he told me it was a Bulldog, but its nose was a little longer than you usually see in a purebred bulldog. I commented that its nose was longer than most and that it was very cute, and the guy said, "It will probably tighten up when he gets older."

I thought he better hope it doesn't "tighten up" because he may be talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars in nasal surgery later on. Besides I generally think Bulldogs are ugly creatures that must have been created by man because God would never create such a thing, however the redeeming feature with this little fellow is that he didn't look much like a bulldog. Maybe he looked like a pitbull, but thankfully he did not have the appearance that somebody crammed its poor nose halfway into its head.

As Carmella and I went back into the room, Gail, the female vet tech came in and got her. I told her what had been happening with her mange increasing and the bacterial infection on her stomach not being impacted at all by the week of antibiotics. I also asked her to remind the vet that she would need something for the itching as well. Carmella was getting pretty raw already and I didn't want these areas to turn into wounds as well. That would add another problem on top of the one she already has, and I figured it's better to be safe than sorry.

"We don't normally give anything for itching", Gail said. "The dip should reduce the itching to some extent."

I reiterated that we really should not take any chances and that she shouldn't have to suffer over the course of the next 2 months if she doesn't have to. Gail semed to evade the request and then Vivienne asked her whether she could catch mange from the dog. Gail told her no, that only Sarcoptic Mange was contagious. She tended to go on about it longer than necessary, then produced a hand-out sheet. Vivienne didn't want it, and I already had one.

However, the one piece of information I did not already know but suspected was that dogs with this kind of reddish fur and light pigment are more susceptible to Mange, and so are white dogs with pink pigment. I'm thinking it must be that Melanin has some protective properties against the Mange mite. I'll have to see what studies I can find on that and on why.

We had some time to kill so we went to Borders, then to Marshall's across the same strip mall. I didn't find anything worth buying at either store, but looked through almost all the jewelry-making books and magazines, noticing how the tutorials in each were like songs on a CD; some good ones mixed with others I hated.

It was a foggy, misty day and somewhat cold out. Even after having breakfast and being out for a few hours I felt as though my brain was still asleep. My nose is still getting stuffed every so often and I think I'm still not fully well yet. I guess jewelry-making will have to wait a little longer.

Next on the agenda are the two seed pods waiting to be worked on once I'm back to normal again, with just a few minor things left to do; mainly assembly and putting the patina on them. There's a cool little feature I've added to the design that I think people will love, (but I'll keep that a surprise until I unveil them).

After we returned to the vet's office we spoke to the same vet tech again and she said Carmella was doing well but that they did decide to give her something for her itching because she didn't fully realize how much she was digging at herself until they looked at her closely. Dr. Norwood never came out to talk to us himself, but she told us that Carmella was probably genetically predisposed to mange and that it was autoimmune.

I asked whether there was anything that could help improve her immune system and she said that maybe fish oil possibly, and that whatever was good for the immune system in humans would probably work in dogs although not much research had been done in that area. She said that I was probably more knowledgeable about that than they were. They didn't know what to expect in a dog who'd survived Distemper.

I told her that I did remember from my reading on human immune issues that Magnesium was one thing that would help strengthen one's immune system. Apparently Pet Tabs do contain that, so I added that to the other stuff they were giving me.

Dr. Brantley should also know which things have that effect in dogs. I'll see if I can get him to resopond back now that she's had the procedure and this is something in his area of expertise. If we can manage to improve her immune function maybe that will prevent her from getting any more medical issues which are autoimmune.

Today's visit cost about $160.00, and there is more to come, so keep those donations coming, buy jewelry, or buy an ad on my blog. Carmella is going to need your help for awhile before she's home free. My natural gas bill is ridiculous this month and a possible cut-off looms on the horizon if the gas company is not satisfied with whatever arrangement I can come up with, but I also want to pay off as much on Carmella's vet bill as I can.


kim* said...

so much money, i hope you have pet insurance hop eit covers this too

Giftbearer said...

Yes, I was just trying to decipher tonight what it will and won't cover, but it should cover this Mange as far as I can tell. I don't know if they require it filed all in one big claim at the end of treatment or at each two-week stint for the next several months.

I'm also not sure whether she's reached the limit for all the Distemper charges she's accrued yet or not, what they consider the beginning and end of a term year, and even though it says to check your policy to know the time-limit for filing each claim it doesn't tell you. I'm going to have to ask a representative.

This insurance stuff can get pretty complicated.

blackfeatherfarm said...

Good luck with the deomdetic, I've dealt with both kinds. Luckily no further problems with either in a long time. Hopefully she will not get this again, I'm sure you have done research and know all the info. Happy New Year to you and Carmella !

TheresaJ said...

Poor Carmella -- the mange looks so uncomfortable. I hope she's on the mend soon.

Giftbearer said...

Thanks! Yes, now I know much more than I ever wanted to know about Mange.

I hope that Carmella will be able to kick this once and for all after this bout. Some dogs get it again whenever the slightest stress comes along and I hope she's not like that. Boy, this is expensive! There's still a few other health problems to address when this is done.