Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#Veterinarian vs. #ticks: Gizmo gets #vaccinated

Can I call my Vet and my groomer my staff?

         Having found and removed one tick, placing it for examination in a sealed envelope, and possibly locating another one, we searched for a veterinarian while being in a mild state of panic.  Where did #Gizmo collect these ticks?  What could they do to him?
         A Google search revealed several geographically desirable vets (meaning close to us) and we made an appointment with Dr. Hicks (yes, that is his name) for the next early afternoon.
         Dr. Hicks waiting room featured silent videos of Madagascar, often with close ups of darling, little lemurs.  While waiting and holding Gizmo on a leash, the dog and I napped.
         In the examining room, while waiting for the doctor, Gizmo was taken from us to be weighed.  He is 27 pounds, NOT 32 pounds, as I thought.  He is a much lighter dog than I figured and can easily qualify for the smaller dog section (limit of under 35 pounds) section of the dog park.
         Almost as soon as he arrived, we gave Dr. Hicks our white envelope with the tick in it.  He gingerly looked at it, identified it as a tick and sent it off for further scientific examination.  He found and cleaned the area on Gizmo’s head where the tick has made her home.  We showed him where we thought a second tick was located.  It was a tick and the doctor quickly removed it.
         There followed a slow further check of Gizmo’s fur, top and bottom.  A third tick was found. 
         All were put on a glass laboratory examining plate for microscopic inspection.
         The doctor talked about ticks being rare in these parts, but obviously they are here; about Gizmo getting them from other dogs at the dog park; about the need to warn neighbors about the possibility of ticks in our development, etc.   At the same time, Dr. Hicks prepared and administered a shot to prevent infection.  Once again, Gizmo did not struggle or even move very much.  He actually moved a lot less than I would if I were given a shot.  Another good dog for Gizmo. 
         `A further examination concurred with the vet who looked at Gizmo before we adopted him a little over a year ago: Gizmo has a heart murmur and a somewhat pronounced one.  Dr. Hicks would give it a 4 on a scale of 6.
         We were told to do nothing for now, but to be aware of other symptoms: coughing, being a lot more tired or imitating an aging human with a heart condition and demonstrating a yearning to mate with a dog a lot younger than he is (actually, Gizmo is only about 2 ½ years old).
         Such symptoms should be treated seriously and, if they persist, perhaps the dog should see a canine cardiologist, who could administer an MRI or a stress test (in Gizmo’s case the stress test would be getting him to pee in the closet and then scolding him, which puts him under a tiny bit of stress).
         We made another appointment in a month so Gizmo can get an anti-tick booster shot.  Total price:  $131+, a fair amount for good advice and an examination.
         We decided that the veterinarian at Petco would administer Gizmo’s other shots.
         Somewhat relieved we took our dog home.  Ticks removed, diseases prevented.

         “I have always thought of a dog lover as a dog that was in love with another dog.”  James Thurber 

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