Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dog health problems

Bringing dogs to Belize is a decision to not make lightly, especially if one is an Akita.  Our sweet Bailey has had to go thru some real adjustments to survive here.  The obvious issue is one of big bugs and snakes.  This hasn't been a problem for us because we've cleared a large area of our acreage, which discourages snakes and the tarantulas are so shy, they remain hidden most of the day.  We expected Bailey to shed most of his extremely heavy undercoat when the hot, dry season approached.  Actually, the reverse seems to have happened.  He will shed as the heat starts and then his coat thickens up again.  As I've probably already posted, this seems to be much like the Arabs in the desert with their heavy wool wraps.  This may serve as an insulation.  Not sure because, at 10 years of age, Bailey is becoming much more lethargic.  I can't really belittle him, as I'm the same way.  We both get more tired and lazy all the time.

Fleas.  I've tried several different products for fleas on all three dogs.  Bailey doesn't seem to have much of a problem, maybe because they have trouble finding his skin.  They have imported a couple of new products, one call Spot shot (or something like that), which is worthless, and Barricade, which is supposed to be like Frontline, but also didn't work. We're now back to Frontline, which is a little expensive, with three dogs, but it isn't fair to them if it doesn't work.  The poor pups (Irish Setter, littermates) have been plagued with fleas.  They have no undercoat and long fine hair and I can see fleas having a field day, running around their stomachs.  I've tried all the above products, as well as giving them a bath with a strong flea soap, leaving a little residue to continue the fight.  Lasted about 4 days.  Whoop-dee-do.  We've sprayed under the house, but it's difficult to spray the whole acre fenced area.

Shannon, at 44 lbs is much smaller than her brother, but she is so energetic, that she burns off everything she eats, right away.  Rusty, at 65 lbs is much more laid back.  I worry about him as he seems to favor his right shoulder.  I think it's because he's still so young, but heavy and his legs are really long and thin.  Too much weight, too soon.   Both pups seem healthy and happy, so will just keep doing what we're doing, for now.

My big worry is still Bailey.  At 135 lbs and 10 years old, he's allowed to have some little problems.  We got him from the Humane Society in Bend, Oregon 5 years ago.  Shortly before we moved here he had a seizure, which was of short duration, but really scared us.  The vet there tho't it wasn't something to worry about, unless they continued.  After we moved here to the farm, he had another seizure.   I researched and found that a couple of preservatives that were in the dog food we were feeding were known to cause seizures.  We changed from Pedigree to  Alican,which is a Central American food and he's done really well until this week.  I was ready to holler at him as he was bumping into my printer table, when I look down and saw that he was seizing.  We talked to him and gave him loving and he slowly recovered.  Later in the day he seized again.  This has us concerned, but he seemed totally recovered the next day.  I know that there is anti-seizure medicine, but I hate to medicate him when he goes years without a problem.  The vets are unsure and say it could be canine epilepsy, but maybe not.  It's now been a couple of months since I started this posting and Bailey is doing well and seizure free, again.