Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Confessions From a Heartworm Positive Dog Owner

Joey's Heartworm treatment has been progressing well.  The week after his first Immedicide shot was the worst- although he wasn't as sore as I've read some dogs are, he was pretty tired and quiet. Was this from the tramazone or just from the excitement of being at the vet's all day? Maybe a bit of both? I was worried.

Heartworm directive calls for several weeks of crate or bed-rest following treatment, with only short potty breaks.  This is to give the worms time to break up and dissolve without causing a clot or embolism from running/jumping/playing. Makes sense. BUT now comes confession time: I wasn't as great about this as I should have been.  I mean, first week I was pretty strict (for me, and I’m not that great with regimens): Short leash walks, no wrestling with Lela. No going upstairs into the loft and our morning jogs were stopped.  During the day I was at the office and per usual, Joey was crated. When I was home in the evenings, we spent the time hanging out on the couch (yes, I let him get on the furniture).

A few days after the initial shot, Joey got very "phlemy." I heard that this is part of the worms breaking-up process.  It only lasted a few days but boy was he loud! I was especially careful to keep him quiet during this time since things were breaking up. Saturday and Sunday he got more tranquilizer pills to snooze the days away. Lela was a bit miffed that there was no wrasslin' or action of any type, but I tried to get her out on her own and keep her happy. It pretty much worked. She didn't try to kill me in my sleep anyway.

So, that was that. A Good, Quiet First Week.

The Next Two Weeks? 

Yeah. Discipline kind of went out the window. I did try to keep the dogs from wrasslin', and our jogs were still on hiatus, but Joey had walks (nothing like our usual 2+ miles though) and would run around the yard barking when I let him out to potty- his typical M.O. He got to experience his first snow, too, which was phenomenal- how do I stop him from playing in THAT?! There was no clot, no embolism, he was fine afterwards. Was I being risky with his health? Maybe. Was I a horrible disciplinarian? Hell yeah. I've always sucked at structure. *Sigh*

Joey had his last two shots last week, back to back- another shot re-administered on the left side of his back (the same place as last time), and then the right side as well. He was definitely sore and swollen this time with both so he got a prescription of Rimadyl for pain. We still had Tramazone left over to use as needed (and I did use it the weekend to keep him mellow). So things were super quiet the first two days after. But now the work week has started up again and I'm exhausted and emotionally unfit to be Miss NoPlay. So Joey has had free time in the yard to explore at will and is loping around to his heart's content.  I suppose I should be uber-strict and leash him, then crate him otherwise, but I just don't have it in me. I wasn't at enforcing bed-rest with my greyhounds (Jack and his Illiopsoas tear) and I sure as hell aren't any better with Joey and his Heartworms.

My vet told me that the first week after the shots is the worst- you really need to worry about them moving around to much. So I really tried after the shots were administered but admittedly was a bit lax beyond that. As of today, Joey is 11 days out from his last 2 shots and doing fine. We even started jogging again yesterday (well, it's more of a slow trot for him) and  have resumed our longer (3+ mile) walks.

I decided to blog this "confession" after trolling the internet and finding nothing but stories of devout dog owners who stuck tooth-and-nail to 2 months of bed rest/crate rest for their Heartworm Positive dogs. Who came up with awesome and fun activities to do while stuck in a cage, who dealt with the impatience and whining and stress like Saints. Sorry universe, I'm not that patient!!!! And thankfully Joey - who had a "light" HW case and had no organs affected- came out okay with that. Thank you God and Amen.

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