September 8, 2022
It has been a trying few days.
I kid you not.
But I now know what has been wrong with Jackpot, and I can see a clear way forward to returning him to solid, robust health.
Jackpot didn’t have a viral colitis. Jackpot had HOOKWORMS.
I could go into much more detail, but everything boils down to both Glenna’s and my reliance on a fecal test done in Texas by a local vet that totally missed the Hookworms—which gave them a really good start on tearing up JP’s intestines and stealing his blood and causing dehydration and weight loss and terrible bloody diarrhea.
To really be sure about any fecal test, a vet should perform an antigen test, which, I believe, is done in a lab, not in a vet’s office by a technician. It is way too easy to miss parasites that are so tiny or if they are not in the sample one has.
Add in that one of the 5 sick pups on the transport that had to turn around and return to Texas (Otis) DID have a viral colitis (diagnosed by the A&M vet hospital) and you can see how with a “clean” fecal test that was in error, eyes would turn to the virus and not to worms. It’s kind of a classic case of correlation is not causation.
As Jackpot was NOT getting better, Glenna got super skeptical about the fecal test and started looking toward some kind of parasite, and that’s when we got on the better path. She still thinks Otis had the virus, but now wonders if hookworms were a factor in spinning him into hemorrhaging. Likely, that will remain a mystery, and Otis has been dewormed again, too. She has now also dewormed the transport puppies still in her care, and we are kind of holding our breath that she, too, has her puppies on a clear path forward.
The adult dogs never get hookworms as they are on preventative meds monthly. Hookworms are much more of a problem in the South than here in Maine, which is also true of heartworms.
Glenna is a healer at heart and has stayed in very close touch with me every day to try to sort out Jackpot. We are both feeling much better about this whole situation. Glenna cannot bear to not be able to save a dog who is suffering, and she puts her whole body where her heart is, often treating a sick dog through the night if that is necessary. She did that for Buster Brown, Jackpot’s brother, when she fed him for 2 months with a syringe because he would not eat. And that cute boy has now been adopted by people in New York.
(Remember the very funny video I shared of Buster Brown doing “give me five”?)
So, Jackpot went back to the vet hospital this morning as I didn’t like the amount of blood he was losing after I dewormed him on Wednesday. And I had learned the day before, late in the day, that the new fecal test I dropped off Tuesday was lousy with hookworms. I needed to get a plan from the vets of the best way to move forward.
Hookworms are tricky to get rid of—in that the dog can pick them up again from one’s yard when eggs discarded in poop hatch into larva. So repeated dewormings may be needed until we get to winter and our normally really cold temps, which will kill any larva in the yard. Meanwhile, we’ll stay on top of the worms with fecal tests, etc. The monthly Heartgard pill for heartworms also protects against hookworms—and I gave that to Jackpot this afternoon.
So, Jackpot came home with a med to help his intestines heal, more dewormer to be repeated in two weeks, and prescription kibble and canned food that will help him build back the weight he has lost. **I’ve promised myself I won’t even read the labels as to what is in it. And when JP is healthy and worm free again, I’ll start switching back over to the really good REAL food that is filling my freezers in the garage.
Jackpot has been so good. He’s needed to go outside frequently, and he’s learned how to tell me he needs to go. He pee pees on command outside as well. So, we are forming a language we both understand.
I’m not looking forward to tonight—as the deworming meds and the hookworms being expelled have meant lots of trips outside since I collected him from the vet hospital early afternoon. I’ll decide later if I need to stay with him in the kitchen so I can get up with him. Otherwise, there could be a total blowout in the crate, and I don’t want that for him. That already happened this morning, and he had to have an immediate bath, all his bedding went to the washer’s sanitize cycle and then got washed again to be sure, and all the clothes I was wearing got washed too. Plus I washed the kitchen floor between the crate and the door. And, of course, the crate.
I AM looking forward to the time in the hopefully near future when he can expand from the kitchen to the dining/living room, where the big dog bed lives. He’s decided he really likes it. He hasn’t had any accidents in the house for some days now, but I keep a very close eye on him too and take him outside a lot.
And we both enjoy the couch downstairs where, when he winds down after playing with his toys, he snuggles and falls heavily asleep.
So, thanks to all of you for staying in touch and joining me on this “Jackpot Journey.” It’s been a wild ride, hasn’t it?
But puppies are, often, a wild ride. I got a great one, that’s for sure.