Friday, October 7, 2011

Treatment Ends! And Mila's List of Maybe Haves

Mila's treatment has officially ended! Mila is slowly increasing her activity and hilariously, is only going potty in the spot she's used since June when she tested heartworm positive and began leash restrictions.

Today she ventured a few feet away for a good roll, but then right back in as if she was still attached to a long line. It's good to take it slow, as the heartworms do not have calendars so some may still be clogging up her business in there. It was also good she wanted to take it slow this week because we were so busy.

Next week she goes for a grooming and then will have her re-debut at the rescue meet and greet. Mila is very social and nosy so these events are great for her.

She would never presume to tell you what you MUST have so these are some of the maybe haves that might help you should you need to take a dog through heartworm treatment.

1a. Mila took a lot of medicines during this whole process. From the doxycycline, to things used to keep her quiet, to prednisilone, and more antibiotics, Mila needed to take her pills well and she did. Your dog probably has things that they like to get pills in, but Mila really enjoyed:
Sometimes low-fat, sometimes regular, Cream Cheese
1b. We found this canned food when she was sick, in a local grocery store (the food was in the store, not Mila, because she is also not allowed to drive). The reason we like it so much is that it is VERY soft and makes a great pill meatball (not cooked of course). Even better, you can put it in the frig and it STILL stays soft. It was great for the larger pills. It was also something she would eat when not feeling well, so it got a Gold Star here!
Harmony Farms Canned

2. Mila enjoyed lots of water. We probably don't need a picture of that.

3. And with all that water, especially on the prednisilone, she needed to potty. We tried a shorter leash at first but that was too close for comfort for her. Who can blame her; it's like having to use the bathroom at work. 

So we used an 18 foot biothane lead. What's really nice about that material is that it can be wiped clean when wet, doesn't crack, feels good on your hands (no nylon burns if a dog pulls) and it moves well with the dog. That length worked really well for us because if it was raining, which it did a ton, I could be on the deck under an umbrella and she could be in the yard. We would not recommend a longer line if a dog would run while on it. Use what works best and is safest for your dog.
4. Mila ate a little more than normal during her treatment and many dogs enjoy chew treats. Mila does not. So she has no recommendations for these types of treats, "mind game" toys, or other things that keep dogs occupied in crates. Whatever you choose, make sure you supervise because anything rubber, fabric, plastic, etc., can do a real number on the GI system if ingested, and not even in big amounts.

5. Cool air. Air conditioning works great and should be used in the summer if it all possible. Mila had a small window AC unit in a bedroom. On really hot days a fan was used as well, blowing directly on her to keep her cool.

6. Calming things. Whatever that may be for your dog, if there is something that seems to make them serene, definitely give it a try. If it something that they ingest however, check with your vet to see if it interacts with anything. Music, TTouch, acupuncture, things that do not get a dog excited or moving are very helpful.

7. A big crate. If your dog will do laps in a big crate, maybe the next size down. If your dog is not able to be leashed to you and kept quiet outside of a crate, then a crate is a must. Are there dogs that will just lay at your feet without jumping up and running before you can grab them? (SQUIRREL!) If there are, well, maybe they don't need crate rest. But if there are dogs like that, we haven't met them. And why risk it? (and why don't we risk it - that's riiiiiight, clots!)

BDBH's Rosa stops in to visit her "step-brother" Niko in his giant crate. As you can see this is a crate a dog can get comfy in! While neither of them are undergoing HW tx, it does look like a nice place for a nap.
We'd like a treat now, please.
Mila ended up in an extra large airline type crate that helped to keep her quiet. Well, Mila quiet.

Those are the things that were most helpful to Mila during her treatment. That and a lot of help from her rescue and a great vet office, plus support from her Internet friends. Thank you for that!

Next - what's next after heartworm treatment and the re-debut. Then, what do we do with this blog?